As part of IISE’s mission to increase the overall awareness and presence of the IEOR/ORMS community within UC Berkeley, we are currently running a “Monthly Spotlight” series to showcase the experiences and research of IEOR/ORMS undergraduate majors. This month, we had the pleasure of interviewing IISE’s very own Internal Project Manager Ronnie Miller.
Ronnie Miller grew up right here in the Bay Area in Los Altos, California. A transfer from Foothill College, Ronnie initially applied to Cal as a physics major.
As a physics major, Ronnie felt a disconnect between the career trajectories of her major and what she personally wanted to pursue, and considered an engineering minor to help bridge that gap. While scrolling on the Engineering Student Services website, she discovered the IEOR major. At first she didn’t know what industrial engineering entailed, but she loved its interdisciplinary appeal and applied nature. However, junior transfers are not allowed to transfer into the College of Engineering after admission, so Ronnie dedicated herself to applying to ORMS.
The decision to apply to ORMS transformed Ronnie’s Cal experience: She suddenly had to enroll in many lower division classes to finish the application prerequisites, and she describes her first semester at Berkeley as intertwined with a current of uncertainty. However, now that she’s in the major, Ronnie describes the department as her home. She loves how small and welcoming the community is, especially the degree of attention the faculty provide.
Ronnie’s research interests lie in studying the intersection of game theory and IEOR. Her senior thesis investigates the impact of innovation policy on productivity hotspots such as Silicon Valley using game theory concepts. Her current research interests expand on past experiences using IEOR techniques to evaluate policy choices, such as using linear programming to evaluate the impact of welfare programs or how well different organizational structures align firm outputs with societal needs.
Some of Ronnie’s favorite experiences within the IEOR department include INDENG 174, Simulations for Enterprise Scale Systems, a class she always looked forward to even though it was an 8am, INDENG 162, Linear Programming and Network Flows, because it was her first experience applying math to real world questions, and her time in IISE for providing the space to interact with the student IEOR/ORMS community as a whole. One extracurricular accomplishment she’s particularly proud of is the mentorship program she’s spearheaded within IISE. The program intends to connect first- and second-year IEOR and prospective ORMS students with older students in the major for course advice and general guidance.
Finally, Ronnie says the one thing she wishes she had known earlier was to transfer directly into the College of Engineering. Even so, she’s happy with how things played out, having pursued the ORMS major instead. She loves how the versatility of the major has allowed her to pursue interests in other departments, such as taking Game Theory (STAT 155) within the Statistics department or a graduate public policy course in microeconomics.