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Happenings at The School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota

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Calling for Abstracts for 2014 Scholarly Forum

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The School of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the 13th Annual Graduate Scholarly Forum, a two-day conference showcasing the cutting edge research and creative scholarship of UND’s graduate community.  Last year’s event was the largest to date with more than 200 participants who presented their research through oral presentations, posters and panel sessions. Image

Dr Wayne Swisher, interim dean of the School of Graduate Studies said, “The Scholarly Forum has grown to be the largest gathering of our academic community on our campus. The depth and breadth of graduate research is evident both in the Forum’s growth and the increasing number of interdisciplinary projects”.

The Scholarly Forum is the ideal opportunity to discover the independent and collaborative research projects that engage our graduate community. It allows students to gain valuable presentation experience and feedback ahead of regional and national conferences, and for departments to gather and support their peers and colleagues. For undergraduates interested in an advanced education, the Forum provides a perfect environment to learn more about a research topic of interest and what is expected at the graduate level.

Next year’s Scholarly Forum is set for Tuesday, March 11 and Wednesday March 12. The School of Graduate Studies is now calling for abstracts. If you would like to arrange a special session for your department or have questions about the event, please contact Susan Caraher.

SF Guidelines: http://graduateschool.und.edu/learn-more/sf-guidelines.cfm

Submission form: http://apps.und.edu/scholarly-forum/


Written by School of Graduate Studies

December 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

Posted in Events, research

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UND Sustainable Community Research Event in Warren, MN

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University of North Dakota faculty and students are invited to exhibit their sustainability research and projects at the annual Community Connect Forum. The forum is coordinated by the University of North Dakota Center for Community Engagement and hosted this year by Warren, Minn. on Saturday, April 27. Community members, faculty, and students from around the region will gather for this year’s theme of “Sustainable Communities”.

Registration for the forum is free, and can be found at http://communityengagement.und.edu. The website also includes a schedule for the day of the forum and a link for exhibiting your research or organization.

The forum will focus on civic, economic, and environmental sustainability, addressing topics such as smart government, new business ownership models, and changes in agriculture and energy. As hosts of the forum, Warren will have the opportunity to showcase its own town story and their efforts toward creating more sustainable practices in their community such as becoming a GreenStep City. Warren will also highlight their unique assets with their downtown businesses and nearby Audubon wildlife preserve. Participants will have the opportunity to network and view exhibits of different regional projects, agencies, and resources.

The forum will be held in the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo School. There will be free transportation available for UND participants on the day of the forum to travel to Warren; the bus will leave Memorial Union at 8 AM. Warren is about 30 miles northeast of Grand Forks.

Some links below  provide more information and a chance to register for the event. Also, if any students want to exhibit and research or projects at the forum, there is also opportunity to do so.

Video  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnMa1zMS__E

Newsletter  – http://und.edu/centers/community-engagement/newsroom/2013-newsletter.pdf

Registration – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1K3F0FMq_SJyf6zzjFDoiw2AkR8zRCADrEXQ9vR-Wu0U/viewform

Written by School of Graduate Studies

April 26, 2013 at 8:57 am

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Dr Debra R. Rolison to give 2013 Abbott Chemistry Lecture

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The University of North Dakota’s Department of Chemistry is hosting its annual Abbott Chemistry Lecture this week. Dr. Debra Rolison of the US Naval Research Laboratory is giving a public presentation on Thursday evening, followed by a lunch time presentation on Friday in the department. Details follow for the Thursday lecture and you can find more details on the department’s website.


Creating Change in Scientific Institutions through Subversion, Revolution (Title IX!), and Climate Change

The slow crawl at which research-intensive universities diversify their faculty is a national disgrace in that they actively recruit for students that reflect the face of America. Similar difficulties are apparent among the scientific staff of national/federal laboratories. But how can one person change the world of science? Subvert the standard operating procedure. Create a microclimate that shows―over time―how new patterns of operation and inclusiveness yield productive, innovative science. Use the scientific capital and street credentials accrued over time, thanks to the humane microclimate and research productivity of one’s team, to challenge the status quo with reasoned and bold arguments for change. Remember the importance of uppity behavior and applying “tipping point” mechanisms to move beyond initial reactions of dismissal to―over time―accepted inevitability (such as greeted my audacious suggestion in March 2000 to withhold federal funds from non-diversified chemistry departments through application of Title IX). Ask the leaders of our S&T institutions the following: how good can American science, engineering, mathematics, and technology (STEM) be when we are missing more than two-thirds of the talent? Learn to demand that our world of science be one that truly relishes the talent innate to all of humanity for science and discovery.

