Kayla Cummings

Kayla Cummings

PhD Candidate, Operations Research

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Welcome! I am a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the Operations Research Center advised by Alexandre Jacquillat and Vikrant Vaze.

In my graduate work, I develop decomposition methods for large-scale optimization models toward integrated design of urban transportation systems. My current projects consider workforce scheduling for on-demand paratransit systems and pricing alliance design for first-mile systems. On the former project I am collaborating with Via Transportation, and on the latter with Özlem Ergun and Cynthia Barnhart.

I am passionate about diversity and access in higher education and am currently working to cultivate an inclusive pedagogy as a 2021 MIT TLL Teaching Development Fellow. Off campus, you can find me playing classical piano, rock climbing, hiking, cooking vegetarian food, running along the Charles River, and painting.

  • Networks
  • Large-scale optimization
  • Integer programming
  • Deep learning
  • Game theory
  • PhD in Operations Research, 2023

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • BA in Mathematics, 2018

    Pomona College


(2021). Activated Benders Decomposition for Paratransit Workforce Scheduling with Cancellation Uncertainty. In preparation.

(2021). Multimodal Transportation Alliance Design With Endogenous Demand: Large-scale Optimization For Rapid Welfare Gains. In preparation.

(2021). Pricing the COVID-19 Vaccine: A Mathematical Approach. Omega: The International Journal of Management Science , vol. 103.


(2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Strategic Agent in the Pediatric Vaccine Market: An Analytical Approach. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Articles in Advance:1-15.

PDF 2018 INFORMS Undergraduate Operations Research Prize

(2018). An Exploration of the Network Installation and Recovery Problem with Blackstart Nodes. Complex Networks and Their Applications VII. Studies in Computational Intelligence, vol. 812. Springer, Cham.



Judith Liebman Award
Teaching Development Fellow
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Pomona College Academic Awards
  • Magna cum laude - May 2018
  • Hugh J. Hamilton Mathematics Prize - May 2018
  • Distinction in the senior mathematics exercise - May 2018
  • Phi Beta Kappa - May 2018
  • Sigma Xi - May 2018
  • Bruce Jay Levy Mathematics Prize - May 2017
Undergraduate Poster Prize: Runner-up

Teaching Experience

Course Coordinator and Instructor: Computing in Optimization and Statistics (15.S60)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Sep 2021 – Present
  • Design curriculum, recruit volunteer student instructors, administer course
  • Redesign course preparation workflow to incorporate evidence-based best teaching practices
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Advanced Analytics Edge (15.072)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Sep 2021 – Present
  • Lead weekly recitations for 90 students
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Optimization Methods in Business Analytics (15.053)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Feb 2021 – Jun 2021
  • Co-manage team of 6 undergraduate TAs for class of 100+ students
  • Design interactive recitations for a virtual setting
  • Overall instructor rating (n=24): 6.7/7.0
Volunteer Instructor: Computing in Optimization and Statistics (15.S60)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Jan 2021 – Jan 2021
  • Taught session on introductory Git and creating a personal academic website.
  • Overall instructor rating (n=25): 4.8/5.0
Course Mentor
Pomona College Computer Science Department
Sep 2017 – Dec 2017
  • CSCI051: Object-Oriented Programming in Java
Course Mentor and Grader
Pomona College Mathematics Department
Jan 2016 – May 2018
  • MATH187: Deterministic Operations Research - Spring 2018
  • MATH156: Stochastic Processes - Spring 2018
  • MATH103: Combinatorial Mathematics - Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2018
  • MATH151: Probability with Calculus - Spring 2017
  • MATH067: Vector Calculus - Spring 2016
Pomona College Quantitative Skills Center
Jan 2015 – May 2015
  • MATH031: Calculus II