Expect Challenge. Achieve Distinction.

Assistant Professor of Biology Allison Neal and biology major Joshua Sassi ’18 spent two weeks each over two summers in the 5,300-acre UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Northern California searching for Western fence lizards. (Photo by Sean Markey.)

Summer research fellowships for undergraduate students provide support for six- or ten-week summer projects, with funding from the Chase Endowment for Academic Excellence and the Weintz Research Scholars Program. These awards are made on a competitive basis to support original research and creative or scholarly projects. Faculty mentors advise and guide the students in their research.

The Weintz Research Scholars Program was established by Norwich University Trustee Fred Weintz Jr. ’47 & H’01 and his wife, Betsy, to support the independent research endeavors of our highly promising undergraduate student-scholars. Weintz Scholars are selected based on the quality of their research proposals and their academic achievements.


Sean Courtney
(Dr. Joe Latulippe)

Weintz Research Scholar
The influence of Amyloid Beta on intracellular calcium through the Nmethyl-D-aspartate Receptor

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects over 45 million people worldwide. An accumulation of amyloid Beta (Aβ) peptides has been linked to the progression of AD by altering calcium signaling mechanisms. These alterations can impact synaptic transmission leading to AD associated synaptic dysfunction. It has been shown that Aβ disrupts the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) by specifically affecting its glutamate subunits; this results in higher plasma membrane calcium permeability leading to intracellular cytotoxic levels. We hypothesize that extracellular Aβ will affect the NMDAR and either cause early activation for the receptor to open or create prolonged calcium influx. In order to test this hypothesis, we utilize multivariable differential equations that simulate the influence of presynaptic activity, as well as receptor activation. We first simplified an 8-state NMDAR model to a 2-state in order to study the impact of Aβ on the receptor. When Aβ was included, the solutions resulted in prolonged receptor function as well as an increased flow rate of calcium into the postsynaptic neuron. These results suggest that Aβ affects the NMDA receptors by increasing the calcium load on the postsynaptic neuron. This may provide a way for understanding of the pathology of the disease, and to the development of new drugs that will aid in blocking the harmful effects of AD.

Elizabeth Ells
(Dr. Tara Kulkarni)

Weintz Research Scholar
Coastal Phosphorus: Concentrations and remediation strategies

Nutrient overload occurs in both fresh and salt water bodies. The effects of nitrogen are widely known, but those of phosphorus (P) are evolving in salt water. This research is a culmination of sampling and literary analysis that determines the effects of phosphorus on our coastal waters. The two overarching goals of the project are: Goal one is to determine the P levels in the estuaries surrounding the Cape and compare to the known hypoxic zones. Goal two is to determine applicability of lake phosphorus remediation techniques to the estuaries. The levels were read in mg/L and the five areas and values ranging from unreadable to 0.015 for P and 0.13 for N with none of the P samples exceeding 0.1 mg/L which is the limit for contents in a healthy lake. These goals were completed after the analysis of the coastal waters. The methods used for P and N levels were to read using a HACH Spectrophotometer and have the samples analyzed at a lab independent of Norwich University. The results concluded that the P levels were low enough to not be problematic in comparison to detrimental N levels. This project will make the distinction between P and N levels appropriate for a healthy ecosystem in the ocean and discusses the relation between hypoxia, acidification, and carbon storage. The results from this study will start the conversation regarding the importance of ocean health for people, planet, and posterity.


Massiel Peralta Garcia
(Dr. Joe Latulippe)

Weintz Research Scholar
A Mathematical Model of the Effects of Amyloid Beta on Calcium Induced Calcium Release through Ryanodine Receptors in Neurons

Alzheimer’s disease is a detrimental illness that affects millions of people worldwide. Neuropathological hallmarks of this disease include amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques, which are composed of Aβ peptides, and neurofibrillar tangles composed of tau protein. The accumulation of Aβ peptides leads to calcium (Ca2+) dysregulation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that can trigger cell death. In this project, we study the influence of Aβ on intracellular Ca2+ regulation through the ryanodine receptor (RyR) located on the ER. More specifically, we develop a mathematical model to better understand Ca2+ flux through the RyR in an Alzheimer’s environment by incorporating the effects of Aβ. We hypothesize that the RyR stabilizes the Ca2+ concentration levels within the neuron when influenced by low concentrations of Aβ, but that the RyR over excites neuronal activity when influenced by high concentrations of Aβ. In order to test this hypothesis we utilize our mathematical model to compare intracellular Ca2+ patterns when Aβ is present and when it is not. We constructed a preliminary model to correlate the amount of Ca2+ flux through the RyR with the concentration levels of Aβ.


