Archived News & Awards from the Supply Chain and Information Systems Department at Penn State University (2016)

SC&IS Department Welcomes New Faculty Members

Yi Jen (Ian) Ho is an assistant professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems at the Smeal College of Business.  He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems at The Paul Merage School of Business at The University of California, Irvine. He is mainly interested in understanding the impacts of information technologies on consumer choice. His current research focuses on the areas of social media, mobile and location-based technologies in digital markets.

Yiwei Huang is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Smeal College of Business (2016-2017).  Her research interests lie in the general area of logistics, supply chain management, and healthcare management. Yiwei received a Ph.D. (2016) in Operations and Supply Chain Management from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in Operations Research from Southern Methodist University, and a B.S. in Electronics and Information Engineering from Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Siyuan Liu is an assistant professor of information systems in the Smeal College of Business. Siyuan has a B. S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Shandong University, a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University from 2013 to 2015. He has published over 50 papers in data mining, databases and systems, machine learning, artificial intelligence, distributed systems, data visualization, and information systems. His research interests include trajectory mining, social networks analytics, and data visualization.  In 2015 he was selected to receive the Google Faculty Research Award, an Award of USDOT National University Transportation Center for Safety, and an Award of Russian Science Foundation.

Saurabh Bansal’s research selected a Finalist for the Biennial Applied Research Challenge 2016

A research paper “Quantifying Uncertainties Using Expert Assessments in a Dynamic New Product Development Environment” by Saurabh Bansal was recognized as a finalist at the Biennial Applied Research Challenge 2016 organized by the Production and Operations Management Society in May 2016. The paper develops new theory to estimate uncertainties using managerial forecasting. This theory has been implemented at Dow AgroSciences since 2014 to make an $800 million annual decision with substantial monetary benefits. The model-based behavioral theory for expert calibration was tested and fine-tuned in a series of experiments at the LEMA lab at Penn State. Genaro Gutierrez at The University of Texas at Austin, and John Keiser, a research scientist at Dow AgroSciences, are coauthors on the paper.

The competition had two rounds, with the first round judged by an academic panel and the second round judged by a panel of industry leaders. In the recognition awarded to the authors, the panels note that “This work is an achievement in conducting rigorous applied research that is relevant and innovative.”

Dow AgroSciences is a corporate sponsor of Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research™. The Center provides the resources needed to facilitate research collaboration between higher education and practitioners to further supply chain knowledge with meaningful contributions to the greater business community.

Boeing Selects Students for BASE Externships

Congratulations to Sophomores Erika Veiszlemlein and Rhea Godiawala, who were selected to participate in the Boeing BASE externship program in August. The program received over 600 applicants, interviewed 55 candidates, and extended 31 offers to fill the 30 available slots.

Smeal Student Marshal Interviewed on Here & Now

Smeal's student marshal, Emily Waschenko, a May 2016 Supply Chain and Information Systems graduate was recently interviewed on NPR's Here & Now. 

Harrison leading Smeal’s business analytics efforts

Strategically focused on meeting the growing demand for analytics expertise within organizations and across industries, the Penn State Smeal College of Business has named Terry Harrison as faculty director of business analytics.   Harrison will oversee Smeal’s new online graduate certificate in business analytics, which was first offered in fall 2015. He will also work in conjunction with the Penn State Great Valley School of Professional Studies to coordinate the business analytics option within the new online master of professional studies in data analytics. Both programs are offered in partnership with Penn State World Campus. 

“The Smeal College of Business is responding to a clear market need for trained people to apply expertise in analytics to business challenges,” Harrison said.  “We have particular strengths in these areas with faculty who have credentials at the national and international levels.” 

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Felisa Preciado named 2016-17 Administrative Fellow

Felisa Preciado, a clinical associate professor of supply chain management in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, has been named a Penn State Administrative Fellow for 2016-17.  The Administrative Fellows Program offers Penn State faculty and staff the opportunity to work with senior university officers to gain knowledge and experiences pertaining to the challenges of leadership in the academic community.  Preciado’s mentor will be Madlyn L. Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses. 

