UNT Theses and Dissertations - 9,678 Matching Results

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Academic Stress in Student-Athletes
Academic stress and the causes of such stress are subjects that are found in very few studies concerning student-athletes. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study is to determine how the following variables relate to academic stress and perceived stress either through correlations or differences--demographics, academic classification, major or field of study, athletic scholarship status, and season of sport (in- season/ out of season). An online questionnaire containing a Perceived Stress Scale and a Perception of Academic Stress scale were distributed to 151 student-athlete participants at a university in the southwest United States. The results indicated that biological sex has a significant relationship to perceived stress. No other variables were found significant to perceived stress or academic stress.
Adrenergic and Cholinergic Regulation of Cardiovascular Function in Embryonic Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax basilianus)
Investigations of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on heart rate (fH) and mean arterial pressure (Pm) during embryonic development have been conducted on numerous avian species. While these investigations have documented that adrenergic tone, a continuous stimulation, on fH and Pm is vital to embryonic development in the birds studied to date, development of cholinergic tone on fH has been shown to vary even within species. Further, past studies have been bias to focus primarily on precocial species while altricial species remain poorly understood in this context. The goal of this investigation was to investigate the role of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on fH and Pm of an altricial species, the neotropic cormorant (P. brasilianus) to address this bias. The embryonic neotropic cormorant possesses B-and-a adrenergic tone on fH and Pm at 70% and 90% incubation while cholinergic tone on fH occurs at 90% incubation. This pattern of control is similar to that previously reported for several species of precocial birds suggesting the development of tonic cardiovascular regulation may be conserved across avian taxa.
Application of High Entropy Alloys in Stent Implants
High entropy alloys (HEAs) are alloys with five or more principal elements. Due to these distinct concept of alloying, the HEA exhibits unique and superior properties. The outstanding properties of HEA includes higher strength/hardness, superior wear resistance, high temperature stability, higher fatigue life, good corrosion and oxidation resistance. Such characteristics of HEA has been significant interest leading to researches on these emerging field. Even though many works are done to understand the characteristic of these HEAs, very few works are made on how the HEAs can be applied for commercial uses. This work discusses the application of High entropy alloys in biomedical applications. The coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States kills more than 350,000 persons/year and it costs $108.9 billion for the nation each year in spite of significant advancements in medical care and public awareness. A cardiovascular disease affects heart or blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries) or both by blocking the blood flow. As a surgical interventions, stent implants are deployed to cure or ameliorate the disease. However, the high failure rate of stents has lead researchers to give special attention towards analyzing stent structure, materials and characteristics. Many works related to alternate material and/or design are carried out in recent time. This paper discusses the feasibility of CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs in stent implant application. This work is based on the speculation that CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs are biocompatible material. These HEAs are characterized to determine the microstructure and mechanical properties. Computational modeling and analysis were carried out on stent implant by applying CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs as material to understand the structural behavior.
Assessing Rainfall Interception by Urban Tree Canopies in Denton, Texas
Rainfall interception is one mechanism by which tree canopies can reduce surface runoff in urban areas. The objectives of this research were to: 1) quantify rainfall interception by urban tree canopies, and 2) determine the influence of vegetation and microenvironmental factors on rainfall interception rates. In the city of Denton, Texas, 30 mature post oak (Quercus stellata) and blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) trees were selected for study. Trees were assigned to one of three categories: clusters of trees on greenspace (CG), isolated trees on greenspace (IG), and isolated trees surrounded by pavement (IP). Throughfall (the volume of water that travels through the canopy and reaches the soil surface) collectors were placed beneath these trees and rainfall collectors were placed in nearby open areas. Throughfall and rainfall were collected daily from 19 March to 4 July. Interception was calculated as the difference between throughfall and gross rainfall. Over the study period, there were 27 days with measurable rainfall; daily rainfall ranged from 1-51 mm. Over the sampling period, rainfall interception for individual trees ranged from -10% to 49%, indicating high spatial variability in interception. Percent interception was highest for the CG treatment (22.7 ± 3.8 SE), intermediate for IG (27.4 ± 2.3 SE), and lowest for IP (9.1 ± 4.9 SE). Factors like wind exposure, wind-driven rain and overall tree health may help explain this variability. This research will contribute to our knowledge of hydrological fluxes in urban areas and the role of urban green infrastructure in stormwater runoff mitigation.