Melissa Hango
(Dr. Jim Murdock)
Weintz Research Scholar
Using Meta-Analysis, How Does Sleep Affect Sports Performance in Collegiate Athletes?

Athletes often experience sleep loss: training schedules, academics, travel, and pre-competition anxiety all may contribute to limited time-in-bed. Sleep deprivation could impact performance more than athletes realize. Current literature suggests a negative relationship between sleep loss and performance. Limited large-scale studies focus on the consequences of a single night of full or partial sleep deprivation on mean and peak power the following day. Ten databases were systematically searched. Peak power and mean power values were abstracted, and meta-analysis was performed using the open-source software, R. There were no significant effects on the anaerobic performance variables following a night of sleep deprivation. However, there was a significant increase in mean power and peak power from morning to afternoon after a regular night sleep. Additionally, there was a significant decrease in both mean and peak power during evening testing after a night of sleep deprivation when compared to a night of regular sleep. These results suggest that the timing of athletic events should be considered when attempting to maximize athletic performance after sleep loss.


Joshua Sassi
(Dr. Allison Neal)
Weintz Research Scholar
Investigation of parasitic o-infection in the western fence lizard

Both humans and animals frequently host multiple parasitic infections simultaneously. Parasite interactions within a host may lead to positive or negative associations. Strong parasite interactions may be detected by examining parasite associations, that is, how frequently or infrequently the parasites co-occur. An examination of the relationship between Plasmodium mexicanum and Schellackia sp. within the western fence lizard host was used to test a general hypothesis: co-infecting parasites will have a negative association if they are closely related (i.e. not easily distinguishable by the host immune system) and/or utilize the same resources and/or parasitize the same tissues; conversely, co-infecting parasites will have a positive association if they are not closely related (i.e. more readily distinguishable by the host immune system) and/or if one parasite modifies the environment in a way that benefits the other. Since both P. mexicanum and Schellackia sp. utilize a common resource, red blood cells, for transmission, the association may be negative due to competition for this resource. However, since both parasites reproduce asexually in completely different tissues, the association may be neutral based on the different tissues parasitized. Blood samples were collected from lizards at 10 different sites in Northern California that have been sampled over the past 30+ years. Light microscopy was utilized to examine collected blood smears and determine the number of infected lizards per site. Infection prevalence of P. mexicanum and Schellackia sp. and expected numbers of coinfections were determined by preliminary 5 minute scans for each collection site. Statistical analysis and extended scanning was performed on the samples from the three sites from 2016 and the three sites from 2017 with the highest expected number of coinfections. No statistically significant difference between observed and expected numbers of coinfection was found suggesting a neutral interaction between P. mexicanum and Schellackia sp. However, consideration must be given to the fact that, if a positive or negative interaction is present, the small sample size and small expected number of coinfections may make it difficult to detect.


Evan Shortsleeve
(Dr. Tara Kulkarni)

Weintz Research Scholar
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Removal Efficiencies &
Volumetric Capabilities

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a useful urban planning tool used to infiltrate, detain, or delay the advance of stormwater. Regularly occurring forms of GSI are biofilters such as rain gardens or pervious pavements such as pervious concrete. This study analyzes the volumetric and pollutant loading capacities of GSI. Here, biofilters are sized in accordance with the 2017 Vermont Stormwater Management Manual (2017 VSMM). Computer modelling software: WinSLAMM and WinTR-20 are used here in conjunction with each other to establish a robust hydrologic model of a commercial site in Barre, VT that uses biofilters with specially engineered soil media. The soil media in the biofilters engineered for this study is a three-foot layer of sand on top of a six-inch layer of rock fill. A judgement on the use of water treatment residuals in GSI is posed in detailed discussion based on a series of lab based testing. This study can help engineers determine how to effectively employ and design GSI and gives insight to using specially engineered soil media such as WTRs when treating for water quality is a priority.


