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in Society  

an initiative at Virginia Tech    


Veterans, globalized: veterans and their societies in international perspective.

26-28 March 2018

Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center 

Roanoke, Virginia, USA

Abstracts of research

This Veterans in Society Conference is based at
in collaboration with 
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Logo and tagline of University of Missouri, Saint Louis
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A user-centered design approach to understand young veteran reintegration into society after service

Ali Haskins Lisle

Virginia Tech


After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, military enlistment surged and a new population of military personnel (and thus veterans) has emerged from aftermath conflicts. Veterans face several challenges with reintegration into civilian society after service. A user-centered design (UCD) approach was utilized to understand the reintegration experience of 40 male veterans age 19 to 35 in the southwest Virginia area. Major topics relating to reintegration strengths and impediments were identified in first-cycle coding using a codebook created from analyzing a sample of transcripts. Second-cycle coding employed grammar rules to identify standardized design criteria (veteran needs, veteran obstacles, and veteran context of use considerations) for review by designers who seek to create assistive technologies/apps for veterans trying to reintegrate. The most frequently discovered design criteria are discussed, along with informed personas that were created from this data with the intent to inform technology designers and prevent design for veteran stereotypes.  Read full paper.

A critical review of telemedicine practices for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST): Using biofeedback to inform design

Ginger Star Peterman

Amber Pitoniak

Bryan Semaan

Syracuse University


Telemedicine — the treatment of patients through technology — is increasingly being adopted, yet its efficacy is not well understood. To address this we explore the quality of telemedicine through the context of women veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST), as they are likely to engage in avoidant behavior and social withdrawal in their transitions. While telemedicine creates reduced barriers to accessibility, it may exacerbate a sense of depersonalized therapy for women veterans navigating their technological interfaces. Through a critical review we suggest integrating biofeedback — a tool used to identify somatic markers associated with emotional and behavioral arousal — as a mechanism for measuring MST-associated physiological responses that lead to withdrawal and isolation while survivors use telemedicine systems. We argue that telemedicine may be enhanced via biofeedback as we can assess its moment-to-moment uses, which can be used to improve the way in which current telemedicine systems are designed and deployed.

Narrating resilience with technology: the case of women veterans

Ginger Star Peterman

Bryan Semaan

Syracuse University


Veterans experience myriad issues as they transition from military to civilian life due to conflicting norms. Veterans have meaningful stories to tell about themselves and others while in transition, and have started to produce narratives, ranging from fiction to nonfiction, and share them in online platforms such as Facebook. This leads to the question of how and why veterans produce such narratives? We explore this question by examining the practices of women veterans. Through a mixed methods study combining content analysis of online narratives and interviews, we find that narrative construction is a means of building resilience whereby people explore and work through their own experiences, while simultaneously providing reflexive accounts through which others can also explore and move past their own experiences — a phenomenon we dub narrating resilience with technology. Narrating resilience with technology is thus a positive way of transitioning to a state of well-being in civil society.

Technologies for veterans

Panel 2

Tuesday, 9-10:15.  Monroe Room

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