Student Project Burgeons Into US Grand Strategy Conference

By Kaitlin Nelson ’13 | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

Norwich University was founded on the educational philosophies of Capt. Alden Partridge, who was a strong proponent of experiential learning. Nearly two centuries later, Norwich students are still “learning by doing,” as demonstrated by the creation of the US Grand Strategy Conference this fall.

Sponsored by the Norwich University Center for Studies in War and Peace, the inaugural conference was born out of a yearlong independent research project led by Preston Huntington ’14 and William Cuervo ’14 on the basis and future of US Grand Strategy. Once started, the project took on a life of its own, as the two researchers soon found out. “When Will and I first began the research for our Independent Study,” Huntington said, “I don’t believe either of us really expected it to amount to what it eventually became as our senior year went on.” The project became fully immersive, allowing Cuervo and Huntington to engage in high level analysis as well as speak to experts in the field, including personnel from the Department of Defense, the various military branches, and the service academies.

Inspired by their research, the US Grand Strategy Conference was conceived, and a group of students in Professor Sarwar Kashmeri’s independent study class were tasked with helping bring this dream into fruition. Many highly specialized delegates were invited to attend, allowing Norwich students the opportunity to learn from the people who hold positions that many Norwich students would like to have in the future; it also allowed the students to gain experience in operating in professional environments.

Several of the invited delegates were professors from other military schools, including the US Military Academy, US Air Force Academy, US Army War College and US Naval War College. Military College professors were not the only academic representative present: there were also representatives from the University of Nebraska, Wayne State College, and Drew University. In addition to the scholars invited, there were representatives from the US Army, National Defense Industrial Association, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and several authors and columnists. Regardless of their diverse career choices, they all shared a common interest: Grand Strategy studies in the US. This group engaged in very intense debate on issues concerning US Political Influence and Military Power, as well as US Foreign Policy Priorities. A conference note was developed and publicized on the topics. The participants universally praised the event and Norwich, with the only criticism being that the timeframe (1½ days) was too short!

Reflecting on the conference, one of Prof. Kashmeri’s students, 2LT Julio Ceasar Basso ’16, USAR, said, “The Center for Studies in War and Peace here at Norwich University was able to bring in some brilliant minds, each with their own expertise. There was no delay in regard to conducting the dialogue, and there were plenty of opportunities to reflect on this dialogue to provide a consensus of thought regardless of background or ideological differences.” Another of Prof. Kashmeri’s students, Matthew McKenzie ’16, agreed. “I felt that overall the conference was a success. The delegates were extremely well qualified, and the diversity of [their] backgrounds allowed for insight into a multitude of areas.”

One of the invited delegates-William Goodman, the Vice President for Policy at the National Defense Industrial Association-gushed about the conference’s attendees and topic choice. “The conference was everything a practitioner could hope for-theoretical enough to step away from the day-to-day concerns of official Washington, but also practical enough to have real meaning for the problems I face every day pertaining to defense budgets and military capabilities.” He added, “Although it is difficult to address a concept like grand strategy and make it fresh, that was exactly what the delegates managed to do, and I was grateful to learn from them and their insights.”

Another invited delegate, Wolfe Schmidt, an International Affairs Consultant and Foreign Policy Association Board Member, struggled with the time constraint, but found the US Grand Strategy Conference to be an enlightening experience overall. Schmidt said, “The agenda was almost too ambitious for the weighty subject; however, the questionnaire was useful in guiding the discourse and the way the plenary sessions were moderated was very productive as well.”

To learn more about the conference, visit the Norwich University US Grand Strategy Conference web site.

Norwich Student Radio Station WNUB Livestreams

By Isabel Weinger Nielsen | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

WNUB is now streaming live, and anyone from anywhere around the world can listen. It is available on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops at Whether you are alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, prospective students, or friends of Norwich, you can listen to a variety of music, entertainment, news and information programs wherever you are. And, if you’re in the Northfield area, you can still tune to 88.3 FM to hear WNUB on the radio, 24 hours a day.

