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Building Resilient Communities through Interdisciplinary Research and Design Collaboration

William F. Lyons Jr., JD, MSS, MTUS, MSt.

Megan Liptak

CGRS Past Team Members

In the Media



Disclaimer: The opinions represented in the presentations and products showcased on the Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) website represent the participants’ personal views, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of Norwich University or CGRS.

CGRS Key Campus Contacts

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jr., JD, MSS, MTUS, MSt.
Colonel (Retired), US Army Reserve
Director, Center for Global Resilience & Security
Norwich University: Adjunct Faculty, Civil Engineering and Construction Management

Portrait of William F. LyonsWilliam F. Lyons Jr. was appointed the director of the Center for Global Resiliency and Security in July of 2022. Bill has more than thirty years of experience in academia, consulting, law, government, and technology, and is a highly respected executive, entrepreneur, and thought leader. A 1990 graduate of Norwich University, Bill earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Within Norwich, Bill has been as a senior fellow in the Center for Global Resilience & Security, an adjunct faculty member in the David Crawford School of Engineering, and a consultant to the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI). He has also served the university as the President of the Norwich University Alumni Association. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he is a candidate for a PhD and a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellow. His previous academic appointments include adjunct faculty positions at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Southern New Hampshire University, and the US Army Command & General Staff College. He holds a juris doctor from Suffolk University Law School (with honors in environmental law), a master of strategic studies from the US Army War College, a master of transportation and urban systems from North Dakota State University, and a master of studies in sustainability leadership from the University Cambridge. Over the last fifteen years, the consulting firm Bill founded and led has executed projects in nineteen countries on five continents for U.S. government clients, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the special operations community. He is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and recently retired as a colonel in the Army Reserves, having served most of his career in military intelligence. His research interests include environmental security, sustainable urban design in developing countries, and new urban mobility. He is widely published in academic journals, trade journals, and in periodicals. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Assistant Director, Research Centers

Megan Liptak joined Norwich University in 2010 and has planned, managed and executed events and provided various administrative services for over ten years. She has served on several campus committees, most recently as the chair of the Staff Retreat planning committee, and co-chair of the International Symposium of Military Academies planning committee. She is currently a member of the Faculty/Staff Campaign Committee and an NU Wellness Ambassador. She holds a bachelor of arts in history with a minor in anthropology/archaeology from Millersville University in Pennsylvania and a master of arts in military history from Norwich University where her capstone project focused on the comparison of combat soldier experiences during World War II and the conflict in Vietnam.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., PH.D.
Founding Director
Associate Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Portrait of Tara Kulkarni, Ph.D., P.ETara Kulkarni, Ph.D., P.E., joined the Norwich family in 2011 and served as the director of the Center for Global Resilience and Security at Norwich University from its launch in 2017 through 2022.

For CGRS, Tara co-led the university’s Environmental Security Initiative (ESI), and CGRS efforts in developing an energy resilience and security education track to create generational change in the US

Department of Army. At the state and local level, Tara created and led CGRS’s Dog River Conservancy for three years and CGRS efforts to coordinate the activities of the Resilient Vermont Network, including conducting professional development workshops and conferences for emergency responders, local area hazard mitigation professionals and nonprofit organizations. She serves on Vermont’s State Hazard Mitigation Planning steering committee and, on the science, and data subcommittee of Vermont’s Climate Council. She also serves on the boards of Vermont’s Energy Action Network, and Conservation Law Foundation and is part of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Association of Environmental Health and Sciences Foundation. The funds she has raised for CGRS have also resulted in supporting multiple undergraduate student fellowships. Tara complements her technical expertise with advocating for the humanities through co-directing the Norwich Humanities Initiative.

CGRS Advisory Board

Colonel, Vermont National Guard (Ret.)

