Monday, April 29, 2013

OSCAR's Top 5 Picks of the Week 4/29

This Week at Mason:

Vision Series: Kylene Kehn-Hall

April 29, 2013
7:30 pm
Prince William Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall
Identifying Altered Host Pathways in Emerging Viral Infections: Implications for Therapeutics and Diagnostics
Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV) are emerging infectious pathogens and biological threat agents. These two viruses are transmitted by mosquito and pose a significant health risk to humans, livestock, and equines. Importantly, there are no therapeutics available for treatment of either of these viral infections. RNA viruses such as RVFV and VEEV are highly dependent on host cell processes for replication. In particular, they use host protein networks for all aspects of their replication cycles including entry, transcription, replication, trafficking, morphogenesis, assembly and release. This presentation will focus on host signaling pathways that are altered in RVFV and VEEV infected cells with the goal of utilizing this knowledge for novel therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization

April 30, 2013

12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Arlington Campus, Founders Hall, Room 134

On Friday, 17th May, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) will host a talk by Dr. Richard Medina (George Mason University), who will discuss the new book The Geography of International Terrorism: An Introduction to Spaces and Places of Violent Non-State Groups (CRC Press, 2013), of which he is co-author (with George F. Hepner).
This important new work argues that, while geography is not the only factor to shape human behavior, its influence on terrorists’ motivations, behaviors, options, and activities is a primary consideration in understanding terrorism. The authors articulate the role of physical and human geography in terrorist ideology, operations, haven formation, and control.

CHSS Undergraduate Research Symposium

April 30, 2013

12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) invites the university community to attend the 2013 CHSS Undergraduate Research Symposium on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Dewberry Hall. Undergraduate students throughout the college will showcase their research and scholarship; prizes will be awarded for outstanding projects. More information is available at .

The Future of Transatlantic Relations

May 2, 2013

1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Johnson Center, Meeting Room A

Hans-Ulrich Klose, former Mayor of Hamburg and currently member of the German parliament (Bundestag) and Chairman of the the German-American parliamentary group, will be speaking on the "Future of Transatlantic Relations" on Thursday, May 2, 1:30-3:00 PM in Meeting Room A, Johnson Center. Free and open to the public with a reception to follow.

Nonlinear Equilibrium vs. Linear Programming for Resource Allocation Problems

May 3, 2013

3:30 pm to 4:20 pm

Planetary Hall, Room 242

When Linear Programming (LP) is used for optimal resources allocation the prices for goods and the resources availability are given priory and independent on the production output and prices for the resources. Nonlinear Equilibrium (NE), which is a generalization of Walras-Wald equilibrium, eliminates this basic drawback of LP. Finding NE is equivalent to solving a variation inequality (VI) on the Cartesian product of the primal and dual non negative octants, projection on which is a very simple operation. For solving the VI we consider two methods: projected pseudo-gradient (PPG) and extra pseudo-gradient (EPG), for which projection is the main operation at each step. We established convergence, proved global Q-linear rate and estimated complexity of both methods under various assumptions on the input data. Both PPG and EPG can be viewed as pricing mechanisms for establishing economic equilibrium.

URSP Highlights: Travis Jones

Spring 2013 URSP Participant: Travis Jones

            This semester I have been working with Professor Howard Kurtz as a research assistant on his project entitled “Historical Perspectives on Costume Design in the Federal Theatre Project,” an aptly titled investigation into the lives and work of costume designers working for the Federal Theatre Project, a short-lived New Deal program charged with employing out of work theatre professionals and artists and artisans from other allied fields.  While the program was only active from late 1935 until 1939, it staged 2,745 productions and kept thousands off the unemployment rolls.  Moreover, it had a sizable impact on American theatre. The program diversified audiences through its African-American Division, its German-language Division and its Yiddish Division.  Its non-profit nature allowed for innovations and experimentation that wouldn't have been possible in the commercial theatre and it launched the careers of directors like Orson Welles and playwrights like Arthur Miller who would loom large in American Arts and Letters during the second half of the twentieth century.
            In case it's not obvious, I'm really enthusiastic about the Federal Theatre Project and have been for quite some time, so I was quite excited last semester to receive an email from the History Department calling for research assistants for Professor Kurtz.  While, as a History major, I'm not the perfect candidate to help out with costume design research, since its not something I have any background in, the work that I've done has actually called quite heavily on the research skills I've learned within my major.  Since this is the first semester that either Professor Kurtz or I have worked on this project, our work to date has mostly been information-gathering.  That is to say, we have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we don't know and where we can find it.  This has meant that while I expected that I would be spending a lot of time looking at drawings and photographs of costumes, I've actually spent a lot of time working with the type of social history that I'm used to by virtue of my major.  It has also meant that I've been able to develop a number of the skills I hope to use professionally. I hope to pursue a graduate degree in Library Science next year and go on to work as a librarian in an academic library or archive.  Locating archives where there is information on the Federal Theatre project and browsing through documents looking for pertinent information has been a really helpful exercise in developing these skills.
            In some ways, my experience researching costume design in the Federal Theater has been characterized by the frustration of not knowing what I don't know. Flipping through boxes in archives and poring over publications without any guarantee of finding useful information can be somewhat discouraging.  But there have been many rewards in the form of coming across information for which I haven't necessarily been looking.  For instance, last week I came across one of the keys pieces to the social history puzzle of the Federal Theatre Project.  One of the greatest significances of the Federal Theatre Project for costume designers was the unionization of the profession.  Before 1937, costume designers were not admitted to the United Scenic Artists union; however, high unemployment among set and lighting designers meant that too little revenue was coming into the union in the form of dues.  Because the Federal Theatre Project was keeping a large number of costume designers employed and so, as a measure to keep the union afloat, costume designers were added as a category of members of the United Scenic Artists.  It is little morsels of information like this that make the work continually rewarding and make research interesting.

Friday, April 26, 2013

URSP Highlights: Aaron Baker

Spring 2013 URSP Participant Aaron Baker


        My project title is Prosperity In European Social Welfare Countries and the United States: A Comparative Analysis. My enthusiasm in this topic stems from the fact that I’ve always wanted to understand why prosperity levels fluctuate worldwide.
         My project is a comparative analysis of the economic structure of America, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom; the goal is to explore the correlation between economic policies and the economic well being of people in these countries by measuring standards of living. My mentor, Professor Donald J. Boudreaux, devised this project after reading Myths of Rich & Poor by Michael Cox and Richard Alm. After learning of my mutual interest in the topic we formulated a strategy to measure prosperity levels based on work hours as opposed to the common method of comparing gross domestic product.
         My research is based on the truism that the more goods and services a person is able to obtain the more prosperous he is. Therefore, the rising prices of goods and services in different nations is not a sufficient way to compare standards of living; instead the amount of hours that an American works to purchase a basket of goods is compared to the amount of hours that a Norwegian (or any foreigner) must work to obtain the same basket in Norway (or any other country). 
         The task that I perform on a weekly basis is the process of constructing a work-hour metric that can be applied to any country. The pith and core of this metric consists of collecting prices of goods and services for a basket of twenty pre-selected items for the years 2003-2011. Hours have been spent searching the databases of National Statistical Institutes (and other sources) around the world to find the price of gasoline, electricity, tomatoes, bread, etc., for four different countries. Next, the hourly wage of the average worker in four countries is obtained for the same time frame. Lastly, the cost of the consumer basket is divided by the hourly wage to determine the work-hour price of the basket. One interesting thing I found this week is that the price of goods and services in France, along with the wage rate of the average worker there pretty much rise at the same rate.
         This project has laid the foundation for my long-term research goals. I will have a tool to effectively measure prosperity levels in any nation without worrying about the complexities that come from currency exchange rates and inflation levels. This is the beginning of many insightful findings that have not been discovered.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Congratulations Angela Shaffer!!!

URSP Highlight: Angela Shaffer

Join us in congratulating Angela Shaffer, a Fall 2012 OSCAR Scholar, for publishing her Livescribe videos on the MedEdPortal, a publication of the American Association of Medical Colleges.  This allows a broad number of users to know about these resources.  

Here is the link:

Importantly, her submission was recognized as the top submission by the AAMC’s Pre-Health Initiative review committee, for the field of Biochemistry.  She also received an award of $750.  

Congratulations Angela!

Notice of the award:

Angela created these resources with guidance from a faculty member with limited time, and her production approach would be interesting for Mason faculty to know about:

She'll be describing some of her research at the COS Undergraduate Research Symposium this Friday April 26, 2013 at the Mason Inn. Please stop by and see her poster from 1-3pm.

She also published a YouTube video describing how to make this kind of educational Pencast:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

URSP Highlights: Hozaifah Zafar

Spring 2013 URSP participant Hozaifah Zafar:

            There are millions of people all around the world who are living a with a limb loss. Even though the advancement in technology in the field of robotic limbs has reduced many barriers faced by amputees in the practical life, the cost associated to these robotic limbs is still out of reach for many people. Having the ability to offer an alternative approach to operate these robotic limbs got me interested in this project. We are working on a novel ultrasound-based control strategy for upper prosthetic limbs, which not only improve the functionalities of such prosthetics but also mitigates the associated cost. Every week I'm responsible for collecting the data and to test and improve the current algorithm, which identifies the type of movement based on the activation of specific muscle groups on the forearm. However one thing to remember in research is everything might not go as you plan, which is just part of the research. While running the collected data on our program this week, we noticed that the algorithm despite being very successful on simple tasks fails to distinguish between two of the complex movements.  However, it's just part of a research and we already identified a technique to resolve this issue. As a computer scientist, I see this project very much related to the field I'm pursuing. I am specifically responsible for designing and implementing an algorithm to identify a type of movement based on the activation of specific muscle groups on the forearm. I believe working on this project not only provides me a chance to employ the techniques I have learned as an undergraduate student but also provides an opportunity to familiarize myself with the research environment.

Monday, April 22, 2013

URSP Highlights: Catherine Brown

Spring 2013 URSP Participant Catherine Brown:

Down the Rabbit Hole: Studying Don Quixote

            This project started with a paper I wrote comparing Don Quixote and Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film, The Dark Knight for a Spanish literature class. The requirement of the project was to compare Cervantes’s epic novel to a pop culture phenomenon such as a television show or a film. I had no idea I would end up expanding that idea into a project encompassing two art styles (Baroque and Neo-Baroque), linking contemporary films as diverse as The Matrix Trilogy and The Wizard of Oz, and the iconic figures of Don Quixote and Batman.
            This project is forcing me to be even more independent than I have had to be in my academic work to this point. I have to be not only confident as I write what I have observed from my research, but thorough and precise. This intense kind of research and extensive writing is the type of work I will be doing in graduate school. My ultimate goal is to be a doctor of Spanish and Portuguese, to be a colleague of that field and contribute my ideas through publication of research like what I have been doing this semester. URSP is giving me a taste of what that will be like.
            Up to this point in the project, on a weekly basis I do a lot of reading such as on the history of the Baroque and the development of the Neo-Baroque aesthetic. I have also been researching art and film. The Baroque body of work is massive because it includes painting, sculpture, and architecture. Furthermore, it’s a global art form. It spreads through Europe and then to the rest of the world due to colonialism and Jesuit missionary work.
            One thing I discovered this week is something I believe to be extremely interesting concerning art, especially Baroque art: the fact that it is self-referential across modes and distinct periods. This particular characteristic makes it possible to link styles of art to each other across centuries. Because the Baroque shares particular stylistic aspects with the Renaissance, I’ve had to research the characteristics of that period as well in order to understand what makes Baroque art so different from what was produced previous to it. What is interesting to see is the way artists recall past work through imitation or re-creation. For example, in 1926 Frida Kahlo imitates Botticelli’s 1486 Birth of Venus in her Self-portrait in a velvet dress. The elongation of her fingers and neck reflect Renaissance artistic renderings of women. However, the central figure of Botticelli’s painting is inspired by the Venus de’ Medici, a sculpture of the Roman Capitoline Venus type known as the “modest Venus” for the way the hands attempt to cover her naked form. Ultimately, the Capitoline Venus is based on a lost work by the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles known as the Aphrodite of Knidos now only rendered in copies. Furthermore, in 1981, Salvador Dalí also draws inspiration from this Greek figure in his painting Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite. These types of connections and references that artists make is the basis of my project and the connection I am attempting to illustrate between 17th century European art and contemporary films.