Simka Stephenson
(Dr. Darlene Olsen)
Weintz Research Scholar
Understanding Personal and Environmental Factors of Burnout in Nurses: A Meta-analysis

Every day, somewhere, at least one nurse burns out. This state of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and feelings of lack of accomplishment have a great impact on the quality of care a nurse will provide. Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to examine and define burnout and (b) to determine the prevalent personal and environmental factors that impact nurses in a hospital setting. This was a nonexperimental, descriptive study, a systematic review of a combination of nonexperimental descriptive or cross-sectional surveys with a meta-analysis. All studies were retrieved using the Norwich University Library Database search tool. 21 studies were obtained that fit the criteria for meta-analysis which was conducted using the open-source data analysis tool R. Only studies that used the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) to measure burnout were included. Further parameters were added to include only studies that were in English, conducted in the United States, in a hospital setting and concerning only nurses. Caring for trauma, oncology, or terminal patients may lead to high levels of burnout. Identifying predictors of burnout can further the development of specific interventions to prevent or treat burnout in nurses working in high intensity care hospital settings.


Warren Yacawych
(Dr. Megan Doczi)
Weintz Research Scholar
Isolating a developmental shaker family voltage gated potassium channel response to insulin in neurons controlling appetite behavior and energy expenditure

Voltage-gated potassium channels are critical to the firing of action potentials and for maintaining resting membrane potential in neurons. There is evidence that a specific type of voltage gated potassium channel, Kv1.3, can be altered through the activity of the hormone insulin. It is known that when insulin binds to its receptor, peak current amplitude of Kv1.3 decreases, resulting in increased neuronal excitability. This suggests Kv1.3 may play a significant role in regulating metabolism. It is also known that the hypothalamus, a region of the brain controlling various metabolic functions, regulates the balance of food intake and how efficiently the body expends energy. In early stages of development, neurons in the hypothalamus are sensitive to alterations in stimulation or excitability. A Kv1.3-insulin receptor interaction during development has the potential to alter the characteristics of neurons that express these proteins together. This project focuses on localizing Kv1.3 and insulin receptor (IR) proteins in specific hypothalamic nuclei governing energy homeostasis. Using immunohistochemistry, parallel experiments show both Kv1.3 and IR protein expression in the avian hypothalamus at the same developmental time points. To pinpoint exact nuclei that expressed staining, a chick brain atlas was used. Kv1.3 was not isolated in specific nuclei but exhibited widespread staining at embryonic day 8 (E8), E10, E12, and E14 time points. Insulin receptor expression was highly localized in the paraventricular nucleus and lateral hypothalamic area at E10, E12, and E14 time points, but less specific at E8. With both Kv1.3 and IR found in nuclei that govern appetite regulation and energy balance, this may suggest that high levels of insulin could alter hypothalamic development. This could change feeding behavior and alter metabolic characteristics of the organism. These experiments may direct novel discoveries of how Kv1.3 channel activity affects the developing hypothalamus.


Fareed Ahmadi
(Dr. Rowland Brucken)
Research Fellow
State failure and immigration in Afghanistan

United States and the coalition forces military task in Afghanistan ended in 2014. Afghan government took the responsibility to provide security and combat terrorism and rebels in all Afghanistan. In addition, the financial support of the International community including the United States decreased significantly. It was a great opportunity for the Afghan government to prove that they are capable to providing the basic services for its citizens. One year after the transition of leadership to Afghan officials the situation in Afghanistan changed drastically. Most importantly, security was getting worse and Afghan government witnessed the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in eastern provinces and the Al-Qaeda forces twice captured Kunduz in North of the country. In 2015 and 2016 European Union faced an influx of refugees and asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. My hypothesis is that Afghan government has failed to provide the public goods such as security, employment and human rights for its citizens. Thus, leading many Afghans to migrate to EU and neighboring countries of Iran and Pakistan. This study will evaluate the functioning of Afghan government in three areas which are Security, Economy and Human Rights respectively.


