INFORMS Open Forum

Congratulations to Inaugural INFORMS Scholarship Awardees

  • 1.  Congratulations to Inaugural INFORMS Scholarship Awardees

    Posted 11-19-2018 18:42

    Dear Colleagues,

    We are delighted to announce the awardees of the 2018 INFORMS Inaugural Undergraduate Student Scholarships for travel to the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Congratulations!!

    To our pleasant surprise, we received 18 nominations from top undergraduates and it was a difficult decision for the committee to narrow down the list to a final four. We are very excited about this great pool of students with bright futures in OR/MS/Analytics field and hope to see all nominees as graduate students first and then as a colleagues in future years.


    Vinayak Ahluwalia (

    Vinny Ahluwalia is a junior at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where he is studying Computer Science Engineering with minors in biochemistry and mathematics. He is currently working with Dr. Brian Denton and Lauren Steimle in the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department on developing stochastic optimization algorithms for robust medical decision making. More specifically, he has been implementing various branch-and-bound algorithms using Multi-Model Markov Decision Processes (MMDPs) to account for parameter ambiguity in decision-making. His professional goals include attending medical school, where he aims to supplement his healthcare-related operations research with the knowledge of a physician, and possibly pursuing a PhD in an operations research or computer science-related field. In his free time, Vinny enjoys playing tennis, lifting weights, and following professional football.


    Dipayan Banerjee (

    Dipayan Banerjee is a senior at Northwestern University from Jacksonville, Florida. He is majoring in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences with a minor in Mathematics. With Dr. Karen Smilowitz and Dr. Jill Wilson, Dipayan is currently involved in research on multiobjective optimization problems in public school transportation and districting. He plans on pursuing a PhD with a research focus on logistics. After graduate school, Dipayan's goal is to continue his research as a professor. He is on the club cricket team at Northwestern and also enjoys basketball, trivia, and supporting the Jacksonville Jaguars.


    Caroline Margaret Johnston (

    Caroline Johnston is a current senior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA majoring in the Mathematical Sciences and minoring in both Computer Science and Data Science. Her primary research project revolves around the scheduling and routing of foster care visitations. Outside of her classes, Caroline enjoys being a part of WPI's SIAM and AWM student chapters, organizing the Student Alumni Society, playing the drums in the Pep Band, and even occasionally suiting up as the school mascot - Gompei the goat! 

    Caroline plans on entering a Ph.D. program for Operations Research next fall and has held numerous internships at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA and The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California.


    Hemeng "Maggie" Li (

    A senior joint computer science and math major at Harvey Mudd College (HMC), Hemeng Li is committed to and appreciative of data analytics and operations research. As a research assistant of Professor Gu at HMC, she worked on research project funded by Unilever during the summer of 2017, in which she performed promotional analysis on sales, promotion and geographic data to give suggestions on which promotion should be applied at each store. For the past summer, she worked at the Human Experience & Agent Teamwork Lab (HEATLab) at HMC. Her work primarily focused on designing new metrics to evaluate the controllability of robotics scheduling problems, which can be modeled as network flow problems and can be solved efficiently using operational research techniques. She is also committed to assisting fellow students. As one of the Academic Excellence Math Tutors at HMC, she coordinates with HMC math professors to hold regular homework workshops and exam review sessions to help students with core math courses. In her free time, she pursues her passion of playing piano at a music studio at Scripps College. She plans on pursuing a Ph.D. degree for Operations Research.


    On behalf of the INFORMS Scholarships Committee

    Halit Uster (chair), Southern Methodist University
    Julie Ivy, North Carolina State University
    Elisa Long, University of California - Los Angeles
    Vicki Sauter, University of Missouri – St. Louis
    Steven Shechter, University of British Columbia