Norwich University and Montpelier’s Union Elementary School Partner on Playground Project

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

April 20, 2018

Norwich University’s Architecture Design Build program, called 802LAB, has partnered with Montpelier’s Union Elementary School (UES) and the community to design and build an outdoor classroom/playhouse as part of the school’s planned playground renovations.

Leading faculty member Tolya Stonorov and students in the 802LAB program have worked closely with a UES volunteer committee comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and community members as well as the students of Union Elementary School to define the project and how it serves the needs of the larger playground. The process began with precedent research that included diagrams, drawings, images and a detailed scaled model. These were presented to the committee and analyzed for their feedback.

“Our vision for the new playground at UES has always been to create an outdoor space that not only provides students and our community with a place to play but also one that will ignite their creativity,” says Jay Ericson, UES parent and Playground Project Manager. “The students in the 802LAB and Tolya have helped make this vision a reality. The NEST will be the cornerstone of the new playground and will be a place for students to learn, create, and experience an individualized connection to the outdoor environment.”

After gathering the committee’s hopes and requirements for the project, the students embarked on individual design responses. These were grouped according to likeness, further refined through a consensus process, and a final design was agreed upon and approved by the committee. DeWolfe Engineering in Montpelier, Vt., is generously working with 802Lab to engineer the project on a pro-bono basis.

According to Stonorov: “Design-build supports the idea that building, making and designing are intrinsic to each other: knowledge of one strengthens and informs the expression of the other. Hands-on learning through the act of building what is designed translates theories and ideas into real world experience.” This project exemplifies Norwich’s value of service to others as a community architecture project, one that is developed and executed in response to a community need and in close cooperation with those the structure will serve. The playhouse is affectionately called “The NEST.”

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin, M’17
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Public Event: Book Launch and Pop-Up Exhibit for “The Design-Build Studio: Crafting Meaningful Work in Architectural Education”

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Jan. 17, 2018

Norwich University will celebrate “The Design-Build Studio: Crafting Meaningful Work in Architectural Education,” a new book edited by Assistant Professor of Architecture Tolya Stonorov, with a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 4 p.m. at the Sullivan Museum and History Center Rotunda. Refreshments will be served.

The public is invited to this free event which includes a pop-up exhibit of Stonorov’s original drawings from the book. Other Norwich book contributors, Associate Professor Danny Sagan, Dean of the College of Professional Schools Aron Temkin, Adjunct Professor Steve Kredell and alumnus Dan Wheeler, 2015, will be on hand to sign books and discuss their contributions.

“The Design-Build Studio” examines 16 international community driven design-build case studies through process and product, with chapters on community involvement, digital and handcraft methodologies and a graphic Time Map. As a field guide to current trends in academic design-build studios, including Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art, the work offers a look into the different design-build processes and methodologies and how they can be used to transform communities.

Design-build supports the idea that building, making and designing are intrinsic to each other: knowledge of one strengthens and informs the expression of the other. Hands-on learning through the act of building what you design translates theories and ideas into real world experience. The work chronicled in this book reveals how this type of applied knowledge grounds us in the physicality of the world in which we live.

“The pedagogies and methodologies exhibited in ‘The Design-Build Studio’ embody the ethos of architecture education at Norwich, which is rooted in doing, but also in doing with purpose,” Stonorov said.

The book has received great praise since its recent publication. Bryan Bell, Executive Director of Design Corps, notes: “The Design-Build Studio is a deep dive into the methods and lessons of the important educational tool known as design-build. The content provides a thorough presentation of the state of the art, and allows the reader to compare and contrast the thinking and making of thirty of the outstanding leaders in the field. This book presents a learning opportunity that will allow us all to better define what works well, and move further forward in the evolution of this inclusive, pluralistic, and transformative teaching method.”

Clifford Curry, FAIA & Co-Founder of the Curry Stone Design Prize notes: “Stonorov advocates for a better architect – one that builds in a more complete way. The multi-faceted approach of building one’s designs with the added value of community contributions should be a required experience for every budding architect.”

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

 

Norwich University Launches Inaugural Governor’s Institute in Architecture, Design & Building

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

July 14, 2017

Norwich University welcomes 36 Vermont high school students on Sunday, July 16, for its inaugural Governor’s Institute on Architecture, Design & Building, a brand new Governor’s Institute of Vermont (GIV) program.

The institute offers a residential week of hands-on learning in working with concrete, masonry and wood across the disciplines of architecture, engineering, and construction management with an emphasis on regional materials and best practices of sustainable design and craft.

“This partnership between Norwich University and the Governor’s Institutes brings Norwich’s incredible teaching and mentoring resources to any Vermont high-schooler with a strong interest in the topic, regardless of their location or income,” said Karen Taylor Mitchell, who coordinates all 13 Governor’s Institutes programs throughout the state. “We’re over the moon that these young women and men are getting this chance to build confidence and try out their interests in one of Vermont’s most promising career fields.”

