IS professor honored for her service

Vicki Sauter, professor of information systems at UMSL

Vicki Sauter, professor of information systems at UMSL, received the 2012 Women in Operations Research and Management Sciences Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Self-proclaimed computer geek Vicki Sauter has been highlighting and showcasing the accomplishments of women in information systems for years, but last month the tables were deservedly turned.

Sauter, professor of information systems at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, received the 2012 Women in Operations Research and Management Sciences Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, also known as INFORMS.

“Dr. Sauter serves as a strong role model for women in professional organizations,” said Keith Womer, dean of the College of Business Administration at UMSL. “Her service to INFORMS has been exemplary, often being among the first woman to serve in these roles. She has also been instrumental in inspiring and leading women students and junior faculty throughout her career.”

Sauter joined UMSL’s College of Business Administration faculty in 1979 and became the first woman in the college to receive tenure. Her area of expertise focuses on computers, decision support systems, computer system development and computer anxiety. After many years of watching the percentages of students in information systems drop, she developed a secondary research interest on how to attract more women into the field. Sauter began developing a museum to display the changes in computing and technology over time, she found it appropriate to name it Grace’s Place in honor of Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer in the computing field.

“Hopper was always a hero for me, and her work directly led to computers being integrated into business, so it seemed perfect,” she said.

Sauter created Grace’s Place in 2004. It’s located on the second floor of Express Scripts Hall, and it teaches students about the evolution of computing through the display of old computer parts.

She was presented with the award at the Oct. 16 conference in Phoenix. She said she was honored to be recognized by an organization that has been such a big part of her professional life.

“I attended my first INFORMS conference in 1977, and there were so few women who were in the field and that were participating, you could list them on your hand,” Sauter said. “So back then we didn’t have a Women in OR/MS group because you tried very hard to be one of the guys; you wear the blue suit so you looked like one of them.”

She has held various elected positions within the INFROMS organization, in 2003 she was awarded the George E. Kimball Medal and in 2005 was named a fellow.

INFORMS is the largest professional society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research and the management sciences. The WORMS Award, created in 1995, celebrates and recognizes a person who has contributed significantly to the advancement and recognition of women in the field of Operations Research and the Management Sciences.


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