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Waschenko named spring 2016 Penn State Smeal student marshal

The Penn State Smeal College of Business has named Waschenko as the student marshal for spring 2016. She will lead the college’s procession of graduates during the Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Ceremony on May 8 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Waschenko will graduate with a 4.0 GPA after earning a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Information Systems, and a minor in Information Systems.

“Dr. Novack has been an instrumental part of my Penn State experience. He taught my introductory supply chain class where I first discovered interest in the field, and has since been an invaluable resource, mentor, and advisor,” Waschenko said. “His enthusiasm for supply chain, genuine support for his students, and strong connections within the industry have enriched my education and overall experience at Penn State.”

Waschenko has accepted a position in global supply management at Intel Corporation and will be moving to Scottsdale, Arizona.

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SC&IS students part of winning team in inaugural Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest

Two Penn State Smeal College of Business undergraduate students were on the winning team for the inaugural Smeal Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest held in mid-April. Caity Mcdade, a junior Supply Chain and Information Systems (SCIS) major, and Stephanie Mock, a sophomore SCIS/Economics dual major, were joined on the Connexion group by junior Computer Science major Kenneth Au and Vamshi Voruganti, a junior Industrial Engineering major.

Connexion’s winning concept, for which it won $3,200, dealt with trucking logistics. Trucks often travel below maximum capacity or empty. The team posited that the wasted space provides an opportunity to optimize trucking logistics via a crowdsourcing platform. Connexion would provide shippers the ability to ship at a reduced cost by matching other shipments to maximize capacity on trips. In order to do that, the team would use a machine learning cloud to compute optimal paths and planning to globally optimize based on factors like fuel costs, carbon emissions, travel time, package type, and more.

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SC&IS student honored with Diversity Recognition Award

Hyeju Lee, a supply chain and information systems major and international business minor, was given the Inspiring Student Leader Award at the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) Senior Awards and Faculty/Staff Diversity Recognition Reception recently at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. Lee has been a mentor for the Asia American Students in Action mentoring program and the web coordinator for the Multicultural Women’s Forum. She has regularly volunteered at Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Upon graduation, she will become part of Textron’s leadership development program.

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Tami Barnes Confer Wins Award

Congratulations to Supply Chain Department's Tami Barnes Confer for receiving the 2016 Outstanding Staff Award!

SC&IS Team Wins Honorable Mention at Case Competition

Congratulations to our Penn State team, Nancy Comden (team captain), Alexis Seigel, Felisa Preciado (team advisor), Emily Waschenko, and Erin Boyd, who participated in the 4th Annual National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition – Spring Series – hosted by the University of Minnesota on March 30-April 2, 2016. The team is bringing home an honorable mention that was earned through a great display of scholarship, professionalism, and dedication. The case was very challenging and involved strategic global supply chain expansion decisions for the manufacturing of medical supplies within a planning horizon of 15 years. The situation required not only rigorous supply chain design and financial analysis, but also the protection of highly valuable intellectual property. Within 24 hours they worked tirelessly to research, analyze, and prepare a presentation of their decisions and supporting material to a team of senior industry judges.

Team from APICS Student Chapter Wins Silver

Congratulations to our team from the APICS Student Chapter for placing 2nd in the 2016 Case Competition at the February District Meeting! The team was composed of Gustavo Chaves DeSouza, Vincent Meng, Xinbo Xie, and Chengxi Zhou (team captain). Advisors were Felisa Preciado and David Huff. The team strategized to maximize ROI by constructing a responsive supply chain, while holding the least amount of inventory possible for TFC Company.

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Karen Burlingame Receives R. Gene Richter Scholarship Award


Ms. Karen Burlingame, Supply Chain and Information Systems major, was chosen by the R. Gene and Nancy D. Richter Foundation as one of the recipients of the 2016 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Award. The scholarship is presented annually to senior supply chain students around the country based on high-achieving academic records, strong leadership skills, high ethical standards, and a commitment to a career in supply chain management. Burlingame joins fourteen other Penn Staters who have received this honor over the last twelve years.

Penn State Smeal MBA Team Wins Supply Chain Competition

A team of first-year MBA students from the Penn State Smeal College of Business recently won the 2016 Global Supply Chain Management Initiative Inter-College Case Competition, hosted by Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management.

