By Dalyn Luedtke, Assistant Professor of English

October 4, 2016

On May 4, Kate Donley, adjunct professor of English, and Dalyn Luedtke, assistant professor of English, hosted the EN 204 First Annual Game Night in the North and South Instruction Rooms of the Kreitzberg Library. For two hours, about 90 students from six sections of Professional and Technical Writing ran between rooms playing student-created games. The level of activity and excitement generated a lot of buzz on the mezzanine with even non-EN 204 students joining the fun.

By David W. Smith

September 6, 2013

Gustav Nelson’s phonograph records were spread out on purple fabric covering a table in the Sullivan Museum and History Center at Norwich University.

Stamped with the seal of Edison Records, these were heavy relics from the gramophone era; some cracked and warped. Norwich has Nelson’s hand-cranked record player too, as well as sheet music for people who weren’t as lucky to own this technology. With song titles like I Ain't Got Weary Yet; Don’t Cry, Frenchie, Don’t Cry; and So Long, Mother, the sentiments of the era were clear.


Norwich University Office of Communications

September 21, 2016

Incoming freshman in Norwich University’s College of Science and Mathematics discuss Andy Weir’s blockbuster about survival, science, engineering, and leadership on the Red Planet. Prof. David Westerman discusses why he recommended the book and NU Board of Fellows member and UVM polymer chemist Chris Allen leads the discussion.

The event underscored the adaptability of the DECIDE-FS software simulation, making this the third continent upon which the exercise platform has been utilized.

NUARI's Phil Sussman stands on Wall Street in lower Manhattan

Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) facilitated a cyber resiliency response exercise in South Africa with 16 institutions integral to the effective operating of the South African financial markets on Sept. 12, 2016.  The event underscored the adaptability of the DECIDE-FS software simulation, making this the third continent upon which the exercise platform has been utilized.

The daylong exercise on Sept. 12 followed three prior successful cyber resiliency exercises conducted with American financial institutions in 2015, 2013 and 2011, and one exercise held with banks in Singapore in 2015.

The only simulation platform of its kind, DECIDE-FS® was initially designed to test U.S. financial sector cybersecurity, and has been recently re-architected for use in other critical infrastructure arenas, such as utilities and communications. The software’s built-in assessment system measures company response protocols in the face of business disruptions such as cyber-attacks.

As part of an initiative to assess the efficacy of cyber resilience within their market, the Sept. 12 exercise was organized by Strate (Pty) Limited, the South African central depository, which partnered with NUARI, a global leader in cyber resiliency and preparedness.

NUARI helps prepare individuals and institutions to respond to a variety of potentially catastrophic incidents which could disrupt your business model” says Dale Connock, Head of Risk, at Strate. “We take our role in the market extremely seriously. The threat we are all facing requires heightened levels of cooperation, which is why we invited market participants to this critical event.

The exercises for Strate were customized to simulate specific South African securities settlement and market operating conditions, and focussed primarily on the human component of cyber resilience.

The exercises focussed on two different scenarios: a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against market critical infrastructure, and an attack on data integrity in which cyber thieves modify select data in the capital markets transaction stream, resulting in significant disruption to automated system processes and, ultimately, the wider market.

The recently published “Guidance on cyber resilience for financial market infrastructures” calls for FMIs to demonstrate by 2017 that they could recover from a major cyberattack within two hours. It also calls for regular testing of systems.

Cyber-attacks against the financial system are frequent, sophisticated and widespread. There are myriad ways in which possible vulnerabilities could be exploited, and the development and implementation of an adaptive cyber resilience framework is essential.

NUARI built the system, called Distributed Environment for Decision-Making Exercises – Financial Sector (DECIDE - FS®), under a $9.9 million contract awarded in August 2013 by the Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

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Norwich University has done important and outstanding work in training future leaders and in helping to defend our nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

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U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a member of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee and of its Defense Subcommittee, sponsored legislation that chartered NUARI in 2002 and announced the DECIDE – FS® contract at Norwich’s Northfield campus in 2013.

