WELCOME TO EIGHT NEW MEMBERS

This month we are pleased to welcome seven new Full members and one new Associate member to the NCIS fold. They hail from the USA, Canada, Romania and Great Britain, and you can read about them and their research interests below. 
NEW FULL MEMBERS
Octavian Balaci (ROMANIA) is an electrical engineer specializing in electronics. He was born in the city of Resita in Romania and after 5 years studying at the Polytechnic University of Timisoara graduated with a MS in applied electronics in 1997. Octavian lives in Resita and works in industry in the field of electric/electronic and computer automation. In his free time he studies physics by himself and is currently interested in electromagnetism, gravity and fusion energy magnetic confinement.
He is working on a method of plasma stabilization in toroidal fusion reactors based on AC driving and use of electrodynamic effects.
Dr Patrizia Costa (USA) is the Senior Director of The Brother David S. Baginksi FSC Scholars Program at Central Catholic, a private high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She was awarded a PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, from which she also gained an MA in the same subject area as well as a Master's Certificate in Literature and Culture Studies.  She has published and lectured on the work of women artists in the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci's work in Milan, and Modern Italian art.  Her monograph The Duke's Trees: Leonardo's Unfinished Masterpiece in the Sala delle Asse, currently in press, is an expanded version of her dissertation work and weaves together two fascinating periods in the Sala delle Asse's history:  the 15th century, when Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint it, and the early 20th century when the Sala was re-discovered and subjected to a major restoration in order to support a nationalist agenda in post-Risorgimento Italy.  
Dr Amy Fletcher (USA) earned a PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Georgia in 1997. After two visiting positions in the United States, she moved to New Zealand to take up a Lecturer’s position at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In early 2021, she decided to switch paths to independent scholarship and freelance writing. She is the principal of A Fletcher Strategies Inc. and is working on a book that will look at the pursuit of techno-immortality in Western cultures since the mid-19th century. She is a photography and film buff in her spare time.
Dr Riccardo Forte (USA) was born in Turin (Italy) and lives in the Washington D.C. area. He graduated from the University of Turin with a BA in Political Science and received a PhD in History of the Americas from the University of Genoa (Italy) and a PhD in History from El Colegio de Mexico (Mexico City). He is interested in Civil-Military Relations in Latin America from a political-cultural perspective and in International Relations in the Western Hemisphere. Riccardo has worked as full-time professor at El Colegio Mexiquense and at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, and as visiting professor at several Latin American universities. After leaving Mexico in 2010 he worked at a research project about Political-Cultural Anti-Americanism, sponsored by the Einaudi Foundation and the Library of Congress. In 2014, Dr Forte retired, but continued studying as an independent researcher. His academic work has been accepted for publication at several Latin American and Italian journals and reviews. His book Armed forces, political culture and internal security, was published in two languages, in Italy and Mexico. Riccardo’s non-academic interests are travels and photography.
Dr. Martin H. Levinson (USA) is currently a faculty member with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University. He recently stepped down from serving as the President of the Institute of General Semantics. He holds a PhD from NYU and has published extensively in the areas of history and communication. He is currently the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics and a contributing editor to The Satirist: America’s Most Critical Journal. He has taught courses in the social sciences at NYU, Adelphi University, Saint John’s University, New York Institute of Technology, and Medgar Evers College.
Dr Helen Ross (UK) is a fully qualified special educational needs (SEN) teacher and former SEN Coordinator, currently working in a mainstream school in Wiltshire. She also provides expert advice and research consultancy, as well as specialist tuition and CPD, through her own enterprise ‘Helen’s Place’. Helen’s research explores stakeholder experiences of special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision within the mainstream education sector. She is a qualitative researcher, using Bourdieusian principles to explore barriers to participation in learning and engagement with institutions. She is Chair of the Wiltshire Dyslexia Association and has consulted for the British Dyslexia Association, The Committee for Science and Technology, and Wiltshire Local Authority. Dr Ross was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the British Dyslexia Association.
Dr Pierre-Louis Têtu (CANADA) is a human geographer who has taught at the University of Ottawa, the CEGEP (public college) of Outaounis and the CEGEP of Chicoutini (both in the province of Quebec) as well as at Laval University in Quebec city. Dr Têtu gained his PhD from Laval for his thesis on Chinese investment projects in the Arctic extraction industry, and specializes in resources management, land management, and sustainable development; he is currently chief editor of Regards géopolitiques, the journal of the Conseil Québécois d’études géopolitiques (Quebec Council of Geopolitical Studies). 

NEW ASSOCIATE MEMBER
Mark Eickhoff (USA) is a historian living and working in Indianapolis, Indiana. He specializes in American history and culture from 1865 to 1920, particularly military history and the evolution of the U.S. Army as it transitioned from a frontier constabulary into a modern imperial military. He is also interested in the overall settlement of the American West and the clash between Native Americans, settlers, and the Army. He has a BA in history and international studies from Wayne State College in Nebraska and an MA in history from the University of Indianapolis. He is retired from 34 years of civilian service in the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense.  His present project is writing a biography of Major General Charles Dudley Rhodes, an early mentor to General George Patton.

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