General Information

Student: Yuqing Zhou
School: Rutgers University
Email: yuqing.zhou@rutgers.edu
Project: Protecting Vulnerable Communities from Targeted Violence and Mass Casualty Attacks

Project Description

The Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience(CPR) has a mission to assist vulnerable communities, particularly communities of faith, to enhance their safety and their standing in society by improving their relationships with law enforcement, with other government agencies, and with other vulnerable communities.CPR tailors its work to the needs of the individual communities by assessing a given community's situation and security needs, then adjusting deliverables to meet those needs. Examples of such deliverables include but not limited to conducting research in the form of extensive interviews, developing and implementing training, and introducing similarly situated officials from different sites to share common challenges and develop common approaches.

Weekly Log

Week 1:
DIMACS is the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science. DIMACS's mission is to facilitate research and education in mathematical,computational, and statistical methods, algorithms, modeling, analysis,and applications. My project is supported by Rutgers Institute for Secure Communities (RISC). RISC brings together various experts from across Rutgers University with domestic and international partners in the public and private sectors to conduct research, develop practical initiatives, and provide education and training on the protection of society from dangers affecting safety and welfare, while promoting fair and efficient practices. The Miller Center for Community Protection & Resilience is one of RISC's affiliated centers. I begin the week with getting acquainted with my peers and my mentors. In preparation for my project, I conducted independent research on the frequency of mass casualty attacks and identifying vulnerable communities. I also read research reports, including interview transcripts and the final publication of the R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E. Model, from last year's research fellows. Dr. Ronald J Clark will release the R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E. Model on June 17, the 5th anniversary of the Charleston church shooting. The first phase of my project will be finalizing the R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E. Model for publication and the second phase involves creating a pandemic model in light of the 2019-nCoV pandemic. The objective is to gather and analyze COVID-19 pandemic related data in order to assess the national response, to highlight the challenges this nation faced, and to offer solutions so that we can be better prepared for the next pandemic.
Week 2:
The second week of this program starts with presentations! My team and I presented in the second round, but it was motivating to see all of my peers dedicating themselves to research and education, especially during this time of chaos, it's reassuring to see many of my peers working on COVID19 related research. This week, my team and I begin preliminary research for the pandemic model. I submitted my first state analysis for Dr. Ronald Clark to review, so that for our next meeting we can come together to finalize a template. My team and I plan to gather information for all 50 states and U.S territories.
Week 3:
This week was filled with exciting activities! This program provides supplementary seminars and workshops for its participants and I appreciate the additional learning opportunities. The week begins with a data science bootcamp and while this is not my field of study it has provided me with ideas for my own research project. In addition to the bootcamp, I also met up with Dr. Lazaros Gallos. It was a pleasure to personally get to know the director of this program. This is a rough time for many students including myself and it is reassuring to know that this program truly cares for its participants. In regards to my research, I have been working diligently everyday to complete my assignments. Currently I am wrapping up with my state analysis and for my next assignment I will be collaborating with my research fellow, Elisabeth, to create an analysis on the federal level.
Week 4:
Week 4 kicked off with a lecture by Mykhaylo Tyomkyn. It was definitely a challenging concept to grasp, but I enjoy challenges. Next, Elisabeth and I had a meeting about our collaboration. We brainstormed and made a plan of action. Finally, we had our weekly meeting with the group. As for my own progress, I need to reformat and finalize my report.
Week 5:
Lenka Zdeborova kicked off this week with a lecture on understanding machine learning with statistical physics.While machine learning is not my field of consternation, I can certainly appreciate the research and the many applications of it. It was a comprehensive introduction to machine learning, and I expect that as I advance further with my academic endeavors, these lessons will definitely come in handy. This week also includes a weekly check in with my mentor, Dr, Clark, and my fellow researchers. This week, we will focus on rolling out comprehensive infographics that showcase our research for the past few weeks.
Week 6:
This week was jammed packed with meetings and seminars! My team and I are busy adding final touches to our preliminary drafts. In addition to our work, we are also thinking about our final paper. We had a workshop on Thursday that gave guidance on how to write a scientific paper; that was a good exercise as deadlines near.
Week 7:
There were too many things to complete this week. I needed to complete my report on my assigned states, as well as creating a report for my assigned region. I also needed to finish my national report. On a positive note, I greatly enjoyed the seminars this week. The graduate school panel was especially helpful. I am actually in the process of applying to graduate schools; the panelists gave good insight that I wouldn't have received elsewhere.
Week 8:
This program ends next week, I have been busy wrapping everything up and making sure to submit everything on time. This week the goal is to perfect our presentation. My mentor Dr. Clark and I have been meeting everyday this week to check in and make sure that everyone is on top with their assignments and to review and revise the final project.
Week 9:
This is the last week at the program. We submitted our policy paper, which I am very proud of. Our presentation went well and I was able to say all the key points without running out of time. Final meeting with the group was nice and I am glad to see that many of the fellows have decided to continue with their research. I have also agreed to continue this research with Dr.Clark until the end of summer. I might even be able to pursue it throughout the fall semester as well. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I sincerely appreciate everyone who made this program possible. Special shoutout for Dr. Clark for always being so patient and encouraging.

Additional Information


This work was carried out while the author, Yuqing Zhou, was a Rutgers IC CAE Research Fellow participating in the 2020 DIMACS REU program, supported through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence(ODNI) grant for Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence - Critical Technology Studies Program.