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- The Academic Steroid: Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants at a North Texas University
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The goal of this study was to determine the extent, motivations, and justifications of nonmedical prescription stimulant use among the population at a large public university in the North Texas region. Participants consisted of 526 undergraduate students enrolled at the studied university during the spring and summer 2014 semesters. The findings of the study suggest that the nonmedical use by students was higher than the findings in much of the current literature, but was within the parameters established in the literature. The primary motivation for nonmedical use was academic in nature and was justified by moderation of nonmedical use to strategic academic times.
- Acute Effects of the Antibiotic Streptomycin on Neural Network Activity and Pharmacological Responses
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The purpose of this study is to find out that if antibiotic streptomycin decreases neuronal network activity or affects the pharmacological responses. The experiments in this study were conducted via MEA (multi-electrode array) technology which records neuronal activity from devices that have multiple small electrodes, serve as neural interfaces connecting neurons to electronic circuitry. The result of this study shows that streptomycin lowered the spike production of neuronal network, and also, sensitization was seen when neuronal network pre-exposed to streptomycin.
- Analysis of Biological Materials Using a Nuclear Microprobe
- The use of nuclear microprobe techniques including: Particle induced x-ray emission (PIXE) and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) for elemental analysis and quantitative elemental imaging of biological samples is especially useful in biological and biomedical research because of its high sensitivity for physiologically important trace elements or toxic heavy metals. The nuclear microprobe of the Ion Beam Modification and Analysis Laboratory (IBMAL) has been used to study the enhancement in metal uptake of two different plants. The roots of corn (Zea mays) have been analyzed to study the enhancement of iron uptake by adding Fe (II) or Fe (III) of different concentrations to the germinating medium of the seeds. The Fe uptake enhancement effect produced by lacing the germinating medium with carbon nanotubes has also been investigated. The aim of this investigation is to ensure not only high crop yield but also Fe-rich food products especially from calcareous soil which covers 30% of world’s agricultural land. The result will help reduce iron deficiency anemia, which has been identified as the leading nutritional disorder especially in developing countries by the World Health Organization. For the second plant, Mexican marigold (Tagetes erecta), the effect of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomus intraradices) for the improvement of lead-phytoremediation of lead contaminated soil has been investigated. Phytoremediation provides an environmentally safe technique of removing toxic heavy metals (like lead), which can find their way into human food, from lands contaminated by human activities like mining or by natural disasters like earthquakes. The roots of Mexican marigold have been analyzed to study the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in enhancement of lead uptake from the contaminated rhizosphere.
- Analysis of Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education Decisions Regarding Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, School Administrator, Athletic Director and Central Office Administrator Term Contract Nonrenewal Appeals From 1983 to 2013
- I conducted a legal analysis of decisions by Texas Commissioners of Education in appeals by Texas school administrators from nonrenewal decisions made by Texas school districts from 1983 to 2013. I analyzed the findings of fact and conclusions of law described in the commissioners’ rulings to determine the legal basis of school districts’ decisions to nonrenew school administrators’ term employment contracts. I also examined the legal rationale for commissioners’ rulings and determined which party most commonly prevailed in these administrative proceedings—the respondent school district or the petitioner school administrator. In particular, the study determined factors that contributed to commissioners’ decisions to overrule or support school districts’ nonrenewal decisions. A careful review of commissioner decisions, which are accessible on the Texas Education Association website, identified 44 commissioner decisions involving appeals by superintendents, associate superintendents, public school administrators, athletic directors, or central office administrators concerning school districts’ term contract nonrenewal decisions from 1983 to 2013. Commissioners’ decisions in these cases were surveyed using legal research methods. This study provides recommendations to assist local education agencies to refine current policies and regulations regarding the nonrenewal of administrators’ term contracts, and provides insight on Texas Commissioners’ rulings on term contract nonrenewal appeals brought by Texas school administrators. The findings revealed that school boards’ lack of understanding of local policies and lack of evidence resulted in commissioners granting 27% of appeals. Additionally, commissioners denied 73% of the appeals because school boards provided at least one reason that met the substantial evidence standard of review, and respondents failed to substantiate allegations or enter evidence in evidentiary hearings.
- Analytical Model for Lateral Deflection in Cold-formed Steel Framed Shear Walls with Steel Sheathing
- An analytical model for lateral deflection in cold-formed steel shear walls sheathed with steel is developed in this research. The model is based on the four factors: fastener displacement, steel sheet deformation, and hold-down deformation, which are from the effective strip concept and a complexity factor, which accounts for the additional influential factors not considered in the previous three terms. The model uses design equations based on the actual material and mechanical properties of the shear wall. Furthermore, the model accounts for aggressive and conservative designers by predicting deflection at different shear strength degrees.
- “The Angular Degrees of Freedom” and Other Stories
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The preface, " Performing Brain Surgery: The Problematic Nature of Endings in Short Fiction," deals with the many and varied difficulties short story writers encounter when attempting to craft endings. Beginning with Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor and moving to my own work, I discuss some of the obscure criteria used to designate a successful ending, as well as the more concrete idea of the ending as a unifying element. Five short stories make up the remainder of this thesis: "In-between Girls," "Crocodile Man," "Surprising Things, Sometimes Amusing," "Good Jewelry," and "The Angular Degrees of Freedom."
- The Application of Common-practice Elements in Modern Music: Examining Examples of Musical Continuity in Selected Piano Works of James R Wintle
- The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the ways in which distinguished American composer James RayWintle (1942-2013) addresses the problem of formal unity and incorporates previous musical styles in his post-tonal compositions. Because post-tonal music lacks many of the pillars that create tonal structure, it can be difficult for a composer to maintain a sense of form when writing in this style. Wintle attempts to circumvent this issue by incorporating common-practice elements, such as formal sections, familiar stylistic gestures, and referential-pitch organization into his works. For this analysis, the author has selected three of Wintle’s piano compositions that best represent his compositional approach and diverse techniques: Album Leaves - A Set of Five Character Pieces for Piano (2001), Scherzino (Street Scenes of Ovada) for Solo Piano (2010), and Four Miniatures for Piano Four Hands (2003). Wintle’s artistic style borrows extensively from Western classical music, encompassing various historical periods and quoting several major composers. Additionally, he incorporates a variety of musical styles into his chamber works and those for solo piano. These range from the dance suites of the French Baroque and Brahmsian-character pieces to American ragtime. This research also describes Wintle’s compositional style and his borrowing of 18th- and 19th-century techniques, forms, and titles, all set in a post-tonal language. The interviews conducted with the composer and his own program notes serve as primary sources, lending an invaluable insight into his works.
- An Assessment of a Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership Program
- This project attempts to describe how a hospice and palliative care partnership program works. Through the assessment of one such program, the researcher sought to find out the essential components of the partnership including how the two partner organizations interact and work together. Data was collected using various methods: document review of organization documents such as newsletters, annual or quarterly reports, brochures and other available literature e.g. materials on organizations’ website and on social media; in-depth interviews with stakeholders of both organizations that included staff and board members; observation of staff working; and participant observation during organization events. The findings of the research shows that in order for organizations to have an effective partnership program in place, both partners need to have strong leadership in place, possess a willingness to learn from each other, maintain regular communication, and visit each other regularly. With this in place, several outcomes of the program are likely such as: increasing advocacy for hospice and palliative care, increasing visibility of the organizations both nationally and internationally, and provides an opportunity for organizations to network with other organizations in their locality in order to achieve partnership objectives. The study further reveals that global collaborations in the field of hospice and palliative care began with the advent of the international hospice movement. The assessment of this hospice partnership demonstrates how organizations can establish working relationships and the results likely to come out of such an initiative.
