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New Faculty Focus: Gabriel Zayas-Cabán

September 21, 2017
Title: Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Hometown: Mayagϋez, Puerto Rico
Educational/professional background: B.A. in Mathematics, University of South Florida, 2008; Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, 2015.
Previous position: President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan.
How did you get into your field of research? Through my Ph.D. adviser, Professor Mark E. Lewis. I was interested in healthcare delivery (and applied probability), and he collaborates with MITRE corporation, which led to our first project on Emergency Medical Services. He also has a colleague working with the Emergency Department (ED) at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, which led to our second and third project on what’s t ypically referred to as patient flow in the ED.
What attracted you to UW–Madison? The Industrial and Systems Engineering department at UW–Madison has leading researchers working in “my” research areas: healthcare delivery and operations research. Additionally, it has a top-notch School of Medicine and Public Health and the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital is nearby. Being the great institution that UW–Madison is, it has a leading College of Engineering as well as leading departments in Biostatistics, Statistics, Operations Management, Economics, Math, and others. In short, the opportunities for collaboration seem endless.
 UW-Madison also has a very active student life, and the town is amazing, with a beautiful surrounding area and great options for outdoor activities (e.g.
biking, hiking) as well as many great restaurants. Lastly, and most importantly,
everyone in ISYE is extremely respectful; I knew they would be great colleagues.
What was your first visit to campus like? I first visited UW–Madison a little over ten years ago when I was in high school. My sister was in graduate school at UW and she took me to the football stadium, State Street, and the arboretum. I just really loved it.
Favorite place on campus? On one of the first days of Spring, my wife
and I walked along the trail that follows Lake Mendota and ended up at a very-crowded Memorial Union Terrace. We loved the energy with all the people
there, and of course, the spectacular view.
Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. Through my research in healthcare, my hope is that someday my “technical” expertise will help inform “good” practices for healthcare delivery.
Through teaching and collaborating with students, I also hope to help students
think and reason rigorously, which I believe will enable them to pursue their
desired career paths.
What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?
Gosh, that is a tough one. I’ve been trying to explain to my father-in -law my work on queues (“Q’s”). Ever since, he keeps asking me when I will start studying R’s and S’s, so I am afraid I may not be qualified to help anyone sound smarter at parties.
Hobbies/other interests: Watching movies, biking, reading non-fiction, playing basketball or any sport really.