Student Excellence Award

WINFORMS is pleased to announce its 2017 student paper competition. The goal of the competition is to encourage student research in the fields of Operations Research and Management Sciences and the sharing of that research. The winning applicants will receive cash prizes. 


The focus of the Student Excellence Award competition is the advancement of Operations Research methodologies to solve real-world problems. Applicants must demonstrate original research that can be applied to a real-world problem in areas to include energy, healthcare, cyber, information technology, national security, production and distribution, service industries, transportation and logistics.  Research can be either application or theory based. Theoretical submissions must be able to describe application of the theory to a real-world problem. 


  • Applicants must be current undergraduate or graduate students, full time or part time at time of submission.
  • The research submitted must have been conducted while the applicant was a student.
  • The submitted paper must present original research conducted primarily by the student. The paper can be co-authored with other individuals including the student’s advisor(s), industry practitioners and other students. Only one submission per applicant or collaborative research project is allowed.
  • All finalists must be able to present their work in person at the April 18th, 2017 WINFORMS session in the Washington, DC area.

Submission Requirements

  • Proof of current enrollment as an undergraduate or graduate student (e.g. unofficial transcript).
  • A completed application form.
  • A 1-2 page paper that describes:(1) the problem, (2) the applied methodology, (3) the results.
  • Submissions should be submitted as PDFs via email to
  • The email should be titled: “2017 Student Excellent Award Submission”.

All submissions must be received by 11:59PM, EST, March 22nd, 2017. Any question(s) related to the competition should be e-mailed to

Finalist Selection

  • All submissions will be evaluated based on: technical merit, originality, impact of research, and clarity of presentation.
  • Three finalists will be invited by the WINFORMS award committee to present their work at a formal WINFORMS session on Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. The finalists will be notified of their selection by March 31st, 2017.
  • The three finalists will be assessed based on their presentations and ranked for the awarding of prizes. The finalists will be notified of ranking by May 1st, 2017.


  • 1st Prize – a WINFORMS plaque and $800 cash prize. An additional $500 will be awarded to offset travel costs if the 1st prize winner is attending the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston, TX (proof of abstract submission and conference registration are required). See for more details about the Annual Meeting.  
  • 2nd Prize – $300 cash prize
  • 3rd Prize – $200 cash prize

A PDF of the official announcement is available here

Previous Competition Winners

2016 Winners

  • 1st Prize: Ali Asadabadi, University of Maryland, “Optimal Transportation and Shoreline Infrastructure Investment Planning under a Stochastic Climate Future”
  • 2nd Prize: Rui Zhang, University of Maryland, “Mathematical Programming Approaches to Influence Maximization on Social Networks”
  • 3rd Prize: Catherine King, College of William and Mary, “Data Analysis and Simulation: Optimizing Voter Wait Times”

2015 Winners

  • 1st Prize: Mohammad Jalali, Virginia Tech, A Simulation-Optimization Method for Quantitative Aggregation of Prior Statistical Findings
  • 2nd Prize: Saba Neyshabouri, George Mason University, Adaptive Robust Optimization of Surgery and Downstream Capacity Planning
  • 3rd Prize: Bin Han, University of Maryland, Optimal Learning for Designing Effective Fundraisers at the American Red Cross

2014 Winners

  • 1st Prize: James Jones, University of Maryland, Managing Terminal Airspace Demand Uncertainty with En-Route Speed Control  
  • 2nd Prize: Zachary Bell, United States Military Academy at West Point, A Modeling Framework for Air Medical Evacuation Coverage
  • 3rd Prize: Hadi El-Amine, Virginia Tech, Determining a Robust Post-Donation Screening Strategy for the Detection of Infectious Agents