- Bank Capital, Efficient Market Hypothesis, and Bank Borrowing During the Financial Crisis of 2007 and 2008
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During the Great Recession of 2007 and 2008, liquidity and credit dried up, threatening the stability of financial institutions, particularly the banking firms. Traditional source of funds from the last resort, the Discount Window of the Federal Reserve System, failed to remedy the liquidity problem. To assuage the liquidity and credit problem, the Federal Reserve System established several emergency lending facilities and provided unprecedented amount of loans to the banking industry. Using a dataset published by Bloomberg LLP in the aftermaths of the financial crisis, which contains daily loan balances from the Fed, I conduct an event study to test whether financial markets are efficient in reflecting all public, anticipated and classified information in security prices. The most important contribution of this dissertation to the finance discipline and literature is the investigation and analysis of the Fed’s unprecedented loans to the banking industry during the Great Recession and the market reaction to it. The second major contribution of this study is the empirical test of strong form efficient market hypothesis, which has not been feasible due to legal data challenges. This dissertation has other contributions to the finance discipline and banking research. First, I develop an algorithm for measuring the amount of borrowing by banks. Second, I introduce a new “loan balance” ratio to traditional list of bank financial ratios. Third, I use event study methodologies to allow for cross-correlation, heteroscedasticity and event induced-variance change in studying US banks’ performance during the Great Recession.
- The Behavioral Economics of Effort
- Although response effort is considered a dimension of the cost to obtain reinforcement, little research has examined the economic impact of effort on demand for food. The goal of the present study was to explore the relationship between effort and demand. Three Sprague Dawley rats were trained to press a force transducer under a series of fixed-ratio schedules (1, 10, 18, 32, 56, 100, 180, 320, and 560) under different force requirements (5.6 g and 56 g). Thus, nominal unit price (responses / food) remained constant while minimal response force requirements varied. Using a force transducer allowed the measurement of responses failing to meet the minimal force requirement (i.e. “subcriterion responses”), an advantage over prior approaches using weighted levers to manipulate effort. Consistent with prior research, increasing the unit price decreased food consumption, and raising minimum force requirements further reduced demand for food. Additionally, increasing the force requirement produced subcriterion responses. Analysis indicated that subcriterion responses did not create incidental changes in unit price. Obtained force data revealed that including obtained forces in unit price calculations provided better predictions of consumption when compared to using criterion force requirements.
- Béla Bartók’s Editorial Input As Seen in His Edition of Piano Sonata Hobxvi:49 in E Flat Major by Joseph Haydn
- Béla Bartók (1881-1945), one of the twentieth century’s most significant composers, is also well known as an ethnomusicologist and concert pianist. However, Bartók’s work as a pedagogue and as an editor has received relatively little scholarly attention, despite famous pupils and despite his preparation of numerous critical and educational editions of his own and others’ works. While the critical editions are few, a significant number of Bartók’s editions of piano works have an educational purpose; these editions contain highly detailed performing indications and hold substantial potential for investigating Bartók’s ideas on the performance of works by other composers. Bartók edited nineteen piano sonatas by Haydn for educational purposes between 1911 and 1920. Bartók’s edition of Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob.XVI:49 in E-flat Major is compared with both the first edition and the facsimile of the manuscript, with a focus on articulation, pedaling, dynamics, fingering, and other significant markings such as indications of expression and ornamentations. This document examines Bartók’s editorial input in this edition as an exemplar of his stylistic principles, and explores the value of Bartók’s Haydn editions as performing editions by critically examining both his editorial contributions and possible execution issues. This study thus provides an understanding of Bartók’s stylistic ideas regarding classical style, and promotes consideration of these editions for contemporary performers.
- Breaking the Doubler Barrier: Using Sy Brandon’sDivertissement to Demonstrate a Practical Approach to Performing Multiple WoodwindWorks
- Multiple woodwind training is ideal for securing certain types of employment; however, with so many different instruments, performance standards on each are difficult to maintain. Furthermore, for many multiple woodwind players, proficiency on all woodwinds ceases to be a top priority after graduation, even though they continue to market themselves as highly proficient on all of these instruments. The problem for most begins with what it means to be proficient on each instrument. The technical demands of multiple woodwind performance vary widely, but often a performance calls for complete proficiency on a variety of instruments. Multiple woodwind players who lack in professional level proficiency damage the credibility of the field and jeopardize employment opportunities for others. This study aims to address the common problems involving proficiency and to help multiple woodwind players, band directors, and doublers become familiar with and overcome these common pitfalls. Sy Brandon’s Divertissement provides an outstanding platform to address problems and provide solutions for multiple wind players, band directors, and doublers. This dissertation serves as a multiple woodwind specialist’s resource for maximum efficiency in learning and playing repertoire that involves multiple woodwinds, such as musicals, and other multiple woodwind genres.
- Business/it Alignment: the Impact of Incentive Plans on the Development of Shared Vision
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This study, utilizing Preston and Karahanna’s framework for shared vision development and Agency Theory, explores the impact of vision development factors and factors associated with incentive plans on shared vision and alignment. Results of the study confirm the strong relationship between shared vision and alignment, and indicate that having an effective management team is important with respect to developing and maintaining shared vision and alignment within the organization. Several vision development factors such as using the language of the business, participation on the top management team (TMT), and having knowledge of the business impact shared vision through their influence on teamwork. Also, results of this study suggest that participation on the TMT by the CIO/IT leader is more important than the individual’s position in the organizational hierarchy. In addition, attributes associated with incentive plans such as achievable and clear measures, measures linked to organizational goals, measures that align the interests of the individual with those of the organization, regular plan reviews, and using a balanced scorecard approach with respect to incentive plan design positively impact teamwork and shared vision. For practitioners, this highlights the importance of incentive plans as powerful tools that can be used to reinforce shared vision, effective teamwork, and alignment within the organization. Also, the CIO/IT leader needs to be knowledgeable of the business and must fill the role of both a technologist as well as an enterprise leader. This person must be an evangelist communicating the value and benefits of IT to the rest of the organization.
- Caring for Cancer: Understanding the Access and Perceptions of Psychosocial Cancer Services in North Texas
- It is estimated that nearly 14.5 million Americans are living with cancer today. A commonly overlooked component to quality cancer care, as defined by the Institute of Medicine, is the role of psychological and social support. Better known as psychosocial support, these needs reflect a broad spectrum of obstacles or assets in an individual’s personal life that may help or hinder their healing experience. Some psychosocial examples include coping skills, transportation to medical appointments, or appropriate knowledge to mitigate the physical impacts of the cancer process. Research has shown that by addressing these potential needs, a better health outcome may be achieved for cancer patients. Through participant observation at local psychosocial service establishments and through semi-structured interviews with service providers and adults diagnosed with cancer living in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, this thesis research seeks to explore how local cancer patients are learning of psychosocial services available to them, what barriers may exist in accessing these services, and what individuals may be doing to address their psychosocial needs, both formally or informally. Results yielded recommendations for local psychosocial providers to adjust their marketing of services and kinds of services offered as well as yielded recommendations for future academic research.