Automated GUI Tests Generation for Android Apps Using Q-learning
Mobile applications are growing in popularity and pose new problems in the area of software testing. In particular, mobile applications heavily depend upon user interactions and a dynamically changing environment of system events. In this thesis, we focus on user-driven events and use Q-learning, a reinforcement machine learning algorithm, to generate tests for Android applications under test (AUT). We implement a framework that automates the generation of GUI test cases by using our Q-learning approach and compare it to a uniform random (UR) implementation. A novel feature of our approach is that we generate user-driven event sequences through the GUI, without the source code or the model of the AUT. Hence, considerable amount of cost and time are saved by avoiding the need for model generation for generating the tests. Our results show that the systematic path exploration used by Q-learning results in higher average code coverage in comparison to the uniform random approach.
Bodies of Evidence: A Qualitative Analysis of the Lived Experiences of Female Central American and Mexican Asylum Seekers in Dallas
This work addresses the experiences of female asylum seekers from Central and Mexico currently living in Dallas, TX. The main purpose is to analyze how these women engage in the gendered processes of both migrating to and accessing legal resources and protection within the United States. As the women move through male-dominated spaces in their home country, the borderlands, and the asylum court they must challenge the patriarchal institutions that attempt to silence their narratives and criminalize their bodies. Their physical wounds become evidence in the courtroom, while outside of the courtroom their movements are monitored and tracked through multiple mechanisms of state control: ankle monitors, detention centers, ICE check-ins. They face intersectional discrimination as they are targeted as both women and immigrants. However, these female asylum seekers are not victims. They constantly display agency as they represent themselves in court, find solace in their faith, and form community with each other.
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Applications: Privacy Threats and Countermeasures
In recent years, brain computer interfaces (BCIs) have gained popularity in non-medical domains such as the gaming, entertainment, personal health, and marketing industries. A growing number of companies offer various inexpensive consumer grade BCIs and some of these companies have recently introduced the concept of BCI "App stores" in order to facilitate the expansion of BCI applications and provide software development kits (SDKs) for other developers to create new applications for their devices. The BCI applications access to users' unique brainwave signals, which consequently allows them to make inferences about users' thoughts and mental processes. Since there are no specific standards that govern the development of BCI applications, its users are at the risk of privacy breaches. In this work, we perform first comprehensive analysis of BCI App stores including software development kits (SDKs), application programming interfaces (APIs), and BCI applications w.r.t privacy issues. The goal is to understand the way brainwave signals are handled by BCI applications and what threats to the privacy of users exist. Our findings show that most applications have unrestricted access to users' brainwave signals and can easily extract private information about their users without them even noticing. We discuss potential privacy threats posed by current practices used in BCI App stores and then describe some countermeasures that could be used to mitigate the privacy threats. Also, develop a prototype which gives the BCI app users a choice to restrict their brain signal dynamically.
Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge: Urge Magnitude Influence in Men and Women
Agtarap, Wright, Mlynski, Hammad, and Blackledge took an initial step in providing support for the predictive validity of a new conceptual analysis concerned with behavioral restraint, defined as active resistance against a behavioral impulse or urge. The current study was designed to partially replicate and extend findings from their study, employing a common film protocol and a procedure for inducing low- and high levels of fatigue. Analyses on key data indicated that the fatigue manipulation was ineffective. On the other hand, they supported the suggestion that behavioral restraint should be proportional to the strength of an urge being resisted so long as success is perceived as possible and worthwhile. Analyses also provided evidence of gender differences for this behavioral restraint task. Women showed relatively enhanced CV responses to my manipulation of urge magnitude, performed less well, rated the behavioral restraint challenge as harder, and rated success on the more difficult behavioral restraint task as more important. A broad indication is that men and women can differ in the strength of impulses they experience in response to stimulus presentations as well as in the importance they place on resisting the impulses.
Case Studies to Learn Human Mapping Strategies in a Variety of Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Architectures
Computer hardware and algorithm design have seen significant progress over the years. It is also seen that there are several domains in which humans are more efficient than computers. For example in image recognition, image tagging, natural language understanding and processing, humans often find complicated algorithms quite easy to grasp. This thesis presents the different case studies to learn human mapping strategy to solve the mapping problem in the area of coarse-grained reconfigurable architectures (CGRAs). To achieve optimum level performance and consume less energy in CGRAs, place and route problem has always been a major concern. Making use of human characteristics can be helpful in problems as such, through pattern recognition and experience. Therefore to conduct the case studies a computer mapping game called UNTANGLED was analyzed as a medium to convey insights of human mapping strategies in a variety of architectures. The purpose of this research was to learn from humans so that we can come up with better algorithms to outperform the existing algorithms. We observed how human strategies vary as we present them with different architectures, different architectures with constraints, different visualization as well as how the quality of solution changes with experience. In this work all the case studies obtained from exploiting human strategies provide useful feedback that can improve upon existing algorithms. These insights can be adapted to find the best architectural solution for a particular domain and for future research directions for mapping onto mesh-and- stripe based CGRAs.
