Norwich Commencement | The Graduates: Kenneth Sikora ’16

Photo: Kenneth Sikora poses in white lab coat before chalkboard

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Kenneth Sikora ’16

Hometown: Calais, Vt.
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Biology
Student Path: Commuter

  • Academic Honors Program
  • Norwich University Fencing Club
  • Chameleon Literary Journal
  • Summer Research Internship
  • Undergraduate Research Program Ambassador
  • Published research in The Oswald Review + the International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics


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What Norwich Taught Me

“[Norwich] taught me all the basics of performing research—formulating a research question [and/or] hypothesis, writing a proposal, troubleshooting, failing, and communicating results with an audience comprised of individuals who are not familiar with my field’s lingo.”

“I am deeply grateful to all the professors who taught me,” says graduating senior Kenneth Sikora. “Without venturing into hyperbole, the least I can say is essentially every one of them was a generous, kind, patient, and knowledgeable teacher.”

Sikora plans to attend medical school in the future, where he hopes to train as a general practitioner. During three intense years at Norwich, he solidified his love for language and chemistry, he says, and led the fencing club while completing NU’s academically rigorous honors track.

Inspired during a world literature course with writing professor Sean Prentiss, Sikora became interested in the translation of medieval Chinese poetry. He began work on Lady Su Hui’s Star Gauge, written in A.D. 360, and plans to continue the project after graduation. He also published a refereed journal paper on Beowulf and edited the campus literary journal, the Chameleon.

In the lab, Sikora studied bioinformatics among other topics, examining the differential expression of genes behind certain types of cancers as part of a research project. He developed a protocol to express the H.pylori enzyme NDGluRS in E.coli bacteria with Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Chemistry Ethan Guth. He also worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Seth Frisbie to test the fit of calibration curves, which are often used to convert electrical signals to chemical concentrations.

Asked to comment on a highlight of his time at Norwich, he says, “My experience was that the whole time was a highlight, with only one or two dim spots. Perhaps my introduction to the field of research was brighter than the rest. But my first organic chemistry class was equally thrilling at the time.”

Norwich Presents Poetry Reading and Discussion of Armenian Genocide


March 16, 2016

The Norwich University Writers Series presents award-winning author Dana Walrath, PhD, on Wednesday, March 23, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Chaplin Hall Gallery.

Walrath is the granddaughter of survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915. This event combines her poetry reading along with commentary by special panelist Professor of History Rowland Brucken, who teaches courses on genocide, prosecuting human rights abuses, the Cold War, civil rights movements, and nation-building, and specializes in human rights law.

Presented in conjunction with the Peace and War Center and sponsored by Vermont Humanities, this special event is part of PoemCampus, a celebration of poetry across campus, and is free and open to the public.

Walrath earned a PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University. She completed “Like Water on Stone” (Delacorte/Random House, 2014), her first novel, during the year she spent as a Fulbright Scholar in Armenia working on a project that builds on her award-winning graphic memoir series “Aliceheimer’s” (Penn State Press, 2016). When not in the mountains of Armenia, she lives in the mountains of Vermont, where she is on faculty at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine.

Born in North Carolina, she holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and has lived in various locations such as New York and Yemen, residing now in Vermont. Once in state, she used stories and art to teach medical students at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine.

Walrath is the author of the young adult novel-in-verse, “Like Water on Stone,” which details three children running from the Armenian genocide. Karen Hesse of the Newberry Medal described it as “a heartbreaking tale of familial love, blind trust, and the crushing of innocence. A fine and haunting work.” “Like Water on Stone” was a finalist for the inaugural Vermont Book Award.

Walrath will be reading selected poems, as well as discussing the Armenian Genocide with Brucken.

The Norwich Writers Series is produced by the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of English & Communications, and the Vermont Humanities. All Writers Series events are free and open to the public.

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) 

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: