|Apprenticeships further research development at West PointBy Rebecca MeeseNetwork Science CenterThis summer, the Network Science Center at West Point facilitated several apprenticeships sponsored by the Army Research Office for both undergraduates and graduate students across many different fields of study. The various backgrounds of the apprentices allowed them to be involved in several locations throughout the installation, all of which contributed to the development of knowledge of network science in support of the center’s mission.A group of three apprentices, Louis Boguchwal, Marc Johnson and Lauren Kewley, researched the involvement of key players and events in the nuclear program in Iran using a network “toolkit” approach for their project, similar to the Frontier Markets research being done in the NSC.By taking a macro level view of Iran they can analyze how the laws, government, politics and market may explain the actions of and relationships among the key players in the network. They also assisted with data collection on Ethiopa’s economic environment and using the network analysis program, ORA, to build a network. Two cadets who traveled to Ethiopia for an Academic Individual Advanced Development couse in June used this information to gain an in-depth view of Ethiopa’s economy and conduct further research related to the country’s economy. The three apprentices have math or engineering backgrounds and this networking analysis method has expanded their knowledge and interest in the material. The unique balance of undergraduates and graduates working toward the same mission has brought different strengths to the team, enhancing the research being done. As an 92A-Automated Logistics specialist in the New York National Guard, Robert Rasmussen brings a unique view to the center, as he personifies the link between the civilian and the Army. Rasmussen returned to the NSC for his second summer and is continuing his study of ethno-cultural and interactive political networks while working with the Minerva program. With a master’s in international relations, he is working with Makame Muhajir, Ph.D., on Tanzanian networks and provides analysis for developing nations in general. Barb Autin is also working with the West Point Minerva Research Initiative. The skills Autin acquired while earning her MBA with a concentration in management, allow her to execute the research and complete a database of agent actions for individuals in the Abu Sayyak Group from 1991-2011. Linking together the ties of the group and compiling the data enhances her knowledge of network science and adapts her to the new field of study.Aubrey Shoop is completing a second apprenticeship this summer in the Chemistry and Life Sciences labs. While working under the guidance of Michael Labare, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology, she is studying the effectiveness of short chain fatty-acids on inactivating various bacterial spores. While building on work from last summer, she has advanced her technical skills beyond those in which she would learn from a classroom. The apprenticeship has provided the experience as well as the knowledge that will support her biology major when she returns to her junior year at Mount Holyoke College.Fernando Maymi, another apprentice who studies math and physics at New York University, is also new to the field of network science. After completing the Advanced Network Analysis and Targeting course, taught by Maj. Anthony Johnson from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Maymi used what he learned to create a network for his research project. He is linking together network feeds from followers using social media, mainly Twitter, throughout the course of the Arab Spring. The focus is on the internet activity during the people’s uprising in Cairo. After producing a network of feeds and linking them by the followers, Maymi will track the spread of keywords and examine the key role they had in the rebellion. Casey Elliot returned for her second summer in the NSC and is working on a project to link together the steps for obtaining various levels of security clearances. She has partnered with the security office on West Point and has gained insight into the process behind security clearances. This project will help her earn college credit and execute the skills she has learned when she returns to Oklahoma State University, where she studies marketing with a minor in international business. Similar to Elliot, Sarah Money is entering her senior year at Erskine College and comes from a political science background. Money is applying skills learned in her many statistics classes as well as experimental methodologies studies to further her research. As part of their project they have both been introduced to the ORA network analysis program and have been able to use the program to develop a network. The Network Science Center brings together service members, civilians, and cadets to research and develop significant contributions in the study of network representations of physical, biological, and social phenomena leading to predictive models.This summer the NSC was able to bring together the talents of a diverse set of young researchers from different disciplines to work together solving real world problems while applying what they have learned in the classroom. The ARO apprenticeship program has had a positive impact on research being done here this summer. Each apprentice who was able to work with USMA faculty will be able to take a new problem solving approach with them back to school or into their professional lives.
The Network Science Center's 2012 Summer Apprentices. Top Row: Louis Boguchwal, Fernando Maymi, Robert Rasmussen, Marc Johnson. Middle Row: Rebecca Meese and Barb Autin. Bottom Row: Casey Elliot, Sarah Money, Lauren Kewley, Aubrey Shoop. Photo courtesy of the West Point Network Science Center