The Research Design Associates Blog


#DineSmall: Restaurants Join Small Business Saturday

SBA and National Resaurant Association partner to spotlight locally woned restaurants. It took five years for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to recognize the value of locally owned restaurants and the role they play in creating and supporting a community’s economy. #DineSmall was created by the SBA in partnership with the National Restaurant Association to promote restaurants on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – Small Business Saturday.


A review on Twitter revealed few menus and few special offerings. The SBA and its local affiliates dominated the tweets on #ShowUsYourMenu much the same as they did on #DineSmall with the addition of numerous high profile politicians tweeting in.


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Small Business Saturday: Highlighting the Value of Local

Credit card companies find merit in promoting small business with web sophistocation beyond most small business' reach. Five years ago, the Small Business Agency (SBA) partnered with American Express (AmEx) to highlight small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Coming on the heels of Black Friday, the single largest shopping day of the year, Small Business Saturday gives local merchants a way to be more visible as they launch the holiday shopping season.

AmEx, positioning itself as a friend of small business, devotes a substantial portion of its website to listing partners, including Bing, Yelp, EventBrite, and FedEx for 2014. AmEx returns a small rebate to its cardholders on purchases made on Small Business Saturday.

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Keystone XL Pipeline in Changing Times

With the turn in the US election the Keystone Pipeline is back on the agenda for the start of the next Congressional session in January 2015.  Unfortunately the economics that drove this process when it was first announced have changed dramatically.  The Canadian Government after extreme frustration without passing Keystone earlier has explored other routes.  Most of the pipeline has been or will be built and operated in any case.

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Battles Over Ballot Access

For the first time in many years, voters across the country are going to find it more difficult to vote in the November midterm elections. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, voters in 22 states will face tougher rules than they did in the 2010 midterm elections. In 15 of those states, the upcoming midterm elections will be the first major election in which voter restrictions are in place.The relationship between tougher restrictions and political party is startling.

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The Empathy and Compassion of Nursing I got

The fact of the matter was that while I was interested in science I didn’t know how to absorb scientific or conceptual information. I would read the text about cells but I couldn’t grasp the concept of what cells were or how they worked, because I was too focused on trying to figure out how this magnified picture of a cell lived in my body! My teacher at that time operated under the assumption that the foundation of science had already been laid because this was in fact college, not grade school.

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My Path Into a STEM Field

After getting my massage certificate I started making a decent living and enjoyed my work immensely. I enjoyed interacting with and helping people.  As a result of not being educated early on I always found concepts difficult to grasp so being able to touch a muscle and call it by its name, or massage someone’s shoulders until they were loose came much easier to me. This massage skill was concrete and somewhat spiritual, but not necessarily intellectual. I felt comfortable with this work and starting this would give me the confidence I would need later to embark on new dreams.

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Early Years

We were sheltered from school and ‘other people’s’ children for fear that they would break precious cargo. We were in fact not home schooled but rather kept at home. The most formative years of our lives my brother and me would play in our bedroom closet with blocks and Barbie dolls, color in books, and tell each other stories.  We were each other’s teachers and each other’s students.

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Health Informatics – My Current Focus

I spent a year in Arizona, during which time I worked very hard studying in more depth the issues about logistics and transportation that I had started studying during my doctoral thesis.I also had the opportunity to deepen my collaboration with my colleagues at the Department of Geography and Geo-Information Science at George Mason University. I started to work on completely different issues with them, participating as a consultant on a project that brought me closer to issues in health care and, in particular, to the system used in the U.S. for allocating organs for transplantation.

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Work Experience Opened New Interest

During my time working for the Rome Agency for the Preparation of the Jubilee Year 2000, I had changed my mind again: the desire to continue to study and investigate similar research problems was ripe inside me.  I started to study again, and I won a fellowship for a PhD in Operations Research at the University of Rome La Sapienza.

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From Political Science to Statistics

One day I was at my desk reading the same page of a sociology textbook for the tenth time, and the next day I was sitting in my first class of Mathematical Analysis. I had changed my major from Political Science to Statistics.

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