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of UNH’s founding, we look back to some of the moments in our history that sowed the seeds for the university’s current research excellence.

Research conducted by University of New Hampshire faculty, students and staff transforms lives and inspires innovation. Previous editions of SPARK have featured research related to UNH’s land, sea and space-grant missions and focused on our interdisciplinary research on climate change. In this issue, our widest-ranging yet, we highlight stories that leave the labs behind and take you to the farms, libraries, galleries and even courtrooms where innovation thrives. Yet even as we showcase how our research contributes to a brighter future—one where food is abundant and healthy, children are safe and people of all abilities contribute to the workforce—we also take a few glances back at UNH’s rich 150-year history. It’s an echo of the legacy we’re celebrating here on campus throughout this anniversary year. In these pages, you’ll encounter some of the most influential, groundbreaking and colorful personalities from our past century and a half: a contributor to our understanding of the periodic table of elements, a Loch Ness monster hunter, the sociologist who first advised against spanking. You will also meet some current faculty, students and staff who make UNH an outstanding flagship research university, as well as our new provost, Nancy Targett, a distinguished marine biochemist who will help lead our university through the many challenges confronting higher education and the scientific community. UNH got its start in 1866 as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts; like public land-grant institutions across the country, we are proud of our heritage and our founding mission to provide practical knowledge for the betterment of New Hampshire and its residents. We’re similarly proud of our scientific contributions that enable new economic ecosystems and improve the lives of people not only in our state but well beyond it. Our research and scholarship is borderless in its efforts to educate, reflect, create beauty and connect ideas across disciplines to solve complex puzzles and grand challenges. Jan Nisbet Senior Vice Provost for Research University of New Hampshire

Some of the nearly 200 varieties of kiwiberries grown and studied at UNH (cover) and an early campus greenhouse (left) highlight our agricultural leadership and legacy.


4 10



Breeding Success

10 Protecting Innovation


Regenerating Tissue, Revitalizing Industry

13 Faculty Honors


Engineering an Oasis

17 Forging a Path for LGBT Physicists


Taking Research to Market

From the familiar to the exotic, UNH plant breeders pursue horticultural excellence UNH will lead workforce development on this major new initiative

An undergraduate research project in aquaponics is making a splash An NSF-funded initiative fosters entrepreneurship on campus


Founded by an avid inventor, UNH School of Law leads in intellectual property law Our faculty members distinguished themselves with recent awards and appointments Nature magazine named postdoctoral researcher Elena Long one of 10 people who made a difference


18 Keeping Kids Safe

28 Making History

24 Disability Data

31 Recent Creative Works

27 Living Longer, Living Stronger

32 A Closing Inquiry

For decades, the Crimes against Children Research Center has worked to do just that How UNH’s Institute on Disability became the go-to source for statistics about people with disabilities This “New Investigator” teaches older adults new tricks for staying strong

18 24

These teacher-scholars and the alumni they mentored bring the past to life A spotlight on recent faculty artistic and scholarly achievements Nancy Targett, UNH’s new provost, shares her vision for the future of UNH research with Jan Nisbet

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Founded as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, UNH was one of the first universities in the nation to grant a Ph.D., in 1897.



Breeding Success From the familiar to the exotic, UNH plant breeders pursue horticultural excellence BY JODY RECORD ’95

In 1951, the “New Hampshire Midget” watermelon, developed at UNH by Albert F. Yeager, then head of the university’s horticulture department, won a gold medal in the All-American Selection (AAS) trials, the Good Housekeeping-type seal of approval for garden plants. Nearly 60 years later, another UNH researcher was honored by the AAS; J. Brent Loy’s “Honey Bear” hybrid squash was a winner at the All-American trials in 2009. UNH boasts a long legacy of plant-breeding excellence that harkens back to its 1866 founding as an agricultural college. Decades of innovation have brought new crops of watermelons, peaches and even kiwis to Northeast growers and shored up the productivity of traditional favorites like squash and strawberries. Loy’s is the longest-running squash-breeding program in the country. What’s more, his research has resulted in more than 70 new varieties of squash, pumpkins, gourds and melons sold in seed catalogs around the world, with many varieties developed jointly with seed companies located in the Northeast. His most recent work involves grafting melons to hybrid squash rootstocks, a measure that could help extend the melons’ growing season and increase production. “We’re not the first to get going on this in North America but we’re pretty much right at the forefront,” says Loy, a classically trained plant geneticist and professor emeritus of plant biology. Iago Hale’s kiwiberry research is another way UNH is shaping the plant breeding landscape. Unlike the more familiar fuzzy kiwi fruit, whose growing season requires 240 days without a frost, the grape-sized kiwiberries are cold-hardy. And while they’ve been growing in New England for nearly 150 years, the tasty, nutrient-rich berries have not been produced on a commercial scale.



