Eliza Macaulay, a junior in the Industrial Engineering department at Clemson University, placed first in the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference technical paper competition. Students were required to submit a technical paper and present the results of their research during a virtual session on February 19, 2022. A panel of industrial engineering faculty members and practitioners evaluated both to determine the winner.
Macaulay’s paper was titled “Understanding the Vulnerabilities of Youth to Sex Trading in Minnesota Districts.” The objective of the work was to identify the types of factors that were correlated, in a statistically significant fashion, with the prevalence of youth trading sex to receive something of value, including food, alcohol, or a place to stay. Macaulay’s work involved working as part of a multi-disciplinary team to gain domain knowledge on sex trafficking, an issue whose root causes are similar to youth trading sex. She then applied her IE background to the particular objective of her technical paper. When asked about the research, Macaulay said, “Having the opportunity to participate in a project of this magnitude has not only allowed me to gain IE experience but also to see the more uncommon ways IE can be used in today’s society, such as reducing the prevalence of sex trading.”
Her technical paper stemmed from an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates led by Thomas Sharkey, a Professor of Industrial Engineering. Outside of IISE, Eliza is also a member of Alpha Pi Mu and on the Industrial Engineering Undergraduate Student Advisory Board.