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  • Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    • Athletics News
  • The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    • University Publications
  • 'So Much to be Thankful for'

    'So Much to be Thankful for'

    • President's Message
  • Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    • Student Experience
  • President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    • Norwich On The Road
  • Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

    Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

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February 27, 2017

Norwich University welcomes Pierre Jolicoeur, PhD, as a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Peace and War Center this semester. 

 

The program between Fulbright Canada and Norwich University establishes a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Peace and War Studies at Norwich University annually to focus on research pertaining to military and diplomatic affairs. Norwich funding for this program comes from a generous gift from Norwich Trustee J. Fred Weintz Jr. ’47.

 

Jolicoeur received his PhD in political science at Université du Québec à Montréal in 2006, after completing his first two degrees at Laval University. A specialist of the former Soviet Union and South Eastern Europe, Jolicoeur’s research focuses on secessionist movements, foreign policy, and cybersecurity.

 

In the past three years, Jolicoeur’s research has focused on strategic communications, digital diplomacy and information operations, where he analyzes the impact of social media on the military operating environmentHe is specifically looking at how state and non-state actors use social media as strategic tools to promote their goals. His work has produced recommendations taken up by the Canadian government and distributed to NATO allies.

 

At Norwich, Jolicoeur’s research covers a new angle of the use (or misuse) of social media: the radicalization of Canadian and American individuals to extremist ideas (far right, far left, and religious movements) and the role of social media in that process.

 

Associate Professor since 2011, Jolicoeur has been director of the Department of Political science of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) since 2012. In 2015, he was cross-appointed with Queen’s University, where he is affiliated with the Department of Policy Studies.

 

At RMCC, he teaches international relations and comparative politics. He is author or co-author of 2 books, 10 articles in peer review journals and 24 chapters in university press. His publications, both in French and English, appear in Études Internationales, Journal of Borderland Studies, Canadian Journal of Foreign Policy, and Connections.

 

He also has contributed to the public debate, notably by publishing 29 articles in the Point de mire series, which he edited between 2000 and 2006, 20 op-eds (Le Devoir, La Presse, Whig Standard) and numerous interviews. He has been the RMCC representative to the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences since 2011.

Three undergraduate architecture majors were among 26 Norwich students awarded competitive six- and ten-week Summer Research Fellowships by the university’s Undergraduate Research Program. Mentored by Professor Cara Armstrong and using stipends of up to $4,400, Peter Misner ’19 , Kevin Svarczkopf ’19, and Olivia Towne ’17 conducted original research on diverse architectural topics this past summer in Europe and the U.S.

Misner developed a proposal for retrofitting the currently abandoned Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Center in Athens, Greece, designed by Thymios Papagiannis and Associates, into affordable housing. He studied Olympic venues in London, England and Barcelona, Spain, and then headed to Athens, researching how Olympic stadiums can continue to foster community and economic growth once the Games are over.

“Every two years a country spends billions of dollars on infrastructure, stadiums, and roads to host the Olympics, but shortly after the Olympics are over, many of those stadiums often sit unused,” Misner reflects. “The vacant structures either waste public money through maintenance and upkeep or through initial construction and lack of use afterwards.

“I chose this building in Athens because it is a venue whose specialized use as a beach volleyball stadium has no practical function in daily city life. I wanted to see how I could reuse the building and weave it back into the fabric of the city.”

Misner regularly updated a blog that used photos and drawings to show how his research evolved into a schematic proposal for a project that would bring economic vitality and much needed housing to Athens. “I learned a lot during my research fellowship,” says Misner. “I learned how to manage my own time for a big project, such as redesigning a stadium, how to make the most of my time spent abroad, and how to navigate a foreign city on my own.”

The fellowship had a broader impact as well. “Overall, the research helped me grow as a person and as an architect in training,” he explains.

For his fellowship, Kevin Svarczkopf researched the work of award-winning American architect Peter Bohlin, FAIA, founding principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, to better understand how to integrate a building with its site.

“To discover ways that Bohlin used to integrate the built space of a site into the natural space, I traveled to the Combs Point Residence in New York, to the Ledge House in Maryland, and to the site of a proposed visitors center at the Westcott House Foundation in Springfield, Ohio,” says Svarczkopf. “At each of these sites, I was able to take pictures of the buildings and the site while circulating through them. I also had a chance to meet Peter Bohlin and talk to him about his designs. When I got back to Norwich, I was able to analyze each photo and make diagrams and notes based off my observations. Following my initial analyses, I was able to organize my findings into different categories of methods of design for site-inclusive architecture.”

Svarczkopf was also able to sit in on the architect-client meetings about the proposed Westcott Visitors Center that will be located between the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Westcott House and the Norwich student-designed Solar House, which is now part of the foundation’s programming. Bohlin’s center responds to each of these buildings as well as to the surrounding landscape.

“Peter sees the potential of the site and tries to find the magic within the site,” says Svarczkopf. “He will find what is important in the site and try to find places in it that have a certain psychological feel… the careful placement of windows, the building’s form and organization, and thoughtful choice of material and how it is used on the building are a few strategies that Peter uses to celebrate place.”

