From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.
BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018
Associate Professor Huw Reed, director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, is about to show off his year-old Internet of Things Lab in Dewey Hall. Bot armies of Wi-Fi-connected appliances and garage-door openers have been wreaking havoc across the internet of late, while smart devices are now supplying evidence in murder trials. Ready or not, the Internet of Things era is upon us. The Welshman punches the door key code (Look out Q!), steps in, and the place looks like…the bedroom of your best friend from middle school, minus the bunkbed. Granted there are tech anachronisms galore crammed into the roughly eight-foot by eight-foot space: laptops and flat-screen monitors, a smart home hub, old iPhone 3s and 4s, Philips LED smart bulbs, a motion sensor, Wi-Fi-chipped power strips, a docked and obviously on strike iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. But the wainscoting blending into square acoustic tiles, murky carpeting, and trio of yard-tall, circa 1987 brass lamps are spot on. Is it a lab, you wonder, or a fort? But then again, that’s kind of the point. Like Virginia Woolf’s room of one’s own, Reed says a lab is “a place tucked away from the rest of the world.” It’s not a hideout, but a place to work that’s free of distraction and full of the right tools. “The process of research is not one that you can do five minutes here, ten minutes there—squeezing between a meeting,” Reed says. “To make new discoveries, to think outside the box,” you need time to work and the proper tools to do it. Seconds after we enter, Reed’s smartphone chirps. A text message tells him someone is in the lab. Clearly the place isn’t so retro, after all.
BY SEAN MARKEY | NU Office of Communications
February 6, 2015
Former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gordon R. Sullivan’59 said climate change is spurring more instability around the world and that the security risks from global warming are advancing faster than expected.
“We are not prepared for the pace of climate change,” Sullivan said, noting that it will impact US military readiness and national power, particularly domestic infrastructure.
Already the United States has been caught flat-footed by the speed of melting sea ice in the Arctic. Russia, Canada and Denmark are posturing for control of oil reserves beneath the North Pole. But the US lacks sufficient ice-hardened ships and communications and navigation gear to respond to crises there, Sullivan said.
Elsewhere, shifting weather patterns will stress the world’s ability to meet regional demand for food and fresh water, leading to further political unrest and potential mass transnational migrations. Sullivan said this is particularly true in Africa and Asia, where the human population is exploding.
Climate change will place more demand on the U.S. military to respond to national and international crises, challenge readiness and send troops into harsher operating environments, Sullivan said.
The retired four-star general made the remarks yesterday during a speech focused on climate change and national security at his alma mater, kicking off 2015’s first Todd Lecture Series event. The free public lecture series, established in 2008, aims to bring thought-provoking speakers to inform and inspire Norwich’s campus and central Vermont communities.
Sullivan served as the 32nd Army chief of staff under Presidents Bush and Clinton, where he helped re-engineer and downsize the U.S. Army after the Cold War, leading it into the Information Age while facing a 40 percent budget cut.
Since 2006, Sullivan has served on the Military Advisory Board of the CNA Corp., a government-funded nonprofit military research organization.
In 2007, the panel of 16 retired generals and admirals identified climate change as a “threat multiplier,” particularly in fragile areas of the globe. The board issued a second report last year, concluding that climate change poses an accelerating risk to national security.
For example, it linked the devastating drought of 2010 in the United States, Russia and China to a steep decline in world wheat production that sparked a series of cascading effects. Bread prices spiked in Tunisia, Egypt and other wheat-importing countries in Northern Africa. The shortages and massive price increases led to food riots and unrest that precipitated the Arab Spring revolutions.
“While there were deep underlying causes for overthrow of several of the governments, the catalyst that set this off can be directly linked to weather and climate change,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s speech outlined the effects climate change is having on four major areas related to US national security: global instability, melting Arctic sea ice, U.S. military readiness and U.S. power.
Sullivan gave a synopsis of recent climate change trends and how they might destabilize regimes or regions in the future. He noted that in January, both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2014 was the warmest year on record since 1880, that the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, and that eight of the ten costliest U.S. storms have occurred in the past decade.
“Globally, we have seen recent prolonged drought act as a factor driving both spikes in food prices and mass displacement of populations, each contributing to instability and eventual conflict,” he said.
“For example, five years of drought in Syria decimated farmers’ crops and forced millions to migrate to urban areas. These drought refugees found little in the way of jobs and were quickly disenfranchised with the government,” Sullivan said. “The result is civil war in Syria.”
Sullivan said additional impacts can be seen in unprecedented wildfires and the effect of rising sea levels on low-lying island nations, some of which are planning wholesale evacuation.
“Over the coming decades, I think those areas already stressed by water and food shortage and poor governance — these span the globe — will present the greatest near-term threat for conflict,” he said.
“In the longer term, many of these areas will be threatened by rising sea level.”
Sullivan, who chairs Norwich’s Board of Trustees, closed his presentation by challenging Norwich students to lead the nation in tackling the complex problems associated with climate change.
Norwich University is honored to announce that retired U.S. Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, dean of Tufts University’s the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, will deliver the university’s 2018 Commencement address to graduating seniors on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Stavridis is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and the current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He serves as the chief international diplomacy and national security analyst for NBC News in New York. He is also chairman of the board of the U.S. Naval Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is an associate fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
Stavridis, a South Florida native, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a distinguished graduate in 1976. While in the Navy, Stavridis served as the commander, U.S. Southern Command (2006 to 2009) and commander, U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2009 to 2013), the first Navy officer to have held these positions. Stavridis earned a doctorate and Master of Arts in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1984, where he won the Gullion Prize.
