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Expertise Revisited: Reflecting on the Intersection of Science and Democracy in the Case of Fracking

Expertise Revisited: Reflecting on the Intersection of Science and Democracy in the Case of Fracking

Date: December 2015
Creator: Ahmadi, Mahdi
Description: This dissertation aims to explain the conditions under which expertise can undermine democratic decision making. I argue that the root of the conflict between expertise and democracy lies in what I call insufficiently “representative” expertise – that is forms of scientific research that are not relevant to the policy questions at hand and that fail to make visible their hidden values dimensions. I claim that the scholarly literature on the problem of expertise fails to recognize and address the issue correctly, because it does not open the black box of scientific methodologies. I maintain that only by making sense of the methodological choices of experts in the context of policy making can we determine the relevance of research and reveal the hidden socio-political values and consequences. Using the case of natural gas fracking, I demonstrate how expert contributions – even though epistemically sound – can muddle democratic policy processes. I present four case studies from controversies about fracking to show how to contextualize scientific methodologies in the pertinent political process. I argue that the common problem across all case studies is the failure of expertise to sufficiently represent stakeholders’ problems and concerns. In this context, “representation” has three criteria: (1) ...
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High School Contemporary a Cappella: a Descriptive Phenomenology

High School Contemporary a Cappella: a Descriptive Phenomenology

Date: December 2015
Creator: Burlin Sr., Thomas B.
Description: This study examines the phenomenon of contemporary a cappella music making found in high school settings as curricular and extra-curricular offerings. Past music and music education literature has focused exclusively on contemporary a cappella at the collegiate level. Through application of a descriptive phenomenological method and incorporation an educational-sociological lens, this study advances an understanding of the educational benefit and social value of membership in contemporary a cappella at the high school level. Six recent members from three regions of the United States provided data through individual open-form interviews in which questions were derived from the participants’ own speech. I incorporated phenomenological reductions and processes to negate researcher bias during data collection, analysis, and the formation of a general structure and constituent meanings of membership in high school contemporary a cappella. Participants utilized traditional music skills, individual talents, conceptions of popular culture and music, and in-group socialization to facilitate music making and reify membership. Expressing the value of group membership, individuals acted to benefit the group by cultivating social bonds, developing and fostering personal/shared connections to songs, identifying and purposing individual talents and skills, and gaining an understanding of each members’ unique contribution to membership. Discussion includes implications for music ...
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Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Aqueous Polymeric Hybrid Composites and Nanomaterials of Platinum(ii) and Gold(i) Phosphorescent Complexes for Sensing and Biomedical Applications

Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Aqueous Polymeric Hybrid Composites and Nanomaterials of Platinum(ii) and Gold(i) Phosphorescent Complexes for Sensing and Biomedical Applications

Date: December 2015
Creator: Upadhyay, Prabhat K.
Description: The two major topics studied in this dissertation are the gold(I) pyrazolate trimer {[Au(3-R,5-R’)Pz]3} complexes in aqueous chitosan polymer and phosphorescent polymeric nanoparticles based on platinum(II) based complex. The first topic is the synthesis, characterization and optical sensing application of gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complexes within aqueous chitosan polymer. A gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complex, {[Au(3-CH3,5-COOH)Pz]3}, shows high sensitivity and selectivity for silver ions in aqueous media, is discussed for optical sensing and solution-processed organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) applications. Gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complexes are bright red emissive in polymeric solution and their emission color changes with respect to heavy metal ions, pH and dissolved carbon dioxide. These photophysical properties are very useful for designing the optical sensors. The phosphorescent polymeric nanoparticles are prepared with Pt-POP complex and polyacrylonitrile polymer. These particles show excellent photophysical properties and stable up to >3 years at room temperature. Such nanomaterials have potential applications in biomedical and polymeric OLEDs. The phosphorescent hybrid composites are also prepared with Pt-POP and biocompatible polymers, such as chitosan, poly-l-lysine, BSA, pnipam, and pdadmac. Photoluminescent enhancement of Pt-POP with such polymers is also involved in this study. These hybrid composites are promising materials for biomedical applications such as protein labeling and ...
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Mineola

