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MIE Undergraduate Elisa Danthinne Receives INFORMS Travel Scholarship

Elisa Danthinne, E’21, is one of four undergraduate students worldwide to receive this year’s INFORMS Student Travel Scholarship. The $1,250 scholarship will allow Danthinne to attend the 2019 Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. In addition to having travel expenses covered, awardees also receive a curated conference agenda that includes meetings with current graduate students, networking with senior researchers, and exploring a wide array of graduate research opportunities.

Mission-Driven MIE Undergraduate Wins INFORMS Scholarship

Elisa Danthinne, E’21, industrial engineering, is driven to use her engineering skills to help others—and now, she’ll get to see firsthand how the best and brightest across multiple industries do just that. She’s one of four undergraduate students in the world to receive a 2019 INFORMS Scholarship, which will allow her to travel to Seattle, WA for the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) Annual Meeting. There, she hopes to get a closer look at the symbiosis between the wildly different industries on the agenda. “I always find it fascinating when industries ‘borrow’ innovative concepts from one another,” she says. “For example, surgeons adapting quality practices from aviation, an industry with a similarly notably low tolerance for error.”

Danthinne is no stranger to the idea of concepts being applicable between fields that, at first, might seem dissimilar. As a recent transfer to the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, she was happy to see that—since the program is interdisciplinary—her current coursework intersects well with her former studies in electrical engineering.

“In high school, I participated in the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars program and thought I wanted to work for NASA, so I decided to study electrical engineering,” she says. Her first two years at Northeastern, during which she did community service and research for the Department of Applied Psychology, changed her perspective. She was inspired to switch to industrial engineering to make her skills more applicable to causes close to her heart, such as increasing access to healthcare.

Though she only just recently joined the industrial engineering program, Danthinne says it has already been a great experience. She praised Assistant Professor Kayse Lee Maass, calling her “one of the best professors I’ve had” who “significantly helped my transition into industrial engineering.”

Danthinne is currently on her second co-op, working at a manufacturing facility in Dongguan, China. It’s an immersive experience, and one she’s convinced she couldn’t get anywhere else, marrying exposure to the various roles of laborers in industrial engineering with a different cultural perspective on the field. As she makes her way through her fourth year at Northeastern, she says she tries to keep an open mind about where she’s headed after school, citing a professor’s advice to “never make set plans more than two years into the future.”

At the very least, she knows she’s going to put one of industrial engineering’s primary applications—as a decision science—to use. “I would hope to use what I learn in IE to engage other domains, like public health, to take into account a robust array of factors well-informed by experts in the field,” she says. Just one possibility: using decision science to examine the criteria for health insurance plans like Medicaid, potentially closing the existing coverage gap.

Whatever the case, it’s clear Danthinne is driven to use what she learns to make a difference for those who might not otherwise get the help they need. “It’s important to me that I’m engaged in a career where I can use my privilege to help other people,” she says.

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering