IE Undergrad Tony Robol Receives IISE Dwight D. Gardner Scholarship
Tony Robol, a rising senior majoring in industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, knows a thing or two about making the most of his time.
He’s on the e-board for the Pitt chapter of IISE and the industrial engineering honors society Alpha Pi Mu, hopes to serve as the IE departmental seminar coordinator next year, and plans to conduct research with Assistant Professor Jourdain Lamperski next semester. He’s an Honors College Student and has been working as a First & Last Mile Engineering Intern at FedEx since 2022.
He’s even a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
Robol’s accomplishments recently earned him the Dwight D. Gardner Scholarship from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). The IISE awards scholarships to student IISE members with outstanding academic track records and announced the recipients at the IISE Annual Conference and Expo.
“It feels awesome. Just being able to represent Pitt, the IE department, and the SSOE means a lot to me, especially given everything they've given me these past two years,” said Robol. “This scholarship will certainly be a huge help to my family and I next year in covering a good chunk of my expenses, so I'm very thankful to the IISE scholarship committee for selecting me for this scholarship.”
Originally studying biology and statistics, Robol transferred to engineering from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences after his freshman year. Statistics appealed to him, but he had a hunch that engineering might better align with his interests, and he took an engineering class to test it out. His hunch turned out to be correct.
“Being that I still enjoyed statistics, I knew that I wanted to choose industrial engineering out of the engineering disciplines from the start, as it was the most statistics-heavy in my eyes,” said Robol. “I switched to industrial engineering following my freshman year spring semester, and never looked back.”
After he graduates in 2024, Robol hopes to pursue a PhD in industrial engineering or a related subfield, like data analytics. Whether that will lead to a career in industry or academia, he’s not sure, but he welcomes both experiences.
“On one hand, data analytics is huge within industry right now, and I believe I would have an excellent opportunity to build a career in that field,” he said. “On the other hand, I was a tutor for two years in high school and a TA the past two semesters, and these experiences helped me to realize that I enjoy teaching; this is something I would be able to do often in academia.”
Either way, Robol is happy with his path: “I can confidently say that switching to industrial engineering was the best decision of my life.”