Mineola

Date: December 2015
Creator: Cater, Lauren
Description: Mineola is a poetic, observational, immersive documentary centered in the town of Mineola, Texas. The film provides an intimate, first person perspective of different locations in the town as well as underlying subversive beliefs and traditions. The film’s authoritative perspective guides the viewer not only in a direction of observation but personal connection to nostalgia of small communities.
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Longitudinal Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Weight Control Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Longitudinal Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Weight Control Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Date: December 2015
Creator: Thompson, Alexandra J.
Description: Female collegiate athletes have been established as a high-risk group for the development of eating disorders due to the high prevalence rates of clinical and subclinical eating disorders, which have ranged from 1.9% to 16.6% and 4.0% to 26.1%, respectively. Collegiate athletes appear to meet criteria for ED-NOS more often than anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and frequently engage in pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g., dieting, excessive exercise). To date, only a few studies have examined the long-term stability of eating disorders in collegiate female athletes. The current study investigated the prevalence of eating disorders (i.e., eating disordered, symptomatic, and asymptomatic) and pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g, binging, vomiting, laxative use) in 325 NCAA-DI female collegiate gymnasts and swimmers/divers across two time points – the beginning of their competitive seasons (Time 1) and during the final two weeks of their competitive seasons (Time 2). By Time 2, 90% of the athletes classified as eating disordered at Time 1 (n = 20) maintained clinical or subclinical eating disturbances. Of the 83 athletes originally symptomatic, 37.3% remained so and 10.8% became eating disordered. Significantly more athletes became satisfied with their bodies over the course of the season than became dissatisfied. The athletes reported ...
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Effects of Child Development Associate Credential System 20 on Candidate Success Rates

Effects of Child Development Associate Credential System 20 on Candidate Success Rates

Date: December 2015
Creator: Davis, Travis J.
Description: The purpose of this research was to identify the impact of process changes that have been made to the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is a beginning early childhood teacher credential that focuses on competency based standards widely seen as necessary for early childhood teachers to possess. The process in which early childhood teachers receive their credential changed in 2013 with the implementation of CDA credential 2.0. Changes included taking a computerized exam and the implementation of a professional development specialist conducting an on-site classroom observation. In order to determine the impact that CDA 2.0 had on teacher credentialing success rates, a mixed-method sequential design was employed. First, existing data sets of success rates from a national scholarship program were reviewed. Following, interviews with CDA credential seekers were conducted. Findings revealed that while candidate success rates increased for those receiving CDA credentials under the 2.0 system, the actual number of candidates receiving scholarships to pursue the CDA credential through the national scholarship program decreased. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews indicated that three areas that impacted CDA 2.0 candidate success rates were the professional education programs and instructors, the CDA Exam, and Professional Development Specialists. This is the first ...
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The Role of Crystallographic Texture in Achieving Low Friction Zinc Oxide Nanolaminate Films

The Role of Crystallographic Texture in Achieving Low Friction Zinc Oxide Nanolaminate Films