Catalytic Properties and Mechanical Behavior of Metallic Glass Powders
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. By altering the morphology and tuning of composition, MGs may be transformed into high-performance catalytic materials. In this study, the catalytic properties of metallic glass powders were demonstrated in dissociating toxic organic chemicals such as AZO dye. BMG powders showed superior performance compared to state of the art crystalline iron because of their high catalytic activity, durability, and reusability. To enhance the catalytic properties, high energy mechanical milling was performed to increase the surface area and defect density. Iron-based bulk metallic glass (BMG) of composition Fe48Cr15Mo14Y2C15B6 was used because of its low cost and ability to make large surface area by high energy ball milling. AZO dye was degraded in less than 20 minutes for the 9 hours milled Fe-BMG. However, subsequent increase in ball milling time resulted in devitrification and loss of catalytic activity as measured using UV-Visible spectroscopy. Aluminum-based bulk metallic glass (Al-BMG) powder of composition Al82Fe3Ni8Y7 was synthesized by arc-melting the constituent elements followed by gas-atomization. The particle size and morphology were similar to Fe-BMG with a fully amorphous structure. A small percentage of transition metal constituents (Fe and Ni) in a mostly aluminum alloy showed high catalytic activity, with no toxic by-products and no change in surface characteristics. Al-alloy particles, being light-weight, were easily dispersed in aqueous medium and accelerated the redox reactions. The mechanism of dye dissociation was studied using Raman and Infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Breaking of -C-H- and - C-N- bonds of AZO dye was found to be the primary mechanism. Mechanical behavior of individual BMG particles was evaluated by in situ pico-indentation in a scanning electron ...
A Cognitive Radio Application through Opportunistic Spectrum Access
In wireless communication systems, one of the most important resources being focused on all the researchers is spectrum. A cognitive radio (CR) system is one of the efficient ways to access the radio spectrum opportunistically, and efficiently use the available underutilized licensed spectrum. Spectrum utilization can be significantly enhanced by developing more applications with adopting CR technology. CR systems are implemented using a radio technology called software-defined radios (SDR). SDR provides a flexible and cost-effective solution to fulfil the requirements of end users. We can see a lot of innovations in Internet of Things (IoT) and increasing number of smart devices. Hence, a CR system application involving an IoT device is studied in this thesis. Opportunistic spectrum access involves two tasks of CR system: spectrum sensing and dynamic spectrum access. The functioning of the CR system is rest upon the spectrum sensing. There are different spectrum sensing techniques used to detect the spectrum holes and a few of them are discussed here in this thesis. The simplest and easiest to implement energy detection spectrum sensing technique is used here to implement the CR system. Dynamic spectrum access involves different models and strategies to access the spectrum. Amongst the available models, an interweave model is more challenging and is used in this thesis. Interweave model needs effective spectrum sensing before accessing the spectrum opportunistically. The system designed and simulated in this thesis is capable of transmitting an output from an IoT device using USRP and GNU radio through accessing the radio spectrum opportunistically.
A Community Based Assessment: An Analysis of Community Based Tourism in Kalache and Hulgol, India
This study incorporated a community based assessment with a focus on community based tourism in Kalache and Hulgol, India. Kalache and Hulgol are two agrarian based communities located in the environmentally significant region of the Western Ghats. Each of these communities has considered community based tourism as a means to reduce urban youth outmigration, to diversify economic resources, and to encourage the empowerment of women. The primary goals of this study were to understand the community issues and objectives, to determine the level of support for tourism development, to determine participant attitudes toward tourism, and to determine the obstacles to tourism development. The findings of this project address the complexity of operating in the tourism industry, the impacts of tourism, and the use of community based tourism models in support of sustainable tourism.
A Comparative Evaluation of Matrix Training Arrangements
A common goal of instructional techniques is to teach skills effectively and efficiently. Matrix training techniques are both effective and efficient as they allow for the emergence of untrained responding to novel stimulus arrangements, a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. However, it is unclear which type of matrix arrangement best promotes recombinative generalization. The current study compared two common matrix training approaches, an overlapping (OV) design and a non-overlapping (NOV) design, with respect to arranging relations targeted for training. We conducted a replication evaluation of a Wilshire and Toussaint study, and taught two typically-developing preschoolers compound object-action labels in Spanish and used either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results from both studies demonstrated the participant trained with an OV design produced recombinative generalization and participants trained with a NOV design produced significantly low levels of emergence or none at all. These results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design. Implications for instructional arrangements are discussed.