“Cyber-attacks on our personal and financial and security systems are increasingly pervasive and damaging. Norwich University has done important and outstanding work in training future leaders and in helping to defend our nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks,” said Leahy.  “I am proud that this respected Vermont institution contributes to our readiness to deal with this pressing national security challenge.”

“The DECIDE- FS® platform is the only system that allows industries to test their organization’s response and understand systemic risk using engaging scenarios without compromising privacy,” said NUARI President Phil Susmann. “Experience is the best teacher. These exercises provide realistic training with measurable results and encourage information sharing, cooperation and coordination to work through the disruption. Operational incidents, caused by cyber-attacks should be planned for and building resiliency within critical infrastructures is paramount, not optional.”

DECIDE-FS® replaces traditional tabletop exercises with a business simulation customized to individual business models, information technology topology, and organizational dependencies. Built on top of a financial markets simulation, business leaders are stressed with cyber threats that affect the markets – price, volume, latency, and utilities as well as how each organization is structured in terms of business model, value chains, and dependencies.

Through the simulation, individuals and organizations learn to operate under conditions that simulate reality—similar to how simulators are employed to assist in the training of pilots and mariners to be prepared for and handle emergencies.

NUARI has collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security for nearly a decade, preparing individuals and institutions to respond to catastrophic network failures, natural disasters, cyber attacks and other events that can impact market activity, communications, and essential services affecting critical infrastructures. DECIDE-FS®, created at NUARI, is a large-scale, multi-participant simulation that effectively immerses industry decision makers, securities traders, IT and business continuity managers and others into complex, simulated scenarios focused on the effects of cyber incidents and other business disruptions.

For business inquiries, please contact NUARI at (802) 485-2213.


As the South African Central Securities Depository, Strate is licensed to be an independent provider of post-trade products and services for the financial markets. Strate is internationally recognized as a Financial Market Infrastructure that is trusted to use its state-of-the-art technology, international expertise and sound risk management framework to support and promote the safety and efficiency of the financial markets. Strate provides electronic settlement of equities and bonds transactions concluded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It also settles transactions in money market securities and has recently introduced a collateral management service. Strate offers an asset servicing product range which augments the services it offers to issuers in terms of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 and the Financial Markets Act No. 19 of 2012. For more, please visit:


Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) was federally chartered under legislation sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy in 2002 and is funded in part through the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. NUARI has a national center to address cyber incident management challenges through research, training programs and technology development and has been a global leader for more than a decade in developing cyber war gaming, distributed learning technology, distributed simulation technology, critical infrastructure exercises, and cyber security curriculum.

DECIDE-FS® exercises serve to strengthen the resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructures in the face of cyber-attacks from nation-states and trans-national actors.

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:    

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By Andrea Talentino, PhD
Dean, Norwich University College of Liberal Arts

What do we want from education? That is an oft-posed question, and one likely answered differently by parents, prospective students, and hiring managers. Parents want their children to gain the ability to succeed in society and the skills to land lucrative and fulfilling jobs. Prospective students want a place to learn, and to grow socially, and to have both fun and educational experiences. And hiring managers want education to provide career-ready individuals who can perform tasks at high levels.

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

The symposium is co-led 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 Norwich University’s Facebook page.

Norwich University Assistant Professor of English Sean Prentiss has won the National Outdoor Book Award in the history/biography category for his book, “Finding Abbey.”

Finding Abbey is part memoir, part biography and centers on a two-year search for environmental writer Edward Abbey’s hidden desert grave. “It’s a unique and clever approach to a biographical work,” said Ron Watters, the chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards. “Prentiss, in his attempt to find the grave, travels from Edward Abbey’s birthplace in Pennsylvania to the empty spaces of the desert Southwest. Along the way, we learn about Abbey — and Prentiss.”

