President-Elect

Laura Albert headshot

Laura A. Albert

Professor and Department Chair
Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biographical Profile

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2006
  • M.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • B.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2000

Professional Experience

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013-present
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, 2006-2013

INFORMS and Related Activities

  • 2020: Lanchester Award Committee
  • 2020: Women in OR/MS (WORMS) Award Committee (Co-chair)
  • 2018, 2019: Chair, INFORMS Government & Analytics Summit
  • 2016-2019: Vice President of Marketing, Communication, and Outreach, INFORMS Board of Directors
  • 2017: Speakers Chair, INFORMS Annual Meeting
  • 2016-2017: INFORMS ad hoc Diversity Committee
  • 2016: Edelman Award Committee
  • 2015: INFORMS Strategic Planning Committee
  • 2014: President, Public Sector Operations Research
  • 2013: President, Women in OR/MS Forum

Awards, selected

  • INFORMS Impact Prize, 2018
  • Advancement of Women in Operations Research/Management Science Award, 2019
  • Fulbright Award, 2020
  • Fellow, Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE), 2020
  • Fellow, Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2020

Vision Statement

I am honored to be nominated for the position of President-Elect of INFORMS.

Opportunities for innovation

As I write this, we are slowly emerging from the COVID-19 global pandemic. I see challenges but also opportunities for INFORMS and the OR/MS discipline. This past year we have seen so many of our members rise up to address our world’s greatest problems in public health, supply chains, equity in public sector systems, and other areas. It is clear that many societally important problems remain that require OR/MS innovation, and it is my intention to position INFORMS and the profession to undertake these challenges. My previous experience, including four years on the INFORMS Board, leadership in INFORMS strategic planning, service in administrative roles at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a career-long commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, have prepared me for these challenges.

Membership and meetings

Membership is essential for ensuring the long-term financial health of INFORMS. In the coming years, it will be critical to enhance the membership experience, especially for practitioners. I am interested in exploring opportunities to broaden participation among students, practitioners, international members, and the developing world. I look forward to ushering back in-person conferences while also expanding virtual and hybrid meetings that complement traditional conferences. Meetings provide an incentive for joining INFORMS while also stimulating innovation, enabling new collaborations, and inspiring students and the next generation.

A sustained commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) require the same vigor and commitment we apply to achieving every other dimension of OR/MS excellence. I have been strongly committed to DEI over the course of my career and bring a wealth of experience to the table. It is important that INFORMS prioritizes equitable processes and policies that span education, strategic planning, programmatic considerations, community development, and accountability. Together, INFORMS and the OR/MS profession can reach new heights when we create a community where everyone has opportunities and is valued.

Wicked problems and the ecosystem surrounding OR/MS

This past year has made it abundantly clear that the OR/MS community can play a critical role in solving many societally important problems. I am proud to be part of a profession that has always stepped up to address our world’s “wicked” problems. Enabling INFORMS and its members to address our world’s greatest challenges – in academia, government, and industry – excites me. I see opportunities to position OR/MS and analytics within the larger ecosystem of scientific disciplines identifying and tackling grand challenges. This would be a multifaceted effort that involves a focus on future research opportunities, partnerships with INFORMS’ sister societies and the National Academies, collaboration with industry and government agencies, strengthened DEI efforts, outreach to the public, and advocacy to government leaders.

Commitment to INFORMS

If elected, I would lead with passion and integrity to champion the profession, strengthen the membership, showcase our achievements and impact on society, and broadcast our message to the world. I look forward to building upon recent INFORMS successes, especially those involving the advocacy, membership, and diversity initiatives, to take INFORMS and its members to new heights. I offer an outward and forward-looking vision for our discipline that can better position INFORMS members and the profession to have a seat at the table for new opportunities and tackling future challenges. I have the energy and vision to give back to the INFORMS community that has supported me throughout my career.