Ideas @ Work: #8 CityLAB: Berlin

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

Spring 2016

NU’s CityLAB: Berlin microcampus provides students from Norwich and other universities a life-changing opportunity to explore and experience the German capital—one of the Europe’s most dynamic cities with a population of 3.5 million. World-class faculty offer courses in Architecture + Art, History, Political Science, and Studies in War and Peace that challenge and inspire.

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Norwich Students Attend NATO Counterterrorism Training in Europe

Logo of Norwich University Peace and War Center
Norwich University Office of Communications

February 12, 2016

Four Norwich undergraduates flew to Macedonia today to attend a week-long NATO-sponsored advanced training course on counterterrorism in southeastern Europe.

The symposium is co-lead by Norwich University’s Peace and War Center and the Macedonia Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski in Skopje.

The participating NU students were also named Spring 2016 Norwich University Peace and War Fellows. They are James Verderico ‘16, Olivia DeSpirito ‘16, Sam DeLong ‘16 and Kendall Manning ’17.

They will assist during the training course and document their experience on the Norwich University Facebook page.

“Their time abroad should prove to be a powerful experience,” said Travis Morris, PhD, an assistant professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Morris directs Norwich University’s new Peace and War Center (PAWC). He developed the grant awarded by NATO to PAWC to help craft the counterterrorism advanced training course.

“The training course … bring[s] together leading terrorism scholars and experts to strategize the best methods for countering the terrorists threat to the southeastern region and its neighboring NATO members,” Morris notes.

Southeast Europe comprises the NATO member countries Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, and Bulgaria, as well as the Partnership for Peace countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Morris is a former U.S. Army and police officer, who has lived and traveled in the Middle East extensively. His scholarship focuses in part, on radicalization and counterterrorism.

Norwich senior James Verderico is a Computer Security and Information Assurance major and member of the NU Corps of Cadets (NUCC) from Boston, Mass.

His classmate Sam DeLong is a NUCC Lieutenant Colonel and Criminal Justice major from Barnstable, Mass., who plans to attend law school after graduation.

Norwich junior Kendall Manning is a Construction Management major and a Staff Sergeant in the NU Corps of Cadets from Jacksonville, Fla.

Senior Olivia DeSpirito is a biology major with a focus on biological forensics and a Captain in the NU Corps of Cadets from East Greenwich, R.I.

The NATO advanced training course will provide in-depth analysis on how to prevent radicalization and offer best practices for building resilient southeastern Europe societies. The program also seeks to boost understanding and cooperation among NATO and Partner countries in the region.

The training is a joint effort by Norwich University and United States and the Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski in Skopje, Macedonia.

About Norwich University’s Peace and War Center

The Norwich University’s Peace and War Center (PAWC) advances scholarship and deliberation on warfare and its mitigation, processes, and conditions of peace. The center’s work emphasizes research and discussion on the precipitating factors and preconditions of war and peace. In order to understand the cycles of war and peace, it is critical to examine the role of culture and language, analyze the ideological roots of turmoil and stability, and the evolving role of technology. The Center is designed to be a multi and interdisciplinary mix of international scholars and practitioners.

About the Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski–Skopje

The Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski–Skopje is an associate member of the University Goce Delcev-Stip. It functions as a high educational and research institution in defense, military and military-technical sciences, crisis management, protection, and rescue. It also serves as a defense educational hub for the region; cadets from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo study alongside Macedonian Cadets. The Military Academy has seven accredited programs for graduate studies, three programs for postgraduate studies, and a PhD program. The Military Academy curriculum is designed to enable students and cadets to acquire skills, knowledge, and capacities necessary to professionally respond to modern security challenges.

Undergraduate Research Highlights From the College of Liberal Arts

By Isabel Weinger Nielsen | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

Students in the College of Liberal Arts, working with faculty mentors, have been involved in many exciting projects at Norwich University. Some recent highlights:

Psychology major Ali Shahidy ’17 is the first student from Afghanistan to attend Norwich University. His summer research project, under the mentorship of Criminal Justice Professor Travis Morris, was titled “How is Jihad Marketed in Kabul, Afghanistan?” Shahidy was able to develop six typologies through which Jihadi information is disseminated, and concluded that Jihadi information circulates in Kabul on a regular basis, in multiple manners, and on a large scale. However, the study could not conclude that all texts are propaganda with a specific purpose to influence and encourage people to join a Jihadi movement; some texts or speeches on Jihad are ideological concepts that are taught as part of the religious studies, and therefore they can’t be defined as propaganda. Shahidy said, “I valued the opportunity to conduct one-on-one in-depth academic works with a faculty mentor who is an expert on the subject matter. The research project is a process through which I have learned tremendously about academic research from my mentor.” Shahidy will be staffing the Undergraduate Research information table as one of its new Ambassadors.