Albie Lewis ’73 & M’98 served as the Region 1 federal coordinating officer (FCO) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from February 2007 to August 2020.  In his capacity as FCO, he led disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Ike. As deputy and special assistant to the FCO, he aided in disaster responses for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 2005-2006 Texas wildfires. Albie previously held an appointment as the director of Vermont Emergency Management. In this position he oversaw all operations of the State of Vermont’s Emergency Management system, leading teams in preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts for hazard emergencies across the state. In 25 years with the Berlin (Vermont) Volunteer Fire Department, he lent his expertise as a firefighter, hazardous materials technician, high angle/mountain rescue, and cold water/ice rescue diver, and fire chief. He served twenty-eight years in the U.S. military, completing his last active-duty tour as the U.S. Military Liaison Team Chief for Macedonia. He helped establish Vermont's Army Mountain Warfare School, and retired as a colonel from the Vermont National Guard. In addition to his Norwich-earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Albie is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and holds a second graduate degree in Strategic Studies.

Albie knows something about resilience. Abandoned by his father at just a year old, he arose from humble beginnings as a ward of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As a young servicemember, he suffered broken cheekbones and a fractured eye socket following a horse kick to the head. While recovering from those injuries, he competed in the 1980 Olympic trials as a pentathlete. Albie turns every challenge into an opportunity to grow stronger and to serve. Learn more about him:

The Norwich Record | Summer 2019, “When the Floodwaters Recede
The Norwich Record | Winter 2017 (p. 32), “Leading through Crises

, PH.D.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Emeritus Professor of Regional Planning, Associate Director of the Center for Economic Development, Former Dean of the Graduate School
United States Army National Guard: Brigadier General (Ret.)

A Senior Fulbright Scholar, John R. Mullin has written or edited more than one hundred book chapters, book reviews, technical reports, journal articles, and conference proceedings. His research and professional interests include industrial revitalization, port development, and downtown planning. Now retired from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he continues to teach in the honors program and serves on dissertation and thesis committees. In his capacity as associate director of the Center for Economic Development, he continues to provide technical assistance on economic development to cities and towns across the Commonwealth. As a consultant, he is assisting the town of Haddam, Connecticut in the preparation of its Higganum, Village Center. Mullin also continues his work with the American Planning Association, recently serving on a committee to help prepare a future research agenda for the APA Foundation. And, he has served as a referee for the Journal of the American Planning Association. His article on the Estey Organ Company and its impact on Brattleboro, Vermont, will appear in an upcoming issue of Journal of Industrial Archeology, and he is presently preparing a paper on the influences of nineteenth-century English industrial town planning on the American experience to be presented before the Association of European Schools of Planning.  

Community Workshop: Principal

Rebecca Sanborn Stone is a dynamic community planner and instigator, strategist, writer, and speaker who is passionate about helping people create great communities. She is known for using creative and surprising techniques to engage, delight, and build collaborative and inclusive community projects. Through her work with the Vermont-based consulting firm Community Workshop, she helps bring creative engagement, planning, placemaking, and effective communications to communities across North America. She demonstrates a particular expertise in economic development, resilience and sustainability, tactical urbanism, and capacity building, and is the author of the DIY Community Cookbook, a free, hands-on how-to guide to simple community projects. Her recent projects include the EPA’s Local Foods, Local Places initiative, the Vermont State Hazard Mitigation Plan, and the national Play Everywhere Challenge. Sanborn Stone holds a master’s degree in environmental science from the Yale University School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College. She lives in Bethel, Vermont, with her husband and two daughters, one dog, eleven chickens, and a big garden.

Faculty Fellows

Norwich University: Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Portrait of MICHAEL CROSS, PH.D. Michael Cross, PhD, teaching classes in the areas of circuits, electronics, energy systems, and engineering design. Cross received degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Vermont and began his academic career at UVM, where he taught courses in the areas of analog and digital circuits, electronics, semiconductor physics, power electronics, and engineering design. His doctoral and post-doctoral research at the University of Vermont explored the electrical, structural, optical, and electro-chemical properties of thin films and energetic nanomaterials. His professional experience includes working as a development engineer at IBM Microelectronics in Essex Junction, Vt., where he was involved in the development of state-of-the-art photomasks. His professional and scholarly work has been published both nationally and internationally.

Norwich University: Associate Professor of Biology

Simon Pearishstudies the behavior of fishes and uses ecological thinking to look for solutions to the eutrophication of our lakes and streams. He completed his undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology at Indiana University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Since moving to Vermont, Pearish has joined the coalition of researchers, conservation workers, and concerned citizens that are looking for solutions to improve the water quality of our lakes and streams. At the center of his work in this realm are so-called treatment wetlands. Whether constructed in natural areas, in an urban setting, or in the form of an island floating in the middle of a lake, treatment wetlands promise to improve water quality, while providing natural beauty and improved habitat for wildlife. 

Norwich University: Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance

Portrait of Rachele Pojednic Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D., Ed.M is an assistant professor and program director of exercise science in Norwich University’s Health and Human Performance Department and a research associate at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Pojednic’s work examines nutrition and physical activity education for health care and fitness professionals as well as overall diet, supplementation and physical activity interventions on muscle physiology, chronic disease and healthy aging. Pojednic received her doctorate from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. She also holds a Master of Education in Physical Education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Cardiopulmonary and Exercise Science from Northeastern University. Her research at Tufts was completed in the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia laboratory at the U.S. Department of Argiculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, where she received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Norwich University: Assisstant Professor of Economics

Jacki Strenio is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Norwich University. Her research and teaching interests are in gender, health, and public policy. Her current research focuses on violence against women and girls, including public space sexual harassment and intimate partner violence. Her research emphasizes that such violence not only constrains a person’s capability for life and bodily health but can also result in other significant unfreedoms including deprivation of the capability for economic well-being. Recent publications on these topics have appeared in the journal Feminist Economics, the Handbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan, and The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Economics.

She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Utah and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also holds a Higher Education Teaching Specialist (HETS) designation and is committed to implementing more effective, research-backed practices in her classrooms and encouraging diversity in economics education more broadly. She has published on the necessity of plurality and innovation in economics education, with articles appearing in The International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education and the Journal of Economics Education (forthcoming). At Norwich University, she teaches Public Finance, Health Economics and Policy, Principles of Microeconomics, and The Structure and Operation of the World Economy.

Norwich University: Assistant Professor of Spanish

Kaitlin E. Thomas completed her doctorate in Hispanic studies at the University of Birmingham (U.K.). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic studies from Washington College and an Master of Arts in Latin American and Spanish language and literature from New York University (Madrid). Thomas has also completed nondegree studies with the Council of International Education Exchange in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Sevilla, Spain: the Centro Panoamericano de Idiomas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica; the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain, and the Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” in La Libertad, El Salvador. At Norwich, she teaches the courses Spanish I and II, Intermediate Spanish I and II, Advanced Spanish I and II, Hispanic Literature, the special topics classes U.S. Latinas/os and the Border, Music and Politics in Latin America, Contemporary Cuba, and La Hashtag nation. 

Senior Fellows

Environmental Scientist

In her work with TerraGraphics International Foundation (TIFO), an international non-governmental organization, Casey Bartrem helps support mining and recycling communities in improving environmental health. Since 2010, Bartrem has worked with international NGOs and state and federal Nigerian governments in responding to severe heavy metal poisoning in artisanal mining communities in Northern Nigeria. She has worked on environmental health projects in Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the United States, often in close collaboration with local stakeholders, government representatives, humanitarian organizations, and other NGOs. Bartrem is a visiting lecturer at the American University of Armenia’s School of Public Health, where she teaches environmental health/risk assessment for master of public health students. She also serves as a fellow for the Collegium Ramazzini, an independent, international academy of renowned scientists in the fields of occupational and environmental health. From 2007 to 2009, Bartrem was a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Lesotho. She is developing a course in Environmental Crime for the Norwich School of Justice Studies and Sociology.

Human Rights, Migration Issues

Dorien Braam, PH.D. directs Hong Kong-based Praxis Labs, where she researches health, protection and migration issues for the United Nations (U.N.) and other international organizations. Previously, she worked with the U.N., the Netherlands government and nongovernmental organizations across Asia and Eastern Africa, focusing on forced migration, protection, human rights and shelter. Braam holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and a Master of Science in biomedical sciences from the University of Edinburgh with a thesis on animal health in complex humanitarian emergencies. She is currently completing her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge in England, where she studies zoonoses — diseases transmitted between animals and humans — in displaced populations, with a focus on the Greater Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Entrepreneur, Economist, Educator

Kahwa Douoguih  is committed to creating and growing business opportunities and sustainable solutions for the energy, mining, and agribusiness sectors. Over the course of her career, Douoguih has developed interactive modeling and scenario testing tools, harnessing the power of economics and data analytics for executive decision-making. She brings a broad scope of international experience in Africa and the Americas in the areas of economics, development, and finance at both public and private sector institutions and several start-up ventures.  As a CGRS senior fellow, she will leverage her international experience to help Norwich students develop a globalized perspective in business and entrepreneurship. Kahwa holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, an M.S. in mineral economics from the Colorado School of Mines, and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Norwich University: Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Retired)

Ronald Lessard joined the faculty of the David Crawford School of Engineering at Norwich University in 1979 and was named a professor of electrical and computer engineering in 1995. He completed his Ph.D. in engineering at the University of New Hampshire, developing an artificial intelligence (Al) lumber-drying controller, and later worked as an electronics design engineer for a commercial meter manufacturer in New Jersey. Lessard retired from Norwich after a distinguished, 42-year career, serving 20 years as the head of his department. He joins CGRS as a senior fellow with expertise in aerial mapping to support the Dog River Conservancy project.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow

Hosted by the John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center, Eszter Szenes is on campus for a two-year visiting research position as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow. At Norwich, she focuses on online radicalization strategies, especially the power of language and symbolism in the construction of far-right propaganda and disinformation campaigns that incite violence. Szenes is a research fellow at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Vienna, Austria/Budapest, Hungary. She holds a doctorate in systemic functional linguistics from the University of Sydney. Her research interests include far-right extremism and radicalization, critical thinking and the literacy practices of academic disciplines.

Student Fellows: Energy Resilience and Security

Camryn Anderson ’22 studies general engineering with a focus on environmental engineering at Norwich University. She is a research apprentice to Professor Tara Kulkarni, performing research on the 100 Resilient Cities. She believes the fellowship under CGRS is an amazing opportunity to develop much needed research skills as well as provide a way to immerse herself in the topic of environmental security.

Sarah Carls ’22 is a senior from Niagara Falls, New York. She is pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering in Norwich University’s David Crawford School of Engineering with a minor in leadership. In May 2022, she will commission into the U.S. Air Force as an electrical engineer. She is captain of the Norwich women’s swim and dive team and holds the school diving record. She is doing research with the Army Corps of Engineers and CGRS, researching renewable energy with microgrids and tackling how renewables can be emulated today.

Anhkiet Huynh ’24 is a civilian student at Norwich working on a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. He grew up on the island of Saipan in the CNMI and dealt with situations relating to natural disasters, which motivated him to focus in power systems. He hopes to create technologies to help individuals and families who have been hit by natural disasters. To that goal, he aims to travel around the world to further his education and knowledge and find more solutions to the issues different regions deal with.

Ilyes Hassani ’24 is a member of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets and part of the Regimental Band. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio, with origins from Morocco, where he was raised and spent most of his childhood. He is double majoring in mathematics and mechanical engineering. He is seeking a commission into the Air Force Reserves through Air Force ROTC and would like to follow an Aerospace engineering path, as he believes that “helping others is my mission and engineering is my passion.” He speaks Arabic, French and English and is seeking to learn Spanish. He is also very passionate about soccer and supports his favorite team, Raja Casablanca, Morocco.

Student Fellows: Environmental Security

Reiley Anderson ’23 is a member in the Norwich University Corps of Cadets, majoring in management with a focus in computer information systems. She is from Northern New Jersey. She seeks to fulfill her Army scholarship requirements and to commission into the United States Army in May of 2023, with plans to pursue business ventures focusing in communications and information systems. As a CGRS fellow, she will further her skills and work with others who are similarly motivated to develop their research strengths. 