Professor Doug Smith, who manages WNUB and teaches Broadcasting Techniques, Radio Production, and Introduction to Mass Media, worked with Norwich’s Information Technology Services to get the project off the ground. Streaming began this past June, at a bit rate of 128 Kbps-MP3 quality. He hopes streaming will serve as a means for alumni to stay in touch with Norwich as well as interest and attract prospective students to the Communications program.

WNUB-FM, on the air since 1967, is the community radio station of Norwich University and operates in conjunction with the College of Liberal Arts’ communications major. Students gain hands-on education in radio, print journalism and television documentary production. According to Professor Smith, the idea to stream WNUB began when families wanted to hear their Norwich student on the radio.

Each semester, Norwich Communication majors take to the airwaves with live two-hour shows on Sunday through Thursday evenings. In addition to music, weather, and announcements, listeners can also hear one to three minute educational programs such as The Academic Minute, Radio MD News, A Moment in Time, and Sound Beat, a 90-second show which provides a back story about a specific recording’s place in history.

WNUB is fortunate to have local community members as DJs for several shows. Northfield’s own Dex Rowe hosts a five-minute local news program The Northfield News, Monday–Friday at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. He also hosts The Weekday Oldies from 9–11 a.m., Monday – Friday, and The Weekend Oldies from 6 – 8 p.m., Friday–Sunday. Other music shows hosted by Northfield residents include Other Voices, Other Rooms–Music by Mark, Fridays from 8-10 p.m., A Night in My Backyard, Fridays from 8 p.m.–12 a.m., and The Morning Jam with Joe, Saturdays from 7–9 a.m.

Special campus events are also covered, such as the Writers Series, through 30-minute interviews with visiting writers hosted by Jacque Day.

Convocation was recorded and rebroadcast in August. As listenership grows, WNUB may broadcast more live events on campus, such as graduation and sporting events. So tune in! View the complete program schedule.

Mentors Connect Undergraduates to “Dream Jobs”

By Isabel Weinger Nielsen | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

“What are your three dream jobs?” That was the question asked of all senior College of Liberal Arts students this fall, and with the assistance of Duane Martin ’67, students are being paired up with Norwich alumni to help them attain those jobs. During last year’s pilot program, Norwich seniors were mentored by alumni employed by such organizations as the US Border Patrol, Vermont State Police, Secret Service, FBI, and Lockheed.

Martin, a member of the COLA Visiting Committee of the Board of Fellows (BoF), was looking for a way to contribute to the future success of Norwich students. He conceived of the idea of starting a mentoring program and presented it to the COLA BoF Visiting Committee and Dean Andrea Talentino, with enthusiastic results. Martin believes that all students can benefit from an alumni mentor, and feels it is important to help students find the jobs they want. Since the University has upwards of 24,000 living alumni (between its undergraduate and graduate programs) who work or have worked in just about every job Norwich students aspire to, he decided to start matching them up.

High-Caliber Students

The mentoring program began as a pilot last year, with a dozen students invited to become mentees. Martin used a personal approach, contacting prospective mentors directly by telephone to explain the program and determine their interests. His tactic worked: The alums Martin approached were incredibly enthusiastic, and went above and beyond Martin’s expectations. Not only did they talk to their mentees, but in many cases they came to campus to meet with them, and even brought students to shadow them in their workplaces. Martin has also been extremely impressed with the quality and caliber of the students. “They are incredibly respectful, bright, and really appreciate the opportunity to have an alumni mentor,” Martin says.

This year, eighteen students have requested mentors, and alumni have responded in a big way. Baylee Annis ’14 is living in Wales and wants to be a writer. She is now in contact with Bob Porier ’66, the author of several history books and numerous published articles. Seth Cecchett ’15 is a history major who aspires to work with the Vermont State Police. He has been paired with Michelle Leblanc ’92, a Vermont State Trooper in the K-9 Unit. Emily Cahill ’15, a Political Science major who hopes to work for Homeland Security, has been introduced to Scott Shelton ’97, a Senior Fellow with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one of our newest Board of Fellows’ members. Jacob Alderman ’15, an English major with a minor in business administration, will explore a variety of employment opportunities with Robert McElhinney ’04, who works for the US State Department.

