Ideas @ Work: #24 NU Undergraduate Research Symposium

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

Spring 2016

What would a criminal justice system look like if we colonized Mars? How can we cure cancer? As research ideas, the questions are a bit raw. But that’s kind of the point of NUURS, a multi-day symposium designed to foster “scholarly inquiry and creative thinking” at Norwich. The brainchild of English professor Amy Woodbury Tease, the annual event encourages students to pitch their burning research questions. Fellow student and faculty scholars then offer advice on shaping those raw ideas into solid research proposals. Participants also learn more about the nuts and bolts of long-term research projects. Capturing the essence of what the program is all about, this year’s NUURS event was titled, “From Student to Scholar.”

Related Website:

Norwich University Office of Academic Research
academics.norwich.edu/academic-research/

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Ideas @ Work: #32 Sparkling Tree Water

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

Spring 2016

On Arbor Day last year, Asarasi CEO and NU alum Adam Lazar M’06 debuted Sparkling Tree Water, his first in a line of planned beverages produced from maple trees. The lightly carbonated, filtered water represents a tiny portion of the estimated 500 million gallons of water that is a by-product of New England and Canada’s maple sugaring industry. In an interview with Innovation Destination: Hartford, Lazar described his start-up as an impact-focused business. “We are impacting water conservation [and] creating value-added products to the maple farming communities of North America.”

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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 >>

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Ideas @ Work: #26-28 School of Architecture + Art

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

Spring 2016

Listing all the innovative projects spilling out of Chaplin Hall would easily fill the rest of this magazine. So let’s settle for a few highlights:

26. Professor Eleanor D’Aponte continues to explore fabric-formed concrete. “The value of her work as part of the research contingent of a vanguard movement … cannot be underestimated,” says colleague Cara Armstrong. “It is radical research propositions such as hers that change how we build.”

27. Meanwhile, architecture professor Matt Lutz and instructor Stephen Kredell worked with sophomores last fall to conceive how repurposed Conex shipping containers could be used to build classrooms, health clinics, and community centers in Afghanistan.

28. And at a kickoff event last fall, senior architecture students led by architecture professor Michael Hoffman took design inspiration from Palette2030.org. The nascent architectural movement and design’s credo calls for zeroing out the carbon footprint of the built environment in the next several decades.

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Ideas @ Work: #23 Building a Better Park

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

Spring 2016

Norwich faculty David Westerman (geology), Tara Kulkarni (civil engineering), Matthew Lutz (architecture), and Thomas Roberge (physical education) are working with NU students and the Town of Northfield to design and build a community park on reclaimed land along the flood-prone Dog River. Striving to design more than just a pretty public park, the multi-disciplinary town-and-gown team hopes to build a multi-use green space that also educates visitors about the river’s natural flood cycle.

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Ideas @ Work: #21 Norwich Honors Program

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

Spring 2016

Launched four-and-a-half years ago as a way to attract and retain exceptional students, the Norwich Honors Program graduated its inaugural class of honor students in 2015. Today, 75 students are currently following the honors track, which begins with a first-year honors seminar and concludes with a senior-year thesis—with many enriching challenges in between. “Students advance their critical thinking ability beyond the level typically expected of undergraduates,” says Darlene Olsen, an associate professor of mathematics who coordinates the program. By senior year, students are ready for graduate-level work.

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Ideas @ Work: #17 Two-Stage Trigger

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

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Applying new science to an old idea, Norwich psychology faculty and students have spent the past year developing an early prototype of a two-stage firearm trigger. Faculty members Matt Thomas, Kevin Fleming, and Carole Bandy, and students John Dulmage, Heather Powell, and Muhammad Ali Shahidy believe the project may help prevent wrongful shootings. Their work is based on findings at Norwich that reveal how the human brain processes shooting scenarios. While it takes our brains just 100 milliseconds to deliver instructions to squeeze a trigger, it takes our brains 320 milliseconds to visually process a target. Did the suspect pull a gun or a cell phone? The two-stage trigger project aims to give our brains a brief moment of pause to ask, Are you sure?

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Ideas @ Work: #4 Shrinking Science

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

Spring 2016

Ion microscopes aren’t cheap (average price: $500,000+) or small (think room-size). So Norwich physics professor Arthur Pallone developed an alternative. Dubbed the Tabletop Transmission Ion Microscope, or T-TIME, the device is composed of a polonium-210 radioactive source and a hacked web camera. The setup uses alpha particles to image meso- and microscopic-sized objects and excels at imaging materials and tissues with different densities. With help from then-student Patrick Barnes ’13 and a one-year Vermont Genetics Network grant, Pallone built his prototype for about $500. Another advantage: “The current T-TIME prototype can fit inside a shoebox,” Pallone says. His ultimate goal is to develop an affordable microscope that can reveal cell structures without laborious prep work.

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Ideas @ Work: #19 DIY Sports Reporting

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

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Director of Athletic Communications Derek Dunning finished the 2015 Boston Marathon in 2 hours 57 minutes. He can also drain the occasional jump shot while doubling as the George Plimpton of do-it-yourself sports reporting on campus. Dunning and his sports-com colleagues have challenged Cadets athletes to a number of sporting contests, from field goal kickoffs to soccer penalty shootouts. Video of the often-comic results can be seen at Norwichathletics.com. No word yet on a rugby challenge.

Ideas @ Work: #18 Cutting Red Tape

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

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

This academic year, Gregory Matthews, Norwich’s new vice president of enrollment management, wrote a memo outlining ways NU can think more strategically about student retention, applying concepts of user-experience product development to campus culture. “It is important to consider what makes up an ideal student experience and then work back from there,” he wrote. Key components include clear paths to outcomes, simpler processes, and good stuff to do often. Hailing the insights, Norwich President Richard W. Schneider shared Matthews’ memo with faculty and staff.

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