Spring 2020 Student Awards

Each spring the Department of Industrial Engineering recognizes students at the Annual Industrial Engineering Student Awards Banquet. This year, the banquet was cancelled due to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus.

However, that did not stop the faculty and staff from distributing the awards to students. The Department handed out its six most prestigious awards, and the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering also awarded more than $155,000 in scholarships to 60 deserving students.

Department-Sponsored Awards

The Outstanding Senior and Outstanding Graduate Student awards are intended to recognize the most outstanding Industrial Engineering undergraduate and graduate students who are graduating in calendar year 2020. The winners are selected by faculty vote on the basis of excellence in academic performance, leadership, service, collegiality, ethics and dedication. The Undergraduate Research Award and the Graduate Research Award are also selected by faculty vote and recognize the undergraduate and graduate students who made the most valuable contributions to departmental research efforts in calendar year 2019.

photo of chelse jinThe honor of Outstanding Graduate Student for 2020 goes to Yu “Chelsea” Jin. Jin has had a phenomenal career within the Department of Industrial Engineering. She has maintained a 4.0 average for the entirety of her time at the University of Arkansas. She currently serves as the President of the INFORMS Student Chapter.

Jin has distinguished herself nationally with service to both the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and the Quality, Statistics, and Reliability section of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE). She volunteered to monitor technical sessions at the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting and served as a session organizer and chair for “Big Data for Reliability – II” at the 2018 IISE Annual Conference. She is also organizing a session, “Monitoring and Control of Advanced Manufacturing Processes” for the upcoming 2020 IISE Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Jin has published papers in IISE Transactions, the ASME Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, and has one paper under review with the Rapid Prototyping Journal, in addition to numerous conference papers and presentations. She has received the Graduate Research Award, Graduate Academic Award, and Kuroda Graduate Fellowship in Engineering from the University of Arkansas, the I-SIM Diversity Award from the INFORMS Simulation Society, and the Gilbreth Memorial Fellowship (twice) from IISE. She serves as president of the University of Arkansas student chapter of INFORMS.

Photo of Cesar RuizThe recipient of the 2019 Graduate Research Award is Cesar Ruiz Torres. Torres is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Industrial Engineering program and has been actively working on a variety of research topics in the area of reliability engineering under the supervision of Professor and John and Mary Lib White Endowed Chair in Systems Engineering Haitao Liao and Department Head Ed Pohl. His research project, sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, centers around resource allocation for accelerated reliability growth using Bayesian methods. Torres plans to continue his career in academia, while working closely with industry.

In addition to numerous awards, he has established an outstanding publications record with five accepted journal articles, two in IISE Transactions, and seven refereed conference papers. In addition, he has two journal articles currently under review and is preparing two more for submission within the next few months.

photo of Lexxy GentileRecognized this year as both the 2020 Outstanding Senior and recipient of the 2019 Undergraduate Research Award, is Lexxy Gentile. Gentile has established herself as a true leader throughout her career at the University of Arkansas, joining the Phi Mu Fraternity early on. She has held several leadership positions within the fraternity, and later became an Honors College Ambassador. She has worked on campus as Supplemental Instruction Leader for Principles of Biology and as a Peer Mentor for the College of Engineering for three years. She is also involved in several student organizations including Tau Beta Pi, the Society for Women Engineers, Engineering World Health, Greek Life Facilitators, the Red Cross Student Organization, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, where she holds the position of treasurer.
Within the Department of Industrial Engineering, Gentile holds the position of president of the student chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, is a very active member of Alpha Pi Mu, helped start and serves on the department’s technology committee, and has worked as a technical assistant for the course, Introduction to Operations Research under Associate Professor Kelly Sullivan, and served as a capstone project manager.
Gentile is working on research to characterize and predict statin use among pre-diabetic patients using data analytics and machine learning. She presented her findings at the INFORMS Annual Meeting 2019 in Seattle, Washington where she was one of the few undergraduate presenters. She is working on turning her research into a journal publication with the help of her mentor Associate Professor Shengfan Zhang.
Gentile was one of 71 students selected as the 2020 Seniors of Significance, and was the 2019-2020 Robert and Jean Dryden Service Scholarship recipient from the Alpha Pi Mu Honor Society. She plans on completing her master’s degree in industrial engineering in May 2021 and will be spending summer 2020 interning in engineering and technology for J.B. Hunt in Lowell, Arkansas.

Industry-Sponsored Awards

Each year, the ArcBest Corporation sponsors the Outstanding Freshman Award. This award is presented to one first-year engineering student that has declared industrial engineering as a major and is selected by the faculty and staff of the First-Year Engineering Program.

photo of Abby HarrisDavid Schwartz, manager of pricing & supply chain analytics at ArcBest, said, “ArcBest delivers integrated logistics solutions for a variety of supply chain challenges our customers face.  We pride ourselves in being creative problem solvers who have ‘The Skill and the Will’ to deliver knowledge and expertise in a wide array of transportation services. We’d like to thank the University of Arkansas and the Industrial Engineering department for allowing ArcBest to continue to be involved with such a prestigious award. We are always impressed with the caliber of talented students coming out of this school of Engineering. Our company proudly employs many graduates of this program, including several top innovators and key decision makers within our organization.”

“This year ArcBest would like to congratulate Abigail Harris for earning the 2020 ArcBest Outstanding Freshman Award.  She has demonstrated ‘The Skill and the Will’ to be deserving of this award.”

Abby is an honors first-year Industrial Engineering student from Fort Smith, Arkansas. She is a graduate of Southside High School, where she graduated in the top five percent of her class. She is involved on campus as a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, a member of the Society for Women Engineers, and she is active in the Wesley college ministry.

Corporate sponsor Hytrol Conveyors presents the annual Hytrol Challenge Award, given each year to the best team in a competition in the Transportation Logistics or Facility Logistics course. This year, that award is presented to a team of students took first place in a national Logistics and Supply Chain case competition hosted by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

hytrol team challenge winners photoThe team of Tevari Barker, Douglas Kamarade, Diego Rodriguez Kan and Bradley Taylor, advised by Sandra Eksioglu, are the recipients of the Hytrol Challenge Award for 2020. The team will be recognized at the upcoming IISE Annual Meeting in New Orleans, pending the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The team developed and solved two distribution network design models to help a company simulate a cross-docking operation by implementing a strategy called zone-skipping. The zone-skipping operation involved pool points located in the west region of the United States to reach western distributors. This redesign of the distribution network was directly related to the increased postal rates imposed by USPE, a postal service, on the company. The company’s goal was to reduce the cost to deliver shipments out west, restricted by the increased postal rates.

“I want to congratulate this year’s winning team in the Logistics and Supply Chain Case Competition,” said Natalie Shew, manager of academic partnerships at Hytrol. “Solving real challenges in facility logistics has a direct impact on the success of industries like ours. We are grateful for our collaborative partnership with the Industrial Engineering Department, its many bright students, and motivated faculty at the University of Arkansas.”

Newswire Announcement