A Lifetime of Mentoring From Colin Powel Comes Full Circle

School of Nursing Director Sharon Richie, PhD, describes her long-running professional relationship with retired four-star Army general Colin Powell
By Sharon Richie, PhD | School of Nursing Director
College of Professional Schools

December 18, 2014

I first met Gen. Colin Powell in1980 when he was a major general and I a newly minted Army Nurse Corps major. I was at my first “ROCKS” meeting in Washington, DC, a support organization for field grade officers “of color” that had about 200 male members. At the time, I was the third woman selected to the group. At a reception following the meeting, Gen. Powell introduced himself, saying that I now had 200 brothers to look after me during my career and to call upon him at any time. Later, at our monthly meetings, he always checked on how I was doing, asking “So what is your next step?”

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]The lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980.[/pullquote]

Over the years, Gen. Powell kept asking the same question and was thrilled when I decided to apply for the White House Fellows (WHF) program in1982. The non-partisan program is open to all, regardless of party affiliation. Gen. Powell had been a White House Fellow himself in1972 and valued his time and experience. Years after that assignment, Gen. Powell served as chief of staff for Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. When my WHF class visited that office, my “ROCKS” brother—Gen. Powell—gave me an encouraging wink, which spoke volumes: I was not alone. We also saw each other every year at the “ROCKS” scholarship ball at Andrews Air Force base. I still treasure the photo taken in1989 of him, myself and my former husband Paul Patrick Henri.

Leadership Lessons

In 2009 I was honored to be included in Charles Garcia’s book Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows (WHF). Garcia had interviewed over 220 WHF’s, and I was quoted along side Gen. Powell in Chapter 6, which was entitled, “Leaders have a Laser-Like Focus on their People”. Gen. Powell’s section included a story that exemplified “the sort of transformative impact that leadership can have.” My section gave examples of how I used those lessons as the chief nurse of various Army Medical Centers. The irony is that I learned my leadership lessons from my WHF mentor and from a general who kept up with a junior officer her entire career and beyond. I also was fortunate to be able to see Gen. Powell at the annual WHF seminars, which updated all WHF’s on the current administration’s work.

When selected for promotion to colonel, I asked then US Secretary of State Powell to do the honors. He said yes immediately but stipulated that the ceremony had to be held in Washington, given his schedule. I explained that I was funding all of my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins to attend the ceremony and that I could not afford to house them in DC. At the time, I was a student at the Army War College in Carlise Barracks, Penn., where I could afford to rent out a local motel for all my relatives. Given that this might be my last promotion, Secretary Powell suggested a mutual friend, a general officer who would thoughtfully review my entire career for my family at the ceremony. I thought, how sensitive of him to suggest this, and he was right. My family finally found out what I had been doing all of those years on active duty.

After 26 years of active duty, I served three years in the United Arab Emirates helping to upgrade their military healthcare system. Upon my return, I interviewed active duty Army nurses, who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those interviews later turned into a book entitled Angel Walk: Nurses at War in Iraq and Afghanistan. My dream was to have the book endorsed by Gen. Powell. Instead, he called me to say what a fine book it was, but he was prohibited from endorsing any books because of the avalanche of requests it generated in his office. I shared that his “stated” endorsement, written or not, meant the world to me. Still his question was the same, “What will you do next?” I answered that I did not know, but he would be the first to know it when it came to me.

Norwich Nursing

My unexpected invitation to apply for the position as the Director of the School of Nursing at Norwich University was a long-shot given the weather (I was in Florida at the time) and my prejudices about academia. However, once I visited the campus, met the students, faculty members and senior administrators, I fell in love. It was a dream job to be able to be with my soldiers and nurses again. I held my breath waiting for the decision, and once it came, my first action was to text my general. He answered immediately, congratulating me and saying that clearly I had one more assignment before I really retired. “I am so very proud of you,” he wrote.