Dr. Rolison heads the Advanced Electrochemical Materials section at the NRL, where her research focuses on multifunctional nanoarchitectures for such rate‑critical applications as catalysis, energy storage and conversion, and sensors. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah (2000–present). She was a Faculty Scholar at Florida Atlantic University (1972–1975) and received a Ph.D. in Chemistry (UNC–CH, 1980).

Dr. Rolison is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, the Materials Research Society (Inaugural Class), and the American Chemical Society and received the 2011 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, the 2011 Hillebrand Prize of the Chemical Society of Washington, and the 2012 C.N. Reilley Award of the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry. Her editorial advisory board service includes Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Advanced Energy Materials, Nano Letters, the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and Annual Review in Analytical Chemistry.

When not otherwise bringing the importance of nothing and disorder to materials chemistry, Rolison writes and lectures widely on issues affecting women (and men!) in science, including proposing Title IX assessments of science and engineering departments. She is the author of over 200 articles and holds 24 patents.

Dr Rolison’s talk is Thursday, April 25th at 7pm in Abbott Hall 101. All are welcome and a reception will follow. 

Written by School of Graduate Studies

April 24, 2013 at 8:29 am

Showcasing our Graduate Research and Scholarship March 5 & 6

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Please join us on Tuesday March 5 and Wednesday March 6 for the 12th annual Scholarly Forum. Graduate Students and Faculty will showcase their research and creative scholarship at UND’s only campus-wide conference.

Please come and support your peers and colleagues, and learn about the outstanding research on our campus!

You can view all of the abstracts for each session here.

Here are some of the highlights for this year’s event:

Tuesday, March 5

Dr Mark AskelsonDean’s Lecture presentation
Dr Mark Askelson, Atmospheric Sciences at noon in the Lecture Bowl. Click here to read his abstract for Unmanned Aircraft: From Potential to Reality and here to read our interview.

If you are unable to join us in the Lecture Bowl, you can view Dr Askelson’s presentation live here.

Tuesday Sessions include Small Spacecraft interdisciplinary project OpenOrbiter, Criminal Justice, Earth, Space and Flight, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and panel sessions for Teaching and Learning, English and Communication and Public Discourse among others. See the full session list for Tuesday.


 Wednesday March 6

Dr Timothy PaschDean’s Lecture presentation
Dr Timothy Pasch, Communication Program at noon in the Lecture Bowl. Click here to read his abstract for The Evolution of the Scholarly Journal: Digital Convergence and Broader Impacts or click here to read our interview.

If you are unable to join us in the Lecture Bowl, you can view Dr Pasch’s presentation live here.

Wednesday Sessions include Biology, Phi Alpha Theta/History, Social Work, Mechanical and Civil Engineering as well as a panel session hosted by the Graduate Student Association. See the full session list for Wednesday.

Wednesday 2pm – 4pmPoster Session in the Ballroom will showcase more than 100 research posters

Click here to see photos from past events.

Written by School of Graduate Studies

March 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Student-run Space program featured at #ScholarlyForum13

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One of the wonderful outcomes of campus-wide conferences is discovering some of the great research projects being conducted by our students and faculty. It’s even more impressive when you discover that some projects are happening between departments, and even between colleges, involving graduate and undergraduate students and faculty.

Next Tuesday, we have the opportunity to learn about one such project. OpenOrbiter is a student-conceived and student-run research project looking to launch North Dakota’s first spacecraft in low-earth-orbit and involves participants from Computer Science, Space Studies, Electrical Engineering and the College of Business & Public Administration. Below are just a few of the presentations you can expect to hear:

