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MU CELDi hosts organizational research symposium for first time

Posters from the poster session sit atop covered tables.

Mizzou’s CELDi site hosted the Fall 2016 Industrial Advisory Board Meeting and Research Symposium on Oct. 25 and 26 in Memorial Union. Photos by Ryan Owens.

For the last ten years, the member companies and institutions of the University of Missouri’s National Science Foundation-supported Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) have held their fall and spring research symposia in various off-campus airport hotels. This year, CELDi opted to return to college campuses for their big events, and the MU’s CELDi site jumped at the chance to host for the first time.

CELDi, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, was founded in 2002 to pair academic partners with member companies to solve those companies’ needs in the areas of logistics and distribution system design. Mizzou Engineering’s CELDi site, comprised of faculty from MU’s Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments, is one of five current academic partners. Mizzou’s CELDi site hosted the Fall 2016 Industrial Advisory Board Meeting and Research Symposium on Oct. 25 and 26 in Memorial Union.

Jim Noble and Stephanie Atkinson pose with an award.

IMSE junior Stephanie Atkinson, right, posed for a photo with MU CELDi site director Jim Noble after earning top undergraduate honors at the organization’s Fall 2016 symposium.

“It’s a great opportunity to show off MU. To highlight the campus and bring some of our industry partners that had not been to campus yet ,” said Jim Noble, IMSE professor and MU’s CELDi site director. “We also had a couple new companies come just to check us out. We’re excited about that.”

The event consisted of several meetings among leaders from both academic and industrial partners, as well as peer mentoring and a tour of the Scholastic Books Distribution facility in Jefferson City. One of the central pieces of the symposium was the student poster session, held the first night, where students presented their projects and proposed solutions for the industry member’s real-world problems.

On Day 2, CELDi handed out poster session awards, as well as awards for outstanding graduate and undergraduate student researchers. The University of Arkansas had a pair of students tie for top poster honors, with Payam Parsa and Bobby Cottam sharing the award. Mizzou swept the outstanding student researcher awards, with junior Stephanie Atkinson grabbing the top undergraduate honor, and Dian Trihastuti earning top graduate honors.

Jim Noble and Dian Trihastuti pose with an award.

Dian Trihastuti, right, posed with MU CELDi site director Jim Noble after earning top graduate honors at the organization’s Fall 2016 symposium.

“I’m honored to get the award, especially since there’s so many other great researchers. It’s a great honor,” said Atkinson, who has worked with industrial partner Anheuser-Busch for the past two years.

Trihastuti came to MU as a Fulbright Scholar from Indonesia, where she teaches at an institution called SMU Negeri 1 in Jayapura. The Indonesian government, Trihastuti said, wants its university faculty to study abroad and bring engineering knowledge back to its students. Once here, she leapt at the chance to get the hands-on experience CELDi provides.

“My interests were in logistics, and to have (the opportunity to join) CELDi, I thought, ‘OK!’” said Trihastuti, who has worked with industrial partner Bayer Crop Science. “In CELDi, you’re working with real problems. It’s more challenging and more interesting to me.”