Operations Researcher

July 26, 2014
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My early Italian education had little to do with STEM

I am an Assistant Professor of Operations Research at the University of Salerno in Italy, and I am currently working on a two year assignment as a researcher at the Georgia Tech Institute for People and Technology.


What is Operations Research? Taking the definition from Wikipedia, Operations Research “is a discipline [that] deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions,” which is a definition that does not fit at all with my personality. Indeed, I would not call myself a decisive woman who knows what she wants and knows how to make decisions. My story is a path full of doubts and questions, hesitations, choices made and choices changed. My story tells of a path that is tortuous and far from linear.


To begin with, I wanted to become a humanist. I attended a classics high school in Rome. Classics high school is one of the secondary schools that one can choose after middle school.  There are also art high schools, science high schools, and linguistics high schools, but classics high schools are the oldest and are characterized by a marked emphasis on humanities. The main subjects are in fact classical languages and literatures.


My high school studies brought me in contact with history, Italian literature, the great Latin and Greek writers, and philosophy. Science subjects constituted a smaller percentage of the curriculum. After high school, studying humanities in college seemed like a natural choice. Not that I did not have doubts. I spoke with many (too many) people to help me in making my decision. But despite the numerous comments and recommendations telling me that the best choice would have been to study Engineering, I enrolled in the Political Science program at the University of Rome La Sapienza.


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