CAM Featured Alumna: Theresa Wise

Theresa Wise

Class of 1995 (Advisor: Les Trotter)
Chief Information Officer, Delta Airlines


  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (1989-94)
  • Women to Watch (2009 - Business Journal)
  • CIO of the Year (2011 - Business Journal)
  • Top CIO Executive (2012 - ExecRank)

I entered CAM in Fall 1989 with a diverse set of interests (a liberal arts background with math and chemistry majors, a premed concentration and four years with a college orchestra). CAM, Cornell and Ithaca provided the perfect place to delve deeply into these passions while exploring new areas and possibilities (from membrane biophysics to operations research, financial markets, polyhedral combinatorics and intramural ice hockey). I found my dissertation topic while working on a summer internship (“A Polyhedral Combinatorics Approach to Airline Crew Scheduling”). The opportunity and encouragement to transition between theory and application has been invaluable throughout my career: airline operations research, IT, 15 years as airline CIO, and now working with newer stage technology companies.

CAM is an amazing place. Take advantage of the opportunities to both explore broadly and delve deeply into interesting areas. Get to know your professors and fellow students. I am forever grateful to my advisor and committee (Les Trotter, David Shmoys, Lou Billera), along with my classmates, officemates, housemates, and teammates who made my years in Ithaca so unforgettable, and who became lifelong friends and colleagues.

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