OSCAR's Top 5 Picks of the Week 4/22

This Week at Mason:

Criminology, Law and Society Dissertation Defense: Cody W. Telep 

April 22, 2013

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Robinson Hall A, Room 251

Moving Forward With Evidence-Based Policing: What Should Police Be Doing and Can We Get Them to Do It?


Vision Series: Amy Best 

April 22, 2013

7:00 pm

Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Fast Food Kids: Youth and the Changing Food Landscape of Family, School, and Everyday Life. What kids eat, and who’s feeding them has sparked much debate in recent years as increasing attention has been given to the widespread phenomenon of childhood obesity. Youth food consumption increasingly occupies a morally-charged sphere of meaning where parents and advocates for junk-food free schools, members of organic and slow food movements, public health researchers, commercial food markets and the anti-hunger lobby all adjudicate the meaning of youths’ food consumption.
As a nation weighs in on the meaning of youths’ food consumption, it is important we understand the meaning young people themselves assign to food, the social relationships formed around food, and the changing social landscape where they eat. This discussion examines the place of food in the lives of American youth based on multiple strategies for analysis: observation of youth food settings, community health events, and public school food reform programs; in-depth interviews and focus groups, family-food memories written by young people, and materials designed to understand the social significance of food to youth.

Guest Speaker Dr. John Cook 

April 24, 2013

4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Mason Hall, Room D3 A & B

Dr. John Cook is Professor in Education at University of the West of England and Director of the Bristol Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning and Education (BRILLE) speaks about a Design Research Approach to Networked Scaffolding in the Learning Layers Project - Using Social Media and Mobile Devices to Schale Informal Work-Based Learning.

HAP/CHPRE Seminar: Competition in the Medicare Advantage Market 

April 25, 2013

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Johnson Center, Gold Room

Members of the Mason community are invited to attend a presentation by Dr. Bianca Frogner titled Competition in the Medicare Advantage Market.  Dr. Frogner is a faculty member within The George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services.  This presentation will highlight the results of a Finite Mixture Modeling approach that identifies at least two distributions in premium changes. Dr. Frogner will discuss the market characteristics associated with these differing distributions. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of policy implications.

CSI at Mason: Presenting DNA Evidence at a Mock Trial 

April 25, 2013

7:20 pm to 10:00 pm

Johnson Center, Meeting Room F (Third Floor)

Students enrolled in BIOL509 (DNA Analysis of Biological Evidence) will present DNA evidence, for either the prosecution or the defense, in a mock court room setting. Judge Michael Lindner from the Fairfax County Court will preside over the trial.
Jurors and a clerk of the court (rules will be defined) are needed. Anyone interested in serving as jurors should contact the course instructor, Dr. J. Thomas McClintock, at
Students and faculty are welcome to attend this event (no RSVP necessary). Be prepared for excitement and drama as students unleash their passion to convince and persuade jurors to render a verdict based on DNA evidence!

Monday, April 15, 2013

OSCAR's Top 5 Picks of the Week 4/15

This Week at Mason:

Tap In Arlington: Say No to Bottled H2O

April 15, 2013

6:30 pm

Arlington Campus, Founders Hall, Auditorium

Attend this special public forum to discuss the environmental and economic implications of single-use plastic water bottles.  View the award-winning documentary, Bag It, then hear from a panel of experts and take part in the discussion.  Panelists will represent the Washington Aqueduct, Arlington County and The Nature Conservancy.  The panel moderator is Jay Fisette, Vice Chair, Arlington County Board.

Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop

April 16, 2013

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

3300 University Hall

Learn about Leave No Trace Principles!
The mission of LNT- The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
More information about LNT can be found at

Continuing Education Units are available upon request. Certificates of participation will be provided for participants. This workshop is free of charge.

Jodi Dean Communicative Capitalism: This is What Democracy Looks Like

April 18, 2013

4:30 pm

Mason Hall, Room D005

Jodi Dean is a professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her talk will touch on work she has done in new media and politics over the past fifteen years, looking at the limits on which participatory media can enhance freedom in a society where "democracy's horizons have merged so completely with those of capitalism."