- Characterization of Ionic Liquid Solvents Using a Temperature Independent, Ion-specific Abraham Parameter Model
- Experimental data for the logarithm of the gas-to-ionic liquid partition coefficient (log K) have been compiled from the published literature for over 40 ionic liquids over a wide temperature range. Temperature independent correlations based on the Gibbs free energy equation utilizing known Abraham solvation model parameters have been derived for the prediction of log K for 12 ionic liquids to within a standard deviation of 0.114 log units over a temperature range of over 60 K. Temperature independent log K correlations have also been derived from correlations of molar enthalpies of solvation and molar entropies of solvation, each within standard deviations of 4.044 kJ mol-1 and 5.338 J mol-1 K-1, respectively. In addition, molar enthalpies of solvation and molar entropies of solvation can be predicted from the Abraham coefficients in the temperature independent log K correlations to within similar standard deviations. Temperature independent, ion specific coefficients have been determined for 26 cations and 15 anions for the prediction of log K over a temperature range of at least 60 K to within a standard deviation of 0.159 log units.
- Charles Wuorinen’s Flute Variations Ii: an Analysis and Performance Guide
- Charles Wuorinen’s contributions to contemporary music are significant. He has produced more than 260 compositions in a wide array of genres including pieces for orchestra, opera, ballet, chamber ensemble, and soloists. This document serves as an analysis and performance guide for Charles Wuorinen’s work for solo flute, Flute Variations II. Issues of analysis include serial techniques, time-point nesting, and pitch centricity and provide insight into the compositional style of the composer. As this work exhibits techniques borrowed from traditional shakuhachi performance, this document provides a brief history of the shakuhachi and an overview of the shakuhachi techniques utilized in Flute Variations II. The performance guide provides a pedagogical narrative to aid in the synthesis of conceptual ideas with contemporary techniques.
- Child-centered Play Therapy Parent Services: a Q-methodological Investigation
- Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is an empirically supported and developmentally appropriate counseling intervention for young children. Despite the clinical effectiveness of CCPT with children, no known study has been conducted in which parents were surveyed or interviewed regarding the services they have received as a part of their children’s participation in CCPT. Therefore, this study was designed to gain a better understanding of parents’ reported needs and expectations in CCPT. This study utilized Q-methodology in which participants completed a Q-sort by actively sorting 40 items on a continuum of least important to most important. Items included services and processes regarded by CCPT scholars and child therapy practitioners as being important to working with parents. Data was collected from 19 parents of children receiving CCPT services in a community-based counseling clinic. Participants included 16 females and 3 males; 15 Caucasian and 4 Hispanic; and 14 biological parents, 2 adoptive parents, and 3 other biological caregivers. Data was analyzed using centroid factor analysis, and results revealed a one factor solution representing 18 of the 19 participants. Eighteen parents reported similar beliefs regarding the processes they consider most and least important to their experience in working with child-centered play therapists. In general, parents’ beliefs aligned with CCPT philosophy, particularly in regards to respecting children’s natural pace of development and healing. Furthermore, parents shared preferences for play therapists who demonstrate expert knowledge and training and who understand the individual needs of their children. Discussion includes implications for the practice of CCPT and training of future play therapists, limitations of the study, and implications for future research.
- College and Career Readiness: Psychosocial Predictors of Achievement and Persistence
- Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if traditional indicators of college readiness were better predictors of students’ first semester college GPA and persistence to the second year of coursework compared to non-traditional indicators of college readiness. Specifically, this study analyzed the predictive validity of high school class rank and ACT/SAT scores compared to that of the psychosocial skills measured by the ACT Engage on students’ first semester college GPA and their likelihood of enrollment in the second year of college coursework. Methodology: Linear and logistic regression models were used to examine the effect of gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, high school rank, Texas Success Initiative college readiness scores, SAT or ACT scores, and the ten themes of the ACT Engage Inventory (dependent variables), on students’ first semester college GPA and rate of persistence to the second year (independent variables). A sample of 4,379 first semester college freshmen participated in this study. Findings: Results indicated that high school rank, ACT/SAT scores and psychosocial skills measured by the ACT Engage theme academic discipline were accurate predictors of college performance. Results regarding the predictive power of traditional academic and non-traditional psychosocial predictors of persistence were less definitive. Students qualifying for federal financial assistance and female students showed the greatest likelihood of not returning for the second year of college. Research Limitations: One limitation of this study occurred because separate ethnicities were not evaluated as independent variables. Additionally, further research should occur regarding the relationship between the independent variables of gender and socioeconomic status and the dependent variable persistence. Practical Implications: Due to the predictive power of high school class rank, college entrance exam scores, and the psychosocial skill of academic discipline, educators and policy makers should design targeted preparation and support initiatives around improving students’ skills in these areas. Recommendations for such initiatives were provided. Value of Paper: This paper is valuable to educators at the secondary school and university levels because results can be used to design preparation and support programs in order to improve students’ performance and persistence at the college level.
- Comparative Analysis of the Musical Distortion in Kaikhosru Sorabji’s and Vladimir Horowitz’s Piano Paraphrases Based on Bizet’s Opera Carmen
- This study focuses on a comparative analysis of two piano paraphrases, Pastiche on Habanera from ‘Carmen’ by Kaikhosru Sorabji and Variations on a Theme from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ by Vladimir Horowitz. These compositions idiomatically distort the original material in a manner that was not explored up to the moment of their respective conception. They expose each composer’s free compositional approach, reflecting musical freedom rooted in the originality of their musical thinking. The aesthetic uniqueness of these two compositions strongly stimulates and justifies academic interest to explore their technical construction, musical differences, and artistic significance. This study proposes to undertake a comparative study of these two compositions, analyzing (1) aspects of the musical character, which are linked with embellishment, or rearrangement of original material, and (2) differences in performance approach based on recorded examples and critical observations by others of the performances of these works by Sorabji and Horowitz.
- Computer Assisted Instruction to Improve Theory of Mind in Children with Autism
- Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show significant deficits in communication, emotion recognition, perspective taking, and social skills. One intervention gaining increased attention is the use of computer assisted instruction (CAI) to teach social, emotional and perspective-taking skills to individuals with ASD with the purpose of improving theory of mind skills. This study evaluated the effectiveness of CAI for improving theory of mind skills in four children with high functioning autism ages 5 to 12 years. A single-subject multiple baseline research design across participants was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of CAI. The software contained 22 instructional scenarios that asked participants to identify emotions of characters based on situational cues displayed in line drawn pictures and audio feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Mind-reading skills were assessed using ten randomly selected scenarios for various emotions and no audio feedback. Visual analysis of the data revealed that all four participants increased mind-reading skills during the CAI condition. Additionally, this study evaluated levels of task engagement during experimental conditions. Three of the four participants showed an increase in task engagement during CAI compared to paper-based social stories used during baseline. Generalization of skills was assessed through the use of social scenarios acted out by family members of participants. All four participants were able to correctly identify emotions displayed in generalization scenarios. Results demonstrated that CAI was an effective and socially viable method for improving ToM skills in children with autism and they could generalize their skills to untrained settings.