  • OpenOrbiter: A Student-Run Space Program, Anders Nervold, Jeremy Straub, Josh Berk, (Faculty Sponsors, Multiple) Department of Business Administration, Department of Computer Science, Department of Space Studies
  • The Development of Payload Software for a Small Spacecraft, Kyle Goehner, Christoffer Korvald, Jeremy Straub (Faculty Sponsor, Dr Ronald Marsh) Department of Computer Science
  • A Power Generation System for the OpenOrbiter CubeSat-Class Spacecraft, Zachary Bryant, Matt Olson, Corey Bergrsud, Joshua Berk, Jeremy Straub (Faculty Sponsors, Multiple) Department of Electrical Engineering, Department of Space Studies, Department of Computer Science
  • Managing Communications, Outreach and Policy for OpenOrbiter, Anders Kose Nervold, Josh Berk, Jeremy Straub, Marian Courtney (Faculty Sponsor, Sheryl Broedel) Department of Business Administration, Department of Space Studies, Department of Computer Science, Department of Aerospace Sciences

The session involves 20 papers, and begins bright and early on Tuesday in the River Valley Room and continues through the day. You can view the booklet and read the abstracts for all sessions here. 

See the complete schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday on the School of Graduate Studies website. The 12th annual Scholarly Forum is March 5 & 6 in the Memorial Union on the University of North Dakota campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

The Evolution of the Scholarly Journal: Digital Convergence and Broader Impacts

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Dr Timothy Pasch will discuss the evolution of the scholarly journal for the Dean’s Lecture Series.

Dr. Timothy Pasch of the Communication Program will share some exciting insights into the future of scholarly publishing. Dr. Pasch is one of our two Dean’s Lecture Series presenters during the annual Scholarly Forum. I sat down with Dr. Pasch to learn more about his research in this area.

This presentation will be at the Lecture Bowl on the University of North Dakota campus, at noon on March 6th. It is free and open to the public.

Can you talk a little about your Dean’s Lecture Series presentation, The Evolution of the Scholarly Journal: Digital Convergence and Broader Impacts?

Granting agencies such as the NSF and others require, as part of their proposal process, explanation of how the grant recipient will disseminate the knowledge they will glean from their research. It’s no longer enough to simply gather research and create the knowledge, for after you have accomplished this, you are required to “share the wealth”, or disseminate that knowledge. This (in part), is what is referred to as Broader Impacts. Grants and journals serve a purpose closely related to (but not exactly) this.

Modern research is still embedded in the paradigm of the printed word on paper (journals). Digital journals, for their part, offer us convenience as they can be read on computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. Even still, the trend is still static – there’s printed text and there is some rudimentary video, but it’s primarily still simply text and image. We’re entering an era where this is no longer sufficient for granting agencies – they are looking for innovative New Media approaches for the dissemination of that knowledge. So artists and other digitally creative individuals have a very important role in creatively disseminating the knowledge of STEM and other researchers – there are exciting collaborative possibilities there.

There’s also a burgeoning opportunity for creative, immersive, convergent journals; so you are simultaneously engaging audio, video, interactivity. For example, you can “visit” a new discovery and engage with it in three dimensions, manipulate it, delve right into it. If you are a musician, for example you can do so much more than simply describe the music – you can have a waveform available for immediate interaction. These are living journals.

Part of your research is looking at communication in marginalized communities. How might the digitization of scholarly journals impact communities that might not have ready access to new technologies?

When you try to use technologies to assist individuals without technology, or those who don’t know how to use it, I’m sometimes asked, “How can it be accessible if you need to buy into the hardware in order to access it?”

One of the arguments we can make is the decreasing cost of getting into a computer or a tablet. When tablets first emerged their cost was close to $2000, however they are available for much less now. And there are a number of initiatives that aim to deliver technology to underprivileged individuals.  It’s also becoming easier to say that it is less expensive to purchase a tablet than to subscribe to a scholarly journal. And with an increasing move toward open source publishing, all of these factors may help to make knowledge much more accessible; although I will discuss models that strive to keep knowledge very closed as well.

What do you think is driving agencies to expect such Broader Impacts?

Funding is becoming more difficult to acquire based on the economy and other factors. When a grant is being evaluated, agencies are less likely to fund projects that don’t demonstrate a direct impact on the communities that this kind of work is designed to empower, or those projects that do not disseminate the knowledge as widely as possible to the target audience.

It is no longer sufficient to solely publish findings in a journal or “just make a website” as the primary vehicle for outreach. There is a greater expectation to have a detailed plan to market and distribute knowledge in a very compelling way. It needs to be engaging and inspiring.