Norwich University’s College of Professional Schools includes all three of the primary architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) disciplines together. The School of Architecture + Art is the only National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited architecture school in northern New England, and Norwich is the only university in northern New England teaching all the A/E/C disciplines. The College of Professional Schools includes shop facilities for wood and metal; its new “CoLab,” a design/build area suitable for building full-scale buildings like the award-winning, 1000-square foot house completed for the 2013 Solar Decathlon; and digital fabrication labs that include 3D printers, 3D scanners, a five-axis CNC mill, and a 5’x9’ three-axis CNC mill.

Students will work with Norwich faculty, alumni, and undergraduate students in architecture, engineering, art, and construction management who are dedicated to a collaborative education model and project delivery. This college has a tradition of sustainable design/build projects including the Solar Decathlon DeltaT90 house; the outdoor classroom, Dutch Angle, conceived, designed and executed for Northfield High School in 2015; and CASA 802, a recently completed tiny house of 380 square feet. Other school projects include the award-winning Archistream mobile design gallery for AIA Vermont; the EMBarc, a mobile and self-powered earth-science lab created from a twenty-foot shipping container that travels in the state to teach about geology and water quality; and the recently built Wheel–pad, a modular accessible bedroom and bathroom that can be temporarily added to a residence, permitting residents to remain in their own homes during a period of recuperation.

“As the global population continues to expand and urbanize there will be massive challenges for humanity and the environment,” said Cara Armstrong, director of the School of Architecture + Art and Institute co-director. She promises incoming teenagers: “Design will help you meet those challenges; it will help you think about systems, not just things, so you will learn to see that the world is not made up of individual, disconnected things but that everything is causal, interrelated and connected.”

About Governor’s Institute of Vermont:

At 34 years old, the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont is a nonprofit organization committed to making life-changing accelerated learning opportunities accessible to all talented Vermont teens, especially those from rural and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented populations. With the help of the Vermont legislature and many donors, the Governor’s Institutes serves 630 students a year with sliding scale tuition that starts as low as $10 for a full weeklong Institute, including room and board.

Other Governor’s Institutes topics include arts; astronomy; Asian cultures; current issues and youth activism; entrepreneurship; environmental science and technology; information technology and digital media; mathematical sciences; engineering; and writing. Registration for the next Governor’s Institutes, Winter Weekends will open in December.

More information is available at www.giv.org or by calling (802) 865-4448

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

A Norwich-MIT Collaboration to Develop Low Cost Drinking Water Testing

Video still: MIT engineer Susan Murcott and Norwich environmental chemist Seth Frisbie speak in a Norwich chemistry lab

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0vFiw9tAfc&w=560&h=315]

Norwich University Office of Communications

December 1, 2016

Norwich University environmental chemist Prof. Seth Frisbie, PhD, has spent much of his career investigating the presence of arsenic and other toxic metals in drinking water in Bangladesh and other developing countries.

In November, he hosted MIT water and waste-water engineer Susan Murcott to Norwich to give a talk and to continue their work on a number of collaborative projects. One involves the development of a low cost, portable drinking water spectrophotometer for field use in Nepal and other developing countries.

Norwich University electrical and computer engineering professor Michael Prairie, PhD, PE, explains how his design lab students are helping advance the prototype design to build a rugged, easy-to-use unit ready for field use.

What I Do: NASA Manager Dennis Davidson ’82

Photo: Formal head and shoulders studio portrait of Norwich alum and NASA manager Dennis Davidson
WHAT I DO:

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Dennis Davidson ’82
Manager, Program Control and Integration Office

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NASA Commercial Crew Program
Johnson Space Center

Mention NASA and most people think of astronauts and engineers. But any space program “starts with the budget,” says Norwich alum Dennis Davidson. “Without money, nothing’s gonna happen.” During the Shuttle era, Davidson was the no. 2 in charge of business operations for the $4 billion-a-year program. Today he manages 35 staffers and an annual budget of $1.2 billion for NASA’s crewed space flight program. The program’s main thrust is vehicle development contracts with commercial aerospace companies Space X and Boeing to send astronauts to the International Space Station and on other low-Earth orbit missions. He started his de facto NASA career shortly after his NU graduation, working for five years at Johnson Space Center while wearing an Air Force uniform. Thirty years on, he helps navigate Congress’s stopgap continuing budget resolutions to keep agency missions aiming for the heavens.

What’s your job at NASA?
In government lingo, program control is all the business functions. It’s procurement and contracting. It’s the finances. It’s IT. It’s security. Public relations. Legislative affairs. Interfacing with the center legal offices. We have a lot of oversight committees, seven or eight, including an aerospace safety advisory panel. It’s also about keeping the money flowing from fiscal year to fiscal year, so that the astronauts and engineers can go do their jobs and the contracts can perform.