Above: Brent Loy, professor emeritus of plant biology, oversees the longest-running squash-breeding program in the country.

Hale thinks that can change. In 2013, the assistant professor of specialty crop improvement planted nearly 200 varieties of kiwiberries at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm at UNH with the goal of testing the viability of the vined fruit for regional producers. As word about his program—the only one in the country—has spread, growers have begun to express interest. “The time is right for this species,” says Hale. He notes that his program is different than those of breeders like Loy, whose work helps keep established producers competitive; kiwiberries aren’t even a true industry yet. “Globally, there are less than 500 acres in production—probably less than 100 acres in the United States,” he says. “We are trying to domesticate this species and create a new industry where nothing currently exists outside of a handful of novel fruit growers. We have to run through the paces before we ask growers to put their money on the line.” And he imagines a day when that will happen, as it did for another iconic New England fruit. “Prior to the 1930s, no one grew blueberries; people collected them from the wild. If you look at New England now, there’s a sizable industry. Potentially, the same could happen with the kiwiberry,” Hale says. Among breeders, there is always the desire to grow a better fruit or vegetable—to improve productivity, increase disease resistance and develop new and better varieties. “It’s all very dynamic. There is no agricultural system today that will be sustainable tomorrow. Plant breeding is a never-ending process of responding to current needs and challenges,” Hale says. “There are a lot of organisms in our fields that want to eat our crop plants as much as we do.”



“There is no agricultural system today that will be sustainable tomorrow. Plant breeding is a never-ending process of responding to current needs and challenges.” Iago Hale, assistant professor, specialty crop improvement

Professor Tom Davis, a leading strawberry genetics researcher and professor in the department of biological sciences, calls it an arms race. “Diseaseresistant varieties are a better solution than spraying pathogens, which also are always evolving. So, there is always more to be done. It never reaches an end point.” Davis and his lab members have been using DNA to identify which strawberries have the best genetic makeup to satisfy consumers and growers, with a focus on disease resistance and taste, and increasing the berry’s antioxidant properties while preserving their color. Meanwhile, post-doctoral researcher Lise Mahoney ’14G has been breeding strawberries with colored petals—reds, pink, even lavender—in addition to the traditional white flowers, adding to their horticultural value.

In 1911, assistant professor of botany Caroline A. Black became UNH’s first female faculty member and the first woman scientist on the staff of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES). Established in 1887, NHAES is UNH’s original research organization. Today, it continues to support UNH’s agricultural facilities as well as research and teaching in sustainable agriculture, forestry, environmental sciences and rural communities.

Next up is looking at the possibility of raising strawberries from seeds instead of plants. “With seed-based varieties, there would be much less uncertainty about the supply of plants, and the concern about importing disease organisms from elsewhere would be eliminated,” Davis says. Another new project Davis and his researchers are working on is growing quinoa, a high-protein grain native to Peru. Graduate student Erin Neff is researching whether quinoa can be crossed with lambsquarters, an edible wild green, and then grown successfully in New Hampshire. If they succeed, bringing the “it” grain of contemporary cuisine from the Andes mountains to New Hampshire fields will be the newest fruit of plant-breeding labors started decades ago at UNH.



n December, UNH was tapped to play a leading role in a major national public-private institute that aims to launch an industry, headquartered in New Hampshire, that will develop bioengineered human tissues and organs for transplantation. Funded by $80 million from the U.S. Department of Defense combined with more than $214 million from 80 industry, education and nonprofit partners, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) is led by Manchester-based DEKA Research & Development. UNH will lead the national education and workforce development activities for ARMI, drawing on its growing life sciences strength as well as its leadership in creating powerful partnerships to drive economic development in the state.   BETH POTIER



Engineering an Oasis


rowing up in India, Sid Nigam ’16 saw plenty of food insecurity and malnutrition. At UNH, the mechanical engineering student channeled a passion for sustainable, affordable food into a project that took him and his team to Costa Rica, Glasgow and the podium at the university’s Undergraduate Research Conference. For Project OASIS, Nigam and an interdisciplinary team of student collaborators created a smallscale aquaponics system that grows vegetables without soil symbiotically with fish. Thanks to a Summer Seed Grant from UNH’s Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center, Nigam, Paige Balcom ’16 and Ethan Pirie ’17 worked to expand the scope of Project OASIS as a start-up focusing on domestic customers. As Nigam and Balcom pursue advanced degrees—Nigam at the University of Colorado in computational fluid dynamics; Balcom in mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley—the project continues under Pirie’s leadership. The Project OASIS team members were

among more than 1,800 students who showcased their research, scholarship and creative works at UNH’s 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference, the largest such event in the nation.  BETH POTIER

