Martonosi Receives INFORMS Teaching Prize

Susan Martonosi, professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, has received the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Prize for the Teaching of Operations Research and Management Science Practice. The prize is awarded annually to a university or college teacher for their excellence in teaching the practice of operations research and the management sciences (OR/MS).

The INFORMS committee cited Martonosi’s outstanding breadth, innovations and hands-on approach to teaching/mentoring students and transforming them into passionate and competent users of OR/MS and analytics in their careers.

“While course variety, course material and classroom presence are important, the ultimate marker of teaching excellence is whether or not students can actually use what teachers teach them in practice, and whether their mindset has been transformed positively,” stated Sanjay L. Ahire, INFORMS committee chair from the University of South Carolina, in Martonosi’s award letter. “Your accomplishments meet and exceed these criteria. I was personally impressed with the specific examples of how your teaching and mentoring has impacted your students’ mindset and confidence.”

HMC Department of Mathematics Chair Jon Jacobsen says, “I am thrilled that this award helps recognize and honor the many ways in which Susan has transformed our department and College in the world of operations research. From seeing the very first independent studies and thesis projects to the now steady pipeline of students who enter graduate programs and industry in the field, there is no doubt about the lasting and positive impact Susan’s teaching, mentoring and leadership have had in creating these exciting opportunities for students to find their niche in OR.”

“I had the delightful task of commenting on the impact Susan’s students have had in industry,” says Jason Fennell ’08, former senior vice president of engineering at Yelp and Harvey Mudd trustee. “In my role at Yelp, I hired a variety of Mudders, including many who worked with Susan through her classes, research, advising of the Interdisciplinary Competition in Modeling and more. Those students excelled at Yelp both in terms of their business impact through technical OR skills and their communication. Exceptional students reflect an exceptional teacher.”

Martonosi focuses her research on the application of operations research and analytics methodology to problems in the public sector, including homeland security, humanitarian logistics and public policy. Her work has included probabilistic models to guide aviation security policy related to passenger and cargo screening and shipping container screening policy; game theory, social networks analysis and graph theory to solve problems in resource allocation and terrorist network disruption; epidemiological techniques coupled with optimization models for the efficient allocation of interventions against malaria; and game theory models for negotiating pediatric vaccine prices in the public sector.

Martonosi says, “I am very honored to receive this award. The past recipients include professional colleagues of mine that I have revered over the years for the impact their teaching has had on the OR/MS profession, and I am humbled to be included in their ranks. I am thankful for my INFORMS colleague James Cochran and my HMC colleague Art Benjamin who supported my nomination and for the years of mentorship and encouragement they have given me. Most of all, I am thankful for my HMC students past and present who continue to bring me such great joy. I am thrilled that so many of them have come to love the field of OR as much as I do. This award is as much a testament to their outstanding achievements as it is to mine.”