Armando Barragan
(Prof. Cara Armstrong)
Research Fellow
Luis Barragan’s Architecture of Resistance

With an ever-growing connection between countries on the world, sharing traditions, technologies, and building designs creates this great mixture of cultures that takes advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to move forward as one. Although this is great for the society as a whole, in terms of identity it blurs the line between each other. An International design standard comes out where buildings can be copied and pasted all over the world with no real thought of the countries culture. This project looks through Kenneth Frampton’s “Six Points of Architecture of Resistance” to analyze how architect Luis Barragan could design his buildings to resist an international modern design and incorporate the culture of Mexico City. Mexico City has a unique history that makes it what it is now. With a deeply rooted ancient indigenous population that created magnificent buildings, a destruction and rebirth of new traditions with Spanish colonial influences and a modern day international connection it leaves an array of influences to take from. With this rich architectural history Barragan could grab and morph every aspect of Mexican architecture to create his magical modern buildings that never lose their cultural identity.


Morgan Chapman
(Dr. Kyle Pivetti)
Research Fellow
The Influence of Language on Junot Diaz’s A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Junot Díaz moved to New Jersey in 1974 and began the miserable experience of learning English. Later in life, he continued to try and master the language, leading him to study English for his college years. His struggles culminated in his first novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Published in September of 2007, this book created seismic waves as it forced readers to experience language in a way that was unfamiliar, intimate, and uncomfortable. The novel centers around a Dominican American, Oscar Wao (whose real name is Oscar De León) as he struggles to fit into his community, establish his identity and find love in the process. Often what makes Oscar an outsider in various communities is his use of inappropriate dialects for the given social situation. This research looks at how the different languages (e.g., English, Spanish, and even Elvish) as well as dialects (cursing, SAT words, and Spanish slang) all come together to create the experience of a non-native English speaker learning the intricacies of self-expression. Furthermore, this research explores how the educational system – specifically English as a Second Language classroom’s use of competition and shame – created a conflict between English and Spanish that Junot Díaz captures in his novel. As America continues to see a rise in the number of Spanish speakers in the country and subsequently in schools, it is important to look at an immigrant’s experience to gain valuable insight on ESL programs.


Carisa DeKalb
(Dr. Brian Bradke)
Research Fellow
Fighting for Firemen: Eliminating the Possibility of On-The-Job Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Using Spectroscopy

Firemen around the world face the common threat of being unable to detect Carbon Monoxide (CO) without the help of technology. Humans can neither see, nor smell, nor taste, nor feel CO in the air - a problem as it can quickly become a poison once ingested. As technology advances to become fully non-invasive with highly accurate real-time readings, this problem can be solved. With the various types of oximeters that are able to monitor blood chemistry, this technology begs to be manipulated to help these first responders do their job and do it well without the fear of poisoning. While the traditionally used transmissive-type configuration dominates use in clinical settings, a second configuration, reflectance-type, has the potential to bring oximetry outside of the hospital room. As they have already been applied in cases such as the forehead probe, in clinical settings, and a wrist/chest oximeters, in research, their possible application sites need to be further explored, the carotid artery being one of them. An investigation was conducted to determine whether this would be a reliable point of data collection for a design, and based on these results a working design was developed. The effort to utilize this method of non-invasive, real-time monitoring of blood chemistry resulted in a report that displays the application of reflectance-based oximetry for firemen that should eliminate many of the traditional problems that face the technology today.


Spencer Duhamel
(Dr. Dalyn Leudtke)
Research Fellow
Rhetorical Devices of the NewVista Project

This research examines rural grassroots movement’s arguments through a multi-layered study of the digital and non-digital rhetoric of the Anti-NewVistas campaign. The anti-NewVistas campaign is a grassroots movement in Central Vermont that opposes the construction of a communal development, NewVistas, by David Hall, a rich Utah businessman. The main riff between David Hall’s proposal and the ideology of rural Vermont is the way sustainability is defined by both parties. By evaluating the Anti-NewVista argument, this research aims to clarify the process by which rural grassroots movements overthrow entities trying to alter their culture and/or environment. This research employs two major research strategies: (1) a literature review of Aristotelian and contemporary activist rhetoricians and (2) one case study, the Anti-NewVista movement. Data has been collected through gathering Facebook discourse, newspaper articles, and stakeholder artifacts such as bumper stickers and lawn signs. This research aims to challenge the idea that grassroots movements do not maintain traction or succeed in their efforts in trying to overthrow a dominant entity.