The past one-and-a-half years has been a whirlwind of getting oriented to my new job and getting my arms around my students and faculty members. It has been pure joy. I continuously share with others Mark Nepo’s quote, “Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.” That quote sustains me now and led me to contact my general to ask him to share with our Norwich University community what service to others has meant to him as a leader. He did not disappoint.

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders.[/pullquote]

Amy Bidell is a senior nursing student here at Norwich and the president of the Student Nurses Association. A member of the Navy ROTC program, Amy was chosen to listen to two thought leaders, Gen. Sullivan and Gen. Powell, during the latter’s visit to campus in November 2014 in a private session with nine other cadets. Amy shared her thoughts with me about the session:

“General Powel and General Sullivan, both of whom sat at the table with us to speak, did not speak of current political or national security issues as I had imagined. Both gentlemen spoke primarily of family and the importance of having a solid support system at home throughout one’s career, whether it be a military career or not. General Powell told one story in particular in which he came home in his new uniform the day after receiving a new rank. The moment he proudly walked into the door with his new insignia, his daughter yelled to Mrs. Powell, “Mom, the GI Joe is home!”

“From both General Powell and General Sullivan I realized the importance of still having a ‘human’ element to one’s life, even if only behind closed doors. General Powell and General Sullivan are obviously both high-ranking prestigious military leaders. Yet based on their stories, it was apparent they both have an aspect of their lives that can be found in many American homes of any social class: a loving family with whom they have fun. This aspect of their life, while maybe small in comparison with the time-consuming nature of their careers, seemed to be the glue that held all other aspects of their life together and gave it meaning.”

These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980. He is the epitome of leadership, service to country and balance with a strong family life.

Editor’s note: Visit the Todd Lecture Series website to watch Gen. Powell’s 2014 Veterans Day talk at Norwich University.

Green Architect Whitney Sander to Speak at Norwich University

NORTHFIELD, Vt.Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art presents “Part Prefab, All Custom: The Work of Sander Architects,” by Whitney Sander, a principal and founder at Sander Architects on Friday, Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. in Chaplin Hall Gallery.

Sander, a Los Angeles architect known for his firm’s cutting-edge, green designs, will give the latest talk in the School of Architecture + Art’s current lecture series.

Sander is principal and founder of Sander Architects, a young, award-winning firm whose contemporary designs have dazzled the architecture world, placing it at the forefront of green architecture.

Using a hybrid construction process, Sander’s design incorporates prefab technology and components to create homes that are custom designed for each client, combining sustainable, green building principles with high design concepts.

During his lecture, Sander will describe his firm’s building method, detailing its sustainable aspect through recent completed examples.

The architect will also discuss upcoming projects, including an 8,000-square-foot $3.7 million concert hall for Idyllwild Arts, a private arts academy in the hills above Palm Springs, Calif.

Sander studied architecture at Yale University and previously served in the Peace Corps in West Africa. He has taught architecture and art classes at Yale, UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts and Woodbury University.

Considered a leading green architect, Sander has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Dedalo Minosse International Prize for Architecture, the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award and AIA Design Awards. His work has been published widely.

All lectures in this series are free and open to the public.

Norwich Writers Series Hosts “Kill Shakespeare” Graphic Artist Andy Belanger

By Daphne Larkin | For Immediate Release

NORTHFIELD, Vt.Norwich University’s Fall 2014 Writers Series continues with graphic artist Andy Belanger, collaborator on “Kill Shakespeare,” a 12-issue comic book series starring characters from William Shakespeare, on Friday, November 7, at 4 p.m. in Chaplin Hall gallery.

Belanger will discuss creating art and his life as a comic artist. The Montreal-based freelance cartoonist and illustrator has worked for D.C. Comics and other mainstream comic publishers, as well as the Canadian television and film industry.

Collaborating with co-creators Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery and others, their “Kill Shakespeare” series garnered rave reviews from the New York Times and mentions on the Colbert Report. In it, Shakespeare’s characters are brought to life in a plot in which they either long to kill the Bard or to protect him.