Comparing Media Usage of Binary and Non-Binary Transgender Individuals when Discovering and Describing Gender Identity
This study was conducted through in-depth interviews to examine potential differences between binary-aligned transgender individuals and non-binary individuals in regards to media usage when learning about, articulating, and explaining their gender identity. Results showed numerous differences between transgender people with binary-aligned and non-binary gender identifications in regards to social media preferences and differences in perceived media importance and effects. Additional information was found in regards to the age at which gender identity is articulated and the importance of individuality in comparison to one's gender identity.
A Constructional Approach to Establishing and Maintaining Calm Canine Behavior
Very few behavior-change programs with canines produce effects that persist beyond the training condition. The present study is an experimental demonstration of a constructional program that established calm patterns of behavior as alternatives to hyperactive ones. Three dogs that exhibited hyperactive patterns were chosen as subjects. Seven conditions common to canine-caretaker relationships were used to determine which factors resulted in the hyperactive patterns. Then, sitting and lying down were taught as beginning points using touch as a reinforcer. The final behavior, maintained by naturally occurring reinforcers, was established errorlessly. The study used a control-analysis strategy of behavior change with a changing-criterion design. The intervention resulted in an immediate reduction in hyperactivity and an increase in sitting and lying down for all dogs.
Creating Discussion: An Auteur Analysis of Films Directed by Adrian Lyne
This thesis examines the various "signature" threads that are present within the "oeuvre" of the Hollywood filmmaker Adrian Lyne. The goal of this thesis is to showcase both how and why Lyne can be thought of as an auteur and to open up his films to new and previously unexplored meanings. Lyne's eight feature films are analyzed in-depth individually and in comparison to one another from a variety of theoretical frameworks and points of focus in each of the body chapters.
Design, Modeling, and Experiment of a Piezoelectric Pressure Sensor based on a Thickness-Shear Mode Crystal Resonator
This thesis presents the design, modeling, and experiment of a novel pressure sensor using a dual-mode AT-cut quartz crystal resonator with beat frequency analysis based temperature compensation technique. The proposed sensor can measure pressure and temperature simultaneously by a single AT-cut quartz resonator. Apart from AT-cut quartz crystal, a newly developed Langasite (LGS) crystal resonator is also considered in the proposed pressure sensor design, since LGS can operate in a higher temperature environment than AT-cut quartz crystal. The pressure sensor is designed using CAD (computer aided design) software and CAE software - COMSOL Multiphysics. Finite element analysis (FEA) of the pressure sensor is performed to analyze the stress- strain of the sensor's mechanical structure. A 3D printing prototype of the sensor is fabricated and the proposed sensing principle is verified using a force-frequency analysis apparatus. Next to the 3D printing model verification, the pressure sensor with stainless steel housing has been fabricated with inbuilt crystal oscillator circuit. The oscillator circuit is used to excite the piezo crystal resonator at its fundamental vibrational mode and give the frequency as an output signal. Based on the FEA and experimental results, it has been concluded that the maximum pressure that the sensor can measure is 45 (psi). The pressure test results performed on the stainless steel product shows a highly linear relationship between the input (pressure) and the output (frequency).
Design of a Lower Extremity Exoskeleton to Increase Knee ROM during Valgus Bracing for Osteoarthritic Gait
Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is the primary cause of chronic immobility in populations over the age of 65. It is a joint degenerative disease in which the articular cartilage in the knee joint wears down over time, leading to symptoms of pain, instability, joint stiffness, and misalignment of the lower extremities. Without intervention, these symptoms gradually worsen over time, decreasing the overall knee range of motion (ROM) and ability to walk. Current clinical interventions include offloading braces, which mechanically realign the lower extremities to alleviate the pain experienced in the medial compartment of the knee joint. Though these braces have proven effective in pain management, studies have shown a significant decrease in knee ROM while using the brace. Concurrently, development of active exoskeletons for rehabilitative gait has increased within recent years in efforts to provide patients with a more effective intervention for dealing with KOA. Though some developed exoskeletons are promising in their efficacy of fostering gait therapy, these devices are heavy, tethered, difficult to control, unavailable to patients, or costly due to the number of complicated components used to manufacture the device. However, the idea that an active component can improve gait therapy for patients motivates this study. This study proposes the design of an adjustable lower extremity exoskeleton which features a single linear actuator adapted onto a commercially available offloading brace. This design hopes to provide patients with pain alleviation from the brace, while also actively driving the knee through flexion and extension. The design and execution of this exoskeleton was accomplished by 3D computer simulation, 3D CAD modeling, and rapid prototyping techniques. The exoskeleton features 3D printed, ABS plastic struts and supports to achieve successful adaptation of the linear actuator to the brace and an electromechanical system with a rechargeable operating capacity of 7 hours. Design validation was ...