Mallory Dutil
(Dr. Laurie Grigg)
Research Fellow
An Analysis of Late-glacial Macrofossils from Central Vermont Lake Cores 

The macrofossils in a sediment core from Pecks Pond in Barre, VT were studied in order to reconstruct the environment during the late-glacial period (ca. 14,500-10,000 yr BP). The primary goal was to identify and interpret the short-lived climactic events occurring in or around the Younger Dryas period. This was being researched because these types of climatic events have been studied showing the full sequence in the North Atlantic and northeast, but there had not been a full study done in Vermont. This was done by primarily using ostracodes to get a sense of the environment during that time period. Other macrofossils that were analyzed include: insect parts, gastropod shells, bivalve shells, oogonium, Chara encrustations, and other identifiable seeds. Radio-carbon dating of organic matter found in the core was used to develop a chronology and suggest the core is greater than 13,500 years old. The first major change in the core for ostracodes and other macrofossils was at a depth of about 410 cm; here there was a major drop in the number of ostracodes in total. After that until about 355 cm, C. candida was more prominent which shows a colder water period. From 355 cm up there is a switch to an abundance of C. vidua and C. neglecta, which displays a warmer water period. This study was partnered with a sediment analysis to form a multi-proxy report.

Hadley Ellis
(Dr. Ethan Guth and Dr. Simon Pearish)
Research Fellow
Determination of Mercury Levels in the Striped Bass of Lake Cumberland and the Creation of an Accurate Safe Consumption Guideline

Large predatory fish species, like morone saxitilis, will often exhibit elevated methylmercury (MeHg+) concentrations in the presence of toxic environmental mercury (Hg0). This MeHg+ will bioaccumulate in the larger, older individuals of the species and is detrimental to the health of those who predate upon them. Of most concern are the thousands of sports-fishermen who catch and consume large quantities of these fish. In this study, morone saxitilis of differing sizes and location within a single freshwater reservoir, Lake Cumberland, were collected, euthanized, and then quantitatively analyzed for MeHg+ content using a specialized Milestone Direct Mercury Analyzer (DMA-80). Due to the location of the reservoir, which is in proximity to several high-risk sites for the production of Hg0, like fossil fuel burning energy plants and clothing dye factories, greatly elevated levels of MeHg+ would be expected within the samples. It was discovered that a gross majority of the collected specimen had MeHg+ levels in excess of the global average for the species. This indicates that Hg0 is present in this ecosystem and that sports-fishermen are at risk of toxic exposure when consuming these fish.


Keely Eubank
(Dr. Jeremy Hansen)
Research Fellow
The Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

In order to expand the field of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), the idea of a chatbot with multiple knowledge databases has been introduced to aid in the meshing of various, previously unrelated fields. As a proof of concept, a medical database was built that could be easily incorporated into any larger program that is capable of reading the format the database is provided in. This database will be released as an open-source document, allowing for others to learn from and expand upon the work completed as part of this project. This medical database is twofold; one part is a list of the top illnesses that affect individuals, and a brief (one to three sentence) overview of the disease and possible treatments, while the second part of the database focuses more on symptomatic analysis and diagnoses. The database is specific to conversational software, as it has keywords that, if matched by the input, output a specific response.


Nick Hartshorn
(Prof. Tolya Stonorov)
Research Fellow
Light: The Voice of the Soul

The purpose of this research was to examine the past projects of architects Eero Saarinen, Jorn Utzon, and Peter Zumthor to gain a greater understanding into how sunlight contributes in satisfying the environment of the spaces within certain buildings. By visiting Saarinen’s MIT Chapel and Auditorium, Utzon’s Bagsveard Church, and Zumthor’s Therme Baths, I could further develop this theory. From visiting these sites, I discovered the strong correlation that sunlight has with artificial light, its ability to bend to the properties of water, and how sunlight could communicate with water to create a more serene atmosphere within. In certain cases, where artificial light was found in abundance, the minimal amount of sunlight used created sacred space. However, if this relationship between the two were flipped, it then became a matter of how to achieve a satisfactory balance of sunlight for the space so that it had a more balanced, and relax feeling.