Taking Research to Market


new National Science Foundation (NSF)funded initiative aims to foster entrepreneurship on campus and help take UNH-developed innovations from the lab to commercial markets. With $300,000 from the NSF, the three-year initiative, I-Corps, will provide team-based training to researchers, students and business mentors to convert academic discoveries into marketable commercial products. The program also works to connect researchers with resources, with teams receiving up to $3,000 to help determine if their ideas match customer demand. UNH is one of only 52 I-Corps university sites in the country. Andrew Earle, assistant professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, and

Marc Sedam, director of UNHInnovation, were instrumental in bringing the program to UNH. “Our I-Corps grant recognizes both UNH’s track record of innovation and our potential to do more to help our inventions reach the market and solve important problems in the future,” says Earle. Sedam serves as the instructor for the training sessions, while Earle’s primary role in I-Corps is evaluation, tying into his research on innovation and entrepreneurship. “In addition to the standard metrics involving technology commercialization, we are also examining how participants draw on their social networks during the program, and how these networks affect program outcomes,” Earle says.  WHITTNEY GOULD

In 1978, UNH business professor William Wetzel coined the term “angel investors” as part of a pioneering study on how entrepreneurs raised seed capital in the U.S. Wetzel went on to found UNH’s Center for Venture Research in 1984.






INNOVATION Founded by an avid inventor, UNH Law leads in intellectual property law BY KEITH TESTA

The founder of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, now University of New Hampshire School of Law, Robert Rines held more than 100 patents on his own creations and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He composed scores for at least 10 Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and he was so dedicated to the quest to find the Loch Ness monster that he trained dolphins to wear cameras to capture images of it. So it’s no wonder that when he set out to establish a law school explicitly to train practice-ready intellectual property (IP) lawyers, he didn’t simply succeed—he set in motion a process that would lead to the continued development of IP law around the globe. Rines founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1973 in what used to be a bull barn on the east side of Concord, N.H. From those humble beginnings grew an international power in intellectual property law, the legal sector that aims to protect rights to inventions, designs and literary and artistic works. UNH Law has produced graduates who are working in some of the preeminent law offices in the world and consistently has been ranked in the top 10 in the United States for the study of IP law by U.S. News & World Report. In 2016, the school was ranked fifth, behind only UC Berkeley, Stanford, New York University and George Washington University.



UNH consistently has been ranked in the top 10 in the United States for the study of IP law by U.S. News & World Report

Of the school’s early days, intellectual property librarian and professor of legal research at UNH Law Jon Cavicchi explains that patent lawyers were not trained in how to prosecute patents at the time. “Rines’s approach was, if you see a need, you fill it. So he went about starting a law school to train practice-ready patent lawyers.” In doing so, he changed the landscape of IP law education near and far.

“Countries like India look to the West for the development of intellectual property law,” Chowdhury says. “When I started my firm, instead of promoting the firm itself in India, I had the challenge of promoting intellectual property. When I went to multinational companies, I had to encourage management to allocate resources for IP. And my presentations were built on what I learned at UNH Law.”

An obscure specialty in the United States when the school was founded, intellectual property law was virtually nonexistent in many countries around the world. Rines brought groups from China, Japan, India and other countries to sit in on classes at no cost and to visit patent offices with him. His hope was for the visitors to study the U.S. system before returning home and adapting it to their countries’ needs.

The school’s IP impact has certainly been felt domestically, as well. UNH Law graduates have ascended to positions of influence in IP at many multinational corporations throughout the country. Micky Minhas ’97 JD, LL.M and Timothy Joyce ’92 JD, ’93 MIP are chief patent counsels at Microsoft and Bayer, respectively, and Joseph Ferretti ’00 LL.M. is chief trademark counsel for PepsiCo.

“The school was largely responsible for developing IP systems around the world,” Cavicchi says.

UNH Law graduates also hold IP leadership roles in major law firms like Fenwick & West, LLP, the Boston office of Fish & Richardson and the leading IP boutique Lando & Anastasi, LLP, in Cambridge, Mass.

Indeed, UNH Law graduates have held influential positions setting IP policy in far-flung places like China, Korea, India, Switzerland, Singapore and Nigeria as well as at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Many of those graduates, like Mahua Roy Chowdhury, helped shape the structure of IP law in those countries. A 2001 graduate of the school’s LL.M. program, Chowdhury returned to India and co-founded Solomon & Roy (now ROYZZ & Co.), a firm considered instrumental in advancing India’s understanding of the importance of IP law.