Greg Wommer, Mattson Wardy, Franziska Schmid, Jordan Crespo, and Ankush Agarwal teamed up to emerge victorious from six teams selected as Phase 2 qualifying schools. The Smeal team placed ahead of the second-place team from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the third-place team from Washington (St. Louis) University’s Olin Business School.

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SC&IS students receive spring 2016 Senior Award recipients

Each spring, the Penn State Smeal College of Business recognizes graduating seniors with five named awards. Seniors who are graduating in the spring, summer, or fall of the same year are eligible. Recipients were recognized at commencement and received a Nittany Lion statuette as well as a monetary award. Three SC&IS students received the following awards:

Ralph H. Wherry Student Service Award: This award honors graduating seniors who excelled in service to the college, have exhibited academic achievement, and manifest the promise of a successful professional career.

  • Abigail Berman, Supply Chain and Information Systems
  • Darby Hogan, Supply Chain and Information Systems

Milton J. Bergstein Student Community Service Award: Awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved success in at least one student organization and has demonstrated ongoing involvement in a community service program outside of Smeal.

  • Elizabeth Basso, Supply Chain and Information Systems

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Research Supervised by Saurabh Bansal Honored at SJDM Annual Meeting

A research paper supervised by Saurabh Bansal was recently selected for honorable mention for the Society of Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) Student Research Competition at the society’s annual meeting held in November 2015. The paper compares two commonly used approaches to elicit probability distributions from domain experts and shows using laboratory data that one approach is clearly superior. These results have managerial implications for forecasting and risk assessment. Asa Palley, the student coauthor on the paper is a PhD student at Duke University.

SC&IS Faculty Members Recognized for Research Excellence

Congratulations to the following SC&IS faculty members who have been awarded professorships and fellowships in recognition of their research excellence:

Robert G. Schwartz University Endowed Fellowship in Business Administration: Aydin Alptekinoglu
Charles and Lilian Binder Faculty Fellow: Hui Zhao
Robert G. and Caroline Schwartz Professor of Business: Nick Petruzzi

Felisa Preciado elected to Represent Smeal in University Faculty Senate

Felisa Preciado and Terrence Guay, members of the Penn State Smeal College of Business faculty, have been elected to the University Faculty Senate. Felisa Preciado is a clinical associate professor of supply chain management. Guay is a clinical professor of international business. They will replace Meg Meloy and Chris Muscarella, whose four-year terms as Smeal senators expire this year.

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Brent Moritz Gives Keynote Address

Brent B. Moritz, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University, was the opening keynote speaker at the 7th International Workshop on Behavioral Operations Management in Tianjin, China on December 19-20, 2015. The conference was jointly organized by the College of Management and Economics of Tianjin University, the Department of Industrial Engineering of Tsinghua University, and the Operations Research Society of China. Dr. Moritz’s presentation, Cognition and The Bullwhip Effect: How We Think Matters was based on his recent research that appeared in Production and Operations Management.

Smeal announces inaugural Supply Chain Entrepreneurship ‘Pitch’ Contest

The Center for Supply Chain Research and the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, both part of the Penn State Smeal College of Business, have announced the inaugural Supply Chain Entrepreneurship ‘Pitch’ Contest.

The business idea to be pitched should have its basis in supply chain management with the aim of solving a supply chain problem or improving a supply chain product or process. A list of examples can be found on the Contest Information & Rules page of the contest website.

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Russell Barton Receives 2015 Outstanding Simulation Publication Award

Congratulations to Russell Barton on receiving the 2015 Outstanding Simulation Publication Award at the INFORMS 2015 Winter Simulation Conference held in Huntington Beach, California on December 8, 2015. The two papers co-authored by Barton are:

Russell R. Barton, Barry L. Nelson, and Wei Xie, “Quantifying Input Uncertainty via Simulation Confidence Intervals,” INFORMS Journal on Computing 26 (2014): 74-87

Wei Xie, Barry L. Nelson, and Russell R. Barton, “A Bayesian Framework for Quantifying Uncertainty in Stochastic Simulation,” Operations Research 62 (2014): 1439-1452