In response to winning the award, Prentiss said: “The most exciting thing for me is the whole book is about Edward Abbey, who he was and his ideas, and to win the award is great because I think Abbey’s voice needs to still be out there today as both a writer and as an environmentalist. So, hopefully this award keeps bringing recognition to Abbey and allows us to keep considering his beauty on the page but also his powerful ideas especially in these changing environmental times.”

By Daphne Larkin

Norwich University Office of Communications

Dec. 2, 2015

Norwich University Assistant Professor of English Sean Prentiss’ book, “Finding Abbey,” was recently awarded the National Outdoor Book Award for history/biography. “Finding Abbey” is part-memoir, part-biography and centers on a two-year search for environmental writer Edward Abbey’s hidden desert grave.

Prentiss is in his fourth year at Norwich. He teaches Introduction to Creative Writing, Environmental Writing, Natural and Environmental Literature, Professional/Technical Writing and Composition. He is a co-founder of the Norwich University Writers Series and the faculty adviser to the student literary journal, The Chameleon.

What is Edward Abbey’s relevance to these times?

Abbey talked a lot about overpopulation and other environmental issues. With climate change, one of the major things we have to do is reduce our carbon footprint, which is pretty simple in theory: we just reduce it. But with the world population growing from under four billion when I was born to over seven billion now, it just makes it more and more tricky. And Abbey had a really complicated view — a problematic view — on overpopulation. He just wanted to stop people at the borders; he was Donald Trump before Donald Trump was Donald Trump. And that doesn’t work because all that does is we have overpopulation around the world and then fewer people in America. But I think his view on the need to consider overpopulation is a primary concern, and I would argue that is done by education. So, that was his stance on overpopulation. He also looked at wilderness issues and how humanity was overrunning America. And we can look at that again with the world and how much land humanity uses and how it has grown exponentially with the expansion of cities. So, something’s got to change. Those were some of Abbey’s ideas, but again, he was complicated, he had ideas that many view as racist — he had ideas that many viewed as misogynistic, but his overall stance is valuable.

What drew you to him and/or his writings as a topic for a book?

He was one of the first authors who seemed like someone I would know – not like a friend, but like someone who fit my lifestyle, so that was a big part of it. But then the reason it was a book topic for me was: I was living in a city, and I don’t work well in cities, and I was trying to figure out – is it me, or do I just need to suck it up and figure out how to live in cities or should I leave the city and get a new job? I had a great job at a great university and I thought what I would do is chase down the spirit of Edward Abbey and in the end go searching for his hidden desert grave as a way to really just continue to question him on how he decided what home was. And I thought he’d be a good person to ask this because he spent his whole life bouncing back and forth between spots he did not want to live (normally around New York City) and spots he did (normally the Desert Southwest), and family and employment kept moving him back and forth, and I thought if anyone has wrestled with this question it is Abbey. So I went to a lot of places he lived, a lot of places he didn’t want to live and kind of interrogated him through his works and through his friend’s ideas and then I went searching for the grave, but the big reason was to try to figure out the idea of home and what I should do for home.

When did you discover Abbey’s writings?

My senior year of college, and it kind of transformed my worldview. I was a business major having no idea what I was going to do. And that was maybe the second major step towards an environmental focus. My mom was the first one and then Abbey was the second one.

How many books have you written?

I have one book, “Finding Abbey.” I have an anthology called “The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative NonFiction” — that’s a book just about looking at creative nonfiction itself and that has a whole bunch of wonderful authors contributing essays.

Why did you choose creative nonfiction – what is it about this genre?