Cybersecurity Innovation Forum

April 18, 2013

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Research Hall, Room 163

Join us for a series of short case study presentations by cybersecurity experts and technology innovators from throughout the region. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with plenty of opportunity for discussion and discovery.

The focus of the evening will be on cybersecurity innovations that address current and evolving challenges and have had a real, measurable impact.

Panel on Human Smuggling into the US

April 19, 2013

12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Arlington Campus, Hazel Hall, Room 120

Four visiting speakers from the Department of Homeland Security, the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, and the International Assessment and Strategy Center will present their latest research on human smuggling into the US, and the diverse business models it uses.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

URSP Highlights: Bradley 'Luc' Hylton

Spring 2013 URSP Participant Bradley 'Luc' Hylton:

In the first of core Game Design audio composition and editing classes [GAME 250], Dr. Martin made the point that a lot of the exact sounds we mix when creating digital copies of music and sound effects in games wouldn’t necessarily be heard by the player, because we were using high-end audio monitors, where most people would be using a wide variety of far cheaper audio equipment. Later in the semester we discussed about how microphones and speakers from the mid-1960’s were often better than modern devices. This ignited a dissonance in my head; how is it that we constantly have better and better home visuals and people are willing to spend more money for the best graphics, when they are missing out on a lot in the core of the sound. Around the same time, I read this news article on some highly skilled blind people who were capable of riding bicycles, through use of rapid human echolocation. The idea has since been implanted in my brain that with or without visual, realistic echo could add a lot to a game, in emersion, audio quality and accessibility to the blind and visually impaired.
This project is my exploration into making these realistic echoes live-rendered at play time a reality, specifically testing in the Unity engine. As a Game Design major, any creative game project, especially one as programming focused and ambitious as this is a great boost to my employability and takes me a few steps closer to my real goals and dreams, being an Indie developer of enough skill and means to make any project I desire and is largely a tech demo for a larger game design idea I’d like to pursue in the future and honestly advancement in consumer audio quality is also intrinsically among my personal goals, because I feel that there is so much that people miss out on in music, film and games through deprecated quality.
This semester, most my free time is split between my two major projects; this one and my Senior project. I still take time for personal fitness, get enough sleep and have social time, devoting a cumulative average of 20-25 hours on the two projects; often spending the entirety of the weekend coding. Specifically to my work on Audio rendering in Unity, progress has been slow; as of this writing, three attempted methods have failed and my time devoted to this project is devoted to coding the fourth method, which being that it’s built from relative scratch and not relying on calculations intended in engine for other purposes, I feel and hope will be successful. The possibility of using this method is something I stumbled upon while reading the library reference for Unity engine; that rather than relying on the default physics, light-based rendering or modifying the default 3D audio to allow for realistic echo, I could directly access the mesh data and parse the models manually. I hope to have a working prototype based on this fourth method within a week of reading acoustics books, the Unity references and coding. Final goal is to have a usable audio system for game developers to use to have realistic echo in their 3D environments.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Proposals Due: 2013 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium

This is a find reminder that proposals for the 2013 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium must be submitted by Wednesday, April 10th. Proposals need to include a title and abstract of the project. Full information about the symposium and submission process is available at

Research projects complete in summer or fall 2012 and spring 2013 are eligible for inclusion in the symposium. Projects that have been presented at other university events or regional/national conferences may also be presented at the symposium. There will be both poster and oral presentations. Only a limited number of oral presentation time slots are available, but students not accepted for an oral presentation will be reviewed for inclusion as a poster presentation.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by Friday, April 12th. There will be poster formatting workshops as well as a workshop for students giving oral presentations to help students prepare their presentations. See for dates and times of these workshops.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held on Tuesday, April 30th in Dewberry Hall. Faculty judges will be evaluating the presentations and cash prizes up to $500 will be awarded for most outstanding projects. Only CHSS students can present at the symposium, but the event is open to the entire university community. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to participate and attend.

