Monthly Archives: January 2013

I am a modeler

I am a modeler.  I study the dynamics and properties of logistic systems by first studying the properties of mathematical representations of  real-world logistic system.  As Weisberg explains, modelers begin by constructing a model, then performing an analysis of the model, and finally, coordinating the model with the real-world phenomenon.  If the model is sufficiently similar to phenomenon studied, then the model can serve as an indirect representation of the phenomenon and we can use the model to learn about the world.

Modeling is a powerful tool to describe, explain, and make predictions about complex phenomena.  Modelers are in good company and are seen across disciplines, with notable modelers being Volterra (population biology) and Linus Pauling (chemistry) .

This post was inspired by an interesting description on Who is a Modeler? written by Michael Weisberg who is a philosopher.  After reading this article, I had a better understanding of how my research fits in with research across many other disciplines, which is useful in today’s interdisciplinary research endeavors.

2012 In Review


With the discovery of the Higgs boson and Mars being visited by Curiosity, 2012 was an epic year for science.

2012 was a fun, educational, and productive year for me as an Assistant Professor, as well. When I began on this little blog endeavor, I had high hopes of posting much more often than what occurred in reality. So instead of a continuous review policy, I have instigated a periodic one. Here’s my professional highlights of 2012 (in no particular order).

1. I had three journal articles get accepted for publication in 2012. And they are…

  • Pazour, Jennifer A. and Meller, Russell D., 2012, “A Multiple-Drawer Medication Layout Problem in Automated Dispensing Cabinets,” Health Care Management Science, 15, 339–354.
  • Pazour, Jennifer A. and Neubert, Lucas C., “Routing and Scheduling of Cross-Town Drayage Operations at J.B. Hunt Transport,” to appear in Interfaces.
  • Pazour, Jennifer A. and Meller, Russell D., “The Impact of Batch Retrievals on Throughput Performance of a Carousel System Serviced by a Storage and Retrieval Machine,” to appear in International Journal of Production Economics.

2. I was named the CAE Link Faculty Fellow from the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UCF.

3. I just began an endeavor of mentoring five undergraduate researchers, which includes four female students and one African-American student. I’m excited to explore research from a new set of eyes, and hopefully encourage at least one or two of them to enjoy research enough to pursue advanced degrees. My graduate students will play an integral role in the mentorship, which I believe should be beneficial to both the mentee and mentor.

4. I truly enjoyed teaching three courses in 2012:

  • EIN 6333 Production and Inventory Control,
  • EIN 5306 Operations Research, and
  • EIN 4545 Industrial Engineering Applications in the Service Industries.

I can honestly say that I learned something from teaching each of the courses and hopefully the same is true for my students.

5. I became the faculty adviser for the UCF Alpha Pi Mu chapter, which is the Industrial Engineering honor society. I was spoiled with a great group of officers and eager students who happily volunteer.

6. Although I didn’t get any wins in the funding department, I submitted some grant applications, made some lasting collaborations, received some feedback, and feel well positioned to give it a good go in 2013.

7. I attended some great conferences, where I was able to present some of my research, meet face-to-face to collaborate with my fellow co-authors, and learn about what new research is taking place in our field. A highlight was the International Material Handling Research Colloquium held in France.