Date: December 2015
Creator: Mojekwu, Nneoma
Description: Metal oxide nanolaminate films are potential high temperature solid lubricants due to their ability to exhibit significant plasticity when grain size is reduced to the nanometer scale, and defective growth structure is achieved by condensation of oxygen vacancies to form intrinsic stacking faults. This is in contrast to conventional microcrystalline and single crystal oxides that exhibit brittle fracture during loading in a sliding contact. This study emphasizes the additional effect of growth orientation, in particular crystallographic texture, on determining the sliding friction behavior in nanocolumnar grain zinc oxide films grown by atomic layer deposition. It was determined that zinc oxide low (0002) versus higher (101 ̅3) surface energy crystallographic planes influenced the sliding friction coefficient. Texturing of the (0002) grains resulted in a decreased adhesive component of friction thereby lowering the sliding friction coefficient to ~0.25, while the friction coefficient doubled to ~0.5 with increasing contribution of surface (101 ̅3) grains. In addition, the variation of the x-ray grazing incident angle from 0.5° to 5° was studied to better understand the surface grain orientation as a function of ZnO layer thickness in one versus four bilayer nanolaminates where the under layer (seed layer) was load-bearing Zn(Ti,Zr)O3.
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Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Eldridge D.
Description: The problem that guided this study was a socio-constructivist view of education via online learning. Based in the extant literature, a deficiency existed that directly correlated online learning closing the academic achievement gap between student populations. In other words, schools invested in technology; however, few empirical data sets existed that established a connection between technology integration and the academic achievement of different student groups. The purpose of this pooled regression analysis study was to determine whether the method of class instruction effected academic achievement gaps between three subpopulations based on gender, race, and SES. Specifically, this study examined whether gender, race, and SES could predict semester grades within and across traditional, blended, and online course instructional methods. The dependent variable for this study was student success in the form of an end-of-unit test grade designed to evaluate student understanding of the curriculum. The independent variables included student gender, ethnicity, and SES. Quantitative data were collected through an analysis of Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and student end-of-unit exam grades. The research suggests one combined interaction, [gender x race] in the traditional learning environment, is statistically significant while several independent interactions are significant. Those independent interactions are TAKS scores, ...
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Fundamental Studies of Copper Corrosion in Interconnect Fabrication Process and Spectroscopic Investigation of Low-k Structures

Fundamental Studies of Copper Corrosion in Interconnect Fabrication Process and Spectroscopic Investigation of Low-k Structures

Date: December 2015
Creator: Goswami, Arindom
Description: In the first part of this dissertation, copper bimetallic corrosion and its inhibition in cleaning processes involved in interconnect fabrication is explored. In microelectronics fabrication, post chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) cleaning is required to remove organic contaminants and particles left on copper interconnects after the CMP process. Use of cleaning solutions, however, causes serious reliability issues due to corrosion and recession of the interconnects. In this study, different azole compounds are explored and pyrazole is found out to be a potentially superior Cu corrosion inhibitor, compared to the most widely used benzotriazole (BTA), for tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide (TMAH)-based post CMP cleaning solutions at pH 14. Micropattern corrosion screening results and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) revealed that 1 mM Pyrazole in 8 wt% TMAH solution inhibits Cu corrosion more effectively than 10 mM benzotriazole (BTA) under same conditions. Moreover, water contact angle measurement results also showed that Pyrazole-treated Cu surfaces are relatively hydrophilic compared to those treated with BTA/TMAH. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis supports Cu-Pyrazole complex formation on the Cu surface. Overall Cu corrosion rate in TMAH-based highly alkaline post CMP cleaning solution is shown to be considerably reduced to less than 1Å/min by addition of 1 mM Pyrazole. In ...
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The Impact of Computational Methods on Transition Metal-containing Species

The Impact of Computational Methods on Transition Metal-containing Species

Date: December 2015
Creator: Wang, Jiaqi
Description: Quantum chemistry methodologies can be used to address a wide variety of chemical problems. Key to the success of quantum chemistry methodologies, however, is the selection of suitable methodologies for specific problems of interest, which often requires significant assessment. To gauge a number of methodologies, the utility of density functionals (BLYP, B97D, TPSS, M06L, PBE0, B3LYP, M06, and TPSSh) in predicting reaction energetics was examined for model studies of C-O bond activation of methoxyethane and methanol. These species provide excellent representative examples of lignin degradation via C-O bond cleavage. PBE0, which performed better than other considered DFT functionals, was used to investigate late 3d (Fe, Co, and Ni), 4d (Ru, Rh, and Pd), and 5d (Re, Os, and Ir) transition metal atom mediated Cβ -O bond activation of the β–O–4 linkage of lignin. Additionally, the impact of the choice of DFT functionals, basis sets, implicit solvation models, and layered quantum chemical methods (i.e., ONIOM, Our Own N-layered Integrated molecular Orbital and molecular Mechanics) was investigated for the prediction of pKa for a set of Ni-group metal hydrides (M = Ni, Pd, and Pt) in acetonitrile. These investigations have provided insight about the utility of a number of theoretical methods in ...
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