CISA Student Research Showcase: TODAY

URSP Highlights: Mariam Hashemi

 Spring 2013 URSP Participant Mariam Hashemi:

I have been working with the Beatty and Guy Liver Research Department for a little over a year now. Majority of the research being done in this lab revolves around Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), Hepatitis B, and obesity. I began by shadowing a PhD student and gradually worked my way up the ladder and landed myself a project of my own; granted the project I am currently working on is a subsection of my mentor’s project, I am still running everything on my own! I began by talking to Dr. Aybike Birerdinc and Dr. Ancha Baranova, they have helped me out from day one by providing me with advice and project ideas throughout the year.

            Obesity is becoming a major issue in the United States and the project I am currently working on is focused on finding specific gene expressions from the KCTD family of proteins and its relation to obesity. My mentor had conducted a project that showed a specific protein from the KCTD family is present in patients that are morbidly obese and have been diagnosed with NAFLD.  This project will not only help me, but it will also help physicians, and other researchers in their long-term goals of fighting obesity.

            On a weekly basis, I am generally reading literature or background information about KCTD and NAFLD. However, if there are specific experiments going on in the lab, I go in and watch to get a better understanding of how my project will be completed. Once I’ve created a list of genes I want to observe, I create primers and wait for them to come in. Once they arrive I will be able to validate the primers and run a qPCR test using samples and find some sort of correlation between the samples used and the gene expression. This week I discovered I can create a brand new primer from scratch, if I needed to do so.

            I am currently a pre-med student at George Mason University and I’m striving to become a Physician. This project can be taken into so many different levels of science and help a lot of individuals who are suffering from NAFLD, which does not have a cure. As I move on in my educational career, I am hoping this project will open more doors for the obesity epidemic we are currently facing.

OSCAR's Top 5 Picks of the Week 4/8

This Week at Mason:

Why Philanthropy Matters 

April 8, 2013

7:30 pm to 8:45 pm

Arlington, Founders Hall, Room 113

How the Wealthy Give and What it Means to Our Economic Well-Being
Featuring Dr. Zoltan J. Acs

Zoltan is a University Professor at the School of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy. He is coeditor and founder of Small Business Economics, the leading entrepreneurship and small business publication in the world. His policy initiatives take a broad view of public policy encompassing the individual, the economy, international aspects, the region and social policy.

Missing Persons: Spatial Profiling & Narratives of Missing Experiences 

April 9, 2013

10:00 am to 11:30 am

Arlington, Founders Hall, Room 310

An informal session over coffee, this networking and knowledge exchange session will comprise a repeat of the two inputs given as part of ‘Policing and vulnerable Populations’ on day one of the conference and will be followed by a facilitated discussion concerning wider findings from the research project so far and opportunities for sharing, developing and implementing this work in a wider international multi-disciplinary context.

Conversation with Jim Lehrer: Reflections on a Career in Journalism 

April 10, 2013

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Mason Hall

At the invitation of George Mason University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Mason Wrestling Team, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, news icon Jim Lehrer will be sitting down to talk with Dean Jack Censer about his experiences on the front line of the most pivotal events in the United States's recent history, including moderating twelve presidential and vice-presidential debates. Please join us for what will be a fascinating afternoon.

Globalization Dialogues - Being Global, with President Angel Cabrera 

April 11, 2013

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Mason Hall, Meese Conference Room

What makes being a global business leader today such a complex task? It’s more than mastering your knowledge of various geographies and cultures, though that is essential. But to succeed, you must also master the complex mind-set and competencies needed to lead in today’s fully globalized world. Not an easy assignment.

C4I Seminar: Dr. Don Ferguson 

April 12, 2013

1:30 pm

Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 4705

C4I Seminar: Application of Geospatial Analysis for Modeling Lost Person Behavior and Optimization of Resource Allocation in Wilderness Search and Rescue, by Dr. Don Ferguson.

Searching for missing subjects in a wilderness environment greatly benefits from the application of spatial analysis. Typical wilderness search and rescue (WiSAR) operations cover a large geographical area and have a limited number of available resources. Seminar highlights two broad categories: hypothesizing on where to search and management of the search effort.

Dr. Ferguson has over 13 years of experience in search and rescue, SAR management, teaching and course development for SAR. He has helped pioneer the use of Geographic Information System software for search and rescue. He is currently the Technology Officer for the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference and the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group.

