UMASS Amherst is located in the beautiful Pioneer Valley in western
Massachusetts with neighboring colleges such as Amherst College, Smith
College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College comprising with
it the Five College System. The chapter’s purpose is to encourage
interest in and provide a means of communication in operations research
and the management sciences. We especially focus on fostering interdisciplinary
cooperation among students and faculty across departments at UMASS
as well as colleges in the Five College Area.
chapter creates links with other student chapters and clubs at UMASS.
At the 2004 School of Management Outdoor Leadership retreat, two of our
officers met with leaders of undergraduate clubs at UMASS and discussed
future shared activities. This is especially important since we want to
increasingly reach out to undergraduate students to raise their
awareness of and interest in OR. Our chapter also has strong links with
the Departments of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Civil and
Environmental Engineering at the School of Engineering.
The first major
activity of the student chapter is the Operations
Research/Management Science Speaker Series. In the Fall of 2004,
seven professors, two of them joined by their doctoral students, from
across the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus gave a series of
talks about their research. Topics included traffic safety, signal
control techniques, optimal technology R&D, food safety, technology
management, innovation, and quality, social networks, and teamwork.
After the talks, interested members joined the presenter for lunch at
the University Club, the oldest building in Amherst, to discuss topics
of interest. Support for the speaker series is provided by the Isenberg
School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations
Management, the John F. Smith Memorial Fund, and INFORMS. Besides
interested faculty and students, industry representatives came to the
presentations and showed their interest in current research in the
field of OR. Attendance is purely voluntary but the seminars are very
well-attended and help to bring the OR/MS communities closer. The talks
have been very stimulating and discussions about them continue long
afterwards about them. The announcement of several talks by local
newspapers has increased awareness of OR in Amherst and its
surrounding area. We are in the process of finalizing the speaker
series for next semester and plan to host speakers from Amherst
College, Smith College, Harvard, and Northeastern University as well as
At our regular
meetings, the chapter allows students to present their research and
research interests in an informal setting. We also show OR-related
movies and discuss further topics of interest. We will conclude the
semester with a skiing trip in January 2005.
The chapter is
truly in the "Isenberg" model to have management, engineers, and
scientists working together on important problems.
especially grateful for valuable support provided by our faculty
advisor, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor Anna Nagurney.