Student & Alumni Updates

Four IOE Students Make 2014 Academic All-Big Ten Teams

Four IOE undergraduates were named to Academic All-Big Ten teams for 2014. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letter-winners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. The IOE students selected were:

  • Men’s Track & Field: Ethan Dennis, Senior, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Troy Sneller, Senior, Hamilton, Michigan
  • Women’s Track & Field: Joanna Fleming, Master’s Student, Grand Haven, Michigan
  • Water Polo: Barbara Lanier, Sophomore, Lafayette, California

IOE Student Team Awarded People’s Choice at U-M Design Expo

A group of IOE students was featured at the Winter 2014 University of Michigan Design Expo and won “People’s Choice” for their project “Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Improve Dealership Sales and Profitability.” The team was comprised of Xiang Li, Han Lin Yeo, Zhehui Wang, and Jackie Zhang.

The group analyzed car dealership data for Urban Science to isolate which of approximately 500 KPI’s significantly influenced dealer performance. In particular, they applied advanced data imputation techniques to repair the data set and then developed a sophisticated random forest approach to mine for relationships.

You can read more about the Design Expo and their project here.

Yadrianna Acosta-Sojo

Yadrianna Acosta-Sojo

Three IOE Students Awarded IE/OR NSF Fellowships

Three students from the IOE Department received National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships this year: PhD students, Yadrianna Acosta-Sojo and Andrew Orso, and rising undergraduate Ryan Chen.

The NSF Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Additional Student & Alumni Updates

Yan Deng

Yan Deng and Dr. Katta Murty

PhD candidate Yan Deng has been awarded the 2014 Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization by an IOE Student. Her paper is titled “Decomposition Approaches for Optimizing Integrated Job Allocation and Scheduling with a Joint Chance Constraint” (jointly authored with Siqian Shen).

Mark Grum received the Winter 2014 Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence for his work in IOE 422. Mark’s project was SomniHome, an easy to use wireless home sleep-testing system for sleep apnea which would offer an alternative to traditional testing which takes place in an unnatural lab environment and often has long wait-times before the patient can get tested.

Grace Guo

Dr. Siqian Shen and Grace Guo

PhD candidate Grace Guo has been awarded the 2014 Wilson Prize. This prize is given to the best student paper dealing with any aspect of manufacturing systems, including, but not limited to, operations, quality control, finance, logistics, production planning, product development, facility layout, and material handling. Guo’s paper, titled “Within-cycle Profile Monitoring for Real-time Defect Prevention,” was jointly authored with Jionghua (Judy) Jin and S. Jack Hu.

The Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society announced Shijun Ma as the recipient of the Joel and Lorraine Brown GSI of the Year Award. IOE students vote on this award each year to select a graduate student instructor they believe has been outstanding at serving the IOE community and students.

Dan Nathan-Roberts

Dan Nathan-Roberts

Dan Nathan-Roberts (IOE PhD, 2012) will be starting a tenure-track faculty position at San Jose State University in the fall of 2014. He’ll be in their Industrial & Systems Engineering Department and, in his first year, will be teaching Intro to Human Factors, Work Measurement, and Engineering Economics.

IOE at 2014 IIE Annual Conference

IOE faculty and students traveled to Montreal for the 2014 IIE Annual Conference and Expo from May 31 to June 3, 2014. Many IOE students presented talks and three IOE faculty members were presented with awards. Xiuli Chao has been elected as a Fellow of IIE, Mark Daskin was presented with the David F. Baker Distinguished Researcher Award, and Larry Seiford was recognized as an Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator. You can read more about these awards in our March 2014 issue.


Xiuli Chao, Mark Daskin, Larry Seiford

IOE at IIE Annual Conference

IOE faculty and students at 2014 IIE Annual Conference (L to R: Xiuli Chao, Larry Seiford, Mark Daskin, Eunshin Byon, Amy Cohn, Brian Lemay, Kayse Maass, Joe East, Vanessa Morales, Jeremy Castaing, Sarah Bach, Ryan Chen)

Department Chair’s Message

Mark DaskinWelcome to IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. As always, we have a lot to share with you!

