Mathematical Instruments: Laura McLay

December 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mathematical Instruments.

Mathematical Instruments

via Wikimedia Commons

This post is part of a series in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Note that the Instruments will be on holidays and will return in 3 weeks. But today:

Laura McLay — Punk Rock OR

What’s your blog’s name? Any other places we can find you on (Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc)?

Punk Rock Operations Research. I’m on twitter, Google+, and FaceBook.

Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself?  E.g., Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your background?  Any scientific education?

I am a professor of operations research with a PhD in Industrial Engineering. I am also a wife and mother to three girls. I grew up in suburban Chicago and live in Richmond, VA now. My background is evident in my blog posts.

When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?

Honestly, after I started writing one (for the most part). Most of the OR blogs that I read did not exist when I started blogging. We have a wonderful community now.

When did you start blogging?

April 2007.

Why did you start?

My real motivation for starting a blog was to use it as a platform to somewhat selfishly evangelize students about operations research. I found it difficult to find students inclined to study OR in my department of Statistics and Operations Research in a college of humanities. I naively thought that if I started a blog, students at my university would read it and want to perform research with me and pursue an MS in operations research. That did not happen, but I have no regrets. I love blogging.

What do you write about?

Lots of things. Maintaining a blog is hard. I like to write about how the world can be improved through operations research and math modeling.  I am known for writing about women in the STEM fields. Whenever possible, I write about vampires, zombies, and werewolves (as they relate to operations research, of course!).

Mathematicians on the web have…

An imperative to improve mathematical and scientific literacy in the general public. If we don’t, someone will write an op-ed arguing to do away with algebra requirements in college (Oh wait, that already happened!).

Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):

I mostly read articles that my tweeps have recommended. And the Blog of Unnecessary Quotations Marks when I need a little pick-me-up.

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