Traveling to England, Olivia Towne explored how architects design hospitals and other public health facilities to create not only a “safe” environment, but also one that supports the health and healing of the mind, body, and spirit.

Towne notes that “people who are ill or in some state of need often feel helpless, isolated, and like they have lost control in their lives,” which makes  it very important for health facilities to create and promote a positive atmosphere. “After studying multiple health facilities in England, which gives free, equal access to health care through the National Health Service, I created a set of design principles that support the body, mind, and spirit that need to be taken into account in order to design a hospital that heals.”

Maggie’s Center, Evelina’s Children’s Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital are a few of the health facilities Towne visited in London. She also visited Clacton Hospital in Clacton-on-Sea, England, the most economically deprived area of England. At each facility, she did a series of sketches, analytical diagrams, and took photographs to discover and document successful design strategies. She also created a checklist of features that support healing architecture and organized them into three categories:  “Body”— ways in which architecture, interior design, and behavior contribute to a healing environment; “Mind”—ways in which design can support the mind and identity by considering symbolic interaction or inviting a different kind of self-reflection; and “Spirit”—ways in which design can support key aspects of spirituality that work to produce health benefits in terms of prevention, recovery from illness, or coping with illness.

Towne gained new perspectives on architecture and human interactions from her fellowship.  “I learned that architects may not be able to find an actual cure, but they are able to create an environment that supports the mind, body, and spirit. There is amazing opportunity for architects to change the environment that all humans live in, whether it physically enables a sick child to be more comfortable through air, light, or heating and cooling, or lifts the spirits of a suffering family through the use of material, space, light, and color.

She adds, “I watched as my research expanded after talking to actual patients and realized the impact that the architecture had on them and their healing process. My project started as something as little as looking at buildings, to something that I saw as a necessity for every health facility.”

By Professor of Civil Engineering Edwin Schmeckpeper, P.E., Chair, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Construction Management

Take a great idea, add a few Norwich engineering professors and eager architecture and engineering students, and what do you get? Wheel Pad, an ecofriendly 200-square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom designed to be attached to an existing home. It provides a respectful and supportive space for people with mobility issues, making it easy for friends or family to provide support while figuring out long-term solutions.

Wheel Pad was conceived by Joseph Cincotta, Principal Architect of LineSync Architecture and Wheel Pad L3C,  a green design architecture firm in Wilmington, Vermont.

Wheel Pad L3C participated in the 2015 Vermont InnovateHER Vermont Challenge, a crosscutting prize competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. It finished second in the business plan competition, missing the $10,000 prize by a hair. Or, did Wheel Pad walk away with the grand prize after all?

Norwich University Assistant Engineering Professor David Feinauer, always interested in innovation, stopped in to watch the InnovateHER competition. Intrigued with the idea of Wheel Pad, its possibilities for veterans, and opportunities for engineering, architecture, and project management students, he suggested Norwich students might be a good fit for building the Wheel Pad prototype.

Wheel Pad L3C President Julie Lineberger contacted Edwin Schmeckpeper, department chair of civil and environmental engineering at Norwich, and soon the university and Wheel Pad started a beautiful alliance in constructing Wheel Pad’s first prototype—which came to be called the “Norwich Model.”

Working closely with numerous students, materials were ordered, plans made, and once the housing trailer arrived, Wheel Pad’s initial prototype took shape. The Wheel Pad prototype was constructed by students from the School of Engineering and the School of Architecture + Art, and faculty from the David Crawford School of Engineering. The prototype was completed last summer on Aug. 31, and then delivered to LineSync Architects.

Wheel Pad then toured rehab centers and hospitals where interested people viewed the Norwich Model. The final stop was at the Tiny House Festival in Brattleboro. After the tour, and some interior modifications, the Norwich University constructed Wheel Pad will be perpetually donated to Windham County residents in need.

By Andrew Nemethy

In the fertile mind of engineering professor Michael Prairie, ancient wooden flutes, walking aids, insulin pumps, and prosthetic limbs flow together in an innovative thread of teaching.  All of these diverse objects have been turned into student projects under Prairie’s guidance, with a larger goal in mind beyond the academic world: creating devices that can enhance peoples’ lives.

Prairie is a 1983 Norwich graduate in electrical and computer engineering who came back to Norwich after a career in the Air Force and work for defense firms. It was a natural homecoming. “My heart and soul has been here since 1979,” he proudly says of the year he stepped onto the Northfield campus. Today, that connection is reflected in his passion for teaching the next generation of Norwich engineers – and doing it in a way that affirms the university’s strong service component.

Prairie and fellow professors such as Brian Bradke, Jeff Mountain, and David Feinauer are leading students to do projects in the expansive field known as assistive technology or AT. In layman’s terms, Prairie frames AT this way: While teaching the processes of engineering, why not have students produce “some kind of a widget that’s going to solve a problem.”

After all, he adds, with a smile, “there’s lots of problems we can solve.”

