Friday, April 14, 2017

Fabulous STEM Slam Organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter

I just returned from a very exciting event organized by the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

The event was a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Slam in which undergraduate and graduate students could present their research in a 3 minute talk with only props that they could carry on to the stage. There were 3 judges, two student ones, and my OR/MS colleague, Professor Hari Balasubramanian.
The student chapter officers did a spectacular job organizing this event which attracted speakers from numerous science and engineering departments at UMass Amherst. A big shoutout to Pritha Dutta, Ekin Koker, Deniz Besik, Amro El-Adle, Rodrigo Mercado, and Swaminathan Kandaswamy, with Destenie Nock, as the fabulous emcee, and Amirhossein Alamdar Yazdi assisting the officers!

The attention to detail made for a very successful, memorable, and exciting scientific and social event. There was also great attendance (and this is the Friday of a long weekend in Massachusetts plus a holiday weekend.)

Below are a few photos of the speakers who spoke on fascinating and wide-ranging scientific topics such as AI and consciousness, the preservation of food nutrients in outer space, reducing traffic congestion through cooperation, antibiotics and resistance to them, what causes butterflies in your stomache, RNA, rocket science, and even math modeling. All thirteen speakers were recognized with a nice slide. Props included an orange, a balloon, emulsions, and some bottles.

Pizza and donuts were provided  to fuel the speakers and the audience, which also voted for their audience choice award recipient.
While the votes were being tabulated, which were done with a nice Excel spreadsheet, there was a very entertaining trivia segment in which audience members who answered the questions posed by Destenie Nock correctly earned prizes.  In addition to the audience award winner, there was a first place and a second place winner.

All presenters were given certificates and we took the nice group photo of the speakers, judges, officers, and friends, below.

Congratulations to all involved on a wonderfully organized scientific event that showcased the importance (and fun) of public speaking on your scientific research! Thanks to the hard-working, creative, spirited, and super enthusiastic UMass Amherst Student Chapter Officers on the success of this event that will be hard to top and that was intellectually rewarding and great fun!
Bravo to the terrific UMass Amherst Student Chapter Officers for the magnificent team-work and attention to detail! You are all operations research stars!