Hui Zhao’s Research Paper is Award Finalist at INFORMS

Hui Zhao’s research paper on drug shortage was one of the finalists for the 2015 Pierskalla Award organized by the Health Application Society at INFORMS. The prestigious Pierskalla Award is named after Dr. William Pierskalla to recognize research excellence in the field of health care management science. Papers are judged by contribution to operations research/management science in health care, readability, clarity and organization of the paper, technical content and scope, as well as originality. This year’s finalists include other teams from Chicago Booth/Carnegie Mellon, INSEAD, University of Virginia, and Yale. Hui’s awarded paper was coauthored with Justin Jia (PhD, Penn State, now at Krannert School of Management) and investigates the drug shortage problem facing the US pharmaceutical industry and the government. Through rigorous modeling, scenario analysis, and extensive numerical study based on realistic industry data, the authors propose to mitigate drug shortage through supply chain contracting. This work was also presented to The US department of Health and Human Services and the FDA’s Drug Shortage Stakeholder’s meeting.

Penn State Smeal SC&IS Team Wins Bowersox Graduate Supply Chain Challenge

A team of MBA students from the Penn State Smeal College of Business recently won the Sixth Annual Bowersox Graduate Supply Chain Challenge, hosted by Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business. Jordan Crespo, Chad Darlington and Skylar Haws teamed up to emerge victorious among a field of the top 15 supply chain schools in the nation. It was the first time a Penn State team has won the competition.

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Lt. Colonel Chris Solo Joins SC&IS Faculty

Welcome to Lt. Colonel Chris Solo, who joins the SC&IS Department as an Instructor in Management Information Systems this January. Chris served as an Air Force officer for 20 years. He holds a BS in Mathematics from Penn State, an MS in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Penn State.

John Metzger speaks at the 2015 Spisak Lecture

John Metzger, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, delivered this year's Spisak Lecture in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. He spoke on “Retailing, Wholesaling, and Supply Chain Operation: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board” on November 12.

The Spisak Lectureship was founded in 1990 through a gift from the Alex and Ann Spisak family of State College. The fund supports lectures by outstanding professionals working in logistics and supply chain management.

Lei (Michelle) Wang Receives Best Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Lei (Michelle) Wang on receiving the 2015 Nunamaker-Chen Dissertation Award (NCDA) given by The INFORMS Information Systems Society (ISS). The award, which recognizes outstanding dissertation research in information systems, was presented at the Conference on Information Systems & Technology (CIST) – INFORMS Conference in Philadelphia.

The NCDA is named in honor of two University of Arizona professors, Jay Nunamaker and Hsinchun Chen, who have made significant contributions to the field of Information Systems over the past several decades. The NCDA has been created to recognize and reward outstanding dissertation research by scholars in the field of Information Systems. Senior faculty members from top IS academic departments reviewed the submissions and evaluated them on creativity and novelty, scope and magnitude of contribution to IS research, relevance to practice, technical quality, and richness of methodological approach.

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Research finds ‘buying local’ not all positive for dairy supply chain

Buying local might be appealing for individual local restaurants and businesses, but research conducted by Chuck Nicholson of the Penn State Smeal College of Business revealed surprising effects on supply chains for fluid milk products if there are large increases in local purchases in the Northeast.

Nicholson, a clinical associate professor of supply chain management at Smeal, collaborated with four Cornell University researchers: Miguel I. Gomez and Elaine Hill in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and Xi He and H.O. Gao from the School of Civil Environmental Engineering.

The researchers found that if the supply chains for fluid milk products in five northeast states were reconfigured so that the milk consumed in those states was also produced and processed there, it would increase the total distance traveled by the fluid milk and other dairy products, total supply chain costs, and emissions of greenhouse gases. The study also concluded that the additional employment and economic activity generated in the region from the reconfiguration would be modest.

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Saurabh Bansal Receives Runner-Up Award for Research Paper at INFORMS

Congratulations to Saurabh Bansal for being a runner-up for the 2015 Practice Award Competition organized by the Decision Analysis Society at INFORMS. The award recognizes the research paper “Expert Calibration and Elicitation for Large Scale Investment Decisions” for its contribution to the body of knowledge on individual decision-making under risk and uncertainty. This paper is in collaboration with a research scientist at Dow AgroSciences, a corporate sponsor of the Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR).