INFORMS Open Forum

  • 1.  How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-18-2022 14:40

    Earlier this year, I wrote an article in the member magazine about how getting involved with an INFORMS chapter or forum can be beneficial. As we welcome many new INFORMS members who joined around the Annual Meeting, and maybe haven't found a community yet, I thought this would be a good time to circulate it again. I also want to invite other members to share their thoughts on how their communities have been valuable to them. If you belong to chapters, forums, sections, or societies, what's the main thing you've gained from it?

    Here's a link to the article:

    Here's where to learn more about all the communities:

    Kathryn Walter
    Senior Operations Research Analyst
    Avista Corp
    Alexandria VA

  • 2.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-21-2022 10:24
    Thanks for the reminder, Informs is a very large organization which can be full of opportunity or creating a sense of being overwhelmed to the point of doing nothing. Thus, as you shared the value of the way Informs is organized creating communities is what sets it apart. And all it takes is identifying what areas are of most interest and from there begin. Together Informs becomes powerful and valuable but only by the involvement of each of us, however that involvement can be as much or as little as you want and in whatever area is of most interest. I know for me as a faculty and program coordinator for a Business Analytics program I follow the education track and connected with Bill Griffin to provide current content in the classroom. I have also joined the WORMS as well as following a few other forums that have now provided resources I enjoy reading and following.  
    I look forward to hearing how others are connecting and finding their way around Informs,

    Donna Ehrlich
    Associate Professor, Business Analytics
    Park University
    New Port Richey FL

  • 3.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-22-2022 09:39
    Thank you, Kathryn, for fostering this discussion.
    I want to echo Donna's message and especially stress that it is on each of us to determine how involved we want to be with this community. I am a Ph.D. candidate graduating in December and have been an INFORMS member since 2018. During this time, which I find relatively short, I have felt highly supported by a warm and unique group of fantastic human beings. Yet, the first year was somewhat overwhelming, and the following years were all about understating the community and how to get involved. Sharing our stories is key to helping newer members get around and connect with their interest groups. I have to give all credit to my, back then, more senior students, who mentored and guided me through INFORMS. It took a couple of years of watching them get around and meeting amazing people for me to get the courage to take a step forward myself. I applied for an officer position at the Minority Issues Forum (MIF), and, to my surprise, I was elected. The same semester I started being a MIF officer, I joined the OR/MS Tomorrow magazine as co-lead editor. My whole vision of INFORMS changed after that. The 2022 Annual Meeting was entertaining, fun, busy, and rewarding. Seeing things happen from the inside gave me a sense of community that I believe is hard to get otherwise.
    I am looking forward to increasing my involvement. I hope everyone else who is in the position I was in four years ago finds their niche at INFORMS. Know I am more than happy to help :)
    And to my more experienced fellow INFORMS members, I look forward to hearing your stories and how INFORMS has helped you.

    Sofia Perez-Guzman
    Ph.D. Candidate
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Troy NY

  • 4.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-22-2022 09:59
    Kathryn - Thank you for this reminder. It is easy to forget what is it like to first join an organization like INFORMS when I have been a member for over two decades. I do remember those first few meetings - being impressed as well as overwhelmed by how big INFORMS is, trying to navigate and find connections among so many options. I was fortunate in that I was brought to INFORMS by my graduate advisor, Paul Fischbeck, who was a member of the Decision Analysis Society (DAS) at INFORMS, as was his graduate advisor, Elisabeth Pate-Cornell. I was half-way through my Ph.D. program, and I met other graduate students - most of whom are still involved with DAS today. I greatly value DAS because it provides a forum with other decision analysts who can provide me with feedback, connect me to new relevant research, and provide encouragement. As someone outside of academia, keeping up with their work over the years has played a great role in keeping up with the research. I have served on the council of DAS twice, which leads to even more opportunity to get to know other people in your field. I encourage everyone to find a soceity or section that includes your area of research (there may be more than one), and reach out to the leadership to let them know you want to get involved. Find the small community in the large organization. It's there! And they would love your help.

    Kara Morgan
    Quant Policy Strategies, LLC
    Dublin OH

  • 5.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-22-2022 10:15

    As a remote student (I live in Texas. WPI is in Massachusetts), INFORMS communities benefit me by keeping me informed (pun intended) and providing a place for me to reach out to researchers in a new field. I recently joined the INFORMS Section on Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment (ENRE) and posted to the ENRE discussion board to connect with water modelers. Water is a new application area for me. Going with the flow is necessary in certain cases. I enjoy causing good trouble and questioning processes/systems/etc. that I don't agree with. Anyway, I digress. 

    I work part-time for the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI), New Mexico State University (NMSU) to connect water, data, social and systems folks who want to foster transboundary groundwater resilience

    The many communities INFORMS provides allows for such connections. I plan to reach out to the Simulation Society, Decision Analysis Society, and Analytics Society too. It is crucial to do cross-disciplinary collaborative work, especially on the transboundary (i.e., between two or more countries) groundwater depletion problem. INFORMS communities has problem-solvers from various countries and materials/events/etc. we can use to educate and connect future researchers and practitioners. 

    Christine Tang
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute / New Mexico State University / New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute
    Richmond TX

  • 6.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-22-2022 17:57
    Hi Kathryn,

    I'm glad you brought this topic up. I've found my involvement in various INFORMS groups to be tremendously rewarding for my own career. I was an officer in the Analytics Society and met many people and made connections that way. Next month I'll be speaking to the INFORMS Regional Analytics Conference, a great event the Chicago chapter puts on. I've spoken to student chapters, which are another great avenue. 

    Beyond chapters and fora, I've also been a member of the initial task force that became the Analytics Certification Board, the program committee for the Analytics Conference, The Edelman committee, the committee to plan the executive forum, the outreach committee, and more. 

    All of these avenues were great ways to connect with others, learn about applications of analytics outside of my sphere, and hear challenges and ideas that both echoed mine and differed. Bottom line, get involved in something!

    I am in my current job because of my INFORMS connections. :) 


    Polly Mitchell-Guthrie
    VP, Industry Outreach And Thought Leadership
    Scottsdale AZ

  • 7.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 11-23-2022 22:21
    Edited by Qinglin Duan 11-23-2022 22:22
    Hi Kathryn,
    Thank you for fostering this discussion. INFORMS benefits me a long way. As a practitioner, I get the opportunity to connect with fellow members during the business analytics conference and annual meeting. I also greatly value the WORMS forum where we advance and celebrate women leadership. I am currently serving on the Early Career Professionals' Network and the overall experience has been tremendously rewarding. I agree that everyone should find a place to get involved!

    Qinglin Duan
    Lead Data Scientist
    Bayer Crop Science
    St. Louis, MO

  • 8.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 12-01-2022 10:34
    Thanks for all of your replies! It's great learning how each of you have found your community at INFORMS and made it your own.

    Kathryn Walter
    Senior Operations Research Analyst
    Avista Corp
    Alexandria VA

  • 9.  RE: How have your communities helped you?

    Posted 12-07-2022 16:08

    Hi Kathryn, 

    Thanks a lot for fostering such discussion! I'm the vice-chair of INFORMS College on Artificial Intelligence. The CAI sponsor many sessions at the Annual Meeting. Through the sessions, we're able to know many colleagues who do research in the same domain as ourselves. We can benefit a lot through the discussion in these sessions. The social events can also connect us closely.

    Bin Zhang
    Assistant Professor
    Texas A&M University
    College Station TX