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Student Spotlight October 2010

“She [Cissy] is extremely industrious, very conscientious, and very serious about her work.  In addition to her industrious nature and passion for her work, Cissy has a very pleasing personality.”- Dr. Gerald Evans, Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering


Cissy Yang

Xu (Cissy) Yang graduated from the University of Louisville in August 2010 with a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering. Soon after graduation, Ms. Yang began her current job as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) at MIT. At MIT, Cissy is involved in real-world projects using the knowledge, skill, and technique learned at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.


While a doctoral student in the Department of Industrial Engineering, Cissy served as a research assistant at LoDI (Logistics and Distribution Institute), a major research center at the University of Louisville with a specific aim to develop new models, technologies and decision support systems that will help the private and public sectors cope with the dramatic changes taking place in the logistics and distribution industry. Cissy’s most remarkable research project involved an analysis of trucking strategies for the General Electric (GE) Corporation, where she developed eight optimization models under various circumstances. Her results from one of the models show that GE could save approximately 15.5% of its shipping costs through an optimal re-allocation of its truckload capacity. Feedback from the managers in the company indicates that with the successful implementation of the models, over $100,000 of the shipping costs can be saved in specific lanes.


Other than doing research, Cissy also loves to share her knowledge with other students. She has taught a broad range of courses from undergraduate to graduate level, both in a traditional classroom and in the computer lab. Cissy’s ultimate goal is to become an active contributor to the academic field, and at the same time, be a mentor to students and to open doors for their future. Ms. Yang is also a dedicated person in service. She served as a volunteer Tour Guide in the Ancient Bell Museum in Dazhong Temple (Beijing, China) for four years. During her study at the University of Louisville, she was an active student leader in the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Student Chapter of the University, and before graduating, served as the President of the chapter.


Cissy’s research interests include Transportation Optimization and Simulation, Logistics, Supply Chain Management, and Operations Management. Because innovative applications have always drawn her attention, she is fascinated with problems to which she can apply her research findings. She is particularly interested in applying optimization and simulation approaches in various areas, such as manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, and organization.


Cissy was the proud recipient of the LoDI (Logistics and Distribution Institute) Fellowship for four years. She also received the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Section 912 Scholarship, a scholarship from Greater Louisville Logistics Network, and was awarded a National Science Foundation Student Travel Grant for INFORMS. Ms. Yang has an active publication record, including journal papers, conference proceedings and refereed abstracts.  Her most important publication to this date is a journal article titled, “Integrated Production-Inventory-Distribution Optimization in a Multi-Echelon, Multi-Product, Multi-Carrier, Multi-Period System.”


When asked what she liked the best about her graduate school experience, Cissy responded working with her two advisors Dr. Sunderesh S. Heragu and Dr. Gerald W. Evans, who proved to be most helpful and provided a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight. She also enjoyed working with other graduate students in the department whose culture and history were from all over the world.


Cissy is the only child in her family. Her father, Yuchen Yang, is a doctor and her mother, Li Ma, is a nurse in the same hospital. She has not seen them since her last trip to China in 2008; however, they are planning to come to the States in December for Cissy’s doctoral hooding. 

 Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted:
Favorite book: All-time favorite: Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
Favorite quote: Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. - Thomas Alva Edison
Role Model: My two advisors: Dr. Sunderesh S. Heragu and Dr. Gerald W. Evans
Pet Peeve: Someone being late for an appointment
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Staying in China and enjoying time with my family


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