I first want to congratulate all of the students who graduated in 2014! I am excited to see what each and every one of you accomplish and I hope you’ll continue to keep the IOE Department informed of your activities. You can see a list of our recent graduates in this issue.

I’m confident in the future of our students and alumni because I’ve seen their achievements first-hand. In our student and alumni news section, you’ll see that three IOE students have been awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Fellowships and a team of IOE students was selected as “People’s Choice” at the Winter 2014 University of Michigan Design Expo. Those are just a few of many accomplishments!

The recognition of our exceptional IOE community doesn’t end there. As you’ll read in our faculty and staff news section, my IOE colleagues have been called upon to share their expertise with the community in a variety of ways. Emeritus Professor Don Chaffin has also been recognized with a prestigious Fellow Award by the International Ergonomics Association. In addition, three faculty members were recognized at this year’s IIE Annual Conference and Expo. Finally, be sure to check out research funding updates to see some exciting newly funded research projects that are underway here in IOE.

We can’t talk about the IOE community without thanking the generous alumni and friends of the department that have given to IOE in a variety of ways. I and the IOE Department appreciate your continued support. We couldn’t achieve what we have without all of you. In this issue, we highlight the effect the support of The Bonder Foundation has had on our students. This fund was established by Dr. Seth Bonder who many of you will remember for his numerous contributions to the IOE Department.

We hope to highlight more alumni news in upcoming newsletters and on our website and to feature more IOE alumni in our Alumni Spotlight. If you have news of achievements and awards that we can share with the IOE community or would like to be featured in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact us at

In the spirit of keeping in touch, please follow us on our new Twitter account @UMIOE for up-to-the-minute news and updates from the IOE Department.

I have enjoyed meeting many of you in the past years. Whenever you are on campus, our doors are always open to you. Please drop by to introduce yourself or catch up.

Go Blue!
Mark S. Daskin

A Legacy of Support: The Bonder Foundation

The late Dr. Seth Bonder, a former IOE faculty member as well as the founder and former chairman/CEO of Vector Research, Inc., was passionate about supporting and mentoring students. He was a strong influence on the development of the IOE Department throughout his lifetime. Today The Seth Bonder Foundation continues his legacy of supporting students and research.

“He wanted to be able to provide for students to pursue a career in operations research. He also wanted to make students who were still determining their career path aware that OR offered exciting ways to solve problems for many health and military organizations,” says Merrill Bonder, head of The Bonder Foundation and Dr. Bonder’s widow.

Top L to R: Elliot Lee, Jeremy Castaing, Daniel Hazlett, William Pozehl, Pooyan Kazemian; Bottom L to R: Vanessa Morales, Sarah Bach, Amy Cohn, Merrill Bonder, Mariel Lavieri

In recent years, The Bonder Foundation has developed a relationship with The Center for Healthcare and Patient Safety (CHEPS) where The Bonder Master’s Program Fellowship provides support for students in the IOE Master’s Concentration in Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (HEPS).

“We, the board of The Seth Bonder Foundation, have been thrilled at our involvement as much as I think the students and the faculty of Michigan were happy that we’re able to provide the grants to this program,” says Merrill Bonder.

During a luncheon on May 29, 2014, students were able to share their gratitude for the support. “The project experiences I’ve had working with The Center have enriched my graduate school experience tremendously. The generosity of the Bonder Master’s Fellowship helped make this all possible,” said Daniel Hazlett, a Bonder Master’s Fellowship recipient.

The Bonder Master’s Program Fellowship recipients for 2013 – 2014 were: Sarah Bach, Jason Card, Joseph East, Daniel Hazlett, Vanessa Morales, Spyridon Potiris, and William Pozehl.

