Greetings Earthlings, my name is Kash Barker, and I’m an Associate Professor and an Anadarko Presidential Professor in the OU School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. You may have seen me, and for part of the time, my wife Nina, hanging around from late September to late October – I was the cool guy.
Nina and I have been to 15 or so European countries, and some personal faves are Vienna, Barcelona, and Prague. And when I’m not thinking about my next lecture or eating at Pepe Delgado’s, I’m probably pining for an orchestra concert.
I’m originally from a little town called Pawhuska, OK (for better or worse, now known for The Pioneer Woman). I went to OU for BS and MS degrees, left for a PhD at the University of Virginia, and joined the faculty back at OU in 2008. I teach courses in applied engineering statistics and systems engineering, and my research interests lie in the reliability, resilience, and economic impacts of disruptions to infrastructure networks.
My 2017 trip to Arezzo was my third of hopefully many more to come. My classes, in Norman and in Arezzo, always end with pieces of advice from Uncle Kash, and one of those is “If you have a chance to go somewhere and experience life, do it.” As you’re living in central Tuscany for a semester (or longer), I’m preaching to the choir. But even in Arezzo, it’s easy to just hang out in the monastery and watch the new season of Stranger Things. Don’t do it! There are sights all over Italy to visit, and brand new experiences are a short train or plane ride away. Think about how much your plane ticket cost to get to Rome from Oklahoma City – you’ll have to pay that amount to come back to essentially any European city in the future (as opposed to the cheap weekend flights on Ryanair that you could buy now). You’ve got an opportunity that most students don’t have – take advantage of it!