Lydia Brown ’23 is a member of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets and with a major in criminal justice and a psychology minor. Following graduation, she seeks to commission into the U.S. Army National Guard to pursue a career path in law, “as I aspire to commit my future to the service of others through the ideals of justice.” Recycling, composting, and buying local is very much normalized in Vermont. As a fellow, she is “excited to conduct further research to bring awareness to both environmental security and degradation, especially when it comes to those who are from other states or remain unaware of the importance of such matters.”

Michael Cathy majors in political science with a minor in Spanish at Norwich University, where he is also a member of Army ROTC.

Renata De Paiva ’23 was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She studied agroecology in high school and majors in computer science at Norwich University. During high school she studied the environment, which instilled in her a great passion to learn more about it, especially when technology is involved. After Norwich, she aspires to graduate school. Renata loves learning new languages; she speaks Portuguese and English and is currently studying German. Besides that, she wishes to learn at least two other languages.

Before starting his academic journey with Norwich in January 2021, Matthew Kolb ’23 attended One Station Unit Training in Fort Benning, Georgia. His is currently serving in the Vermont Army National Guard and is majoring in Studies in War and Peace, with passions including public policy, elections, and international affairs. As a fellow, he hopes to gain valuable experiences, overcome challenges and learn more about the world around us.

Shawn Matthews ’22 is a senior in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program studying environmental science with a concentration in law and protection. He is currently conducting research within the Environmental Science department, and plans to pursue his master’s degree in geosciences upon graduation. He grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and fishing in his free time. He is motivated by a drive to learn and explore as much as he can and to share that knowledge with as many people as possible.

Maggie McNeil ’23 studies mechanical engineering at Norwich University. As part of the Honors Program, she dove deep into the topic of sustainability, sparking an interest in environmental and chemical engineering. She is an outsider hitter on Norwich University women’s volleyball team, filling the role of team social media coordinator and representative. When not on the court, she serves on the executive committee of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is also an active member and officer for the Norwich chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. While a student, she hopes to obtain her pilot’s license and study abroad. Following graduation, she wishes to pursue a career in engineering and coach collegiate volleyball.  

Dean Proctor ’24 was born and raised in Lisbon, New Hampshire, and graduated in 2020 as valedictorian of his high school class. He studies biology, and following his time at Norwich, he hopes to go to medical school. He wants to become a pediatrician and eventually work with Doctors Without Borders. He is involved in clubs such as Pinky Swear, the American Chemistry Society and the Pre-health Professions Club, and is a co-leader of events for Norwich Christian Fellowship. He enjoys learning how the world around him works and trying to understand why things are the way they are. He is motivated to have a better understanding of research to help him along the path of becoming a doctor.

Molly Twombly ’23 studies biochemistry with a minor in English at Norwich University. She grew up in the small coastal town of Rockport, Massachusetts, which fueled her passion for the ocean and its inhabitants. She plays tennis at Norwich, and in the future, hopes to work for NASA as an astrobiologist.

Student Fellows: Resilient Vermont

Angela Samohuallapa Esenarro ’22 is pursuing an undergraduate degree in civil engineering as part of Norwich University’s David Crawford School of Engineering. Born in Peru, she has worked on diverse analytical research projects from high school to college. In previous academic research projects, she conscientiously analyzed events’ backgrounds from scientific and technological to political, artistic, and historical vantage points. She also participated in a Model United Nations at her secondary school in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). She currently works for the Norwich academic achievement center as a tutor, helping students in Spanish, statics, and surveying courses.

Student Fellows: Dog River Conservancy

Hannah Kowalewski ’22 is a member of Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and military studies-naval science. She grew up in the small town of Landisburg, Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she will commission into the Navy as a surface warfare officer. On campus, she is president of Norwich Christian Fellowship. She is motivated to see how technology and advances in science have made the world a better place, such as in cleaning the environment and finding new treatments or preventative measures for diseases.

CGRS related news

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