Wren and Gwynn’s London

Shaili Patel ’16 is a double-major in architectural studies and history who was mentored by Professor Emily Gray. Patel traveled to London this past summer on an Undergraduate Research Fellowship to conduct research in the British Library. She studied two architects who conceptually redesigned the city of London: Christopher Wren in the late seventeenth century, and John Gwynn in the late eighteenth. Patel’s paper has been accepted for presentation at the Phi Alpha Theta (history honors society) undergraduate research conference in November at Roger Williams University. Patel said “working on the project was an adventure; it was a story coming to life. I spent most of my time in the British Library looking at old maps. While I walked around the city, these maps became reality, and I could imagine how London looked and felt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The project was a limitless expansion of imagination and creativity. “

Nile Journal

Frank Carissimo, a double major in history and studies in war & peace with a minor in political science, will graduate in December 2014. Mentored by History Professor Rowly Brucken, Carissimo will present a paper based on his summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the Phi Alpha Theta conference. His paper, “War and Hardship on the Nile: The Journal of Frederick Charles Miller,” is based on a journal of Charles Miller that was donated by a Norwich alumnus to the University’s Archives and Special Collections. In 1885, Miller documented an expedition to rescue British Governor-General Charles George “Chinese” Gordon from the city of Khartoum, a subject which had never been studied by historians. Frank said, “The Miller journal of 1885, one of a collection of four, was fascinating to research, as each day brought more unstudied pages [to light]. The research was extremely rewarding as it was the first project I’ve completed thus far in which no other person or source-other than the 1885 Miller journal-could answer my questions.”

Post-WWII Japan

International studies major Jake Freeman ’17 was mentored by Dean Andrea Talentino. His summer research project, “From Destruction to Stability,” examined the methods and circumstances that led to the successful rebuilding of Japan after WWII through the national investment of social and economic resources by the United States for the purpose of developing a mutually beneficial relationship of security and economic interests.

Freeman’s study showed that economic policies promoting the middle class, combined with social institutions that continue to reinforce the outcomes of those policies, along with a mutual security interest make a successful mission. Freeman said, “The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and working closely with Dr. Talentino opened my eyes to research being a professional way to discover things no one else has and, that each person’s research is a small jigsaw piece to a [complete] picture of understanding.”

About Undergraduate Research

Norwich students have a wealth of options when it comes to learning. One of the most exciting developments in this area is the Undergraduate Research Program, which provides funding to students for summer research projects, original research, or creative work projects done during the academic year, as well as opportunities to present papers at professional meetings.

Each October, a Faculty Scholarship Celebration is held on campus featuring displays of faculty/student joint summer research fellowship projects. In December, an Undergraduate Research Symposium generates conversation about research methods across disciplines and gets students thinking about independent research. The symposium provides a collaborative forum for students to develop their research ideas and introduces them to a range of funding opportunities. In May, a Student Scholarship Celebration allows students the opportunity to display their research abstracts from the previous summer or academic year, and recipients of upcoming summer grants are acknowledged.

A recently created Ambassadors Program enlists Undergraduate Research fellows from the previous year to promote the program by visiting classes, attending department meetings, displaying their research posters in the Wise Campus Center, and providing information to future student researchers.

English Professor Amy Woodbury Tease and Criminal Justice Professor Travis Morris are the COLA representatives to the Undergraduate Research Committee.

Read more about Norwich Undergraduate Research.

In Europe, Students Research Old London, Roman Concrete Mysteries

Using summer research grants to study primary sources, undergraduates Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson analyzed early London architecture and the stuff that made Roman buildings endure.
By Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson

October 22, 2014

This summer, two Norwich University architecture students researched intriguing historic puzzles in London and Italy.

Undergraduate architecture and history major Shaili Patel, a rising junior, researched the influence of Enlightenment philosophies on London city planning through the work of Christopher Wren and John Gwynn, luminaries of 17th and 18th century architecture.

Patel visited the English capital to study and analyze primary sources, most of which were original engravings of city maps and plans designed by Wren and Gwynn. At the same time, she experienced modern London; in many ways the opposite of the rational London proposed by the gentleman architects she studied.

Her research culminated in an in-depth paper with visual analysis of the plans and texts she studied. Patel plans to submit her paper for presentation at the Phi Alpha Theta (the national history honor society) undergraduate research conference.

“Wren presented a visual theory with his plans, while Gwynn took the theory and made it a practical application of the rationalism of the Enlightenment that is evident in the London of today,” Patel says. Consequently, more of Gwynn’s ideas are present in present-day London.

Roman Concrete

While Roman ruins are also present in London, undergraduate architecture student and rising junior Taylor Davidson traveled to Italy this summer to research the applications of Roman concrete and related designs as part of a Norwich University Summer Research Fellowship.

His research, entitled “Concrete: Looking at the Old to Improve the New,” looks for practical techniques that can be taken from Imperial Roman concrete and applied to modern construction.

“The longevity of these structures, such as the Pantheon and Coliseum in Rome, stand as a testament to the success of Imperial Rome’s concrete and design,” Davidson says.

“If we can apply some of the techniques that proved successful in Rome, perhaps we can increase the structural longevity of our own concrete, thereby reducing costs and CO2 emissions … from concrete production.”

Davidson visited Rome and Pompeii to examine remaining examples of Roman concrete. He spent weeks documenting and examining structures to extrapolate techniques and material use that contributed to the longevity of the structures.

“Rome is a treasure of architectural wealth. The fact that these buildings, some of which are more than 2,000 years old, remain standing provides us with the richest source for examining and understanding the past,” Davidson said.

Davidson documented sites using notes, detailed drawings and detailed photographs of each site he visited, all of which contribute to his culminating research paper.
These ancient Roman architectural structures preserve a record of invaluable information about the civilization from which they arose.

Davidson hopes to answer why modern structures have such a comparatively short lifespan, a problem that faces contemporary architects, builders and society overall.
Deducing the key techniques and designs from ancient Roman can inform the construction of the future, he says. It may be possible to create structures that endure beyond what we now consider the acceptable lifespan of a building.