Tag Archives: slidecasts

5 observations about women in engineering: my talk at the women in engineering luncheon at CASE 2013

I gave a talk at the women in engineering luncheon at the IEEE Conference on Automation Science & Engineering (CASE 2013) in Madison Wisconsin (August 17-21, 2013) after some gentle prodding by my colleagues Leyuan Shi and Jingshan Li who are organizing the conference. Those of you who read my blog know that I am passionate about women in STEM and am this year’s President of WORMS (the INFORMS forum for women in OR/MS).

I haven’t given a talk like this before, so I based my talk around five observations about women in engineering, good and bad (mostly good, we’ve come a long way). Several of the slides were inspired by previous blog posts, so they may look familiar to regular readers.

Update: I posted this blog post before my talk. The talk went very well. The slide that received the most positive attention was slide #20, which is tips for raising the profile of women researchers that I borrowed from Anna Nagurney. Men could do these things, and I was glad that they agreed. One excellent advocate for women was even in attendance (my advisor Sheldon Jacobson).


operations research, disasters, and science communication

I had the pleasure of speaking at the AAAS Meeting on February 17 in a session entitled Dynamics of Disasters: Harnessing the Science of Networks to Save Lives. I talked about my research that addresses how to use scarce public resources in fire and emergency medical services to serve communities during severe but not catastrophic weather events. My research has application to weather events such as blizzards, flash flooding, derechos, etc. that are not so catastrophic that the National Guard would come. Here, a community must meet demands for fire and health emergencies within a community using the resources that they have during “regular” days – e.g., ambulances and fire engines – while the transportation network is impaired due to snow, flooding, etc. Everything is temporarily altered, including the types of 911 calls that are made and travel and service times as they are affected by an impaired transportation network. Plus, it’s always a lot of fun to mention “Snowmaggedon” during a talk.

Anna Nagurney organized the session, and the other speakers included David McLaughlin, Panos Pardalos, Jose Holguin-Veras, and Tina Wakolbinger. They talked about a number of issues, including:

  • how to detect tornadoes temporally and spatially by deploying new types of sensors
  • how to evaluate people and even livestock during hurricanes and floods
  • what the difference between a disaster and a catastrophe is
  • what types of emergency logistics problems require our expertise: national versus internationa, public vs. non-profit, mitigation vs. preparedness vs. response, short-term disaster vs. long-term disaster

I applaud Anna Nagurney for organizing a terrific session. It was fascinating to talk to people in my field about disasters without focusing too much on the modeling details. We all mentioned which types of methodologies we used in the talk, but we focused on the takeaways, actionable results, and policy implications. And it’s clear that the opportunities in this area are almost endless.

The AAAS Meeting is all about science communication to a large audience. The talks focus on broader impacts not specific model details. It’s not always easy for me to take a step back from my research and explain it at a higher level, but I get a lot of practice through blogging and talking about my research in my classes. Still, I was nervous. I am a mere blogger – the conference is heavily attended by real science journalists. In fact, I had to submit speaker information and a picture ahead of time so that journalists prepare for my talk. I truly felt like an OR ambassador – it was quite an experience.

I attended another session on disasters, where the topics often revolved around forecasting power, false alarms, and risk communications. I have blogged about these issues before in posts such as what is the optimal false alarm rate for tornado warnings? and scientists convicted for manslaughter for making a type II error. This appears to be an ongoing issue. According to the scientists on the panel, part of the problem stems from journalists who want to make a good story even juicier by not portraying risk accurately, thus leading to false alarm fatigue.

Other sessions at the AAAS Meeting addressed several fascinating topics. One session was on writing about science, and it featured a writer from the Big Bang Theory. Another session was about communicating science to Congress. Many of the speakers were from science publications and PBS shows.

I have at least one other blog post on science communication in the works, so stay tuned.

My slides are below:


When is a two point conversion better than an extra point? A dynamic programming approach.

This post continues my series of slidecasts about football. My first slidecast is here.

Today’s topic addresses when a two point conversion is better than an extra point after a touchdown. As you may guess, it is best for a team to go for two when they are down by eight. You can see other scenarios when it is best to go for two, based on the point differential and the remaining number of possessions in the game.

This presentation is on Wayne Winston’s book Mathletics, which is a fantastic introduction to sports analytics.

Related post:


should a football team go for it on fourth down?

With the Superbowl coming up, I created three sports analytics slidecasts for analyzing football strategies. I will post one per day here on the blog.

The first slidecast deals with the decision of whether a football team should go for it on fourth down (or should they punt). The presentation is adapted from the book Scorecasting by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Werthem. Wayne Winston blogged about this, and his blog post went viral. Here is another look at this issue.


so you’re thinking about graduate school in operations research

Today I gave a talk about applying to graduate school for the Math Club at VCU. My slides are below.

Here are a few links:

  • Advice on a career in operations research from INFORMS. I wish I had known about this link before–this FAQ answers many questions that students ask me.
  • A list of ORMS departments in the US from INFORMS.
  • By now, you’ve probably realized that you should become a member of INFORMS. It’s frugal ($37 per year) and valuable. Go for it! If you are not into OR, join AMS, ASA, ACM, SIAM, or whatever interests you.
  • Mike Trick made a plea for graduate students to sign up for twitter accounts. It’s a great idea, and I’ll let him explain why.
  • Students from state universities with strong STEM programs tend to be the most recruited in the nation. Those are great choices if you want a job when you graduate.
  • The students at the talk recommended forums, including the Xkcd forums and Grad café forums
  • One of the students at the talk recommended the book Getting what you came for: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D.
  • I maintain some advice for student researchers. This advice illustrates some of the expectations for you in grad school. If it doesn’t frighten you, then graduate school might be a good option.

I want to thank my tweeps for their excellent advice (@tdhopper, @ksphil, @techstepper, and @dianam).


Rich nerd, poor nerd: Show notes from an undergraduate seminar

Updated on 10/11/2011.

Today, I am giving a lecture to the honors students about how to manage their finances after they graduate. I posted my slides here if you’d like to see my presentation.

The podcast has been updated. You can listen to it below or you can go to the OR podcast page.

Show notes:

My justification for paying off student loans is from Megan McArdle at The Atlantic.

Wedding costs and why they are so biased are discussed by Carl Bialik at the WSJ.

Should you use a coupon on a date? I think that is a great opportunity to signal that you are financially savvy–it should attract other like-minded mates. A columnist on the Washington Post agrees. Their non-scientific poll suggests that I am not alone.

My parents could have written this Saturday Night Live skit called “Don’t buy stuff.” It’s not a bad financial philosophy.

Other blog posts on frugality:


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,426 other followers