Our Students and their Project Involvement
Brendan and Sal share a passion for conducting research and creative thinking. Together with Dr. Elizabeth Radziszewski, they analyzed India’s puzzling, low-key response to China’s cyber attacks and proposed the creation of a multi-nation defensive posture to manage the threat. Their work, “India’s Response to China’s Cyber Attacks,” has been published in The Diplomat, international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region, in July of 2019.
Brendan and Sal relied on Creative Whack Pack Cards, a tool for creative brainstorming they have used in their M.A. course on cyber war, to develop the novel solution.
“I enjoyed the aspect of examining an issue, understanding it, discerning potential solutions, and that barriers that keep different solutions from taking hold,” said Brendan. Brendan, Sal, and Dr. Radziszewski will share insights from their project at the Northeastern Political Science Association Conference in Philadelphia in November, 2019.
As a co-author and research assistant for Dr. Michael Brogan, Thomas Reddington, a former master’s student in HLSP program, gained invaluable experience learning to code and collect data on the public’s views on proposed pipeline construction in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Working on the project, “Natural Gas Pipelines: Analyzing the Diffusion of Information Among Grassroots Opposition Groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania” (co-authored with Dr. Brogan, Dr. William Amadio and Rachel Safer), was an eye-opener for Reddington who was part of the group that presented it at the Northeastern Political Science Association Conference in Philadelphia in 2015. “It’s practical experience….data collection made me realize the depths of people’s views on environmental issues, which is very different from just reading about it,” said Reddington.
Reddington helped set up a call center at Rider to conduct surveys of legislators for another project. Commissioned by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN), the project investigated ways in which legislators communicate with constituents about environmental issues, among others. It was on the project that Reddington learned how to conduct surveys and most importantly how to contact relevant players in local government to increase the response rate, a notorious problem with survey research.
This experience enabled Reddington to discover the challenges of using survey methodology. In addition, regular conversations with staffers gave him a chance to get a behind-the scenes view of a legislator’s job. The project, “Influence and Information: Estimating Effective Mediated and Personal Communications between State Legislators and Environmental Organizations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania” (co-authored with Dr. Brogan and undergraduate students Kenneth I. Dillon and Kate Ann Brace), was presented at the 2016 Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting.
Dan, Chris, Karoline, Tim, Ryan, and Dr. Adam McMahon, developed a sophisticated analysis of Russia’s hybrid warfare in Ukraine in a paper entitled, “Understanding the Five Facets of Hybrid Warfare: Lessons from the 2014 Russian Intervention in Ukraine.” The project, started in Dr. McMahon’s Defense Policy course, was based on an in-depth peer feedback approach. Working on the project helped the students develop strong critical thinking skills necessary to unpack today’s complex threats to the homeland.
“Students were excited to work on this project because it was different. We each were responsible for a portion, myself included, and we subjected ourselves to feedback from the rest of the class which meant defending our ideas and being open to changing the paper to strengthen our argument,” said Dr. McMahon. The class presented their results to the university community in Spring 2019.
In a journal article published in 2019 (Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management) and co-authored with Dr. Rusciano, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Brogan, Walden and her co-authors conducted an experiment where one group was randomly assigned a vivid example of terrorism while another was not. The experiment revealed differences among respondents on the root cause of terrorism and opposing individual perceptions of the government’s efforts to protect the country from terrorism. The experiment showed that among those who voted for Trump in 2016 and received the treatment, there is heightened level of fear compared to Republican voters and those who supported Clinton. This work shows that politicizing terrorism resonates among the public and blocks efforts to find common ground in keeping the country safe.
Lewis, who got his MA in Homeland Security from Rider in 2018, was one of three authors who prepared and published a report on Islamic State’s activities in Belgium for The Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. In the report, Lewis, and co-authors Guy Van Vlierden and Don Rassler, analyzed data on four terrorist attacks and over 100 arrests connected to or inspired by the Islamic State in Belgium from June 2014 until October 2017. The authors found, for example, that most incidents involved individuals who had direct link to the Islamic State’s central hub in Syria and Iraq rather then being inspired by the organization without direct connection. Lewis continues to research and write about terrorism as a Research Fellow at George Washington’s Program on Extremism.
Carro is part of a team of researchers that is developing case studies to support research project for National Intelligence University on Special Operations Field Intelligence Support Teams. The project, which also includes Rider faculty Michael Rosati, will determine whether U.S. Coast Guard should create such teams within U.S. Special Operations Command to permanently support unconventional warfare, direct action, counterinsurgency, and counter- terrorism missions. “The case studies opened my eyes to interdependency within the military and gave insights to how the real world of homeland security functions,” said Carro about the research he has undertaken.