Broad Engagement in Research and Education

The “Security & Defense Systems Initiative” (SDSI) is engaged across the broad spectrum of ASU’s research, education, and public service mission.

Our research programs are creating opportunities for students at the undergraduate, Masters, and doctoral levels, as well as our postdoctoral researchers, to become directly involved in advancing the state-of-the-art in various security and defense relevant areas. The students and postdoctoral researchers in SDSI work in close coordination with our faculty and research scholars. In so doing, they help to advance the goals of research programs they are involved in, while at the same time learning how to conduct research and how to transition the results of their research into practical use. SDSI thereby contributes not only to ASU’s research mission, but also to its goal of developing future scientists, engineers, and others who will enter the workforce to support the nation’s industrial capacity in security and defense related fields.

SDSI research efforts contribute to ASU’s educational and public service missions in many other ways as well. For example, some of our research projects lead to new ideas for student project courses and independent study efforts conducted under the guidance of an advisor. Other research efforts serve to enhance the content of courses being taught at ASU, helping to broaden and deepen the curriculum that prepares ASU students to enter the workforce and the world. Still others may spawn entirely new courses in emerging areas that further strengthen the breadth of the curriculum that ASU can offer to its students.

Our researchers also engage in many types of public services roles, from serving on advisory bodies that help guide our nation’s efforts in addressing the security and defense challenges we face, to engagement with students and the broader public to build greater understanding of these challenges and the many ways that they can potentially be met.

SDSI Fellowship Program

As part of its broad engagement across all of ASU, the Security & Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI) awards a number of fellowships each year to students throughout the university. These SDSI Fellowships are designed to increase awareness of the wide range of fields involved in developing effective solutions for the national and global security and defense challenges that our society faces. Fellowship recipients are engaged in security and defense relevant research under the guidance of a faculty advisor during the course of the fellowship term.

Recent SDSI Fellows at ASU are:

Aaron Likens

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS)
Research Advisor: Prof. Polemnia Amazeen (Department of Psychology)

Aaron’s research uses multifractal analyses of brain wave patterns in EEG signals from team members engaged in tactical training and team decision-making exercises. This enables real-time detection of “team brain activity patterns” that correspond to positive or negative events, setting up the possibility for timely interventions that can increase the effectiveness of team training and team decision-making.

Flurije Salihu

Department of English, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS)
Research Co-Advisor: Prof. Keith Miller (Department of English)
Research Co-Advisor: Prof. Souad Ali (Program of Arabic & Middle East Studies)

Flurije’s research focuses on terrorists’ use of new media, including web sites, social networking sites, on-line games, and forums, to implement rhetorical strategies designed to radicalize and recruit young people. She will examine ways in which Islamist organizations harness these new technologies as an inexpensive but effective means to expand their reach to a vast, geographically diverse, and younger generation.

Anthony Adame

Department of Engineering Technology, College of Technology & Innovation (CTI)
Research Advisor: Prof. Arun Madakannan (Department of Engineering Technology)

Anthony’s research is advancing proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells as an alternative energy technology that can provide a power source for a wide range of defense-relevant systems. He syntheses copper-platinum core shell nanoparticles onto multi-walled carbon nanotubes to create a low-cost lightweight catalyst material for PEM fuel cells, and characterizes the performance and durability of this material.

Alvaro Vargas-Clara

Department of Engineering Technology, College of Technology & Innovation (CTI)
Research Advisor: Prof. Arun Madakannan (Department of Engineering Technology)

Alvaro’s research involves development and modeling of an innovative new type of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based on a stop-rotor concept that makes it suitable for vertical take-off and landing as well as sustained level flight. He is developing and flight testing the novel airframe itself, a corresponding multimode autopilot, and their integration with an electro-optical payload and data link.

Erica Hartmann

School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE)
Research Advisor: Rolf Halden (Biodesign Institute)

Erica’s research involves analysis of bioterrorism agents.  Bioterrorism agents can come in the form of viruses, bacteria, toxins, or prions. In terms of their biological and chemical properties, these potential agents have little in common. Preliminary data from this fellowship will serve as a nucleus for establishing at ASU a research program focusing on mass spectrometry-based bioterrorism surveillance tools for security and defense.

Brian O’Donnell

School of Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE)
Research Advisor: Antonia Papandreou-Suppappola (Electrical Engineering)

Brian is conducting research on adaptive multi-modal agile sensing and is developing algorithms that can assist in more effective tracking of multiple targets. Applications of this type need algorithms to enable adaptive fusion of different sensing modalities, such as data from electro-optical and RF sensors, while adaptively optimizing the RF waveform at each instant to maximize tracking performance.

Jason Burgoyne

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Research Advisor: Dan Rothenberg (Center for Law & Global Affairs)

Evan Schechter

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Research Advisor: Gary Marchant (Center for Law, Science & Innovation)