Friday, April 5, 2013

URSP Highlights: Leena Halabi

 Spring URSP Participant Leena Halabi:

Last semester I had embarked on a mission to study the Post-Soviet bloc after I had taken Dr. Eric McGlinchey’s class on Central Asian Politics – which after taken the course had animated my fascination and intrigue with this area. My initial research dealt with the cult of personality within the Central Asian Republics. In proposing the URSP program to my professor, he introduced me to his current research on the educational environment in the Republic of Georgia with the prospects of launching distance learning methods in rural and suburban Georgia. Although I did not have any formal knowledge or study of the Republic of Georgia, my professor offered me the position to research and join the team. This is the beauty of research – you do not necessarily need to feel like you need to have a firm grasp of a country or historical phenomena in order to research it because the journey of research itself is the key to the best form of understanding and knowledge.
Participation in the URSP program makes you feel closer to achieving your dream – I know it sounds cliché, but working with a team as opposed to by yourself and on a true-to-life related issue as opposed to theories is an incomparable experience that goes beyond the classroom.
Our team – consisting of myself, Dr. McGlinchey, and, my partner in crime, graduate research assistant Ms. Diana Sweet – meet regularly on a weekly basis to discuss and collaborate on each others individual research they had done during the week. We split up the tasks and reconvene the following week. The meetings usually last 45 minutes where we each take turns discussing what each of us had discovered during the week before.  The cozy meeting rooms of Robinson give us a chance to collaborate locally and efficiently.
With research you are continually learning and discovering something new everyday. The past week  I have been analyzing and dissecting case studies of distance learning (D.E.) in Less Technologically Developed countries; which is a good place to learn from previous projects’ successes and failures. While our project is targeting adults for university level distance learning, I found a problem particularly intriguing that Dan Eastmond encountered while assessing D.E. in rural Asia – that adults in rural areas have not had a solid foundation in secondary, or perhaps even secondary, schooling? This would mean that our project proposal would have to develop a greater catering scope to educate those who first need rudimentary level school before attaining university level education.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

URSP Highlight: Yousef Fazel

 Spring 2013 URSP participant Yousef Fazel:

Before taking part in my research I had several past experiences. I first took part in bioinformatics research, but I realized that my programing skills were sub par and the project was very slow progress as a result. I continued with bench lab research and I didn’t enjoy that much either. My passion has always been being in the hospital and being near patient care. Last year I finally started doing clinical research at the Inova neuroscience research office.

            This research experience is very well suited for me considering my long term goals. As a prospective medical student I have an early start with clinical research. I learn more about the human physiology through my research, but I also learn a lot by being around other students who also have interesting projects. The lab provides a very academic environment that promotes learning. In the future these observations we make in the lab will give me an edge over other physicians.

            On a weekly basis the project differs. The first step is do design the project and submit it for approval from the IRB. This part is actually very difficult because the IRB requires the researcher to know a great deal about the project before starting. After obtaining IRB approval, I begin data collection from the patient charts. My project is a retrospective study and I collect data from the Hospitals electronic medical records. After obtaining all the necessary data I begin doing statistical analysis on the data.

            Each week something new is learned. For example this week I was finally able to observe how a stroke patient with hemiparesis preforms a simple task as clapping as the patient’s ability to preform the Eastchester clapping sign was assessed. The learning process with this research experience has been very rewarding.

Monday, April 1, 2013

URSP Highlights: Jessica Magnotti

Spring 2013 URSP Participant Jessica Magnotti:

          I have always been curious of animals and the way they communicate, but birds completely fascinate me. This passion, along with my love of science and medicine, has led me to work towards becoming an avian veterinarian. You can imagine my excitement when I learned there is an ornithologist at George Mason, Dr. Luther. After learning of his research with urban bird communication, I met Dr. Luther and we began discussing the possibility of a collaborative research project.

        Birds of the same species that live in different areas will sing slightly different songs, similar to the way that people from other countries speak different languages. In the presence of man-made noise such as traffic and construction, birds have been found to alter their songs. What this project will look at is whether birds living in rural areas will be able to differentiate a city bird’s song in the presence of certain levels of noise. I will also attempt to find out if rural birds will favor the city bird’s song and possibly mimic their sound.