Founder Robert Rines certainly had a tendency to bring his ideas to life—hanging in the American Inventor’s Hall of Fame is a painting featuring the Loch Ness monster as he imagined it might appear. Even more vivid is his fully realized vision for intellectual property law education, the farreaching, industry-influencing program that got its start in a New Hampshire bull barn.

Faculty Honors


en Johnson, professor of sociology and senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy, was named a Carnegie Fellow. The fellowship—one of the most prestigious and generous in the social sciences—will fund Johnson’s research on demographic shifts in rural America. Physics professor Harlan Spence, director of UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), received two high-profile appointments in 2016. He was named to the Space Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and was elected to serve as a member of the board of trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The American Geophysical Union named physics professor and EOS Space Science Center director Lynn Kistler a Fellow. The National Science Foundation honored three faculty members with Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, awards. Associate professor of mathematics John Gibson seeks to understand turbulent flows; assistant professor of mechanical engineering Yaning Li studies honeycomb-like materials called auxetic chiral composites; and Harish Vashisth, assistant professor of chemical engineering, simulates molecules of nucleic acids. Vashisth was also granted access to the Anton 2 supercomputer, located at the University of Pittsburgh, through a competitive process. Andy Armstrong, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) co-director of the UNH/NOAA Joint Hydrographic Center, holds perhaps the most unique honor of the past year: a basin on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico was named for him. Armstrong was captain and chief hydrographer on the NOAA ship that first mapped the Armstrong Basin, about 100 miles south of Galveston, Texas, in 1992.

Top of page: Carnegie Fellow Ken Johnson, professor of sociology Above, top to bottom: CAREER award winners John Gibson, associate professor of mathematics; Yaning Li, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Harish Vashisth, assistant professor of chemical engineering



RESEARCH ON THE EDGE The first data from NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS), launched in 2015 with nearly half of its scientific instruments coordinated or built by UNH, were published in the May 2016 journal Science. Collected as the quartet of satellites flew through an elusive magnetic reconnection event, the findings promise to forever change our understanding of what powers giant explosions at the edge of Earth’s magnetic boundary.

Photo: NASA



“This dataset is so revolutionary that I think we’ll be mining it for 50 years.” Roy Torbert, professor of physics, co-author on the Science paper and leader of the UNH MMS team

UNH SPACE SCIENCE IN THE SPOTLIGHT... • Research scientist Dacheng Lin used data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a massive black hole wandering at the edge of a galaxy about 4.5 billion light years away, publishing his findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

• UNH contributed technology to a suite of space weather instruments on NOAA’s next-generation GOES-R weather satellite, which launched in November 2016.



In 1954, UNH made its first foray into space science when it commissioned a neutron monitor atop Mt. Washington, 6,288 feet above sea level, to study the sun and the effect of cosmic rays on the Earth. The year 2016 marked the 60th anniversary of the formalization of UNH’s space research into the UNH Space Science Center, as well as the 25th anniversary of the university’s recognition as a space grant university, just two years after the 1989 formation of the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program.



Forging a Path for LGBT Physicists E

lena Long, a postdoctoral researcher in UNH’s physics department, made news twice in the final months of 2016. First, the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility awarded her its Postdoctoral Research Prize. Then, Nature magazine named her to its Nature 10 list of people who mattered, recognizing Long’s pathbreaking efforts to make the field of physics more inclusive of people from sexual and gender minorities. Earlier in the year, Long and colleagues published results of a survey they conducted for the American Physical Society that examined the experiences of physicists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). The findings were stark—one in five of those surveyed reported having been excluded, intimidated or harassed at work. Long’s own activism arose back in 2010 from a personal need. “As a young graduate student struggling as a queer/trans person working at a national lab, I was looking for resources for LGBT physicists and couldn’t find any,” she says. Since then, Long has launched a website,, that spawned a range of initiatives that support LGBT scientists.   BETH POTIER

Beginning in 1906, in a laboratory in Conant Hall (pictured below), chemistry professor Charles James devised novel fractional crystallization techniques for separating rare earth elements. For his work, the American Chemical Society designated Conant Hall as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.



keeping kids safe For decades, the Crimes against Children Research Center has worked to do just that BY LARRY CLOW ‘12G

