Vice President - Education

Ruben A. Proaño

Associate Professor
Department of Industrial Engineering
Rochester Institute of Technology

Biographical Profile


  • Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2008
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • B.S. in Industrial Engineering, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, 1998

Professional Experience

  • 2015-present: Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • 2019-2020: Visiting Consultant, UNICEF Vaccine Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2008-2015: Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • 2004-2008: Graduate Research Assistant, Simulation and Optimization Laboratory, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • 2003-2004: Lecturer, Industrial Engineering, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
  • 2002-2004: Product Manager, Citigroup, Ecuador
  • 1998-2000: Quality Officer, Citigroup, Ecuador

INFORMS and Related Activities

  • 2021, 2022: DEIC Ambassador
  • 2020-2021: President of the Minority Issues Forum
  • 2018-2019: Vice President of the Minority Issues Forum
  • 2021: Reviewer for the INFORMS Pierskalla Award
  • 2017-2019, 2022: Member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee
  • 2021: Cluster Chair for the 2021 INFORMS Healthcare Conference
  • 2018: Chair of the INFORMS Volunteer Service Award Committee
  • 2016-2017: Member of the INFORMS Volunteer Service Award Committee
  • 2015-2017: Director, Operations Research Division, IISE
  • 2013-2015: Chair of the Doing Good with OR Competition Committee

Research Focus

Application of O.R. and analytics to global vaccine problems. Special focus in: vaccine market design for inducing affordability and pricing, global stockpiling of Ebola emergency vaccines, and logistics problems affecting how multinational organizations respond to vaccine distribution during disasters. Additional interest in scheduling in healthcare settings such as residence rotations and inpatient dialysis.

Vision Statement

I am honored and thankful for the nomination to serve as the INFORMS Vice President of Education. INFORMS is my professional home, and I am grateful for the connections, collaborations, and friends I have made in the community.

I look forward to working with the Board of Directors to further its educational mission and support its changing needs as INFORMS continues its efforts to reinvent itself.

The integration of AI and OR/MS is deepening and opening new career opportunities for our members. Industry is attracting more doctoral students to our field than ever before, challenging how academic programs prepare OR/MS professionals. Global changes and challenges have brought public attention to the role and importance of OR/MS in improving society and making sense of seemingly impossible situations. Yet, we constantly find ourselves explaining who we are and what we do as OR/MS professionals. INFORMS has committed to being more inclusive and diverse, making us reconsider how we value our members’ contributions, what services and volunteer opportunities we offer, and the spaces we have to share opinions and creations more broadly. In this context, our society’s educational programs need to support our changing mission, help all members embrace change, and welcome them as active actors in this transition.

Fostering OR/MS education is part of INFORMS’ essence. Our conferences, seminars, and workshops are exceptional in providing us opportunities to be up-to-date with innovation and novel challenges. However, our programs are tailored to those who are already part of our OR/MS family (e.g., graduate students and OR/MS professionals). We need to create more spaces that bring the “Science of Better” closer to those who are not already immersed in the OR/MS world.

I believe that INFORMS should create more incentives to encourage educational content development for different professional communities and K-12 students. If elected, I will foster efforts to encourage sharing best practices and pedagogically-based experiences that bring OR/MS to nontraditional groups.

To recruit more promising graduate students, we need to make OR/MS more attractive to our undergraduate students. We need to make OR/MS more familiar and accessible to even younger pupils. Most of our members have no experience working with teenagers. Hence, I would support establishing strategies to create OR/MS resources for those who know how to work with them, including high school teachers and counselors.

In addition, I propose maintaining a dynamic community exercise to explore what ideal OR/MS undergraduate and master’s curricula should be. This effort should consider the evolving industry needs and opportunities to weave in academic innovation. This project could guide content and pedagogical development to enable such programs and support our professional certifications.

There is also an opportunity to enhance our video content repositories by leveraging the OR/MS content our academic members created for their institutions during the pandemic. We need to facilitate how we share, access, and curate online OR/MS educational material.

New college students often find introductory O.R. courses difficult because they do not know how to express complex problems mathematically. When we introduce O.R. modeling to novice students in the field, we are essentially teaching them how to express realities through an unfamiliar language. I will foster opportunities that explore how teaching OR/MS could be energized by cross-pollinating ideas from other disciplines.

As former president of Minority Issues Forum (MIF), I am committed to supporting DEI efforts in our community. INFORMS’ educational programs should play a key role in helping our organization be more inclusive and diverse. If elected, I will actively support all endeavors to strengthen the dissemination, adoption, and discussion of DEI best practices and inclusive pedagogy.