With a greater emphasis on Broader Impacts by granting agencies, do you think this could influence the way in which academics will design their research?

The best proposals will be built around Broader Impacts and will incorporate these aspects from the beginning, rather than having them added as an afterthought, or attachment to the proposal itself.

Dr Mark Askelson, Atmospheric Sciences is also presenting for the Dean’s Lecture Series. His talk, Unmanned Aircraft: From Potential to Reality is scheduled for noon in the Lecture Bowl on Wednesday, March 6th. You can read his interview here.

Both presentations will be streamed live to the web so watch for details closer to the dates!!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 18, 2013 at 10:16 am

Unmanned Aircraft: From Potential to Reality

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I had the privilege of speaking with Dr Mark Askelson, Atmospheric Sciences, ahead of his Dean’s Lecture for the Scholarly Forum. Each year, the School of Graduate Studies highlights the outstanding research of two faculty members during our annual research showcase. I spoke with Dr Askelson about his research and the Unmanned Aircraft project he’s involved with.

The Dean’s Lecture Series presentation is Tuesday, March 5 at 12 noon in the Lecture Bowl on the UND campus. Read more about the presentation here.

You grew up not too far from here?

Yes, I’m from Detroit Lakes, MN and did my undergraduate here at UND earning two degrees, one in Mathematics and one in Atmospheric Sciences. Then I went to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma and returned to UND as faculty.

When you came to UND as an undergraduate did you know what you wanted to do?

I did. In high school I realized I had an interest in the weather and I also had strengths in physics and mathematics, both of which are important tools for working on problems associated with the weather. And I think I also realized that we didn’t have it all figured out – that meteorology is a very live science.  This is where my interests and skills intersected, so I decided to pursue atmospheric sciences.

I also really enjoyed mathematics and entertained the idea of becoming an actuary at one time, so my math degree had a statistical concentration.

I suppose growing up in this region exposed you to a lot of weather activity?

Right, and I remember as a kid hearing these forecasts of large snowfalls and then they wouldn’t pan out, so I would wonder what was going on there and why it was so far off. It turns out that the storm path could be slightly different but that could be the difference between 12 inches of snow versus none. And that got my curiosity going

You also research mesoscale meteorology?

Yes, what that refers to is phenomena of a particular size. So what you see on your nightly news’ weather forecast, these tend to be large scale, ie: thousand kilometer-wide events. Mesoscale tends to be smaller than that, such as thunderstorms. These can range from a small tornado to multi-thunderstorm complexes. These phenomena can be really complex because of all the things that interact and the physics involved but that’s what makes it fun – it’s the tough problem that needs solving.

Your research interests include surface transportation weather.

Yes! Leon Osborne, who I took classes from years ago when I was a student here, has in many ways helped to put that field on the map.  But there remain all of these research problems that we struggle with like precipitation – for instance exactly where it snowed. So, for example, if you look at local radars it never snows in International Falls – apparently it is a tropical paradise (that gets can get bitterly cold). What’s happening is that the radars are overshooting the snow because precipitation systems that produce snow tend to be not as deep as summertime rain producers. Radar beams tend to climb away from the ground – what’s happening is the beams fall away but the ground is falling away faster the further you get from the radar itself. So you might think that the solution is available because we have lots of radars, but the truth is that our radars are too far apart leaving these big holes, making the estimates of where and how hard it is snowing more difficult.

There are a couple of ways you might use this advances in this area, for instance: traveler information systems. UND is the birthplace of the 511 system that has become a really popular conduit of information for travelers. One way to use that information is to find out what the weather and travel conditions are like.

Another way is to use that information for maintenance engineers who work for the Department of Transportation who have to take care of the roads. There’s a big difference between 5 inches and 1 inch of snow, and how they might treat the roads, whether salting or plowing, and so knowing where and how much it snowed is a big deal to them. It’s a challenging problem and one that I’m working on right now for a project.

Can you talk about your involvement with Unmanned Aircraft?