- Constructions of Choir Identity in a High School
- The purpose of this study was to investigate constructions of choir identity among high school choir students in the United States public school classroom setting. The research questions were (a) what are the processes involved in construction of choir identity and (b) how are the processes related to the group identity of the choir. The data were collected through participant observations in one selected choir classroom and semi-structured interviews with students from the choir class. The results included six processes of identity construction as well as identification of the ways in which each process was related to the choir group’s identity. The processes and their links to the overall choir group identity provided further insight into the ways in which high school choir students construct their identities, and they also supported methods of teaching commonly used in high school choir settings.
- A Contemporary Application of Boris Goldovsky’s Method for Training the Operatic Singer-actor: a Model for Today’s University Opera Workshop Instructor
- Throughout the twentieth century, Boris Goldovsky (1908-2001) played a significant role in training the operatic singer-actor. One of his most significant contributions was integrating music and drama. He taught his students how to develop a character, how to find dramatic clues in the music, and to become expressive artists free from monotonous operatic gestures and posturing. As author of the first textbook for training the operatic singer-actor, his curriculum was developed from experience, acting traditions, and mentor-student relationships. A new forum, Opera Workshop, allowed him to experiment and test his methods. Although Goldovsky is known to some scholars as the “Father of Training the Operatic Singer-Actor,” his presence in modern day training material is almost non-existent. How can we understand the needs of educating today’s operatic singer-actor without knowing the very foundation upon which it was built? This paper applies Goldovsky’s method of training to a staging and performance of Act II scene I from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Providing this modern application of his training will demonstrate the relevance of his contributions for educators in a contemporary university setting. My findings suggest that Goldovsky’s approach and philosophy to training the young singer-actor provides practical and valuable knowledge that is still viable for today’s university singer-actor educator.
- The Current Status of Hazard Mitigation in Local Emergency Management: an Examination of Roles, Challenges, and Success Indicators
- This dissertation used an organizational structure framework to examine the current status of hazard mitigation from the perspective of emergency managers from four organizational structure categories. This study addressed three primary research questions: (1) What is the role of the local emergency management office in hazard mitigation and what is the function of other stakeholders as perceived by local emergency managers? (2) What are the challenges to achieving hazard mitigation objectives and what are the strategies used to overcome them? and (3) How do local emergency managers define hazard mitigation success? Thirty North Central Texas emergency managers were recruited for participation in this study, and data was collected through telephone interviews and an internet survey. A mixed methodology was used to triangulate qualitative and quantitative findings. Qualitative analyses consisted of inductive grounded theory, and quantitative data analyses consisted of independent samples t-test analyses, correlation analyses, and Chi-square analyses. Findings indicate that emergency managers from the different emergency management office categories have six self-identified roles in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation; have a similar reported level of involvement in different hazard mitigation-related activities; and perceive stakeholders as having four key functions in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation. Second, participants describe five obstacles that are categorized as internal organizational challenges and two obstacles that are categorized as outside organizational challenges. The Disinterested Stakeholders Challenge is rated as a more significant obstacle by participants from the Non-Fire emergency management office category. Emergency managers describe the use of four strategies for overcoming hazard mitigation challenges, and the ability to master these strategies has implications for achieving hazard mitigation success. Third, emergency managers define a tangible and intangible category of hazard mitigation success, and each category is comprised of distinct indicators. Lastly, the organizational characteristics of emergency management offices had significant relationships with their reported level of involvement in select hazard mitigation activities; the rating assigned to select hazard mitigation challenges; and the rating assigned to select hazard mitigation success measures. For integrated emergency management offices, their parent agency is found to be an asset for achieving hazard mitigation objectives.
- Determinants and Impacts of Pinterest Consumer Experiences
- Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networking sites and is attracting the interest of retailers as an effective way to interact with consumers. The purpose of this study was to examine: 1) determinants and impacts of Pinterest consumer experiences. Specifically, this study examined the impacts of retailer reputation, trust, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness on Pinterest consumer experiences on retailer SNS. 2) To identify the impacts of Pinterest consumer experiences on consumer satisfaction, behavioral intention, and online retailer relationship. The instrument used existing scales drawn from the literature. A consumer panel (n = 300) of Pinterest users that connect to apparel retailers was used to collect data through an online consumer panel. Reputation is positively related to trust and to perceived ease of use. Perceived ease of use and usefulness significantly affected retailer Pinterest consumer experiences. The impact of Pinterest consumer experiences on satisfaction and behavior intention was positive and significant. Satisfaction and behavior intention also are significantly related to online retailer relationship. Results and business implications are discussed, as well are limitations and future research.
- Determining the Reliability and Use of the Center for Community College Student Engagement Survey of Entering Student Engagement As a Tool to Predict Student Success in a Large Urban Community College District
- As community colleges have gained more recognition as a viable pathway for students to enter higher education, they have faced greater accountability that has prompted both practitioners and policy makers to attempt to find solutions and tools, such as National Survey of Student Engagement, Community College Survey of Student Engagement, and Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), to aid in improving student success outcomes. This study addressed the validity and reliability of the SENSE instrument using a three-pronged approach via student data collected over 3 years of SENSE administrations at a large urban community college (n = 4,958). The instrument was first factor analyzed against the SENSE benchmarks for effective educational practice through generalized least squares and principal component exploratory factor analysis. Although the instrument did not deliver a chi-square factored fit for the six benchmark categories, consistent loadings were observed. Second, construct reliability was tested for each benchmark category, and the survey as a whole using Cronbach’s alpha. All categories did not yield sufficient coefficient scores for establishing construct reliability. However, the overall survey produced a Cronbach’s alpha of .85, clearly indicating construct reliability for all items combined. Third, correlations between SENSE perception scores and community college students’ grade point averages, fall to fall retention, semester credit hours, course completion for developmental and college gateway courses, and degree and certificate completion were calculated. Although no strong correlations were observed, the SENSE may be useful to community colleges seeking to increase completion rates.
- Diabetes Status of Mexican Americans: Impact of Country of Birth
- In order to better tailor treatment to specific populations, factors which contribute to health disparities among different racial/ethnic groups must be examined. Among Mexican American individuals, the high rate of diabetes represents a significant contributor to overall health. The present study focuses on factors affecting diabetes status among Mexican Americans born in either Mexico or the United States using the 2007 – 2008 NHANES data set. Comparisons were made between diabetes status based on self-report and clinical classification using HbA1c. Results indicated that within the diabetic subsample, Mexican Americans born in Mexico were twice as likely to be incorrectly classified as non-diabetic, when they actually were diabetic, when using a self-report method. In contrast, nativity did not result in differences in diabetes incidence using the HbA1c clinical cut-score diagnostic classification. Age, BMI, gender, nativity, and health insurance coverage were found to have varying relationships to diabetes prevalence and HbA1c levels, but time in the U.S. for Mexico-born individuals was not found to uniquely predict diabetes incidence. Analyses also demonstrated that Mexico-born males, as compared to the other groups, had significantly higher HbA1c levels. Further research is necessary to better understand the relationships among these factors. However, findings do demonstrate a need for more objective disease classification, particularly when examining immigration status and diabetes. Additionally, the complexity of these interactions establishes a need for specific health intervention for foreign-born populations which might be missed by self-report screening asking about presence of disease and exacerbated by an oversimplification of the “healthy immigrant effect”.