It’s a Friday afternoon in early December, and David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) at UNH, is having a rare moment of rest in his office. Just back from Germany and Tanzania, where he met with policymakers about preventing sexual abuse and child victimization, Finkelhor is set to venture abroad again the following week. For now, though, he’s reflecting on the center’s research—how it’s evolved, how far it’s traveled and how much is left to do. The CCRC was created in 1998 as an extension of the work begun in the university’s Family Research Laboratory in 1975 by Murray A. Straus. In those early days, the center’s research was in an advocacy phase, according to Finkelhor. “It was a matter of trying to persuade people family violence and child victimization were problems that needed some kind of action,” says Finkelhor ’78G, a professor of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory. “Now we’ve transitioned to an efficacy phase. We’ve gotten consensus that something needs to be done about violence against children and we’re trying to establish what works.” That means the CCRC’s ongoing research efforts, including pioneering national surveys like the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, continue alongside research about the impact of new technology and the benefits of prevention education programs in the U.S. and around the world.



And as the risks facing children and teens evolve, so does CCRC’s agenda. The center recently released a study about “sextortion,” a crime in which young people are threatened or coerced into providing sexual images on the internet. Another study underway focuses on doing a better job of monitoring children’s exposure to firearms and firearm safety. CCRC research has had real-world impact. In 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder launched the Defending Childhood initiative, a Justice Department-backed effort to reduce the exposure of children to violence as victims and witnesses. That program was specifically based on CCRC findings, Finkelhor says. The federal Centers for Disease Control also relied on the CCRC in developing its Adverse Childhood Experiences initiative, which aims to use evidence-based treatments to improve conditions for children who are being victimized. The center also works with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a Department of Justice-funded national network of law enforcement agencies. The task force uses CCRC research “to train the people who train law enforcement” to respond to, track and prevent internet crimes against children, Finkelhor says. CCRC researchers also present findings and lead workshops for law enforcement officers. If a police officer or prosecutor is investigating a case involving online child victimization, there’s a good chance their training included CCRC-produced research. In 1968, professor of sociology Murray Straus launched what would become groundbreaking research on family violence and corporal punishment that changed theories on childhood discipline nationally. A prolific scholar who authored 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, Straus died in May 2016 at age 89.

“We see ourselves as providing direct consultation to journalists and policymakers, but we also publish for scholars and the general public,” Finkelhor says. The center’s mission extends to training the next generation of researchers. Yahayra Michel-Smith ’17G has been a research assistant with CCRC for six years and is currently working on her doctoral dissertation on the topic of poly-victimization—youth who experience multiple types of different offenses in a short period of time. For Michel-Smith, Finkelhor and other researchers at CCRC are generous with their time and knowledge.

From Sweden to Switzerland, Argentina to Qatar, Finkelhor, Michel-Smith and other CCRC researchers span the globe to share their latest research with law enforcement, policymakers, educators and mental health professionals. “There’s a growing worldwide awareness about issues related to children’s exposure to violence and sexual abuse, due in part to mobilizations by UNICEF and the World Health Organization,” Finkelhor says.



“Specifically as a result of Dr. Finkelhor’s and Dr. Straus’s mentorship, I’ve been to Sweden to present my research and I went to Israel for a workshop,” she says. “I cannot imagine those amazing things happening if they hadn’t been my mentors.”

CCRC researcher Yahayra Michel-Smith ’17G will defend her doctoral dissertation on poly-victimization in May.

Reeve Kennedy ’18G agrees. “It’s a supportive environment, and they want to help students and they want students to work with them,” she says. Plenty of challenges remain, according to Finkelhor. There are the practical matters of research—responding to rapid changes in technology, finding sources of funding—as well as more abstract challenges. He points to an increased public policy focus on rising healthcare costs. There’s a link between preventing violence against children and keeping healthcare costs down, Finkelhor says, but illustrating that connection isn’t easy. “One of the things we’re trying to tap into is how, through our research programs, we can show the relevance of what we’re doing to larger social policy objectives.” Even though much has changed since Straus and Finkelhor began their groundbreaking work more than four decades ago, CCRC’s mission—and impact—remains the same. The center continues to shine a light on difficult subjects and, through its research, advocate for the safety of children around the world. “They’re looking at a lot of uncomfortable issues and things people might not want to talk about,” Kennedy says. “Bringing awareness to that is important.” u



RESEARCH ON THE EDGE In June, UNH added the R/V Gulf Surveyor, a 48-foot aluminum vessel with the capability to deploy sophisticated multi-beam echosounders, to its research fleet. The vessel will help researchers map the coastal seafloor and better understand the ocean environment while providing training in the latest oceanographic practices.



UNH MARINE SCIENCE IN THE SPOTLIGHT... • President Barack Obama named School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (SMSOE) director Larry Mayer to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.