“I’m extremely grateful and honored to have received support from the Bonder Foundation. The fellowship made it possible for me to focus completely on my studies and research this past semester and it has truly been a blessing in this pursuit for higher education,” said Morales

Much of Dr. Bonder’s career was focused on improving the planning and operations of healthcare delivery enterprises. He was also an expert in national security and defense enterprises, with an international reputation for his work developing new procedures and directing analyses for planning and operations analysis of military forces. You can read more about Dr. Bonder, his history, and his time in IOE in our Fall 2010 IOE News article, “A History of Excellence.”

Dr. Seth Bonder

Dr. Seth Bonder

Dr. Bonder established the Seth Bonder Fellowship, first awarded in 2006, to support an IOE graduate student at the University of Michigan in applied operations research. This fellowship promotes the development and application of process modeling and operations research analysis to areas such as health, national security, energy, and other non-industrial (non-manufacturing) applications. The 2014 awardee is Jeremy Castaing.

IOE student Pooyan Kazemian is a current recipient of The Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Health Service. This nation-wide award was established to recognize outstanding doctoral students who have achieved excellent academic records and have the excellence as well as innovation in their research programs for making a significant contribution to the field of applied OR in healthcare systems.

In a demonstration of the widespread influence of Dr. Bonder and The Bonder Foundation, Dr. Mariel Lavieri, who is currently an Assistant Professor in IOE, received The Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Health Service when she was a PhD student at the University of British Columbia.

Congratulations Graduates!

PhD Graduates

Brendan See, Sara Lu, Denny Yu, and Kathryn Schumacher at the IOE graduate student banquet

Majid Al-Gwaiz, Fall 2013, Competition and Optimization in Electricity Systems, Chair: Xiuli Chao

Chris Best, Fall 2013, Modeling Concurrency and Effort in Queueing Network-ACTR and IMPRINT, Chair: Yili Liu, Employment: Industrial Engineer at Army Research Laboratory

Katharina Best, Fall 2013, Three Studies on the Value and Risk of Higher Education, Chairs: Jussi Keppo & Romesh Saigal, Employment: Associate Operations Researcher at RAND Corporation

Shi Cao, Fall 2013, Queueing Network Modeling of Human Performance in Complex Cognitive Multi-task Scenarios, Chair: Yili Liu, Employment: Assistant Professor at University of Waterloo

Sara Lu, Winter 2014, Tactile and Crossmodal Change Blindness and its Implications for Display Design, Chair: Nadine Sarter, Employment: Assistant Professor at Clemson University

Amir Sadrpour, Fall 2013, Acceptance testing and energy-based mission reliability in unmanned ground vehicles, Chair: Judy Jin

Kathryn Schumacher, Winter 2014, Optimization Algorithms for Power Grid Planning and Operational Problems, Employment: Researcher at General Motors

Hao Zhou, Fall 2013, Two Applications of Intelligent Transportation System, Chair: Romesh Saigal