Kevin Kazura
(Prof. Cara Armstrong)
Research Fellow
Josef Albers: Interaction of Color with Architecture

Color, a perceptive aspect of our everyday life that brings out life and character to everything it touches. For the most part, color is everywhere and it tends to be artificially manipulated into subtle or vibrant arrangement. Through Albers studies of color, I want to be able to learn what makes color such an important element towards architectural façade embedment. Additionally, I want to expand knowledge of multi-colors usage towards buildings to my endeavors. To bring more clarity to my project, I would like to learn if we choose color layouts through educated guesses or instinctive decisions. For this project, I will be visiting sites that contain multi colorful faces and studying Josef Albers exercises to expand ways on how to manipulate color in order to bring out different styles of arrangements. In conclusion, I would like to show the importance of color and how it can really affect us humans towards architecture and even more.


Irene Magdon
(Dr. Laurie Grigg)
Research Fellow
A Sedimentological Lake Core Analysis of Vermont’s Late-Glacial Period

Understanding the climate and glacial movements of the past is critical to our understanding of our current climate situation. This research helps answer some minor aspects of what the climate of central Vermont was like at the end of the last glacial period (14,5000-10,000 yr BP) by analyzing the fingerprint of a lake environment preserved in a sediment core. Loss-on-Ignition (LOI) analysis of the sediments cored from the wetland surrounding Peck Pond in Barre, VT show changes in the relative amounts of organic carbon and carbonate through time. These values indicate potential water depth and climatic conditions at the time of sediment deposition. Grain-size analysis was also completed and can indicate changes in energy and water depth. Significant peaks are seen all LOI measurements as well as grain-size at approximately 350 and 420 centimeters’ depth. After the 350cm peak, the trend of all the data remains relatively consistent with frequent minor peaks that do not appear in abrupt, drastic spikes as the previously mentioned points. Several radio-carbon dates were taken from organic material obtained from the core and preliminary results suggest the presence of several previously recognized climate events including the Younger Dryas. This research is a documentation of a complete series of late-glacial changes that confirms previous studies; this confirmation specifies the impact of these climate changes through the central Vermont area and can be used for future analysis in putting together a larger picture of the geographic area during this time period.


Sean Michael McCrystal
(Dr. Mi Ri Kim)
Research Fellow
Retainers of Sengoku Japan: History of the Miyoshi and Hosokawa

Donated by General A. Coolidge (NU 1863) who obtained it while serving as Colonel of the Ninth-Regiment in relief of the United States legislation in Peking, China during the Boxer Rebellion. He obtained the armor from the Palace of the Seventh Blood Prince of Royal Blood in Peking (Beijing). The historian at the time cataloged it as Chinese armor since it was brought back from China. The focus of this research was to consider the origins of the family whose emblem is located on the Do (Chest plate); specifically, the shoulder clasps. The family emblem appears to be the same as the Miyoshi Samurai family which was a retainer family to the Hosokawa during the 16th century. The Miyoshi were not the only family to have had that Mon (Family Crest). They are the family that existed during the time in which the armor has been dated (Late 16th-early 17th). The primary form of research conducted was collecting data on the Miyoshi and Hosokawa families through online archives and any books or publications that exist on the families. The result of the research is to understand the Miyoshi family and their linage but also to reveal their movements and possible battles fought. The hope is to gain some understanding on potential ways the armor may have been produced, and potential battle sites it was used in to figure out its origin, and potentially who may have worn it and how it ended up in a Chinese Palace.


