Empowering Students: Varsha Damle’s OR Gift

The field of operations research is rapidly evolving, and the next generation of leaders needs to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to tackle complex challenges. Thanks to the generosity of alumna Varsha Damle, the program has received a significant gift that will enable it to provide even better educational experiences for its students. In this article, we will explore the impact of this gift and what it means for the future of operations research.

Damle (MSOR ‘01) is a highly accomplished professional with diverse work experience spanning over two decades. She is vice president of Portfolio Optimization and Commercial Development at Codexis, Inc., where she leverages her commercial strategies and analytics expertise to drive business growth. Before this, she held several leadership positions at Sierra Oncology, Aimmune Therapeutics, and ZS Pharma, Inc. With a strong foundation in data analysis, incentive compensation, and commercial strategy, Damle has made a name for herself as a respected leader in the industry.

Damle’s gift to the Operations Research Program at NC State is a testament to her commitment to giving back to her alma mater and supporting the next generation of professionals. According to Maria Mayorga, Director of the Operations Research Program, “This gift represents one of the first major alumni gifts to the program in recent years and highlights the benefit that alums like Varsha see from their degree as well as the success that our alums achieve in their careers.” It also signifies increased engagement from alums, which bodes well for the program’s future.

Mayorga emphasizes that this gift will directly impact the student experience, providing opportunities for them to attend conferences and supplement teaching assistant funds. “With this support, we will be able to improve the student experience and reduce their financial burden,” she said. 

Mayorga stresses that this gift opens up new possibilities for the program, allowing it to offer a richer educational experience for its students. “One of my initiatives in my first year as director is to engage more with alums, tapping into their abundance of knowledge and resources,” she explained. The program plans to organize alum events soon, providing a platform for graduates to reconnect, share their experiences and mentor current students. This increased engagement will foster a sense of community and create opportunities for collaboration between past, present and future leaders in operations research.

Damle’s generous gift is a powerful reminder of the impact of alums on shaping their alma mater’s future. Her contribution will empower students to reach their full potential and make a meaningful difference in their chosen professions. As the program continues to grow and thrive, it is clear that the future of operations research is bright, thanks to the dedication and support of individuals like Damle. “We are very grateful to Varsha for her support,” Mayorga concluded. “Her gift will make a tangible difference in the lives of our students and contribute to the continued success of the Operations Research Program.”