• SMSOE associate director of research Jennifer Miksis-Olds, a marine acoustician, was tapped to lead a multimillion-dollar federal contract to establish the Atlantic Deepwater Ecosystem Observatory Network.

• Jon Pennock, director of New Hampshire Sea Grant for a decade and SMSOE deputy director, was named director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program.



DISAB I LIT Y D ATA How UNH’s Institute on Disability became the go-to source for statistics about people with disabilities





his past November, 4,405,000 people with disabilities in the U.S. had jobs. That’s 300,000, or four percent, more people with disabilities who

worked than in November 2015, but still just 31.1 percent of total workingage people with disabilities. And Andrew Houtenville ’97G has counted each of them. Not literally, of course, but Houtenville—director of research at UNH’s Institute on Disability (IOD) and an associate professor of economics at the Paul College of Business and Economics—leads several national projects that collect powerful data like these to serve up directly to those who can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. “We basically go out and get every possible statistic available from the myriad government agencies that generate them,” says Houtenville, a graduate of UNH’s economics doctoral program. “Our goal is to improve the lives of and opportunities afforded to people with disabilities, to support independent living and equal opportunity in employment, in healthcare—really, in all aspects of life.” In doing so, Houtenville and his team, which includes IOD research assistant professor Deborah Brucker and partners Mathematica Policy Research, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Kessler Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities, have created a one-stop shop for policymakers, advocates and researchers. The two major research projects he leads, both funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, have made the IOD a national leader in disability statistics.

While Houtenville and Brucker tap these data to publish the peer-reviewed papers that are the coin of the academic realm, the statistics also fuel UNH’s land-grant mission. “We write research papers for academic journals that move the science forward, but we also do the outreach part and work closely with advocacy organizations, so it’s not just dust on the shelves,” he says. Toward that end, the team releases an Annual Disability Statistics Compendium and hosts a major conference in Washington to help policymakers and advocates use the statistics to advance the field and the lives of those with disabilities. In 2015, for instance, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) used these data to demonstrate the impact of non-inclusive employment policy in Oregon. The state of Oregon settled a lawsuit with the USDOJ, in part due to Houtenville’s findings; Oregon is now working on adopting policy reforms to ensure that people with disabilities are employed in competitive jobs. And each month the IOD and Kessler Foundation issue the National Trends in Disability Employment, or nTIDE, Report, accompanied by a webcast, that parses Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data to assess employment by working-age people with disabilities. Employment, with its inextricable links to wealth, poverty and wellness, provides a powerful lens through which to view the lives of people with disabilities, who work at about half the rate those




without disabilities do, Houtenville says. For the past 40 years, that rate has been on a frustrating slide, and Houtenville and the IOD have also had a loud voice in the academic debate and policy solutions to that decline. “The consensus among economists is that the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security program provide a very basic level of income support, but it’s very hard to get off those programs once you’re on them,” he says, noting that it can take several years to gain access to the programs. “Once you’ve spent two years telling the federal government you’re disabled and you can’t work, and you’ve been out of the labor force two years, it is very hard to reenter the workforce. There’s also fear that once you go back to work you’ll lose your benefits right away.”

and expanding employment opportunities. Analyzing the current policies that support these programs, he notes that their structure provides a strong disincentive to work, promoting what he calls “in-home institutionalization.” The policy he is helping to craft proposes an incremental, not total, loss of Social Security benefits upon return to employment. Bucking the number-obsessed stereotype of statisticians, Houtenville calls himself a scholaradvocate. “Some people would shrink at that statement, but I use my scholarship to advocate by choosing what hypothesis I want to test, by investigating what I think is important,” he says. “I can’t use it to choose the answers. I use scholarly principles to identify the questions.”

Houtenville has been involved in the creation of policy aimed at changing how people with disabilities receive those Social Security benefits

“Our goal is to improve the lives of and opportunities afforded to people with disabilities, to support independent living and equal opportunity in all aspects of life.” Andrew Houtenville ’97G, research director, Institute on Disability



Living Longer, Living Stronger A

t the heart of exercise scientist Summer Cook’s research lies a deceptively simple question: What causes people to get stronger? But between her and the answer is a lab full of complex equipment, some data analysis wizardry—and a gadget that bears a strong similarity to an oldfashioned blood pressure cuff. Cook’s primary research, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, focuses on building leg strength in older adults—65-plus— who are at risk of losing mobility and with it their independence because of injury or illness. “We use our legs for almost anything we do: to walk, to get out of a chair, to climb stairs,” says Cook, honored by the American College of Sports Medicine with its New Investigators award. Because lifting heavy weights, the traditional method for building muscle, may not be accessible to older adults who may have injuries or arthritis, Cook is evaluating the effectiveness of an alternative muscle-building method called low-load, blood-flow-restricted exercise. In this method, subjects lift very light weights while a cuff much like one used to take blood pressure restricts oxygen to the muscle. “There’s not enough oxygen to the working muscles so they fatigue faster,” says Cook, an associate professor of kinesiology.

