Several cadets and NSC faculty members met with students, teachers, and family members from Newburgh Free Academy on Sunday November 4 to share a few of the many network science (NS) projects cadets are conducting at West Point. Cadets Evan Szablowski, Alex Bates, Jeffrey Nielsen, and Carl Rios gave presentations on research they have recently completed and also offered the students some advice based on lessons they learned in the process. Faculty members shared their insight into why a network approach can offer a new perspective to problems. This was extremely valuable because the Newburgh students are beginning their own NS research project with their teachers, Ms. Judy Cooper and Ms. Veronica Dunham.
In addition to the presentation, Cadets John Harvey and Kailee Kunst also took the visitors on a tour of the academic area. Students got a chance to see the classrooms and buildings and ask the cadets questions about what life is like at the academy. By the end of the day all of the visitors had a deeper appreciation for the academy, faculty and especially the work done by the cadets.
Some of the lessons the cadets shared with students and teachers were:
- Sometimes collecting data is the hardest part
- Always think about what your data represents
- Modeling and running through simulations can give you valuable information to apply to real world situations
- Learn to use software tools effectively. It will make your life easier.
- Have fun with it. Come up with your own ideas and don’t be afraid to explore them no matter how irrelevant they might seem. (Remember CDT Nielsen’s study on the best seat at the mess hall table? Fun, but it might not be important to anyone other than a cadet. It didn’t stop him from being curious.)