|Students||Prospective Students||Alumni/Friends||Faculty/Staff||Business and Government||Visitors|
Doctoral Candidate, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Research: Humanitarian logistics
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Like most of us, Kandace Ballard sat in front of her TV, shocked and horrified at the lack of quick assistance to rescue, house, clothe and feed the hundreds of thousands of people who lost everything in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
This disaster, which affected many of her family and friends, resulted in an epiphany for Ballard, then an industrial and systems engineering undergraduate at Mississippi State. She realized that with her skills and background, she could help prevent another humanitarian disaster of this magnitude by devising better logistics systems that could quickly and cost-efficiently help large masses of people.
So she set about earning a master's degree from North Carolina State, and then headed to Auburn with her future husband. One of the first things she did upon arrival was visit AU's Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. There she found a perfect fit for her interest in humanitarian logistics, in the form of Emmett Lodree who was conducting research in this relatively new field. The visit and the subsequent discussions that followed had a lot to do with her decision to earn her Ph.D. at Auburn rather than North Carolina State or Virginia Tech - her initial choices.
"One piece of advice I would give to someone that is going to get their graduate degree is to really research what the professors are working on in the department since it will most likely have something to do with their dissertation or thesis," she says. "Finding a professor with the same interest as mine was the factor that brought me to Auburn to get my doctorate."
Kandace says that through her research, which is in the early stages, she wants to work with agencies such as FEMA to develop a better network with private retailers, such as Home Depot, so that supplies will be available when they are needed. She says that her research is made easier because of the availability of the professors.
"I really like the professors in my department because they are very personable and helpful," she says. "I know that I am not just another grad student, and they care about how I am doing in my classes and research."
Kandace says that Auburn the school and Auburn the city also offer many opportunities to get involved and to have fun.
"I have really enjoyed going to sporting events here because of the school spirit," says the Texas native. "It was hard to come to another SEC school when I will always be a Bulldog at heart, but I have become an Auburn fan — except for when they play Texas of course!"