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Student Spotlight: Allison Pitt

Meet Allison Pitt (M.S. '10) a 4th-year MS&E PhD student conducting research in policy and strategy in healthcare. Allison studied systems engineering and chemical engineering at Washington University and came to MS&E to earn her MS in operations management and decision analysis. After working at McMaster-Carr Supply Company in Atlanta, Allison returned to MS&E for her PhD to apply operations management principles to healthcare.

"I know that my experience here is equipping me with the skills and perspective I'll need to make an impact."


How did you become interested in your research area?

I've always enjoyed improving the way processes are performed, so it's very exciting to be able to apply optimization principles at the broad policy level in an industry that impacts so many lives.

My research centers on:

Using mathematical models to explore how public health interventions can have different effects across subpopulations and highlights how it is often insufficient to make policy decisions on the basis of what seems to be the average effect over a diverse population.

Explain a project you're currently working on.

I've been modeling how changes in meat prices may differentially affect obesity rates, quality of life, and mortality in a heterogeneous population. I built a simulation that captures how food price change causes change in consumption, and ultimately results in changes in weight that may have significant effects on health.

Why did you choose Stanford MS&E?

I first chose Stanford's MS&E program as I was considering masters programs. I was attracted to the breadth of courses offered, and the flexibility to explore a variety of interest areas both within the department and across the university.

Having experienced the program as a master's student, my decision to come back to Stanford was an easy one. However, as a prospective PhD student, I was particularly excited about the innovative multidisciplinary research collaborations fostered by having all the university's schools located on the same campus.

What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I'm a member of the Black Engineering Graduate Student Association, Black Grad Student Association, and the GSB's Health Care Club. I also serve as an advisor to Stanford Engineering undergraduate and master's students as part of the GP2A program.

What are your career plans?

I'm still exploring career paths, but over my time in the program, I've interned in analytics at health tech companies and also worked on an operations management project for Stanford's children's hospital. I'm considering getting experience doing strategy consulting in the healthcare space.

There’s so much opportunity to improve the way that healthcare is delivered and ultimately improve lives, and I know that my experience here is equipping me with the skills and perspective I’ll need to make an impact.