Not surprisingly for a former battalion XO in the Corps and retired Air Force major, his focus is on projects that can help military veterans. “It just feels right to do it,” he says, noting that many students at Norwich “are going off to become future VA patients, one way or the other.” For his students, he adds, knowing a veteran can benefit from their work provides strong academic incentive.

“I’m excited about it,” Prairie says during a conversation in his small office in Norwich’s Juckett Hall following a noon meeting between faculty and a couple dozen students selected to do six- and ten-week summer fellowships.

One of them is engineering major Patrick Millington, who will be a junior in the fall and holds a prestigious Weintz Research Scholar designation. Working with Prof. Feinauer, he is researching an AT device that can collect data on tremors (pictured above). A member of the Corps of Cadets who will commission in the US Navy, Millington explains that tremors are an affliction often connected to war stress that is a priority focus of the Veteran’s Administration.

“I can think of no better use of my time,” he says of his project.

Prairie’s office is a cluttered testament to his eclectic interests and his academic profession. Plastic boxes of electronic parts stack up on shelves, tables are strewn with wires, papers and books, and behind his desk, nestled in a large cloth bundle he unwraps to show his visitor, are more than a dozen beautiful wooden flutes he has crafted, testament to both his love of music and scientific curiosity. His first foray into AT was music-related as well—a conversion of a robotic guitar project to a fretting device for guitar players who had lost the use of their fretting hand.

Prairie, who has short-cropped hair and glasses, says AT is rich with engineering possibilities.

“What’s been happening in the last 10 years is there’s really been a revolution in microtechnology,” he explains, citing sensors and microprocessors in smart phones and other devices. With sophisticated technology “cheap and easy to get,” the door has opened wide to use AT for senior capstone projects or summer research.

AT refers to devices or products that can aid a person with a disability perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Obvious examples are a wheelchair or crutch, but assistive technologies run the gamut from cleverly designed, simple low-tech – think a strap that helps someone hold a pen –  to immensely complex devices such as robotic arms.

Prairie’s interest in AT was musically piqued: the University of Alberta created a way for a musician to play his saxophone again after losing an arm. While a prosthetic arm seemed like the obvious solution, Prairie says their “brilliant engineering observation” was that instead all he needed was a simple mechanical device using touch-sensitive switches to open the instrument valves. A much simpler solution to the problem at hand.

The AT projects Norwich students take on are geared at solving a specific need.  “Our research usually involves talking to stakeholders, people who are going to use it or maintain it or care about it being built,” Prairie explains. He works with VA officials to identify their priorities and good student projects.

It’s a win-win focus, he says, noting that helping war veterans “tugs on the heart strings” for students at Norwich.

“There’s a significant number of students that are here because they want to make the world a better place, and this is a tangible way to work on a project that is making the world a better place for somebody,” he says.

By Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Brian Bradke, PhD

Norwich engineering student Kevin Taylor ’17 spent the summer working on a new system for improving safety and efficacy of fighter pilots. The challenge: to devise a system for monitoring blood oxygenation in fighter pilots. But, he had to do it without interfacing with the aircraft systems, and the device had to be completely self-contained, without causing any interference or discomfort to the pilot. Taylor, along with his research advisor, Dr. Brian Bradke, an Asst. Professor of Mechanical Engineering and an Air Guard F-16 instructor pilot, devised and built a system using a revolutionary technology originally conceived for use in the trauma ward. After bench-top trials in the lab at Norwich, they traveled to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where they got to test the efficacy of the system on pilots and physiologists at the world’s premier F-35 training base.

Currently, the USAF trains pilots to recognize their hypoxia symptoms by putting them in an altitude chamber and simulating atmospheric conditions at 25,000 feet. Once the pilot experiences symptoms, which may include numbness, confusion, giddiness, blurry vision or lethargy, they initiate 100% oxygen flow from the aircraft or directly from an emergency oxygen reserve. Because aircraft and pilots are not equipped to measure pulse oximetry, and since each pilot experiences hypoxia differently, it is imperative that pilots learn to self-diagnose hypoxia and initiate recovery procedures before becoming incapacitated. There is no backup system to alert the pilot of impending hypoxic condition, and once the pilot is incapacitated, the outcome is always the same. That is what Taylor hopes to change.

Despite physiological requalification training every five years, a number of fatal accidents attributed to hypoxia have occurred throughout the years.   Had the pilots been outfitted with a passive oxygenation monitoring system, they might still be with us today.

“In our opinion, incapacitation due to hypoxia is a preventable accident,” said Taylor, a mechanical engineering senior and USAF pilot candidate.  “We think this system may ultimately save a multi-million dollar asset.  But more importantly, it may be the difference between a pilot going home to their family at night or a folded American flag at Arlington.”

Bradke and Taylor will present their findings to the Aerospace Medical Association at their annual meeting this spring.

Norwich News

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  • Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    • Athletics News
  • The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    • University Publications
  • 'So Much to be Thankful for'

    'So Much to be Thankful for'

    • President's Message
  • Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    • Student Experience
  • President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    • Norwich On The Road
  • Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

    Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

    • Special Events
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