- Direct Immersion Cooling Via Nucleate Boiling of Hfe-7100 Dielectric Liquid on Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Surfaces
- This study experimentally investigated the effect of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces characteristics on nucleate boiling heat transfer performance for the application of direct immersion cooling of electronics. A dielectric liquid, HFE – 7100 was used as the working fluid in the saturated boiling tests. Twelve types of 1-cm2 copper heater samples, simulating high heat flux components, featured reference smooth copper surface, fully and patterned hydrophobic surface and fully and patterned hydrophilic surfaces. Hydrophobic samples were prepared by applying a thin Teflon coating following photolithography techniques, while the hydrophilic TiO2 thin films were made through a two step approach involving layer by layer self assembly and liquid phase deposition processes. Patterned surfaces had circular dots with sizes between 40 – 250 μm. Based on additional data, both hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces improved nucleate boiling performance that is evaluated in terms of boiling incipience, heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux (CHF) level. The best results, considering the smooth copper surface as the reference, were achieved by the surfaces that have a mixture of hydrophobic/hydrophilic coatings, providing: (a) early transition to boiling regime and with eliminated temperature overshoot phenomena at boiling incipience, (b) up to 58.5% higher heat transfer coefficients, and (c) up to 47.4% higher CHF levels. The studied enhanced surfaces therefore demonstrated a practical surface modification method for heat transfer enhancement in immersion cooling applications.
- Effects of a Water Conservation Education Program on Water Use in Single-family Homes in Dallas, Texas
- The City of Dallas Environmental Education Initiative (EEI) is a hands-on, inquiry-based, K-12 water conservation education program that teaches students concepts about water and specific water conservation behaviors. Few descriptions and evaluations, especially quantitative in nature, of water conservation education programs have previously been conducted in the literature. This research measured the quantitative effects and impacts of the education program on water use in single-family homes in Dallas, Texas. A total of 2,122 students in 104 classrooms at three schools in the Dallas Independent School District received hands-on, inquiry-based water conservation education lessons and the average monthly water use (in gallons) in single-family homes was analyzed to measure whether or not there was a change in water use. The results showed that over a period of one calendar year the water use in the single-family homes within each school zone and throughout the entire research area in this study experienced a statistically significant decrease in water use of approximately 501 gallons per home per month (independent, t-test, p>0.001). Data from this research suggests that EEI is playing a role in decreasing the amount of water used for residential purposes. Additionally, this research demonstrates the use of a quantitative tool by which a water conservation education program’s effect on behavior change can be measured. This research shows great promise for reducing use and increasing the conservation of our world’s most precious resource.
- The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism
- The general purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of minimally intrusive prompting procedures and preferred stimuli on protodeclarative joint attention initiations in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two boys and one girl diagnosed with ASD participated. The experimenter provided attention and social interaction following protodeclarative initiations throughout all phases of the study. During intervention, a model prompt was delivered every 30 s if the participant failed to initiate a bid for joint attention. Results for the first participant show that a model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across stimulus sets. Generalization was seen across sets, but not across environments. Subsequently, the model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across sets in a second setting (classroom). Results for the second participant are inconclusive. Data collected during the initial baseline condition show that she engaged in an incompatible verbal response across sets. When pictorial stimuli depicting highinterest items and activities were introduced, the rate of protodeclarative initiations increased over time. We then returned to original baseline condition and saw an initial decrease, followed by a steady increase in the rate of protodeclarative initiations. The third participant withdrew prematurely due to medical reasons. The findings of the current study show that minimally intrusive prompts and natural consequences may be sufficient to establish protodeclarative initiations in children. However, this finding may be limited to only those children for whom social interactions already function as reinforcers.
- Effects of Non-homogenous Population Distribution on Smoothed Maps Produced Using Kernel Density Estimation Methods
- Understanding spatial perspectives on the spread and incidence of a disease is invaluable for public health planning and intervention. Choropleth maps are commonly used to provide an abstraction of disease risk across geographic space. These maps are derived from aggregated population counts that are known to be affected by the small numbers problem. Kernel density estimation methods account for this problem by producing risk estimates that are based on aggregations of approximately equal population sizes. However, the process of aggregation often combines data from areas with non-uniform spatial and population characteristics. This thesis presents a new method to aggregate space in ways that are sensitive to their underlying risk factors. Such maps will enable better public health practice and intervention by enhancing our ability to understand the spatial processes that result in disparate health outcomes.
- Effects of Sertraline Exposure on Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas) Steroidogenesis
- Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is widely used for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Due to the abundant therapeutic use of sertraline, low levels have been detected in municipal wastewater effluents suggesting that aquatic organisms may be exposed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the steroidogenic effects of sertraline on larval (FHM) and adult female fathead minnows (FFHM), Pimephales promelas. Larval FHM were exposed to 0.1, 1, and 10 µg/L sertraline for 28 days and analyzed via RT-qPCR for differential expression of 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD), 20β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20β-HSD), aromatase (CYP19), and nuclear thyroid receptor alpha (TRα). FFHM were exposed to 3 or 10 µg/L sertraline for 7 days with the brain and ovary excised at exposure termination. Juvenile FHM exposed to 0.1 μg/L sertraline had a significant upregulation of both 20β-HSD and TRα. FFHM exposed to 10 µg/L sertraline had a significant upregulation of 11β-HSD expression in brain tissue, while no steroidogenic changes were observed in the FFHM ovary. Similarly, in FFHM brain tissue, CYP19 and 20β-HSD expression levels were significantly higher in fish exposed to 10µg/L sertraline compared to control. The significance of these findings with respect to survival, growth and reproduction are currently unknown, but represent future research needs.
- Electoral Rules, Political Parties, and Peace Duration in Post-conflict States
- This dissertation examines the following research question: Which types of electoral rules chosen in post-conflict states best promote peace? And are those effects conditional upon other factors? I argue that the effects are conditional upon the types of political parties that exist in the post-conflict environment. Although this explanation is contrary to scholars that speak of political parties as products of the electoral system, political parties often predate the choice of electoral system. Especially in post-conflict states, political parties play an important role in the negotiation process and hence in the design of the electoral rules. I argue that the effects of electoral rules on peace duration are mitigated by the degree to which a party system is broad (nonexclusive) or narrow (exclusive). I develop a theoretical model that led to three hypotheses focusing on the independent role that political parties play in mitigating the effects of electoral rules on peace duration. To test these hypotheses, I use the Cox proportional hazard model on 57 post-conflict states from 1990 to 2009 and had competitive elections. The empirical results show support for the main argument of this study. First, the findings show that electoral rules alone do not increase or decrease the risk of civil war outbreak, yet when interacting with the degree to which political parties are broad or narrow, there is a significant effect on the outbreak of civil war. Second, the results show that post-conflict states with party centered electoral systems (closed list PR system) are less likely to have an outbreak of civil war when more seats in the parliament are controlled by broad-based parties. In addition, I conduct a comparative case study analysis of two post-conflict states, Angola (1975-1992) and Mozambique (1975-1994), using the most similar systems (MSS) research design.