HEPS graduates

Joseph East, Spyros Potiris, and Jason Scott Card with Professor Amy Cohn

Master’s Grauduates
Lena Abu-El-Haija
Sara Ali
Haidar Almohri
Abdullah Alshelahi
Kenneth Au
Heming Bai
Maya Bam
Simon Bank
Sam Seung Ryul Beck
Jenna Marie Bertke
Jason Scott Card
Jeremy Castaing
Alex Ty Chang
Rui Chen
Weidong Chen
Shunan Cheng
Yijie Cheng
Timothy Robert Curran
Yan Deng
Daoxia Ding
Samuel Donahue
Chongxiao Du
Maria Edwina
Danny Fawaz
Neil Aloysius Fernandes
Christopher Greenough
Sajeev Gulyani
Meital Haas
Hutomo Halim
Chen He
Jonathan Scott Hodges
Erica Danielle Hoffman
Po-Chao Huang
Nehash Vasant Jadhav
Kyung Hwan Jang
Ravisekharan Jayakumar
Shenghe Jia
Thomas Kai
Ali Khanzadi
David Komar
Jeffrey Aaron Kritzman
Long Sum Raphael Lam
Theodore Lederfine Paskal
Xidi Li
Zongyue Li
Ruosida Lin
Baiyang Liu
Liz Liu
Chi-Han Lo
Kayse Trine Lee Maass
Daniel Lawrence Madwed
David Benjamin McMillon
Ashish Mendiratta
Selin Merdan
Carlos Alfredo Miguel Dada
Barsaa Sudha Mohapatra
Tomas Ignacio Molfino
Chayanin Na Chiangmai
Rohit Narayan
Patrick Nestor
Jonathan Or
Nevena Paripovic
Nikhil Umakant Patel
Vineet Pinnamaneni
Keith Ballew Porter
Spyros Potiris
Shyam Sunder Punithura Balasubramanian
Yonatan Rafael
Amshuman Ramachandran
Adam Michael Rochford
Samuel Albert Rosen
Alexis Constance Shandler
Emily Speakman
Crosby Steiner
Christopher Kinsman Stevens
Weidong Su
Yuying Sun
Rajeev Sundarraj
Santhosh Suresh
Santosh Surya prakash
Wilson Ananda Sutanto
Tsukasa Tanifuji
Alessandra Twomey
Harsh Vakharia
Tarun Veeraraghavan
Stephanie Waller
John Walsh
Boyang Wang
Jingxing Wang
Ricky Wijaya
Nicholas Keith Williams
Haipeng Wu
Judy Xu
Weilun Xu
Mantong Zhao
Yiyi Zhao
Jifei Zhong
Chencheng Zhou
Xianli Zhou
Xinxin Zhu
Ying Zhu
Christine Marie Zugaro
Emily Ruth Zumbrunnen

