Undergraduate Profile: Sadie Cox

A Q&A with U-M IOE undergraduate student Sadie Cox, IOE student ambassador and recent recipient of an IOE Scholarship Award.

Sadie Cox is a rising fourth-year U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) undergraduate student and a recent recipient of an IOE Scholarship Award. The scholarship recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated leadership and service while striving for academic excellence.

In November last year, she was one of ten students worldwide to be awarded an Undergraduate Scholarship from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) — a program that aims to foster the professional pipeline of operations research, management science, and analytics researchers.

What does it mean to be an IOE “ambassador”? Can you tell us a bit about that role and what motivated you to be a part of it?

Yes. As an IOE ambassador, I help undeclared students, like my former self, understand what being an IOE undergraduate is like and the incredible opportunities you can access through IOE at U-M and beyond.

When I was deciding which major to declare, student advice and testimonials were critical. After having an extraordinary experience in IOE, I was inspired to provide the same support and guidance to current and future students in a more formal manner.

Since I started as a student ambassador last September, I have had the pleasure of consulting dozens of students about my IOE experience and why IOE may be a good fit for them.

The student ambassador team has also hosted numerous events pertaining to student organizations, career development, and community engagement and launched internal initiatives with IOE leadership and the IOE Advisory Board.

portrait of Sadie Cox

“After having an extraordinary experience in IOE, I was inspired to provide the same support and guidance to current and future students in a more formal manner.”

Sadie Cox
Student Ambassador, U-M Industrial & Operations Engineering

You recently had the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects, what was that experience like?

IOE created a program for students whose internships were canceled last summer, and Professor Mark Daskin offered me the opportunity to collaborate on a facility location project and higher education project.

A major contribution of mine was composing a literature review discussing applications of uncertainty in facility location problems. I was fortunate to earn authorship on the research paper that it was a part of and have continued working on that project this past academic year.

Since then, I have extended my contributions to the project by programming models and will be presenting some of our results at the Annual Conference for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers at the end of May.

I also spearheaded an automated assessment to determine how at-risk a university is for closure due to COVID-19. I was able to form strong connections with fellow IOE students who also contributed to the project and earned authorship on this research paper.

I am truly grateful for how Professor Daskin and my research work have enriched my IOE experience.

Participating in research with Professor Daskin has been the most valuable experience of my undergraduate career. Countless direct and indirect benefits have emerged because of it, and I would strongly recommend interested students to reach out to faculty.

When it comes to future plans, both short and longer-term, what do you have lined up or hope to achieve?

This summer, I will be interning with United Airlines on the Domestic Network Planning team. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to apply the optimization, operations management, and strategy concepts that I have learned in my classes to a highly dynamic industry and a company that I greatly admire.

I am also completing the International Minor for Engineers, which typically requires an international experience for all students. With the constraints of the pandemic, I will participate in a virtual program focused on intercultural intelligence and engineering across country lines throughout May and June. In August, I will also be contributing to a volunteering abroad project with other members of EGL.

The International Minor for Engineers can be undertaken by any College of Engineering student and focuses on engineering across cultures. All students obtain fourth-semester language proficiency, complete an international experience, and take specialized courses on intercultural intelligence.

The Engineering Global Leadership Honors Program (EGL) is a division of the College of Engineering Honors Program that specializes in global operations and equips students to become leaders at the intersection of engineering and business.

In the fall, I am looking forward to taking courses at the Ross School of Business to prepare for the capstone of the EGL experience through the Tauber Institute of Global Operations. I will also be serving as an IOE peer advisor and plan to graduate with my BSE in May 2022.

Between my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I will participate in the Tauber project, which will provide me the opportunity to work with MBA and MSE students to tackle a significant business challenge in a real-world setting.  This will be an invaluable opportunity to further develop and display my engineering and business acumen alongside a team of distinguished leaders. After completing my master’s degree, I aspire to pursue a career in operations consulting or technical program management.