Stavridis retired from the Navy in 2013 after thirty-seven years of service and became dean of The Fletcher School in summer 2013. He is the author of several best-selling books, including: “The Accidental Admiral;” “The Leader’s Bookshelf;” and “Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans.”
Brigade in Okinawa, Japan. He has served in a variety of command and staff billets in every element of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, at Headquarters Marine Corps, and on the Joint Staff. Notable staff billets include Prepositioning Officer for Plans, Policy and Operations at HQMC, the Assistant Chief of Staff (AC/S) N4 for Task Force 58 conducting the amphibious assault into Afghanistan following Sept. 11, 2001, and as the AC/S G-4 for 1st Marine Division during the attack to Baghdad in 2003 and the Division’s return to Iraq for stability operations in Al Anbar Province in 2004. He commanded 1st Supply Company in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope, Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and Combat Logistics Regiment 17. He was the Team Leader and Senior Advisor to the 7th Iraqi Infantry Division as it assumed responsibility for operations in Al Anbar Province Iraq in 2008 to 2009.
He holds various decorations and awards, including two awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and five awards of the Legion of Merit. He is author or co-author of several books on naval ship handling and leadership, including “Command at Sea,” “Destroyer Captain,” and “Partnership for the Americas” about Latin America.
Norwich University’s 2018 Commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Stavridis will address approximately 400 students matriculating from 32 undergraduate programs and one master’s program. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Shapiro Field House.
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In April 2017, just a month after its official unveiling, Norwich University’s Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) hosted its first summit, “Think Global, Act Local.” Co-sponsored by Community Resilience Organizations, the event’s offerings included inspiring presentations by local action teams, resource providers, and academic researchers on ecological solutions, water and energy resilience, cybersecurity, housing, climate, food systems, and hazard mitigation.
By Judith Stallings-Ward, Associate Professor of Spanish
July 5, 2017
Professor Judith Stallings-Ward traveled to Cuba with the Vermont Council for World Affairs between March 24 and April 3, 2017. Her trip was made possible by the generous support of a Bride Family Foundation Humanities Endowment for Faculty Development. The Vermont Council tour, which Professor Stallings-Ward undertook for the purposes of curriculum development and scholarly research, represented a unique opportunity to experience the country firsthand and to visit its museums and archives. Given the fact that Cuba remains under a U.S. embargo and no U.S. airlines fly into Havana, any visit to Cuba by a citizen of the United States must be arranged as a people-to-people tour for educational purposes.
The itinerary arranged by the Vermont Council for World Affairs involved historical, political, and cultural tours at museums, centers for Cuban studies, cemeteries, and the Hemingway home in Havana. The group also visited Santa Clara, site of the deciding battle of the Cuban Revolution in 1958 and Ché Guevara’s mausoleum, and Trinidad, the best-preserved colonial town.
Most of Professor Stallings-Ward’s research for curriculum development was carried out in Havana at the Museum of the Revolution and at the Museum of José Martí. These museums afforded access to historical archives and documents unavailable outside of Cuba, which provided valuable resources for her interdisciplinary course Spanish 350 EN La Guerilla, an exploration of guerilla movements in Latin America and the art, music, and literature that accompanied them. The course was taught as an independent study in fall 2016 with two students, and will be offered as a regular course to be taught in English in fall 2017.
Professor Stallings-Ward commented that “Cuba’s role in inspiring and encouraging guerilla movements throughout the Americas cannot be overstated. The grant I received allowed me to experience the Cuban experiment—its museums, archives, institutions, universities, archives, music, art, everyday life—and the opportunity to a gather a wealth of material and intellectual resources to bring to bear on this course, resources to which I would otherwise have no access. And, as Cuba re-opens to the West and re-admits commercial investments from abroad, it is likely that much of what I saw in Cuba will soon disappear. Any instructor teaching a course on Cuba and la guerrilla needs to visit Cuba at this unique point and time in history.”
The Bride Award also allowed Professor Stallings-Ward to conduct research in Cuba that will expand her publications on the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. In 1929 Lorca made his first and only visit to the American Hemisphere, spending time in New York, Vermont, and Cuba. Professor Stallings-Ward has published on the poetry Lorca wrote in Vermont and in New York City. “In New York, Lorca was introduced to jazz and blues, and in Cuba to the son cubano. I want to explore how Lorca’s own spiritual growth as a human being and as a poet evolved while he was in Cuba,” she explained.
Professor Stallings-Ward also plans to use her insights gained about Cuba as a springboard for offering a series of CoLA Colloquia on Cuba during the 2017–18 academic year. She hopes to collaborate with other Norwich faculty within and outside the Spanish program, and with other experts outside the Norwich community in this endeavor. “Two of my colleagues in the Spanish Program, Professors Gina Sherriff and Kaitlin Thomas,will also be visiting Cuba very soon. In our series of colloquia, we hope to examine Afro-Cuban music, writers such as Hemmingway and Lorca who lived in Cuba, as well as Cuba and Africa, among other fascinating issues.”