Dobberstein and Lipkin

Wanda Dobberstein, IOE Undergraduate Advisor, with Alexis Lipkin

Undergraduate Graduates
Alexander Hess Abraham
Dimitriosyutaka Akimaru
Melinda Renee Alberty
Jassim Khalid K J Althani
Maria Mercedes Alvarez
Aya Emmanuelle Andrea Angoran
Kyle Robert Apsey
Anuroop Arora
Siddharth Arora
Alexis Alexandra Baker
Chanel Beebe
Shankara Bharadwaj
Pallavi Bhatt
Mattheus Dana Bovbjerg
Daniel David Bracciano
Rachel Elizabeth Bradley-Haas
Mateo Harold Brown
Ryan Christopher Brown
Luca Giuseppe Capicchioni
Josiah Michael Caprino
Yu Hei Moses Chan
Cheng Chen
Ryan Dar-Shiun Chen
Emran Asif Chowdhury
Stephanie Chueh
Brian Jeremy Cohen
Dayna Renae Cole
Dylan Conlon
Zachary A Costello
Michael Sean Coyle
Nicholas Roger Curry II
Scott Nelson Curry
Dana Davidson
Liang Deng
Ethan Robert Dennis
Olivia Catherine Detroyer
Lindsay Rose Dorf
Julie Anne Dunn
Brandon Eagle
Andrew Ronald Edmonds
Emir Elove
Jessica Faibish
Danny M Fawaz
Kelsey Ryan Flaishans
Joanna Elizabeth Fleming
Jared Paul Frantz
Robert Joseph Fulton
Ryan T Gabler
Prateek Garg
Benjamin Robert Gezon
Michael Joseph Gleba
Sarah Jo Gombert
Christine Michelle Gonzalez
Curtis James Greer
Monica Ann Griffin
Mark S Grum
Shuai Guan
Anne Lauren Gunderson
Shealynn Elizabeth Guthrie
Calyn Davis Haley
Damon Lamar Hamilton
Nicole Marie Havard
Danielle Louise Hedden
Kevin Allan Hergenreder
Brett William Herwat
Casey Richard Hill
Paul Daniel Hillman
Jonathan Scott Hodges
Fan Hong
Patrick David Hooper
Michael Hu
Timothy Huang Mudian
Kyle William Hughes
Linnea Johnson
Megan Marie Kalasho
Jaclyn Lindsay Kaufman
Tiffany Danielle Keys
Alexandra Lynley Keyser
Andrew Joshua Kim
Chan Woo Kim
Sangwoo Kim
Michael Jerome Kiriazis
Margaret Lindsey Koch
Samuel Steven Kodis
Timothy Allen Kunce
Christopher M Kyanka
Kevin Alan Lai
Eric Haw Guang Lam
Michael Charles Leahy
Amanda Raydrin Lee
Ervin Lee
Stephen Hyungsun Lee
Dominic Peter Lefere
Bertan Levi
Xiang Li
Yu Long Lin
Alexis Mara Lipkin
Boying Liu
Craig Michael Loebs
Connor Brennan Londregan
Emily Renae Lozon
Siyi Lu
Matthew Whitney Lyon
Dena Marie Mackenzie
Shair Ashfaq Malik
Yanxun Mao
Ara Markarian
Michael John Martin
William Mauser
Matthew Scott McGill
Matthew Connor McKee
Zachary McMains
Lauren Elly Meeks
Jacob Cole Mindykowski
Alexandros Elias Mitri
Vinayak Kishore Motwani
Ishan Aaron Mukherjee
Paul Joseph Nagel
Hyeon Kyun Nho
Matthew S Nicholas
Niklas Jasper Nijkamp
Whitney Anne Nudo
Naz Cagla Ozen
Kevin J Paek
Tapan Patel
Brandi Chanell Patrick
Andrew Vincent Pekala
Brian P Pepoy
Talha Azhar Peracha
Robert Bob Hang Poon
Maria Quimpo
William James Quinlan
Vijay Murali Rajan
Gunapati Venkat Keshav Reddy
Paul Michael Regier
Adam Michael Rochford
Christine Elizabeth Rockwell
Christopher Ruben Rocys
Erik Thomas Rood
Ariella Katherine Rose
Samuel Albert Rosen
Robert Jeremy Roth
Kathleen Jane Rulkowski
Eric Christopher Ryan
Matthew Salciccioli
Kunal Manoj Sanghani
Rohan Anant Sawalka
Casey Donnell Schmidt
Fernando Schnaidman
Yasemin Selek
Barbaros Serter
Rohan Vijay Shah
Kamahl Samir AH Shehadeh
Sarah Margaret Shrosbree
Daniel Harrison Shuart
Joshua Singer
Bob Sinha
Joel Marke Smith
Troy Elliot Sneller
Chad Phillip Snodgrass
David Theodore Sooch
Jenna Christine Sparling
Evan Lee Stein
Crosby Steiner
Christopher Kinsman Stevens
Tyler Timothy Stevenson
Kara Charleen Stoltze
Paweennut Sukarome
Mary Therese Sully
Yuying Sun
Alexander Jeffrey Szostek
Frank Joseph Talbot
George Tam
Alexandre Teo
Nicholas Wyvern Thompson
Felix Cahyadi Tio
Ronaldo Andres Tobar Thommel
Anthony Tohme
Dimitar Gantchev Totkov
Christopher Isaac Trojniak
Omar Turki
Zakir Tyebjee
Nicolaas Matthew Van Dijk
Ashwin George Varghese
Daniel John Varsanik
Arush Vij
Eashwar Srinivasan Viswanathan
Luke Andrew Walocko
Zhao Wang
Zhehui Wang
Jade Pierce Watts
Jerece Evonne White
Sophie Nicole White
Allison Yuen-Yee Wong
Kyle Worley
Yongcai Xu
Madeline Yellin
Han Lin Yeo
Gene Yi
Lan Yi
Arnold Yin
Yeohyun Yoon
Emily Yuan
Tyler Zedalis
Anven Shijia Zhang
Yunyan Zhang
Xinxin Zhu
Yiwei Zhu

Faculty & Staff Updates

Dr. Don Chaffin

Dr. Don Chaffin

Professor Don Chaffin has been selected to receive the 2014 Fellow Award by the International Ergonomics Association and now joins a distinct group of international ergonomists who are recognized as major contributors to the field. The International Ergonomics Association promotes ergonomics throughout the world. It has over 40 affiliated ergonomics societies in various countries, including the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in the US.