As baby boomers age and live longer, understanding how to keep older adults strong and independent is a growing field. “This could be a viable alternative to high-load training,” Cook says.   BETH POTIER

In 1980, Evelyn H. Handler became the 14th president of UNH. She was the first woman to hold that position— and the first woman to preside over any land-grant university in the U.S. Handler secured significant federal funding for the construction of Morse Hall, which houses UNH’s largest research enterprise, the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.



MakingHistory These teacher-scholars and the alumni they mentored bring the past to life BY JENNIFER SAUNDERS

Notable honors. Carefully researched volumes that have claimed the national spotlight. World-renowned scholars. These are just a few of the fruits of UNH’s history department. “We take pride in being a strong research department and a strong teaching department, and we work to marry the two together,” says Jan Golinski, professor of history and humanities and the department’s acting chair. “Our scholarship helps make us dynamic and innovative teachers, even as our teaching enriches our scholarship,” adds professor Eliga Gould. “There really is no tradeoff between the two. I know I speak for my colleagues when I say I’d be much less effective as a teacher and a scholar if I didn’t get to do both.” That balanced commitment is reflected in the success of faculty, students and alumni alike. In 2016, Gould received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to complete his book about the little-studied Treaty of 1783, which ended the American Revolutionary War. Also last year, professor Ellen Fitzpatrick released “The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidency” to national acclaim; its timely subject made Fitzpatrick, a regular commentator on PBS’s The NewsHour, a sought-after source for the national media during Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency. Similarly, associate professor Jason Sokol has embraced the “public intellectual” role. His 2015 “All Eyes are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn” provided historical grounding for racial tensions in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Sokol shared his perspectives



with major news media, including The New York Times and National Public Radio. Like Gould, Sokol received uncommon national funding—a public scholar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—for his next book, “Shot Rings Out: How King’s Death Was Lived.” The NEH also supported associate professor Julia Rodriguez with a summer stipend in 2016 for a project that looks at the intersection of Latin American conquest and the history of science. The history program’s reputation for excellence, while longstanding, was not accidental. “UNH’s current prominence in American history research is rooted in the university’s decision in the 1960s to develop a doctoral program focusing on Colonial American history,” says Robert Mennel, professor emeritus of history and humanities, who taught at UNH from 1969 through 2005. The key figures in those first decades included Darrett Rutman, an early advocate of quantitative history, and Charles Clark, whose book “The Eastern Frontier” attracted wide acclaim, as well as Trevor Colbourn, dean of the graduate school. Mennel notes that the “next generation of scholars,” Gould and professor Jeffrey Bolster foremost among them, expanded the definition of Colonial American history to include Atlantic history. Bolster’s decorated 2012 book “The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail” won the Bancroft Prize and several honors from the American Historical Association, while professor Kurk Dorsey’s “Whales & Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas” followed the maritime inquiry when it came out in 2014. It’s not just books and awards the history department has generated: The program has produced prominent historians as well. Laurel



Thatcher Ulrich ’80G, author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning “A Midwife’s Tale” and other books about early New England life, is a professor of history at Harvard University and received MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, and Kate Clifford Larson ’03G’s recent book, “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter,” has topped The New York Times bestseller list. Other alumni, like Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer ‘90, Boston city councilor Tito Jackson ‘99 and former New Hampshire governor Stephen Merrill ‘69, have plied their training in public service. Consistently ranked among the nation’s top programs for American history, the department continues to attract graduate students who peer into the past to shape their own academic futures. “Our professors are extraordinary teachers, dedicated mentors and nationally recognized scholars,” says Amanda Demmer, a doctoral student advised by Dorsey on her project on the Vietnam War. “This rare combination is why students come from all over the country to pursue their doctorates in history at UNH.” Patrick Lacroix, a doctoral student who works with Fitzpatrick as his advisor on his study of religion and public policy during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, echoes Demmer. “My years as a graduate student in history at UNH have made me a better writer, teacher and thinker,” he says. “I have been continually impressed with the collegiality of the program and the academic support so generously provided by our faculty.” History at UNH, clearly, has a bright future.

