Fusing Diverse Interests
Katherine Carl, Eller MIS Doctoral Candidate
By Kelsey Wagner
BSBA Marketing ’12
MIS doctoral student Katherine Carl took first prize in the University of Arizona’s Graduate and Professional Student Council’s (GPSC) Student Showcase in the business, public administration, and economics category for her work on a study involving perceived exertion on bicycling tours. This interest is just part of her diverse portfolio of talents.
Carl comes to the MIS doctoral program with an undergraduate degree in English literature from Illinois Wesleyan University, where she also studied computer science and Russian literature. She also played trombone and euphonium in various musical ensembles.
She was drawn to the UA’s MIS program because it appealed to her as a field of practical application and promised a rich interdisciplinary experience. “After studying computer science at a liberal arts institution, I wanted higher education to guide me toward what biologist Edward O. Wilson calls ‘consilience,’ or a synthesis of knowledge,” she said.
Carl’s GPSC-winning research project, titled “Bicycle Tours: Perceived Exertion of a Daily Path,” serves as her preliminary written doctoral exam. With this project, Carl is developing a system for avid bicyclists that will automatically generate bicycle tours given their desired origin, destination, and various points of interest in between.
“One of the objectives we are considering is minimizing (or maximizing) the perceived exertion that cyclists of different levels of expertise would experience on a given tour,” she explained. “The work presented at the showcase describes a method of calculating the perceived exertion of bicycle tours based on changes in elevation and terrain.” But a project of this nature requires a diverse methodology and approach. Carl and her advisor, professor of MIS Moshe Dror, employed the use of “methods from complexity theory, combinatorics, algorithm analysis and design, and design science, and can also be viewed through the lens of logistics and operations research, which is my primary research area,” she said.
When she finishes her doctoral program here at Eller she plans to seek a position in academia. Carl said she thrives on the university atmosphere, the challenges of research and problem solving, and the intangible rewards of teaching and working with students.
“Coursework, research, teaching, conferences, seminars, and everything in between have all been rewarding experiences here,” she said. “Most importantly, however, I know I have been fortunate to have wonderfully supportive mentors in both research and teaching, Moshe and Bill Neumann.”
Learn more Ph.D. programs in the top-ranked MIS Department.