Sarah Powell, Ph.D. student, Business Analytics
Explores crowdsourced deliveries
“Crowdsourcing is where people who are traveling from one place to another pick up a package and deliver it on the way. Sarah is working on understanding what situations and pricing models make this a good idea for companies to save money. She is also figuring how how to solve the problem of allocating packages to vehicles or “the crowd” in realistically sized instances… Her work is the first to look at this problem from such an analytical perspective and indicates what a promising scholar she is.” – Ann Campbell, Professor, Business Analytics
• Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Ann Campbell
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD program in Business Analytics, Spring 2025
• Please describe your research: My research evaluates when crowdsourced delivery, the use of those who are not professional couriers to deliver packages to customers, is cost-effective in an urban setting.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? As e-commerce and the number of online orders continues to increase, making deliveries efficiently is essential for retailers and logistics companies. Knowing when and how crowdsourced delivery is cost-effective can decrease delivery times and reduce the total delivery cost, benefitting both customers and businesses.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started research in my second semester in my program at the University of Iowa.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has helped me see how modeling complex problems contributes to finding implementable solutions that can make a positive difference in society. Understanding this relationship and how I can be involved in solving problems has provided direction as I think about future projects and prepare for my career.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to pursue a career as a professor and contribute to research while encouraging students to engage in research and learning.
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