It’s my first love, and I think I fell in love with it as a young adult 19-25 when I was just writing journals because it really helps you learn how to be human and as a young adult I needed that. I needed to figure out who I was; why I was who I was; what I was. So, again, I was a business major coming out of college having no idea what to do. And then I went into the Peace Corps and then I somehow ended up building trails in the woods. And I’m making these big giant not just career leaps but also human leaps, and I’m just transforming myself trying to figure out who the heck I was. And I think creative nonfiction allows us to repeatedly look at an idea and kind of just circle around it and see it from all different perspectives. It helps me wrestle through my ideas, through my weaknesses, through my flaws, and that’s one of my big things I love about it. The other thing I love is that it’s real; I’m not inventing a story to highlight the human experience; I’m saying this is the human experience. This is Abbey’s experience here – the quagmires he got himself into, and here’s how I can directly relate it to my own experience. When I’m driving across country from Michigan to Colorado I envision Abbey sitting next to me and we’re having this conversation; that’s what’s going on in my mind. I’m interrogating Abbey — “can you help me out, help me figure this out, be a mentor of mine?” And that’s how we live life. So, I’ve written fiction; I write lots of poetry, but for me creative nonfiction is the most useful and the most beautiful form to me because it’s about the art of human experience.

What is your process for writing a book?

I do a lot of research; so a lot of times before I do any project, I will read many many many books. I will have this vision for a book to write, but I also am envisioning a pile of books around me, and I don’t want to start writing until I get maybe halfway through, so we’re talking about 30, 40 books. A lot of it is just understanding the subject. I love Edward Abbey as a writer; I love his ideas, and people are starting to call me an Ed Abbey expert, which always seems so mind-blowing, [because] all I am is a fan who has read lots and lots of stuff and can tell you some cool stories. But I want to try to know my subject really well before I get too deep into it, especially for a big project. For the “Finding Abbey” book I planned an itinerary. I didn’t have it all mapped out, but alright I’m going to start in Home, Pennsylvania, where Abbey was born and where his parents are buried, and I’m going to go searching for their graves as a way to explore Abbey and his hometown and his family. So, I kind of had a frame for that. And then after that okay then I’m going to go out west and I’m going to talk with David Peterson, Abbey’s editor and friend, and then I’d write it chapter by chapter based on these travels. And that for me was really doable because I didn’t have to think about building a book, I had to think about building an essay and then another essay next to it, and then another essay and then once I had all my essays lined I had to make sure they communicated with each other, that they flowed.

Once I had transitions then the overall arc was building slowly upward and tension hopefully … I was thinking about size of scenes. So that was how I built “Finding Abbey,” research, then travel, then writing an essay, then as I had all those essays turning it into chapters that were thematically connected. Plot connected. Narrative connected. And then just a whole lot of revision. This book went through 50 or 60 drafts. I had many people read it and offer feedback. At one point I took out 90 pages spread throughout the book [because] there were a couple strands that were just not useful. And then, I sent it to a publisher and they liked it. So, from there, it was just copyediting, grammar stuff.

What do you tell your students about writing?

I tell my students that revision is the key, and what that means is — we revise everything every day with what we do. If you’re in a band, you practice playing guitar or drums whatever hundreds, thousands of days. If you’re on a football team or a soccer team, how many times have you kicked that ball or thrown that ball. And that’s all writing is. That first draft is often going to stink. That’s all right. If there are some kernels there, then they can keep drawing them out, drawing them out. And what’s really exciting for me is seeing what they can create by the end of the semester or the end of their time at Norwich and seeing these writers leave knowing that they can create beautiful things. So, I tell them revision is the key. And, specificity. If we don’t see your world, then we can’t feel for your world. Maybe divine inspiration hits every once in a while, but it only hits because of the thousands of hours we’ve put into writing already.

There are all these stories out there and all we have to do is listen. They are always there but so many times we’re not thinking about stories, we’re thinking about groceries. We’re thinking about letting the dog out. I look out my window and I say _ “That’s a poem right there! Just the way the wind hits across the lake. And it doesn’t come across as one big sheet of wind; it does these little wind dances, and because my job is to look at stories, I see that and I think ‘poem.’ Or someone says something, and I think: ‘short story.’ And it’s only because I keep my ears open and then I see what I can have the time to turn into a story. I have a lot of stories.

