The Fall 2021 semester proved to be just as challenging as recent semesters throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All the while, professors and students used this previous semester as an opportunity to expand their knowledge and research skills through the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Internship class.
Asya Cooley, Ph.D. and Skye Cooley, Ph.D. instructed the pilot course, and six students completed a research paper throughout the semester. Ellie Melero, Campbell Clark (not pictured), Kelli Norton, Matthew O’Brien, Jared Rotha and Yi Wen Evonne Wong worked to complete a Central American Marshall Plan, which they named “Forecasting Resilience: A Future-Hunter Approach to a Prosperous Central America”. Project Manager Ellie Melero explained, “We wanted to come up with affordable and sustainable solutions to help create stable and resilient communities in Central America with the hope that having more stable communities will discourage people from taking a potentially long and dangerous journey to try to immigrate to the United States.”
The group researched the most prevalent institutional issues within communities in Central America and how to address those issues focused on security, culture, economy, technology and strategic partnerships. The larger scale issues centered around corruption, gang violence and poverty. The research group was able to find several solutions, including promoting education and working with local organizations that are already established within these communities.
As the Project Manager, Ellie Melero was responsible for meeting with the Cooleys to establish a timeline for the project at the beginning of the semester. Melero also assisted leading weekly meetings and followed up with members of the research team to discuss their weekly assignments in order to keep the report on schedule. “Once we were finished with the report,” said Melero, “I also wrote the executive summary, made a chart for the acronyms used throughout the report and helped Asya format the report so that it looks nice and tidy.” Melero worked with every team member and helped to edit sections while following up on sources and questions.
Once the report was edited and formatted by Melero, she turned it into the Cooleys who will now make the final edits and submit it to TRADOC. The research team worked tirelessly throughout the semester to complete this report. “My overall experience was really positive,” added Melero, “I would just like to add that I’m really appreciative of the Cooleys being so patient with us and to everyone else for being patient with me. It was definitely a team effort.”
Looking back at the semester long project, Dr. Asya Cooley said, “Students did an excellent job on the project. We started brainstorming ideas and developing the topic, formulating research questions and gathering available literature. Each student took a specific area of interest and worked really hard to gather materials. The second part of the class was about proposing solutions to identified problems and this is where their creativity shined. A special acknowledgment goes to Ellie Melero for coordinating the team’s work and keeping everyone on task. We are excited to start socializing the final report next semester.”
Continuing into the Spring 2022 semester, the plan is to produce a video and convert the final research paper into a short article for the Mad Scientist Laboratory website and the online publication Conversation. In addition, the project will be submitted for either an academic or military conference and will be published to the TRADOC online resources website. The report will be available for anybody within the U.S. military looking for information on the topic.
Learn more at mesagroup.okstate.edu.