Belanger’s presentation will be followed by a theatrical performance based on the comic series by Norwich’s Pegasus Players in Dole Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Friday and again on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.

The upcoming events continue the university’s Writers Series, now in its third year, which is presented by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of English and Communications.

All events in this series are free and open to the public.


Financial Services Internship Helps Chart Future

Working at National Life Group “helped introduce me to the industry and provided some insight into what I could possibly do after college,” Ranson Hudson reports.
By Ranson Hudson ’15, Accounting & Business Management Major
School of Business & Management

October 22, 2014

This summer I interned with Equity Services Incorporated (ESI) the in-house broker/dealer and one of four companies that make up the National Life Group, a diversified insurance and financial services corporation based in Montpelier, Vt. Interning at ESI, I was introduced to all aspects of the business while shadowing staff in the various sections of the broker/dealer: new business, trading, brokerage and licensing. As the summer went on, I worked more closely with the new business unit as it deployed new technologies that ESI was incorporating to keep them ahead in the field.

National Life Group has a very developed internship program. While working with ESI, I also learned and worked with all the other National Life Group interns, joining weekly seminars where we covered the ins and outs of the company. The highlights of my summer experience were the people I worked with and the project assigned to me at the beginning of the internship. During the first week, interns were split up into groups of five or six and given a project to work on for the entire summer. Projects were designed to benefit the company as a whole. We were charged to present our results at the end of the summer in a contest to determine which group produced the best outcome.

The summer was a great experience. It helped introduce me to the industry and provided some insight into what I could possibly do after college. With a dual major in accounting and business management, it has been a real struggle for me to decide what path I want to take after college. This internship helped me start making decisions. I would recommend the National Life Group internship program to any college student who is thinking about a possible career in finance, accounting or business management.

New Leadership Minor at School of Business and Management

The new minor helps students gain leadership know-how and experience through multidisciplinary academic exploration and discovery.
By Mike Kelley, PhD, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
School of Business & Management

October 22, 2014

The leadership minor offers students a means to expand their knowledge and experience in leadership via an informally guided, multidisciplinary journey of academic exploration and discovery. Newly offered this 2014-15 academic year, the minor builds on the premise that leadership development is a core mission of Norwich University. The leadership minor focuses on building an understanding of self and others as members of teams. Taken as a whole, the minor enhances development of knowledge and skills essential in the 21st century, particularly the role of the team member; teamwork; critical thinking; ethical decision-making; mental agility; oral and written communications; planning; self-awareness, including self-assessment, self-reflection and self-regulation; and reflection on ethical standards of conduct in the professional world.

Leadership Minor Facts:

  • The NU Leadership minor is open to students of all academic majors.
  • All minor courses must be completed with a grade of C or better to earn the minor.
  • It is most beneficial if the student selects the minor prior to the start of her or his junior year to allow maximum time for personal assessment, reflection, growth and development.
  • All students in the minor will have the opportunity for informal coaching and mentoring by a member of the multidisciplinary Leadership Minor Committee and will have the opportunity to attend and participate in optional leadership development activities.

Minor Requirements:

  • Two prescribed classes, Psychology of Leadership (PY210) and Organizational Behavior (MG351).
  • The NU ethics course required for your major.
  • Two elective courses from two disciplines outside your major. They may be chosen from a broad list that includes one junior year ROTC course.
  • An integrating experience course, such as a senior year ROTC course.

Design Diaspora: Architecture Graduate Students on Summer Internships

Fanning out from California to Ghana, students interned in a host of settings, from traditional architecture firms to fabrication, construction, design-build, museum and university venues.
By Timothy Parker, 
Assistant Professor | School of Architecture + Art

October 22, 2014

Studying architecture while nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont has many benefits. Students may more readily focus on their work without the numerous distractions inevitably present in any urban environment. Cold winter months may further nourish the sense of common cause and solidarity that the studio setting seeks to manifest. And the palpable presence of nature in its seasons and textures may inculcate an awareness of how the real poetry of architecture remains rooted in the material richness of the earth.