What are you working on now?

The book closest to being done is a textbook on environmental nature writing, called “Nature and Environmental Writing: A Guide and Anthology.” The idea is that there is no great nature or environmental writing textbook, so in the classroom I teach this class, but I cannot find the book to teach with it. By next year, hopefully, there will be a book that you can use and it will have an anthology with it of all modern-day, all newer writers from across America, and it will deal with issues of environment and race; issues of climate change; issues of gender and environment. We are trying to go across the border with different types of pieces so students can find what they want – fiction, nonfiction, poetry. I am working on that with Joe Wilkins, a great environmental writer.

I have three books of poetry I’m working on, and when I say poetry, I only call them poetry because everyone understands what we mean when we say poetry. Otherwise, I might call them micro-essays because they’re all true. The first one is all about my years spent leading a trail crew in the Pacific Northwest and the Desert Southwest. That’s a memoir in poems. I have a book on Turtle Cove, where my wife, Sarah, and I live, and what I want to do is to write these poem/microessays that are really science-heavy about the world around us. The science of loons, of our bees, of bears who ate our bees. The third one I am calling, “Talking with the Ancients,” which will be responses to ancient Chinese poetry.

I am thinking about another anthology that deals with science and creative nonfiction – truth and how we perceive time and how that affects creative nonfiction. I am interested in this because we are told how to write but not why. We tell students to “show and not tell,” but we don’t have the information to back up why that makes for better storytelling. I was always the kind of student who needed to know why we were supposed to do something a certain way.


July 21, 2016

Norwich University Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Gurian has earned a prestigious research fellowship to support her work on women murderers. The American Association of University Women awarded Gurian a 2016–17 AAUW American Fellowship.

American Fellowships, AAUW’s oldest and largest funding program, date back to 1888, making them one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowships in the world exclusively for women. AAUW American Fellowships support women scholars who are completing doctoral dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research, or finishing research for publication.

“The 2016–17 American Fellowship is a great honor for which I am extremely grateful,” Gurian said.

Gurian plans to explore the adjudication patterns of homicide offenders, including use of plea bargains, convictions, and sentences. Few researchers have explored this topic, because the general assumption is that offenders convicted of murder will be sentenced harshly by the criminal justice system. Although women make up a small percentage of homicide offenders, statistical analysis of the data Gurian has already collected shows that women are still less likely to be sentenced to death than men even for crimes of murder.

“With this article, I hope to more accurately challenge or support the theories of chivalry justice and paternalism, which attempt to explain the treatment of women by the criminal justice system,” Gurian said.

Gurian earned her doctorate from the University of Cambridge and then worked as a consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on a global homicide report. She is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Norwich University, teaching undergraduate research methods, courts, the death penalty, and criminal violence. Her current research also aims to enhance the understanding of homicide offenders beyond traditional case studies and descriptive statistics through the use of empirical data analysis, which can aid in the development of more accurate classifications and definitions.

Gurian said she is grateful for the mentors who guided her to her current position; she strives to return what she has learned by becoming a mentor herself. To that end, she has helped to create (with former AAUW grant awardee Gina Sherriff) a general mentoring program at Norwich University. The GUIDE (guidance, understanding, instruction, direction, and education) mentoring program aims to utilize faculty and staff to mentor students in academic, welfare, social, and career choices.

In 2013, Gurian received the Peggy R. Williams Emerging Professional Award given by Vermont Women in Higher Education.

“We have a long and proud history of supporting exceptional women scholars through our American Fellowship program. This year’s group includes women who are leaders in their institutions and their fields working on issues related to sexual violence, race, and other topics of importance to women and girls. They aren’t just brilliant, they are agents of change,” said Gloria Blackwell, American Association of University Women vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs.

For the 2016–17 academic year, the association awarded a $3.7 million to more than 230 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls through six fellowships and grants programs. The association is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded more than $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 12,000 women from more than 140 countries since 1888.

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