Carley Rotter
(Dr. Richard Hyde)
Research Fellow
The Variability of Vermont’s Temperature and Growing Season

This study examines the temperature of the Burlington Area, VT over the last century (1892 – 2016). Particular attention is paid to the spring maple sugaring season, which is an important component of the state’s economy. The run of sap relies, among several factors, on temperature. Using criteria related to the daily temperature maximum, TMax, and minimum, TMin, an analysis reveals that in recent decades there has been a decrease in the number of optimal sugaring days. Also examined is the statistical variance of the daily temperature extrema, var(TMax) and minima, var(TMin). Important changes occur during the course of the year and during the course of the past century. var(TMin) greatly exceeds var(Tmax) during the winter season but falls slightly below it during the summer season. The spring “cross-over” of the two variances has been occurring at earlier dates in the year over the past century; the fall cross-over, at later dates. This may have important ramifications for the dependability of the length of the growing season.

Daniel Smith
(Dr. Jeremy Hansen)
Research Fellow
Addressing Common Flaws of Centralized Cloud Storage Systems with Decentralized Mobile File Systems 

In this era of modern computing, lots of people and organizations rely on cloud storage systems to store and distribute important information. Even a person loading a website is relying on a form of cloud storage. The vast majority of these systems are centralized, which means that a single powerful computer such as a server supplies resources (in this case the resource being shared is a place to store information) to many less powerful computers. But while a centralized cloud storage system is simple to create and doesn’t require a high level of maintenance, the resources required are expensive and most systems are vulnerable to attack. This project deals with the opposite of centralized networks: decentralized networks. This project researches using decentralization to improve the integrity and security of cloud storage systems. Rather than perfecting a system for business or focusing on speed, it specifically deals with exploring the uses of a cloud storage system design called a Decentralized Mobile File System (DMFS). A DMFS incorporates decentralization and several other changes compared to more common centralized cloud storage systems. By the end of this project I hope to produce a complete software protocol for a DMFS and a working software as a proof of concept. The software should be able to take, store, and return information without error according to the behavior specified in the software protocol. I will also test the software against real world scenarios to determine if a DMFS is a practical cloud storage solution.


Ian Stephens
(Dr. Yangmo Ku)
Research Fellow
A Study of the effects of the US “pivot to Asia” on US relations with Asian middle powers

In the past several years the Asia-Pacific Region has emerged as arguably the most economically and strategically important region in the word, containing billions of people, some of the world’s largest markets and economies and half of the world’s nuclear weapons. In November 2011 President Obama announced in a speech to the Australian Parliament what the media would dub “The Pivot to Asia,” a refocusing of American foreign policy efforts to the East Asia Pacific in light of the rise of China as a regional power, threatening US hegemony in the region. This renewed focus would be designed to reassert America’s position as the hegemonic power in the Asia Pacific and protect America’s interests and allies from the growing threat of Chinese aggression. The most important aspect in America’s ability to assert hegemony over the region is our relations with the so called “middle-powers” of the region, particularly those with which the United States has established alliances and partnerships. Therefore, this paper will examine middle-powers and US allies Japan, The Republic of Korea, and The Republic of the Philippines. This essay will seek to answer two primary questions. First, has the US Pivot to Asia accomplished its goals in regards to South Korea, Japan and the Philippines, and what accounts for the degree to which these goals have been accomplished? Secondly, how has the reception of the US Pivot to Asia differed between Japan, Korea and the Philippines, economically, strategically and diplomatically, and what cultural, political or historical factors account for these differences?


Jonathan Wriston
(John Hart)

Research Fellow
Hidden Treasure: Norwich’s Inherited Badge Collection from the Age of the Czars

In 1983 Mrs. Hazel Louville Hihowr Goyette gifted Norwich University with a large collection of Imperial Russian badges that her husband, Arthur Goyette, received from their friend Foster Stearns. The collection, appropriately named “the Goyette Collection,” contains 103 beautiful and well-crafted Imperial era Russian badges; all made roughly between 1900-1911. These badges represent several of Russia’s military units that served in the later years of the empire, including the Great War. Also, pertinent to Norwich, is the large number of badges representing several military and civil educational institutions in pre-Soviet Russia, some of which are still active today. Today the badges give us a peek into the artistic style of Old Russia, much of which was influenced by the Orthodox Church and into the craftsmanship of the silversmiths and work masters at Faberge. The collection has been and will continue to be valuable in understanding Old Russia, her history, and her people.

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