But these sources of concentration, community and consciousness may also become instruments of isolation. After all, architecture is a complicated endeavor. Responsible conception and creation of the built environment involves comprehension of its global, interdependent and ever-changing nature. And an architectural education entirely limited to the academic studio culture is insufficient. This is why Norwich architecture students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities, field trips are routine and a great portion of curricular activity is oriented toward providing the broader perspective that a fully formed architect needs. This is also one reason why incoming graduate students are required to spend a summer working in a firm within—or closely related to—the architecture profession.

The summer internship is more than mere work experience. For concurrent with their work in a firm, students take a six-credit course that ensures they are not only receiving practical experience but also reflecting upon it in critical, productive ways. And this all happens through NUoodle, in an online course largely designed by Michael Hoffman, associate professor and director of graduate architecture. The aim is, as Hoffman puts it, “to develop a bridge between their academic experience and professional practice.” The course brings students together in small groups for online discussion, guided by faculty prompts yet open to topics of interest as they may arise. The course requires substantial weekly written responses to readings that range across the historical, theoretical, economic, political and cultural aspects of architectural practice.

I had the privilege of teaching the course with 15 students this summer, and the educational benefits were evident. The weekly readings and writing assignments fostered a culture of research and critical reflection as complimentary to the daily routines of professional practice. Students approached all aspects of the work environment in their writing, including project delivery, financial management, legal and managerial organization, marketing and more, in light of assigned readings and their own research, in order to take fuller ownership of their own education. And they frequently addressed the relation between their academic studies and the work they were doing—or hope and plan to do in the future. Katherine Anderson saw familiar elements included in the workflow while interning at New World Design Builders in Clifton, New Jersey. “It [was] reassuring to see that academic-related activities have seeped into the work environment, or vice versa,” she said.

Beyond these valuable lessons, however, the students mirrored in microcosm the rich diversity of architecture-related professional practice. Students interned at different kinds of offices and were scattered broadly. Several remained in the northeast. But others worked in California, Texas, the District of Columbia, and as far away as West Africa—Accra, Ghana, to be precise. Many employers were more-or-less traditional architectural firms. But students also served internships at fabrication, construction, design-build, museum, university and drafting-service venues. Their size and complexity varied greatly, from sole proprietorships to multi-office, multi-industry corporations.
Students experienced certain common threads during their internships, including some surprise as how much responsibility they were given from day one. The sheer amount and variety of projects under active development concurrently, day after day, was also an eye-opener. The varying kinds of organization and the variety of management approaches in practice across employers, however, meant that each student was also presented with unique challenges and opportunities to make the most of the internship.

For Alyssa Shramek, who interned with Hudson Design Group in North Andover, Massachusetts, consultation and collaboration were highlights: “I think that working with the engineers at my firm was the most useful skill I learned. It was interesting to learn about what they look for in designs and how to explain design concepts to them and work together to achieve the design you are trying to create.”

Jayson Sterba, who interned with MulvannyG2 in Washington, DC, found a chief benefit of the course to be the writing assignments. “I really enjoyed the depth this class went into and the multitude of ideas and prompts we had to criticize and write about. It helped me hold a critical stance to this firm and the field and kept me on my toes always thinking about how the company is serving me at the same time I am serving them.”

Rachel Opare-Sem, who interned at Modula Group in Accra, Ghana, perhaps took the broadest view of all: “I think as a designer the internship was useful, because it made me aware that there are many factors, outside of merely designing on a daily basis, that contribute to successfully practicing architecture. Business management, economic climate, culture and even politics affect the profession, and I think that it is important for an architect to balance all these, and others, in order to be successful.”

And for my part, I am now able to work with all of these students again as they pursue their own research topics and, this semester, develop and complete the written portion of their year-long thesis projects. I am encouraged by their maturity in tackling complex problems, seemingly incommensurable discourses or otherwise advance their own critical thinking about their project, their field and their future profession. I am eager to see where they go from here.