- Electrical Conduction Mechanisms in the Disordered Material System P-type Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon
- The electrical and optical properties of boron doped hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin films (a-Si) were investigated to determine the effect of boron and hydrogen incorporation on carrier transport. The a-Si thin films were grown by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) at various boron concentrations, hydrogen dilutions, and at differing growth temperatures. The temperature dependent conductivity generally follows the hopping conduction model. Above a critical temperature, the dominant conduction mechanism is Mott variable range hopping conductivity (M-VRH), where p = ¼, and the carrier hopping depends on energy. However, at lower temperatures, the coulomb interaction between charge carriers becomes important and Efros-Shklosvkii variable hopping (ES-VRH) conduction, where p=1/2, must be included to describe the total conductivity. To correlate changes in electrical conductivity to changes in the local crystalline order, the transverse optical (TO) and transverse acoustic (TA) modes of the Raman spectra were studied to relate changes in short- and mid-range order to the effects of growth temperature, boron, and hydrogen incorporation. With an increase of hydrogen and/or growth temperature, both short and mid-range order improve, whereas the addition of boron results in the degradation of short range order. It is seen that there is a direct correlation between the electrical conductivity and changes in the short and mid-range order resulting from the passivation of defects by hydrogen and the creation of trap states by boron. This work was done under the ARO grant W911NF-10-1-0410, William W. Clark Program Manager. The samples were provided by L-3 Communications.
- Electromagnetic Shielding Properties of Iron Oxide Impregnated Kenaf Bast Fiberboard
- The electromagnetic shielding effectiveness of kenaf bast fiber based composites with different iron oxide impregnation levels was investigated. The kenaf fibers were retted to remove the lignin and extractives from the pores in fibers, and then magnetized. Using the unsaturated polyester and the magnetized fibers, kenaf fiber based composites were manufactured by compression molding process. The transmission energies of the composites were characterized when the composite samples were exposed under the irradiation of electromagnetic (EM) wave with a changing frequency from 9 GHz to 11 GHz. Using the scanning electron microscope (SEM), the iron oxide nanoparticles were observed on the surfaces and inside the micropore structures of single fibers. The SEM images revealed that the composite’s EM shielding effectiveness was increased due to the adhesion of the iron oxide crystals to the kenaf fiber surfaces. As the Fe content increased from 0% to 6.8%, 15.9% and 18.0%, the total surface free energy of kenaf fibers with magnetizing treat increased from 44.77 mJ/m2 to 46.07 mJ/m2, 48.78 mJ/m2 and 53.02 mJ/m2, respectively, while the modulus of elasticity (MOE) reduced from 2,875 MPa to 2,729 MPa, 2,487 MPa and 2,007 MPa, respectively. Meanwhile, the shielding effectiveness was increased from 30-50% to 60-70%, 65-75% and 70-80%, respectively.
- Environmental Imagination: the Constitution and Projection of a Sustainable Ethos
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This dissertation provides a theoretical analysis and examination of the role of imagination in the formation of an environmental ethos. The majority of ethical theories in environmental thought largely neglect the role that imagination plays in both the relationships that humans form with their environment, and the subsequent role that imagination plays in constituting the way that those relationships are understood ethically. To explore the role of imagination in constituting and subsequently projecting such an ethical way of being, this dissertation selectively analyzes the history of imagination in philosophy, cognitive science, and environmental thought. In addition, this dissertation also explores the role that images play in forming collective responses to environmental disasters, and the further role that imagination plays in overcoming the moral motivation gap.
- Ethnic Differences in Caregiving Style
- This study explored the caregiving styles of 306 grandparents raising grandchild across three ethnic groups (164 European Americans, 65 Latinos, and 77 African Americans). Significant differences were found in caregiving styles between European Americans and African Americans. Caregiver appraisal (burden, satisfaction, and Mastery) was found to be predictive of caregiving style across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Caregiver style was predictive of grandchild functioning across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Lastly, caregiver style was found to be predictive of grandparent well-being across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Implications are discussed in terms of the complex, multidimensional and culturally embedded nature of the caregiving experience and the importance of considering culture for optimal outcomes.
- Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations
- Research on ethnicity and conflict treats the concept of ethnicity as defining the actors in these conflicts, whereas research on the construction and maintenance of ethnic identity explores why ethnicity unifies individuals into a single social group. What happens when this unifying concept is divided between two enemy countries? How does this situation influence peace settlements over territorial issues, armed conflict, and economic relations between these countries? To answer these questions, I create a continuous measure of ethnic similarity between rivals. I find that ethnic similarity can facilitate cooperation and exacerbate conflictual interactions between rivals, but governments will seek to limit interactions with their rival when the cross border ethnic groups are minorities. In addition, I create categorical predictors of ethnic similarity, which reveal nuances in these relationships. Specifically, rivalries sharing a pan-ethnic identity are more likely to engage in conflict regardless of actual ethnic similarity, and dyads with a majority in one country sharing ethnicity with a minority in another country are less likely to fight once in a state of rivalry. This is because a quid pro quo exists between these rivals where one rival can reduce oppression of the minority in exchange for the other rival not supporting secessions by their co-ethnics. These pairs of rivals also are more likely to attempt peace settlements. Contested nations, which are rivalry-dyads with similar ethnic majorities, are both the most likely of the ethnically similar rival categories to engage in militarized interstate disputes, but also engage in larger amounts of interstate trade.
- Evaluating the Feasibility of Accelerometers in Hand Gestures Recognition
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Gesture recognition plays an important role in human computer Interaction for intelligent computing. Major applications like Gaming, Robotics and Automated Homes uses gesture recognition techniques which diminishes the usage of mechanical devices. The main goal of my thesis is to interpret SWAT team gestures using different types of sensors. Accelerometer and flex sensors were explored extensively to build a prototype for soldiers to communicate in the absence of line of sight. Arm movements were recognized by flex sensors and motion gestures by Accelerometers. Accelerometers are used to measure acceleration in respect to movement of the sensor in 3D. Flex sensors changes its resistance based on the amount of bend in the sensor. SVM is the classification algorithm used for classification of the samples. LIBSVM (Library for Support Vector Machines) is integrated software for support vector classification, regression and distribution estimation which supports multi class classification. Sensors data is connected to the WI micro dig to digitize the signal and to transmit it wirelessly to the computing device. Feature extraction and Signal windowing were the two major factors which contribute for the accuracy of the system. Mean Average value and Standard Deviation are the two features considered for accelerometer sensor data classification and Standard deviation is used for the flex sensor analysis for optimum results. Filtering of the signal is done by identifying the different states of signals which are continuously sampled.
- Evaluation of Ethanol’s Effects on the Biophysical Characteristics of Licking
- Alcohol use disorders are a public health issue related to adverse effects for individuals and society. A low level of response, or decreased sensitivity, to alcohol has been identified as a heritable risk factor for development of alcohol use disorders. One method for researching level of response to alcohol is through the use of rodent models, which are developed to mimic human conditions while eliminating barriers to conducting research with people. Current rodent models used to evaluate effects of ethanol on motor performance have been criticized for not being well matched to human tasks that measure level of change in body sway after alcohol consumption. This study looks at oromotor behavior as a potential alternative to gross motor performance in hopes of increasing correspondence between human and rodent measures of intoxication. To evaluate rodent oromotor performance a force transducer lickometer is used to measure several dimensions of licking behavior after administration of different concentrations of ethanol solution via gavage. Results show that force of licking is not sensitive to dose of ethanol. The total number of licks per session show dose related decreases and licking rhythm, evaluated by the length and distribution of interlick intervals, either increased or decreased for three of the four subjects. Recommendations are made for procedural modifications in order to reduce variability in data and further investigate oromotor performance and level of response to alcohol.
