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American Today


National Conference to Feature AU Student Research

By Charles Spencer

Nineteen AU undergraduates will present research papers at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

In a year when NCUR received a record 3,517 abstracts, the School of International Service is sending 17 students to the conference. School of Communication and School of Public Affairs students were also selected to present.

AU students’ topics range from ways of eliminating child labor to the effects of the free market on traditional Chinese values to the use of art for peace-conflict resolution. For example:

Can We Alleviate World Hunger?
Emily Werner ’13, Boulder, Colorado. Major: international relations and Latin American studies

Paper: “The Phenomenon of the Cerrado: Reaping Brazil’s Possibilities”

Werner explores whether Brazil’s successful methods of farming the country’s huge savannahs—cerrados—can be applied to African nations to alleviate hunger there.

Comments: “World hunger was a problem I always considered unsolvable until I started reading articles about Brazil and the methods their government is currently implementing.

“A few of the most important things I have learned are about the scientific aspect of food production and how this can be associated with both the political and environmental impacts of the cerrados. For instance, the Brazilian government had to rely on their financial stability and the education of their agro engineers to make the cerrado farms successful. Poorer nations that hope to do the same currently do not have the same resources Brazil does. Everything is connected—if you want to be scientifically successful, you need a government to back you up.”

Lessons Learned from Counter Insurgency Campaigns
Gianluca La Manno ’12, Middle Village, New York.

Major: international studies with a concentration in foreign policy

Paper: “Rescuing a Failing Counter-Insurgent Effort”

La Manno analyzes three case studies: the Malayan Emergency (an anti-colonial guerilla war), the Hukbalahap Rebellion (a Communist-led insurgency in the Philippines), and the Vietnam War.

Comments: “I think the most important finding is that, for all the strategies that I studied, and for all the campaigns that were rescued in the past, and those that will be rescued in the future, not every insurgency can be defeated. Sometimes, the environment will go against everything you want to do.”

NCUR was established in 1987 with the goal of promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative work in all fields of study. The NCUR conference will be held at Ithaca College, New York, from March 31 to April 2.