NPS Department of Operations Research Professor Susan Sanchez was featured as one of ten pioneering women in the field of operations research (OR) in the latest edition of the respected professional magazine “ORMS Today,” fresh off her selection as the winner of the Award for the Advancement of Women in Operations Research and Management Science (ORMS) from INFORMS.
“I think it’s interesting looking back to see how things have changed over the years,” said Sanchez. “Certainly, the OR department at NPS has many women on the faculty. In terms of students, we are seeing a much more sizeable number of women officers who are being sent here for graduate education.”
Sanchez has been an active participant in the growth of women in OR, thanks to her participation in an INFORMS forum supporting women in this growing and competitive field.
“The forums helped raise the visibility of women in our profession, and that in turn has helped make ORMS one of the top STEM fields for women,” said Sanchez. “The first ones started with a dozen chairs and some women sitting on the floor. We have come a long way ... We now have a professional network and the opportunity for service and leadership that prepare us for other things down the road.”
Another member of the INFORMS forum, NPS Research Associate Professor Dashi Singham, decided to study and work in the ORMS field at NPS because of Sanchez’s reputation.
“Senior members of my research community were extremely supportive of my decision to come here because of Susan’s reputation as a great mentor to women in our field,” said Singham. “As a new professor, I feel very fortunate that I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from her.”
Perhaps summed up best during her acceptance of the INFORMS award, Sanchez noted, “Love what you do and feel that it matters, for that is one of the things that attracted me to stay at NPS,” she said. “I like to tell people if you don’t ask, the answer is no. The work and the students are incredible and we really feel we can make a difference to improve the lives of those involved.”