Professor and IOE Department Chair, Mark Daskin, was named co-recipient of the INFORMS Section on Location Analysis Lifetime Achievement in Location Analysis Award. This is a triennial honor awarded to a person who has made significant lifetime contributions to location analysis research.

IOE Professor, Brian Denton, authored a commentary titled “Healthcare Must Prioritize Operational Analytics” in Information Week‘s Big Data Analytics section stressing the importance of operational improvements through better data analysis. You can read the article at Information Week‘s website.

Clive D’Souza was part of a group of thirty University of Michigan faculty and staff members who traveled around the state of Michigan as part of the annual Michigan Road Scholars initiative. The goal of the initiative is to give faculty a better understanding of the geographically and culturally diverse communities and regions their students come from and identify areas where faculty expertise can make a difference to Michigan communities. You can read more about the trip in The University Record.

Nadine Sarter

Nadine Sarter

IOE Professor, David Hutton, was recently quoted in an USA Today article about potential Medicare savings from using a less expensive eye medication. You can read “Cheaper eye drug could save Medicare $18 billion” here on USA Today‘s website.

IOE Professor, Nadine Sarter, is quoted in a CNN article titled “Asiana crash: Who’s to blame?” covering the NTSB investigation of Asiana Airlines 2013 crash of Flight 214.
Read the article at

Research Funding Updates

Jon Lee, G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering, has received funding from the University of Michigan and the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation, Brazil (FAPESP) for two years. With Professor Sandra Santos of Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Lee is investigating mathematical-optimization methods for n-dimensional Euclidean Steiner-tree problems. This project is funded under an initiative focused on creating collaborations between UM researchers and FAPESP supported researchers.

Jon Lee

Jon Lee

Professor Jon Lee has also received research funding from Office of Naval Research (Mathematical Optimization and Operations Research program), for a project titled “Optimal Rank-Sparsity Decomposition.” The project team is investigating algorithms aimed at optimally decomposing a matrix as the sum of a sparse matrix and a low-rank matrix. To address this difficult problem, they are leveraging techniques of convex optimization as well as those of global and integer-nonlinear optimization. Application areas include statistical model selection and compressed sensing.

Dr. Siqian Shen

Dr. Siqian Shen

Siqian Shen, Assistant Professor in IOE, has received research funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “Adjustable Risk Management under Ambiguous Decision Preferences and Data Uncertainty.” This award supports fundamental research to develop new paradigms for decision making under uncertainty. The aim is to show that (i) differentiating risk associated with multiple uncertain outcomes effectively balances cost and reliability under uncertainty, and (ii) the selection of risk levels can be guided and improved by data-driven optimization approaches in problems with imperfect information. The research includes investigations of two related applications in optimal power flow operations and sensor deployment for monitoring transportation systems, and will have applicability in a wide range of industry and science sectors.

Dr. Brent C. James on The Learning Healthcare System

On May 14, 2014, Dr. Brent C. James presented a lecture titled “The Learning Healthcare System: We Count Our Successes in Lives” as part of the Wilbert Steffy Distinguished Lecture Series. The event was hosted by The Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and The Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety.

Dr. Brent C. James delivering the 2014 Wilbert Steffy Distinguished Lecture

Dr. James, M.D., M.Stat., is Executive Director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research and Vice President of Medical Research and Continuing Medical Education at Intermountain Healthcare. He is known internationally for his work in clinical quality improvement, patient safety, and the infrastructure that underlies successful improvement efforts, such as culture change, data systems, payment methods, and management roles.

