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Minerva Project : Research

Current Research
Dr. David Frey, History
Dr. Robert Goldstein, Law
MAJ Dylan Malcomb, Geography and Environmental Engineering
Ms. Kristine Ringler, Geography and Environmental Engineering
The issue of water vulnerability in Sub-Saharan Africa is of critical importance. Current research on Sub-Saharan Africa highlights water access, supply, and cleanliness as central components to state stability, the promotion of peace and human rights, and African economic development. However, despite both the centrality and complexity of water-related problems, fundamental interdisciplinary research remains minimal. This project addresses the need for interdisciplinary and multilevel research through applied case studies in the Rift Valleys of Uganda, Ethiopia and Malawi using spatially relevant analysis, archival research and field studies to address the complex factors that trigger or exacerbate water vulnerabilities. Using an innovative methodology, this research team balances geographic, social, historic, and legal aspects of water-related instability with multilevel interviews of experts in the region to transcend typical unimodal and linear investigations. Research includes watersheds, resource management, and conservation from national, transnational and international perspectives. This comprehensive approach will have the complimentary success in addressing a specific vulnerable region in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as providing a template for the continued comparative analysis of water insecurity in other parts of Africa and beyond. Contact Dr. Krakowka at for research details.
Understanding the Differences in the Islamic Ideology and in Asian Cultures
Social context and cultural influences play an important role in how individuals’ attitudes lead to group norms and eventually, potent ideologies. Understanding characteristics and evolution of social networks structures within the Muslim world and Asia, from clusters of individuals to larger networks of communities, will provide insight into how cultural norms and extreme ideologies are born and maintained. Network science is a natural fit to study how the relationships between individuals, communities and leadership influence cultural norms and ideologies. USMA houses a unique blend of academic and military expertise within the social sciences, as well as cross-departmental partnerships that makes it an ideal setting to develop new and relevant learning initiatives. Contact Dr. Gerdes at for research details.