David Keller, Industrial & Operations Engineering Undergraduate

Hi! I’m Prachi Fozdar, a Business and Engineering undergraduate working as a communications assistant at CHEPS. I recently had the opportunity to interview David, an undergraduate junior majoring in Industrial & Operations and Engineering and minoring in Computer Science, to find out more about his work at CHEPS.

Keller Student PhotoHow’d you find out about CHEPS and get involved in it?
“So, it was actually during the career fair my sophomore year in the fall. I talked to Jim Molloy from Citi, and he started talking about Professor Cohn, the various classes she teaches and mentioned how CHEPS is a wonderful program to be in. CHEPS also fit my interests leaning towards healthcare which is why I chose IOE over CS or business. At the same time, I was actually supposed to study abroad last summer, but it got canceled. Because it got canceled, I was able to apply to CHEPS and luckily I received an offer and have been here ever since.”

What specifically about CHEPS made you want to join?
“I went into IOE wanting to go in the healthcare direction. In my junior year of high school, my younger sister had a liver transplant. Going through that transplant process with my sister, I realized that there are so many analytic aspects of healthcare such as giving each patient a score to place you on a waitlist. These healthcare processes overall really interested me, so I wrote a research paper specifically on the process of the transplant system in my senior year of high school. So, throughout all of this, I picked up a big interest in healthcare, pushing me to join organizations in college such as CHEPS that allowed me to further understand topics like processes and optimizations in healthcare.”

What has been your favorite project to work on?
“I would say my favorite project I’ve worked on is probably the VA research office space project. In light of the pandemic, the VA Center for Clinical Management Research wants to restructure how employees come to work – in person, hybrid, or remote. We’re looking at finding the optimal solution of what people sit at what desks on what days while also making sure employees are there for weekly meetings. That’s the one project I’ve been at from the start so it’s really cool to see it come from ‘what are we even doing’ to now modeling our seventh different version of it.”

What in particular did you do on this project?
“A lot of the CHEPS projects involve a lot of linear programming and I took IOE 310 with Professor Cohn last winter. That paired with my CS Minor has made my biggest strength converting linear programming to code, so this is one of the main things I regularly contribute. And now I’m the student coordinator for VA Space.”

Do you think CHEPS has helped you with your schoolwork or vice versa?
“Definitely! I’m able to see directly what I’ve learned in IOE happen in front of me and be implemented. I was working on a cubing problem for the Prenatal Project with Daiwen and Leena, and Daiwen mentioned Little’s Law which is some random formula I remembered learning in IOE 202 my sophomore year. It’s just one of those minor formulas that you think you’re never gonna see again in the real world, and here it was perfectly explaining what was going on.”

What are you looking forward to for this upcoming semester at CHEPS?
“I think mainly just continuing to see the impact of CHEPS projects. I’ve worked a bit with the code on the prenatal simulation, so that would be really cool to see in practice because it’ll help a lot of people. Yeah, really just getting to see the impact of projects I’ve worked on.”

What’s your favorite memory or aspect of CHEPS so far?
“I would say just hanging out at the office since the office is such a cool place to do work. One of the best things is also just seeing CHEPS people out and about randomly. Michigan’s a big school, so seeing everyone from CHEPS at random places just makes the school smaller and feel like there’s a sense of community.”

What are some important takeaways you’ve learned from CHEPS?
“In terms of schoolwork, the practice I’ve had working in Overleaf, experiencing professional setting meetings with our collaborators, and writing all types of documentation needed for projects has been super helpful and insightful. I’ve also gotten so many opportunities just from the different networking opportunities CHEPS has given us such as having the chance to talk to the Michigan Medicine CIO and recruiting events with companies like Northwestern Analytics.”