The Learning Healthcare System: We Count Our Successes in Lives

It is easy to demonstrate that today’s health care delivery, and peoples’ health, is the best the world has ever seen. Within that context, about 50 years ago some clinicians began to apply the rigorous measurement tools of clinical research to health care delivery performance. They found a series of areas where the healing profession falls far short of its theoretic potential. With time and experimentation, that led to proven methods for consistently producing far better clinical outcomes – a field now called clinical quality (or process) improvement.

Usually better care was also much cheaper care, making state-of-the-art health services more widely available to those in need. Some care delivery groups have invested heavily in the data systems and professional management structures necessary to achieve such care delivery excellence. More recently those groups are using the resulting data systems to embed clinical research into routine care delivery operations, dramatically increasing the ability of clinical scientists to conduct and publish clinical investigations, and more fully realizing our shared professional mandate to “learn from every patient.”

The Wilbert Steffy Distinguished Lecture

The Wilbert Steffy Lectureship was established in 2003 to honor one of Industrial and Operations Engineering’s early distinguished faculty, Wilbert Steffy. Professor Steffy retired on May 31, 1976 after 29 years of service on the faculty of the College of Engineering. He developed instruction in the area of cost analysis, engineering economy, and industrial purchasing. His association with the Industrial Development Division of the Institute of Science and Technology resulted in ten widely distributed monographs on the application of industrial engineering and cost analysis to small business. He supervised many students in his work with small business, providing each of them first-hand field experience in the practice of industrial engineering. The Wilbert Steffy Lectureship was established by a gift from the estate of Doris Steffy, Wilbert’s wife.

(video by MConnex)

Course Spotlight: Ergonomics and Design for Human Variability

“In today’s environment, I think we are no longer in a position to design a product or environment and then later figure out how to make it usable or accessible. Ergonomic issues of safety, usability, and accessibility need to be considered from the very beginning. Systems and products that have done that well… tend to succeed,” says Clive D’Souza, Assistant Professor in Industrial and Operations Engineering.


Clive D’Souza

D’Souza joined the IOE Department in 2013. This fall he’s bringing a new course to the IOE curriculum, IOE 591: Ergonomics and Design for Human Variability, which is designed to help students build and hone the unique set of skills necessary to address the challenges of an increasingly diverse population.

“The design of products and spaces needs to address user’s abilities… that requires understanding who are all the potential users that might be using that space and how do they differ on the spectrum of abilities,” D’Souza explains.

In an effort to help students toward that understanding, IOE 591 will cover topics related to ergonomics analysis and design associated with variability due to: anthropometry (2D and 3D); physical capability differences; human biomechanics, movement, and mobility; aging, physical and sensory impairments. Students will attend lectures, have hands-on lab exercises, and benefit from guest speakers outside of ergonomics to offer “a broader perspective on some of these issues and challenges.”

Ergonomics and human factors engineers are often included on engineering design teams tasked with developing products and environments for functionally diverse consumers in domains including: occupational, healthcare, transportation, and residential settings among others. This course will help students prepare for such collaborations and allow them to explore what they will bring to the table in terms of knowledge and skills.

D’Souza offers transportation and mobility as another domain where the topics studied in the course are increasingly important. “You’ve got this one environment which needs to be usable by people of various abilities and limitations. As an engineer, how do we go about incorporating some of those needs and priorities into our designs?” he asks.

“I strongly believe that we have skills to solve a lot of society’s problems – that’s what we do in IOE – but [in this class] we’re trying to apply them to populations or user groups that we may not have given enough thought to, such as older adults, and individuals with mobility and sensory impairments,” says D’Souza. He believes that doing so will prepare students for a variety of job opportunities that will address this growing concern.

Designing for diverse user populations requires a variety of perspectives. D’Souza feels that innovation often happens at the intersection of multiple departments and multiple disciplines. He hopes students from other departments, including Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, certain medical specialties such as physical medicine and rehabilitation, and others will consider taking his course as well.

IOE 591 will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:30 pm in Fall 2014. For more information, see the full course description.