- An Evaluation of Negative Reinforcement During Error Correction Procedures
- This study evaluated the effects of error correction procedures on sight word acquisition. Participants were four typically developing children in kindergarten and first grade. We used an adapted alternating treatment design embedded within a multiple baseline design to evaluate instructional efficacy of two error correction procedures; one with preferred items plus error correction and one with error correction only, and a concurrent chain schedule to evaluate participant preference for instructional procedure. The results show that there was no difference in acquisition rates between the procedures. The evaluation also showed children prefer procedures that include a positive reinforcement component.
- The Evaluation of Task Preference on Reinforcer Efficacy
- Stimulus preference assessments have determined high and low preferred items that increase the rate of frequency of responding for various skills. Within applied settings, high preferred items may not attain the same reinforcing value across tasks which might decrease responding. The preference of the task might have an effect on reinforcer efficacy that is being presented. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate changes in reinforcer efficacy as a function of preference for the task. Three children diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. HP/LP items and HP/LP tasks were identified through paired-choice assessments, and each item was presented as a consequence for each task in a counterbalanced multi-element format. Results indicated that preference for the task had little effect of the rate of responding across items.
- Evaluation Practices of Community College Faculty Development Programs
- The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the current state of community college faculty development program evaluation and identify possible influences on evaluation practices. Data from 184 survey responses and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) were analyzed to answer three research questions. Multiple regression was used to determine if a relationship existed between the dependent/outcome variable (evaluation utilization score) and the independent/predictor variable (accrediting agency affiliation: MSCHE, NEASC, NCA, NWCCU, SACS, and WASC) and/or control variables (institution locale, student FTE, expenses per student FTE, percent spent on instruction, and percent of full-time faculty). Results were not statistically significant, F (12, 163) = 1.176, p = .305. The mean evaluation scores were similar for all six accrediting agencies ranging from 60-69. The rural variable was statistically significant with p = .003 and alpha = .05, but it only accounted for 3.6% of the variance explained. Logistic regression was used to determine if a relationship existed between the dependent/outcome variable (use of evaluation) and the above-specified independent/predictor variable and/or control variables for six faculty development program activities. Results revealed that significant predictor variables for the use of evaluation vary based on the faculty development program activity. Statistically significant predictors were identified for two of the six activities. The percent spent on instruction variable was statistically significant for financial support for attending professional conferences (p = .02; alpha = .05). The NCA affiliation and student FTE variables were statistically significant for orientation for new faculty (p = .007; alpha = .05 and p = .027; alpha = .05 respectively). The analysis of the evaluation methods was conducted using descriptive statistics and frequencies. The most frequently used evaluation methods were questionnaire and verbal feedback. NCA was identified as having the greatest number of institutions using the most frequently used evaluation methods for four of the activities. SACS was identified as having the largest number of institutions using the greatest number of evaluation methods for five of the activities. It was discovered that accrediting agencies with policies regarding faculty development program evaluation practices were not more likely to have higher evaluation utilization scores or utilize evaluation methods more frequently than accrediting agencies without such policies. The study revealed that among community college faculty development programs evaluation practice similarities were more prevalent than differences regardless of accrediting agency affiliation. As a result of this discovery, future research should extend beyond the accrediting agency affiliation emphasis and explore additional influences on institutional decision making processes regarding community college faculty development program evaluation practices.
- Evidence for Multiple Functions of a Medicago Truncatula Transporter
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Legumes play an important role in agriculture as major food sources for humans and as feed for animals. Bioavailable nitrogen is a limiting nutrient for crop growth. Legumes are important because they can form a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria called rhizobia that results in nitrogen-fixing root nodules. In this symbiosis, rhizobia provide nitrogen to the legumes and the legumes provide carbon sources to the rhizobia. The Medicago truncatula NPF1.7/NIP/LATD gene is essential for root nodule development and also for proper development of root architecture. Work in our lab on the MtNPF1.7/MtNIP/LATD gene has established that it encodes a nitrate transporter and strongly suggests it has another function. Mtnip-1/latd mutants have pleiotropic defects, which are only partially explained by defects in nitrate transport. MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD is a member of the large and diverse NPF/NRT1(PTR) transporter family. NPF/NRT1(PTR) members have been shown to transport other compounds in addition to nitrate: nitrite, amino acids, di- and tri-peptides, dicarboxylates, auxin, abscisic acid and glucosinolates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the AtNPF6.3/NRT1.1( CHL1) transporter was shown to transport auxin as well as nitrate. Atchl1 mutants have defects in root architecture, which may be explained by defects in auxin transport and/or nitrate sensing. Considering the pleiotropic phenotypes observed in Mtnip-1/latd mutant plants, it is possible that MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD could have similar activity as AtNPF6.3/NRT1.1(CHL1). Experimental evidence shows that the MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD gene is able to restore nitrate-absent responsiveness defects of the Atchl1-5 mutant. The constitutive expression of MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD gene was able to partially, but not fully restore the wild-type phenotype in the Atchl1-5 mutant line in response to auxin and cytokinin. The constitutive expression of MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD gene affects the lateral root density of wild-type Col-0 plants differently in response to IAA in the presence of high (1mM) or low (0.1 mM) nitrate. MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD gene expression is not regulated by nitrate at the concentrations tested and MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD does not regulate the nitrate-responsive MtNRT2.1 gene. Mtnip-1 plants have an abnormal gravitropic root response implicating an auxin defect. Together with these results, MtNPF1.7/NIP/LATD is associated with nitrate and auxin; however, it does not act in a homologous fashion as AtNPF6.3/NRT1.1(CHL1) does in A. thaliana.
- Exotic Femininity: Prostitution Reviews and the Sexual Stereotyping of Asian Women
- Studies on prostitution have typically focused on the experiences, problems, and histories of prostitutes, rather than examining men who seek to purchase sex. Race has also been overlooked as a central factor in shaping the sex industry and the motivations of men who seek to purchase sex. This study utilizes online reviews of prostitutes to examine the way men who purchase sex discuss Asian prostitutes in comparison to White prostitutes. This paper traces the history of colonialism and ideas of the exotic Orient to modern stereotypes of Asian women. These stereotypes are then used to frame a quantitative and qualitative analysis of online reviews of prostitutes and compare the ways in which Asian prostitutes and white prostitutes are discussed. Further, the reviews are used to examine more broadly what services, traits, and behaviors are considered desirable by men who use prostitutes. The study finds that there are significant quantitative and qualitative differences in how men discuss Asian and White prostitutes within their reviews, and that these differences appear to be shaped by racially fetishizing stereotypes of Asian women. Prostitution also appears to reinforce male dominance and patriarchy in the form of masculine control and the feminine servicing of male sexual and emotional needs.