About 6 or 7 years ago we had an opportunity to get involved with the Air Force on Unmanned Aircraft issues and there was interest in using ground-based radars to identify aircraft in the area and to provide that information to someone who is flying an unmanned aircraft. The big challenge with unmanned aircraft is that by definition, by design, they are fundamentally different from manned aircraft. So one of the huge challenges is, if you are flying an aircraft, at all times, regardless of weather conditions, you are required to look out the window to see any other aircraft and avoid them. But without a human on board an unmanned aircraft, you physically can’t do that. So we need to come up with another way to do that, and using ground-based radars is one way. And since ground based radars is one of my research areas in meteorology, that’s how I became involved.

The talk you are preparing for the Dean’s Lecture Series looks at the social benefits and other applications of Unmanned Aircraft.

Right, I’m often asked why I work in this area since it not down the center of my research from the standpoint of meteorology and I am trying to figure out what’s going on in the atmosphere. I’m trying to work this problem so we can use unmanned aircraft to collect measurements to help me answer some of the questions I have about what is going on in the atmosphere. I study things like tornado genesis – why do some storms make tornados and others don’t when in many ways they might look similar – so there are some really great things it can do for me from a research standpoint.

In addition, there are some tremendous social benefits that can be gained from a broader use of unmanned aircraft.

There are potential drawbacks, too, from the issue of privacy which has a lot of people upset, and rightfully so. One of the great things about UA is that they are so good at collecting ISR (Intelligent Surveillance and Reconnaissance) data – so if you lose someone in the woods you can put up a UA and it can fly for 24 hours in search mode. But because it is so good at that type of thing, you could enable people to use it for bad things too. So we have to be intelligent about it, and the University (of North Dakota) is playing an important role in this issue with an oversight committee and then we can reap all the benefits – all the good things it can do. There’s tremendous potential for economic development with the business opportunities, too.

It was exciting to read about the positive impacts that this technology can have and UND is really at the cutting edge of much of this development.

Yeah, it’s a really big deal, and one of the great benefits of this project has been the partnerships we’ve been able to develop.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced with the execution of this project? 

That’s a good question. From a technical standpoint, we’ve been able to do all the things we’ve wanted to do. We’re very lucky – we have a partnership that is very functional. One of the key elements to a successful partnership is that you have to have partners that are in it for the right reasons, the same goal, and you have to want to help one another achieve that goal together. Collectively, it’s not about any one of the partners doing something special, but it’s about all of you doing something special. And that’s what we have both with our internal and external partners. That being said, some of the biggest challenges can be political – being careful not to step on anyone’s toes.

Secondly, performing our tests and developing equipment is not cheap. It costs money to fly planes, do all of the testing and development, and it’s tough economic times, so that’s a challenge as well, for all of the partners to get enough resources to accomplish what we want to accomplish. But I think we are doing fairly well. It’s funny how you might set out to solve a technical problem but some of the biggest challenges you run into are fiscal or political.

But we’re extremely fortunate. The partnership has been incredible.

It’s fun to reflect on the various disciplines and partnerships over the past six or so years that have brought us to this point. Where do you think we’ll be in the next ten years?

You talk to people who might say UA need to be integrated into the national airspace “immediately”, and while I don’t disagree – it would be great! –the problems are challenging enough and the FAA by design is very cautious. So it will take a little bit of time, but it will happen, and when it does we’re going to be able to do some great things. I don’t think that in ten years our jetliners will be unmanned – you want that pilot up front, so I don’t know when or if we’ll ever cross that boundary.

What would say are some of the highlights of your academic research?

One of the highlights is the partnerships we have. I really do enjoy that aspect of it. I don’t know that relative to this project I’ll ever have another project that looks like that. But regardless it’s not often you get a chance to work on a problem with that much significance, with that kind of a team that has been brought together with those kinds of resources. So it is an exciting time.

But to be honest, as a researcher, a highlight could be a relatively small problem that you have solved that no one else has done before and it turns out to be a very cool thing. People have asked me why I go storm chasing and certainly it’s awesome to watch some of the things the atmosphere does, but you also learn by observing. And we want to understand why we’re getting these tornados, what processes are leading to these. And by learning about it, you hope to get to a better understanding, better forecasting, and better warnings that have a positive impact on people—that’s what it’s all about.


Dr Timothy Pasch is also presenting for the Dean’s Lecture Series. His presentation: The Evolution of the Scholarly Journal: Digital Convergence and Broader Impacts is in the Lecture Bowl at noon on March 6th. Read our interview here.

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

Posted in people, research

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