IISE Member Spotlight


Isabella Sanders

Instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Ph.D./MBA candidate at Georgia Tech; 2019 Georgia Tech graduate with an M.S. in Operations Research and an M.S. in Geographic Information Sciences & Technology; 2016 MIT Graduate with an S.B. (scientiae baccalaureus) in Mathematics.

What are you looking forward to the most about your new career at West Point?

I’m looking forward to teaching and mentoring cadets. In academia, you have to balance research, service and teaching. I’ve been able to focus the last few years on research and service, so it will be nice to be back at the front of the classroom again. West Point is an institution known for its quality of teaching and I’m excited to learn new teaching strategies from my colleagues.

What do you think are the keys to a person’s success in your field?

I think that in our field it is critical to keep an open mind and to look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in optimizing one small part of the supply chain with complex methodologies. It is important to continuously step back and assess whether you are solving the right problem. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and oftentimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

In what ways has IISE helped you in your career and in your profession?

IISE has given me the opportunity to meet industrial engineers from all over the world and present my work in different ways. Over the past year, I’ve also had the opportunity to get more involved with student leadership and have served as student president of the Operations Excellence Division at the society level. We’ve been able to build more student programming at different IISE conferences. IISE has helped me gain leadership, presentation and networking skills.

What advice would you give to young ISEs in school and just starting in their professions?

Have a good support system. You don’t have to struggle alone. Starting a new school or profession can be intimidating, especially in this current pandemic, but there are always people out there willing to help you grow. Reach out to older students or senior colleagues in the workplace. They can provide advice and even present you with new opportunities. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the support of my classmates and colleagues and am so thankful for their help along the way.

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