In 1976, while working on her doctoral dissertation, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich ’80G penned the popular phrase “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Recent Creative Works

As a flagship public research university, our environment of innovation sparks creative expression. Here we spotlight the artistic and scholarly achievements of faculty in the College of Liberal Arts.

SOLO ART EXHIBITS Grant Drumheller, professor of art New Paintings Prince Street Gallery · New York, N.Y. · December 2016 Sachiko Akiyama, assistant professor of art Between Here and There Matter & Light Fine Art · Boston, Mass. · Fall 2016

THEATER Deborah Kinghorn, professor of theatre and dance BOOKS David Rivard, professor of English Standoff: Poems August 2016 Daniel Chávez, assistant professor of Spanish Nicaragua and the Politics of Utopia: Development and Culture in the Modern State December 2015. Named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Foreign Affairs magazine. Carmen Garcia de la Rasilla, associate professor of Spanish and Jorge Abril Sanchez, lecturer in Spanish Editors, A Novel Without Boundaries: Sensing Don Quixote 400 Years Later November 2016

King Lear Kinghorn performed the title role in “King Lear” for Seven Stages Shakespeare Company. Millspace: Center for Art, History & Culture · Newmarket, N.H. · November 2016 MUSIC David Ripley, professor of music and Arlene Kies, former Murkland Lecturer of music Wohin This two-CD set is a tribute to Arlene Kies, longtime UNH piano teacher and performer who passed away in 2016. David Ripley sings bass-baritone with Kies on piano. The CD features works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Ives.




Provost Nancy Targett (above left) became UNH’s senior academic administrator in fall 2016. A member of the University of Delaware faculty since 1984, she most recently served as UDel’s acting president and was dean of its College of Earth, Ocean and Environment for more than a decade. Trained as an oceanographer, Targett is a marine biochemist and nationally recognized expert on ocean issues, so UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping was a fitting setting for this conversation with senior vice provost for research Jan Nisbet. You’ve been here at UNH for six months. What are your impressions? The excellence I continue to encounter here at every turn has been wonderful—the research, the teaching, the students, the whole academic endeavor. I’m so impressed with the openness of people to try new ideas and different ways to pursue them. Our faculty members have an entrepreneurial spirit that is very forward-looking, and as a university we recognize that teaching and learning take place in all different forms, including research and service. Our students really do outperform expectations, and that’s thanks to the faculty who are working with them and helping them be the best they can be. What are your observations about research at UNH? I see spires of excellence in a lot of different areas in this university. Of course, I would be most familiar with the marine program here, which is really well known and well respected; the work they do is just top-notch. But then you’ve got the space physics program, you’ve got the work that’s being done in behavioral health, you’ve got the sustainability program that is really doing such great things, the research on sexual violence, I could go on and on.



What’s your vision for the future of research here? I believe the foundational disciplines are really important for research, but where research is now and in the future is at the intersection between disciplines. Doing more interdisciplinary work—larger projects that encompass a broader scope—will elevate the research enterprise here at UNH dramatically. We’re seeking holistic answers to things, so it’s a much broader scope and much bigger perspective. How do you think UNH can work in a more interdisciplinary way? We need to get people together in the room when you’re first putting a problem on the table. When you do that, you’re getting a range of perspectives to that problem right from the outset. It might cause you to approach it in a whole different way. That sort of innovative collaboration is something we need to strive for. The world is changing, and we have to change with it. We at UNH want to be driving the ship, not just along for the ride—and in many ways, we’re already a model. As a land-grant institution, we have this commitment to making a difference, to having an impact. I have a quote in my office that says, “Do something amazing every day.” The idea is you want to just try to make a difference. For me, that’s what it’s all about.

Preparing Future Innovators Our energy future lies with recent graduates like Tom Kroll, who studied offshore wind turbine efficiency with associate professor of mechanical engineering Martin Wosnik. Kroll, who grew up in Tanzania and Manchester, N.H., also served as president of the UNH chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

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climate to protecting our most vulnerable populations. Powered by more than $100 million in competitive external funding, UNH research transforms lives, solves global challenges, drives economic growth and engages the next generation of innovators. College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Charles Zercher, Interim Dean College of Health and Human Services Michael Ferrara, Dean College of Liberal Arts Heidi Bostic, Dean College of Life Sciences and Agriculture Jon Wraith, Dean Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics Deborah Merrill-Sands, Dean University of New Hampshire at Manchester Michael Decelle, Dean University of New Hampshire School of Law Jordan Budd, Interim Dean Graduate School Cari Moorhead, Interim Dean Cooperative Extension Kenneth La Valley, Dean and Director Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space Harlan Spence, Director School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering Larry Mayer, Director

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