Are you the top guy?
I am.

What’s it like to work at NASA? Any highlights?
There was a point in my career where I had an office in the same building as Mission Control. So being there every day, walking past Mission Control Center, being aware of that history. “Houston, we’ve got a problem” from Apollo 13. Or “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” That all those words came to Houston first. Being a part of that going forward was just huge.

The second piece is just the quality of the workforce down here. I mean you come in every day and work with just awesome people, who are fun to be around, smart, [and] solving hard, hard problems every day. Being in a position to participate and at times just observe and see that take place has just been fascinating.

I’ve moved around to several different jobs. But I was in the Shuttle Program for the last few years that we were flying. Being a part of those last few missions, when you knew STS-133, STS-134, STS-135 were almost at the end. We finished assembling the Space Station. We were not going to fly these vehicles anymore. These were the last flights. Just knowing the importance of what was going on at that point in time and being a part of it.

What do you see when you look at the space exploration landscape today?
NASA on the whole is still doing in-house development for deep space exploration. Whether it’s the robotic spacecraft that are currently operating on Mars or the Orion crewed vehicle that’s being developed here that will be capable of going to the moon or to Mars. There’s also a new NASA rocket, called the SLS, the space launch system, that’s going to take the Orion into space.

What we’re starting to do commercially is operating in what we refer to as low-Earth orbit, so up to 250 to 300 miles. Primarily that’s the International Space Station. We’ve got three vehicles that they’re working on for cargo. Two of them are operational already. Then we’re working on the two vehicles with Boeing and Space X for crewed transportation, getting us away from reliance on the Russians. The big focus outside of NASA, a lot of it is what they call the tourist industry. Those folks would take passengers up to space, but not for long.

What’s driving advances in your field and what are the big hurdles?
The big hurdle is the cost of getting things launched. A couple of companies are working on reusable launch vehicles. It’s the single use vehicle—you got to build a new one every time—that drives the cost. With Shuttle, it was a multiuse vehicle. But because of the nature of it’s design, it was almost as expensive. So finding a reusable way [to launch]. Both Blue Origin and Space X have working concepts to land their first stage rocket. They do the launch. They bring it back. They can actually fly it back and land it on landing legs, where you then refuel it and use it again. That will be the biggest single thing that will open up the market.

Why does exploring space matter?
The simple answer is, what if Columbus never had a desire to set sail for India? What if Lewis and Clark had never set out to see all the country of the Louisiana Purchase? What if those people had never done that? What would we have missed out on? We’re taking the human race into that next unknown. Will we ever colonize another planet? Maybe. [We’re taking] that next step. Asking, is it possible? Could we colonize another body—the moon, Mars, or anywhere else—if we needed to?

Dennis Davidson serves on the Board of Fellows advisory panel for the Norwich University College of Science and Mathematics.

Norwich University Office of Communications

September 14, 2016

Norwich University hosts Resilient Vermont Conference

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

May 13, 2016

Norwich University is hosting the Institute for Sustainable Communities’ inaugural Resilient Vermont Conference Friday and Saturday, May 20-21.

This interactive event will bring together community leaders, municipal officials, organizations and agencies working to strengthen Vermont’s resilience to climate change and other challenges. Participants will gain the skills, ideas, inspiration, connections and resources for on-the-ground action to make the community stronger, more vibrant, and better prepared.

“Vermonters continue to face climate-related challenges like powerful storms and warming temperatures, all while navigating shifting economies and new policies,” conference organizer Rebecca Stone said. “We must act now to protect our treasured people and places.”

The conference offers over 30 workshops including several led by Norwich faculty and staff. On Saturday, Associate VP for Communications and Marketing Kathleen Murphy-Moriarty will teach about effective messaging; Professors Huw Read and Kris Rowley will present on cybersecurity Friday and Saturday; Professor of Civil Engineering Edwin Schmeckpeper will serve on Friday’s panel discussing “Housing Vulnerable Populations;” Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Tara Kulkarni will serve on Friday’s panel “Report Card for Vermont’s Infrastructure,” and is part of a three-person team leading the “GSI: Northfield – Walking Tour of Green Infrastructure and Flood Recovery,” which is offered on both Friday and Saturday.

In August 2011 Hurricane Irene devastated parts of the town of Northfield. In the months that followed, Norwich students gave over 4,000 hours in clean up and recovery efforts.

Norwich was the first private school in the country to teach engineering, and

according to APPA data, Norwich University has been one of the most energy efficient campuses in the country for the past 20-plus years.