- Exploration of Visual, Acoustic, and Physiological Modalities to Complement Linguistic Representations for Sentiment Analysis
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This research is concerned with the identification of sentiment in multimodal content. This is of particular interest given the increasing presence of subjective multimodal content on the web and other sources, which contains a rich and vast source of people's opinions, feelings, and experiences. Despite the need for tools that can identify opinions in the presence of diverse modalities, most of current methods for sentiment analysis are designed for textual data only, and few attempts have been made to address this problem. The dissertation investigates techniques for augmenting linguistic representations with acoustic, visual, and physiological features. The potential benefits of using these modalities include linguistic disambiguation, visual grounding, and the integration of information about people's internal states. The main goal of this work is to build computational resources and tools that allow sentiment analysis to be applied to multimodal data. This thesis makes three important contributions. First, it shows that modalities such as audio, video, and physiological data can be successfully used to improve existing linguistic representations for sentiment analysis. We present a method that integrates linguistic features with features extracted from these modalities. Features are derived from verbal statements, audiovisual recordings, thermal recordings, and physiological sensors signals. The resulting multimodal sentiment analysis system is shown to significantly outperform the use of language alone. Using this system, we were able to predict the sentiment expressed in video reviews and also the sentiment experienced by viewers while exposed to emotionally loaded content. Second, the thesis provides evidence of the portability of the developed strategies to other affect recognition problems. We provided support for this by studying the deception detection problem. Third, this thesis contributes several multimodal datasets that will enable further research in sentiment and deception detection.
- Exploring Factors That Lead to Perceived Instructional Immediacy in Online Learning Environments
- Instructional communication research clearly indicates that instructor immediacy contributes significantly to effective instruction. However, the majority of immediacy studies have been conducted in traditional (face-to-face) classroom environments. More recently, instructional communication research has focused on assessing the impact of immediacy in online classroom environments. Again, immediacy appears to significantly contribute to effective instruction. The challenge is that most recent immediacy studies use immediacy measurements developed to test immediacy behaviors in face-to-face settings. Considering the lack of nonverbal communication and limited or absent synchronous or verbal communication in online instructional settings, the behaviors contributing most significantly to perceived immediacy, researchers need to reassess the immediacy construct in online environments. The present research explores and identifies behaviors reported by instructors to establish psychological closeness (i.e., immediacy) in online learning environments and assesses to what extent these behaviors are similar to or different from face-to-face immediacy-producing behaviors.
- Exploring Naming Behavior in Personal Digital Image Collections: the Iconology and Language Games of Pinterest
- As non-institutional digital image collections expand into social media, independent non-professional image curators are emerging, actively constructing alternative naming conventions to suit their needs in a social collecting environment. This project considers how independent user-curators are developing particular sense-making behaviors as they actively contribute names to large, unstructured social image collections. In order to capture and explore this evolving language adaptation, Pinterest names are analyzed using a matrix composed of Panofsky’s three strata of subject matter, Rosch’s levels of categorical abstraction, Shatford Layne’s image attributes and Wittgenstein’s language game constructions. Analyzing Pinterest image names illuminates previously unnoticed behaviors by independent user-curators as they create shared collections. Exploring the various language choices which user-curators select as they apply this new curating vocabulary helps identify underlying user needs not apparent in traditionally curated collections restricted to traditional naming conventions.
- Factors Impacting the Accuracy of Self-report Perceptions of Expertise in Technology Integration
- The focus of this study is to determine how closely self-report perceptions of technology integration skills align with the observations of an external evaluator. Participants were elementary and secondary teachers in a north Texas school district. The district is in the process of implementing a one-to-one initiative using a major vendor’s tablet devices. The study utilized both quantitative survey methodology, and a qualitative observational tool to record learning activities in the K-12 classroom. For the quantitative phase, three validated single-item self-report instruments were administered to the teachers via an online survey; the instruments utilized were the Concerns-Based Adoption Model—Levels of Use (CBAM-LoU); Stages of Adoption of Technology; and the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT). In the qualitative portion of the study, classroom teachers involved in the one-to-one innovation were observed and rated by the Technology Integration Matrix, an instrument specifically designed to observe technology integration skills and practices in K-12 instructional settings. Kendall’s tau correlations between the various self-report instruments and the external observer rating are: CBAM, r = .51 (p is not significant); Stages, r = .58 (p < .05); ACOT, r = .82 (p < .01). Additionally, regression models were run using all three self-reports as predictors of the observation score, and using only the ACOT as a predictor. The regression model for the three-predictor model is TIM = .68; Stages - .82; CBAM + 1.61; ACOT - 1.23 (R2 = .94, p < .05), while the model for the ACOT-only predictor is TIM = 1.1; ACOT - 1.1 (R2 = .80, p < .01). These results demonstrate a strong correlation between the ratings reported by the teachers and the ratings given by the external observer, indicating that these self-report measures show a strong propensity for indicating actual technology skills.
- Faculty Attitudes Towards Institutional Repositories
- The purpose of the study was to explore faculty attitudes towards institutional repositories in order to better understand their research habits and preferences. A better understanding of faculty needs and attitudes will enable academic libraries to improve institutional repository services and policies. A phenomenological approach was used to interview fourteen participants and conduct eight observations to determine how tenure-track faculty want to disseminate their research as well as their attitudes towards sharing research data. Interviews were transcribed and coded into emerging themes. Participants reported that they want their research to be read, used, and to have an impact. While almost all faculty see institutional repositories as something that would be useful for increasing the impact and accessibility of their research, they would consider publishers’ rights before depositing work in a repository. Researchers with quantitative data, and researchers in the humanities are more likely to share data than with qualitative or mixed data, which is more open to interpretation and inference. Senior faculty members are more likely than junior faculty members to be concerned about the context of their research data. Junior faculty members’ perception’ of requirements for tenure will inhibit their inclination to publish in open access journals, or share data. The study used a novel approach to provide an understanding of faculty attitudes and the structural functionalism of scholarly communication.
- Glass Forming Ability, Magnetic Properties, and Mechanical Behavior of Iron-Based and Cobalt-Based Metallic Glasses
- Lack of crystalline order and microstructural features such as grain/grain-boundary in metallic glasses results in a suite of remarkable attributes including very high strength, close to theoretical elasticity, high corrosion and wear resistance, and soft magnetic properties. In particular, low coercivity and high permeability of iron and cobalt based metallic glass compositions could potentially lead to extensive commercial use as magnetic heads, transformer cores, circuits and magnetic shields. In the current study, few metallic glass compositions were synthesized by systematically varying the iron and cobalt content. Thermal analysis was done and included the measurement of glass transition temperature, crystallization temperature, and the enthalpies of relaxation and crystallization. Magnetic properties of the alloys were determined including saturation magnetization, coercivity, and Curie temperature. The coercivity was found to decrease and the saturation magnetization was found to increase with the increase in iron content. The trend in thermal stability, thermodynamic properties, and magnetic properties was explained by atomic interactions between the ferromagnetic metals and the metalloids atoms in the amorphous alloys. Mechanical behavior of iron based metallic glasses was evaluated in bulk form as well as in the form of coatings. Iron based amorphous powder was subjected to high power mechanical milling and the structural changes were evaluated as a function of time. Using iron-based amorphous powder precursor, a uniform composite coating was achieved through microwave processing. The hardness, modulus, and wear behavior of the alloys were evaluated using nano-indentation.