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ISE department announces Ph.D. and M.S. Student of the Year award winners

2018 ISE Graduate Students of the Year: Missie Smith, Andrew Law,, Sarah Mostafavi

2018 ISE Graduate Students of the Year: Missie Smith, Andrew Law,, Sarah Mostafavi
(from left) 2018 ISE Ph.D. Student of the Year Martha "Missie" Smith, ISE Masters Students of the Year Andrew Chung Chee Law and Sarah Mostafavi

(March 28, 2018) The Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering named Martha “Missie” Smith as the Ph.D. Student of the Year and Andrew Law and Sarah Mostafavi as co-winners of the M.S. Student of the Year award. To qualify for each award, the student had to be in good standing with both the ISE department and the university and have a minimum GPA of 3.5. The Ph.D. Student of the Year also had to have completed his/her research proposal, and the M.S. Student of the Year had to have either completed his/her thesis research proposal or be in his/her final semester (for non-thesis students). Award winners were selected based on demonstrated contributions to service, leadership, teaching, and research.

Missie Smith has been a Ph.D. student in the ISE department since 2013 and anticipates completing her degree this year. Her research interests include novel displays’ impact on performance and perception; dynamic, safety-critical, and complex systems; technology trust and acceptance; and human subjects experiments, experimental design, and statistics. Her dissertation is titled, “Informing Design of Head-Up Displays and Methods for Assessment.” She has been the recipient of various awards and honors at VT, including selection for participation in the Global Perspectives Program, a UPS Fellowship, and the John A. White Teaching Assistant Award. In his recommendation letter, Dr. Joe Gabbard, Missie’s advisor, stated her excellence as a student as follows: “In short, I will just say this: show me a student that has done more for ISE in their four years than Missie - this will be a student that I didn’t know existed...for her work and energy has continuously gone far beyond her dissertation or even our lab. Missie has done everything anyone’s ever asked and more. Her breadth of contributions as an emerging faculty is impressive as it covers research, teaching, mentoring and beyond.”

Andrew Law came to ISE after completing his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University in 2014. He has worked as a lab assistant in the Smart Manufacturing Analytics Research Technology (SMART) Lab under Dr. James Kong (who is also his advisor) since 2016. Dr. Kong says, “Among his peers, he stands out in terms of his dedication, intelligence, passion, communication skills, and collaborative desire.” His research focuses on sensing and analytics for smart manufacturing, adaptive control for large and advanced manufacturing systems, and data mining and machine learning for manufacturing and service applications. He is currently serving as the treasurer of the VT student chapter of INFORMS and represents the department in the Graduate Student Assembly. Once he completes his M.S., he will continue his Ph.D. studies here in ISE.

Sarah Mostafavi is a non-thesis M.S. student at our northern Virginia campus. Under the supervision of Dr. Navid Ghaffarzadegan, she is analyzing data for modeling market growth, modeling market dynamics, and adoption strategies and policy testing of the SupportAssist Program at Dell, Inc.  Along with other members of the SupportAssist team, she is a co-author on “Dell’s SupportAssist Customer Adoption Model: Enhancing the Next Generation of Data-Intensive Support Services,” which has recently been accepted for publication in System Dynamics Review. She has varied teaching experience, including serving as a teaching assistant at Sharif University of Technology in Iran, where she earned a B.Sc. in aerospace engineering. In addition to tutoring in mathematics, physics, and geometry, she has also been able to tutor students in English and French, being fluent in both languages along with her native Persian.