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DHS Summer Research Team Participant Stories

The Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions allows university faculty and teams of students to conduct cutting-edge research that supports the mission and goals of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Learn more about the program through the eyes of some of the professors and students who have recently participated in the program.


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    Omar Camarillo, Ph.D., Xandra James and Cecilia Torres

    Through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions, Omar Camarillo, Ph.D., Xandra James and Cecilia Torres, from left, conducted a social media analysis on the public perceptions of Mexican drug cartels and U.S.-based gangs at the Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis Center.
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    Meet Michelle Dovil, Ph.D., Tia Maxwell and Tenesha Washington

    Michelle Dovil, Ph.D., at left, Tia Maxwell and Tenesha Washington conducted research through North Carolina Sea Grant headquartered at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

     

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    Meet Radian Belu, Ph.D., DeShon Swafford and Trinity Reed

    DeShon Swafford, from left, Trinity Reed and Radian Belu, Ph.D., conducted research at the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They studied ways to build resilience and protect power grids from all types of harm, including extreme weather and cyberattacks.

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    Meet Dr. Sara Kien, Ashley Lee, and Tatyanna Begay

    Cognitive psychologist Sara Kien, Ph.D. and Ashley Lee and Tatyanna Begay explored the impacts of cyber communication on public perception and reaction to mass shootings. 

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    Meet Dr. Gurcan Comert & Jacquan Malik Deontrez Pollard

    Dr. Gurcan Comert & Jacquan Malik Deontrez Pollard's research contributed to advancements in the security of transportation networks for connected and autonomous vehicles for urban areas.

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    Meet Dr. Alley Butler, Victor Carreon & Juan Elizondo

    University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley faculty member Alley Butler, Ph.D., and his students, Victor Carreon and Juan Elizondo, experienced one of virtual reality’s unique applications: underwater security monitoring of U.S. ports and maritime borders.

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    Meet Dr. Eranna Guruvadoo, Gabrielle Watkins and Taylor Sherritt

    Faculty-Student Team of Dr. Eranna Guruvadoo, Gabrielle Watkins and Taylor Sherritt helped stakeholders measure infrastructure resiliency in the wake of increasing hydrometeorological events

     

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    Meet Dr. Bernadette Holmes, Bryan Clayborne & Mikel Johnson

    Holmes, Clayborne and Johnson conducted a case study in Portsmouth, Virginia, a marginalized area where socioeconomic and race disparities potentially play a role in the community’s response to natural disasters. The team analyzed community issues, residential decisions, and social and behavioral responses to environmental issues.

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    Meet Dr. Nicholas Holubowitch and Gray Medina

    Holubowitch and Medina spent their summer developing an inexpensive technique to detect picric acid and trinitrotoluene (TNT) electrochemically. The methodology can be transferred to detect a vast array of chemicals, according to Holubowitch, who envisions the creation of a handheld, battery-powered device.

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    Meet Dr. Ricardo Infante, Omar Lourido-Canales and Annette Medina-Valentin

    Dr. Ricardo Infante, Omar Lourido-Canales and Annette Medina-Valentin travelled to the Center of Excellence for Awareness & Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The Center of Excellence for ALERT, led by Northeastern University, develops new means and methods to protect the Nation from explosives-related threats.

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    Meet Dr. Torina Lewis and Michael English

    Torina Lewis, Ph.D., a mathematics professor at Clark Atlanta University, and her student, Michael English, spent this past summer at Arizona State University (ASU) developing models used to predict and optimize air passenger traffic.

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    Meet Dr. Camellia Okpodu & Raisa Barrera

    Okpodu and Barrera investigated coastal resilience in response to sea level change in coordination with Old Dominion University’s Resilience Collaborative, part of the Coastal Resilience Center housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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    Meet Dr. Vivek Tandon, Angel Rodarte and Jorge Navarrete

    Dr. Vivek Tandon, Angel Rodarte and Jorge Navarrete helped stakeholders measure infrastructure resiliency in the wake of increasing hydrometeorological events

  • “My overall impression of this experience was amazing because of the degree of hospitality and welcoming I received from the hosting faculty and students. Yes, I would recommend it to others. One of my favorite parts of this program was working alongside undergraduate and graduate students of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.”

    —Jacquan Malik Deontrez Pollard
  • “The most enjoyable parts of researching as a team include the creativity in research ideas and problem solving that emerge out of the diversity in expertise and skill sets. I was impressed by my two students’ work ethics and their ability to persevere in spite of research and communication challenges.”

    —Dr. Sara Kien
  • “The research opportunity required that I collaborate with researchers in other Arctic engineering domains than mine. Participating in group discussions with these researchers was one of my favorite parts of the program, as was getting my two students to develop their skill sets in a fairly short time period. We all learned a lot and, if given the opportunity, I plan to participate in this program again.”

    —Dr. Eranna Guruvadoo