LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Reflections on Bonder Scholarships

Bonder Scholars: (front, l-r) Steven Shechter, Merrill Bonder (wife of the late Dr. Seth Bonder), Amin Khademi and Murat Kurt; (back, l-r): Turgay Ayer, Kuo-Hao Chang, Mehmet Ertem, Irina Dolinskaya, Lauren Cipriano and Mariel Lavieri.

Bonder Scholars: (front, l-r) Steven Shechter, Merrill Bonder (wife of the late Dr. Seth Bonder), Amin Khademi and Murat Kurt; (back, l-r): Turgay Ayer, Kuo-Hao Chang, Mehmet Ertem, Irina Dolinskaya, Lauren Cipriano and Mariel Lavieri.

To the Editor:

It is our great pleasure and honor to reflect on the Seth Bonder Scholarships awarded by INFORMS annually since 2002: one for applied operations research in health services (by HAS community) and one for applied operations research in military applications (by MAS community). As past recipients ourselves (Irina, 2008 recipient of the military award, and Steven, recipient of the 2004 healthcare award), we had the good fortune of personally getting to know Dr. Seth Bonder until the INFORMS community mourned his passing in 2011. He was an extremely warm and caring individual, making us and other past recipients feel like part of his extended family.

Every year at the annual INFORMS meeting, Dr. Bonder would invite all of the past recipients to join him for a lunch or dinner, where we would get a chance to learn about each other’s research and simply catch up. The new Bonder Scholarship recipients each year would also join the gathering and get a chance to meet their new “Bonder Scholars” family. Dr. Bonder was also an exceptional storyteller, and he always had great advice accompanied by an interesting story for his young scholars.

The tradition of annual gathering at the INFORMS conference continues. The Bonder Scholars meet each year, joined by Dr. Bonder’s wife, Merrill Bonder, to welcome new award recipients and to discuss various ways we can sustain the important legacy Dr. Bonder has left for us. One of our goals is to continue his mission of promoting operations research in military and healthcare applications for future researchers and engineers.

As the Bonder Foundation continues to support these prestigious and generous annual scholarships, Dr. Bonder’s passion for training the next generation of military and healthcare operations researchers lives on. In addition, The Foundation is expanding its support for the past recipients of the Bonder scholarship, as well as initiating outreach programs, led by Bonder Scholars, to undergraduate and school age children.

Dr. Bonder created a community where junior researchers with similar interests, goals and aspirations can connect, collaborate and prosper. We are honored to be members of this community and help preserve this culture for the future Bonder Scholars.

Irina Dolinskaya (Northwestern University) and Steven Shechter (University of British Columbia)