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Spotlight student chapter

University of Massachusetts at Amherst
by Tina Wakolbinger

Welcome to the UMASS Amherst Student Chapter of INFORMS

The UMASS Amherst Student Chapter of INFORMS is a collaboration of undergraduate and graduate students from various schools and departments at UMASS Amherst, including the Isenberg School of Management, the College of Engineering, and the Departments of Resource Economics and Mathematics and Statistics.

UMASS Student Pond and Chapel

Isenberg School of Management at UMASS Amherst

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.

The student 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 UCONN.

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.

We are especially grateful for valuable support provided by our faculty advisor, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor Anna Nagurney.

Current officers

Tina Wakolbinger

Shenghan Xu

Marius Costeniuc

Leo Doherty
Anh Nguyen

Web Master
Zugang Liu

Some Members of the UMASS Amherst Student Chapter of INFORMS