I hope to continue conducting research on birds in veterinary school so this experience is of great value to me. While working on this project I am becoming familiar with important aspects of research including experimental design, working in the field, and preparing/submitting a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 

        A typical week usually starts with waking up early to find the birds. Birds tend to be most vocal around sunrise so this is when I head out into the field. I also spend quite a bit of time searching for papers in peer-reviewed journals on similar experiments. This is an important part of research because new information may affect my experiment.

        One thing I discovered this week is that birds are curious. While observing a singing cardinal, I wondered what he would do if I whistled his song back at him. To my surprise, the cardinal moved to tree branches closer to where I was standing. While I whistled he tilted his head to the side as if to get a better look at what I was doing, and then, he whistled back! I suppose he decided I wasn't a threat because he flew away after a few minutes of whistling back and forth. I always assumed that a wild animal would either flee or ignore me if I tried to get their attention, so to see this wild bird observe me as well as vocalize back was a really thought-provoking experience.

OSCAR's Top 5 Picks of the Week 4/1

This Week at Mason:

Vision Series: Jorge Haddock 

April 1, 2013

7:00 pm

Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Transformational Leadership. Change focuses on behavior, whereas transformation focuses on “beingness” or culture. Transformational leadership is about shifting the organizational conversations or interpretations to create different results or outcomes. Organizational culture can become transactional, but transformational leadership is creates conversations that generate a culture of relationships, moods, and actions consistent with the desired outcomes.
The axiom is that our power to transform our commitments and subsequent actions is directly determined by our ability to engage in powerful conversations – to generate transformation we must generate different conversations. These conversations utilize language, which is most commonly descriptive. However, leaders use language in a generative fashion to declare something with no evidence or authority. Using this type of language, transformational leaders create truly new possibilities.

Faces of Homelessness 

April 2, 2013

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Robinson Hall B, Room B205

The Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau is a program of the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington DC. This speakers panel is comprised of people who are or have been homeless and works to educate the public about homelessness and what can be done to end it.
  • 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year.
  • 23% of them on any given night are children.
  • 11% are veterans who risked their lives in our nation's service.
We CAN change this if we CHOOSE to and YOU can help.

This panel is a popular and meaningful experience. Please RSVP to help us plan for room size.
Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, (703) 993-2900,, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

GMU Civil Rights Law Journal Spring Symposium: The Place of Guns in a Free Society 

April 3, 2013

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Arlington Campus Library, Founders Hall

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has sparked a nation-wide debate about the place of guns in a free society. On one side have been those who have called for intensified background checks, assault weapon bans, and bans on certain types of ammunition holders. Such proposals from local and federal legislatures have sparked an equally intense reaction from gun owners in the United States as well as groups such as the National Rifle Association. These groups argue that further restrictions on gun ownership will not solve the problem of violence in the United States.
1.5 Virginia CLE credits will be offered for attendance at this event. Registration fees for CLE credits will be $40 for non-Mason alumni, $20 for Mason alumni, and free for Mason faculty. Pre-registration for the event is not required. The event is free for students and anyone not seeking CLE credit.

The Spiritual Significance of Jihad in Islamic Economics 

April 4, 2013

4:30 pm

Research Hall, Room 163

What is the spiritual significance of jihad? What does this have to do with Islamic economics? Why do they matter? This discussion examines the need for a new economic paradigm in light of the current environmental crisis.
Dr. Waleed El-Ansary is University Chair in Islamic Studies at Xavier University, where he teaches courses on comparative religion, Islamic studies, and religion and science. He holds a Ph.D. in Islamic and Religious Studies from George Washington University and M.A. in Economics from the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the intersection of religion, science, and economics. He has authored numerous publications, including "Islamic Environmental Economics and the Three Dimensions of Islam" in his co-edited volume Muslim and Christian Understanding: Theory and Application of A Common Word.

Differential Dynamical Systems: Biofluids and Chaos in Higher Dimensions 

April 5, 2013

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Planetary Hall, Room 242

Applied and Computational Math Seminar. A useful class of autonomous dynamical systems exist in which each phase space coordinate except the first is the time derivative of the previous. In this talk I will show how such differential dynamical systems have been used to describe the dynamics of blood in intracranial aneurysms and study the structure of chaos in higher dimensions.