Norwich has undertaken a wide range of measures to improve energy efficiency on campus including: upgrade to more efficient boilers at its Central Power Plant; replacement of all old, poorly insulated steam distribution lines; installation of a cogeneration system; use of powerful building control systems; installation of heat recovery systems; building of a biomass system that replaces the burning of fuel oil with the burning of locally-sourced wood chips to heat 98 percent of campus, and use of only high efficiency lighting and motors.

Norwich has two LEED certified dormitories, and all renovations and new construction includes the installation of proven, high efficiency systems.

Norwich University is committed to providing a world class education by integrating sustainability across curricula. Recent projects include: an award winning solar house in the US Dept. of Energy’s Solar Decathlon; affordable, micro solar houses; original research in water run-off filtering and recovery, and building an outdoor classroom at Northfield High School.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the two-day conference (cost $45) see the conference website: https://resilientvt.org/action/conference/.

About the Institute for Sustainable Communities

An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 25 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led more than 103 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and the United States. Learn more here.

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
Mobile: (802) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Ideas @ Work: #31 A Glove That Helps Teach Sign Language

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Overlapping worlds often spark innovation. While watching a sign-language interpreter at a LEGO robotics tournament, engineering major Maggie Cross ’16 came up with the idea to develop a glove that could help teach sign language. Her prototype haptic device uses embedded sensors and buzzers to cue wearers when they make mistakes, an approach known to speed learning.

Read more about Maggie Cross’s research project >>

More Ideas@Work:

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Ideas @ Work: #12 Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Photo: Judge and student at Vermont State Science and Math Fair on the Norwich campus

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Every year, students in grades 5-12 advance from local and regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) competitions throughout Vermont to present winning projects at the Vermont State Science and Mathematics Fair. The spring event is hosted on the Norwich campus and is co-directed by NU emeritus Professor of Biology Carlos Pinkham.

“I am always moved by the way students effect their belief that they can change the world,” says event co-coordinator Tricia Finkle. “Printing skin for burn victims, killing bacteria with spices, building bio sand-filters out of PVC, purifying water, and harnessing energy. They address all the important challenges we face, gaining a deep understanding of the complexity of the real world.”

“It is this desire to be a part of the solution that drives them to the level of achievement you see at the fair. Students seem to be more focused on improving the future than ever. Gone are the projects that compare brands of kitchen sponges.”

More Ideas@Work:

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Ideas @ Work: #11 Robotics Championship

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a “sports for the mind” robotics competition that helps bridge the STEM education gap for students ages 9-14. Teams prepare intensely over several weeks as they design and build robots and grapple with real-world problems. Along the way, participants learn core values of teamwork, independent problem solving, community engagement, and gracious professionalism. Three years ago, Norwich electrical and computer engineering faculty member David Feinauer organized Vermont’s first regional tournament in Plumley Armory. Last year, Feinauer and his colleagues elevated the event to serve as Vermont’s first statewide FLL championship.

More Ideas@Work:

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Norwich Professor Gregory Wight Named Vermont Engineer of the Year

Photograph of Norwich Professor Gregory Wight
Norwich University Office of Communications

February 1, 2016

Norwich University professor of engineering Gregory Wight, P.E., has been named Vermont’s 2016 Engineer of the Year by the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers.

A mechanical engineer, Prof. Wight is a recognized expert in air quality engineering. He has published numerous papers on the field and is the author of the widely-used textbook Fundamentals of Air Sampling. Educated at MIT and the University of Florida, he currently serves as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Engineering at Norwich, the university’s highest faculty honor.

Wight has previously served as an associate dean at Norwich and as the director of the university’s David Crawford School of Engineering.

Wight served four years in the Air Force following graduate school, starting as an Engineering Air Force Officer in the USAF Contract Management Division at the GE Jet Engine Facility in Evendale, Ohio. He later joined the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection six months after the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1971. Serving as a principal air quality engineer, he supervised a staff of six to inventory air pollutant emissions, model air quality, and design strategies to achieve the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Teaching Excellence

Wight has served on the Norwich University faculty since 1978. During that time, he has developed and taught nearly 33 different courses to young engineering students, receiving numerous honors in recognition of his outstanding teaching.

He has also served as a visiting professor of civil/environmental engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

At Norwich, Wight has chaired three different engineering departments, served on numerous committees, and hired or helped hire the next generation of engineering faculty.

His many professional achievements include his participation in the Vermont Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project as researcher/writer, and heading the recent, successful year-long reaccreditation effort for NU’s David Crawford School of Engineering.

Public Service

In a press release announcing the award, the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers spotlighted Wight’s significant contributions to the engineering profession, noting the “outstanding education to hundreds of future engineers” Wight has provided, as well as his active involvement in MathCounts, FIRST Lego League, and Engineers without Borders.

Wight is a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the Vermont Society of Engineers, the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

He has also been active in many community organizations in Vermont, including town government, youth soccer, his local historical society, and the Central Vermont Runners Club.