Design of a Machine Condition Monitoring System with Bluetooth Low Energy
This thesis discusses the design considerations for a machine conditioning sensor utilizing Bluetooth low energy (BLE).
Determining Whether and When People Participate in the Events They Tweet About
This work describes an approach to determine whether people participate in the events they tweet about. Specifically, we determine whether people are participants in events with respect to the tweet timestamp. We target all events expressed by verbs in tweets, including past, present and events that may occur in future. We define event participant as people directly involved in an event regardless of whether they are the agent, recipient or play another role. We present an annotation effort, guidelines and quality analysis with 1,096 event mentions. We discuss the label distributions and event behavior in the annotated corpus. We also explain several features used and a standard supervised machine learning approach to automatically determine if and when the author is a participant of the event in the tweet. We discuss trends in the results obtained and devise important conclusions.
Development of an Outcome Measure for Use in Psychology Training Clinics
The ability to monitor client change in psychotherapy over time is vital to quality assurance in service delivery as well as the continuing improvement of psychotherapy research. Unfortunately, there is not currently a comprehensive, affordable, and easily utilized outcome measure for psychotherapy specifically normed and standardized for use in psychology training clinics. The current study took the first steps in creating such an outcome measure. Following development of an item bank, factor analysis and item-response theory analyses were applied to data gathered from a stratified sample of university (n = 101) and community (n = 261) participants. The factor structure did not support a phase model conceptualization, but did reveal a structure consistent with the theoretical framework of the research domain criteria (RDoC). Suggestions for next steps in the measure development process are provided and implications discussed.
Development of von Willebrand Factor Zebrafish Mutant Using CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated Genome Editing
von Willebrand factor (VWF) protein acts in the intrinsic coagulation pathway by stabilizing FVIII from proteolytic clearance and at the site of injury, by promoting the adhesion and aggregation of platelets to the exposed subendothelial wall. von Willebrand disease (VWD) results from quantitative and qualitative deficiencies in VWF protein. The variability expressivity in phenotype presentations is in partly caused by the action of modifier genes. Zebrafish has been used as hemostasis animal model. However, it has not been used to evaluate VWD. Here, we report the development of a heterozygote VWF mutant zebrafish using the genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 system to screen for modifier genes involved in VWD. We designed CRISPR oligonucleotides and inserted them into pT7-gRNa plasmid. We then prepared VWF gRNA along with the endonuclease Cas9 RNA from Cas9 plasmid. We injected these two RNAs into 1-4 cell-stage zebrafish embryos and induced a mutation in VWF exon 29 of the zebrafish with a mutagenesis rate of 16.6% (3/18 adult fish). Also, we observed a germline transmission with an efficiency rate of 5.5% (1/18 adult fish). We obtained a deletion in exon 29 which should result in truncated VWF protein.
"Don't Frack with Denton"
Don't Frack With Denton chronicles the ground-breaking movement to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city of Denton, Texas by combining observational location shooting with extensive sit-down interviews and carefully negotiated subject-filmmaker relationships to create a safe and comfortable space for thoughtful reflection and criticism of a complex social movement who's activities span several years and many individuals. The result is a long-form documentary that is unapologetically in solidarity with this movement's goals while simultaneously maintaining enough editorial independence and critical distance to allow the activists themselves to honestly evaluate their decision-making, tactics and interpersonal relationships in ways that will provide insight and instruction to similar movements around the country and the world.
EEG Signal Analysis in Decision Making
Decision making can be a complicated process involving perception of the present situation, past experience and knowledge necessary to foresee a better future. This cognitive process is one of the essential human ability that is required from everyday walk of life to making major life choices. Although it may seem ambiguous to translate such a primitive process into quantifiable science, the goal of this thesis is to break it down to signal processing and quantifying the thought process with prominence of EEG signal power variance. This paper will discuss the cognitive science, the signal processing of brain signals and how brain activity can be quantifiable through data analysis. An experiment is analyzed in this thesis to provide evidence that theta frequency band activity is associated with stress and stress is negatively correlated with concentration and problem solving, therefore hindering decision making skill. From the results of the experiment, it is seen that theta is negatively correlated to delta and beta frequency band activity, thus establishing the fact that stress affects internal focus while carrying out a task.
The Effects of Air Pollution on the Intestinal Microbiota: A Novel Approach to Assess How Gut Microbe Interactions with the Environment Affect Human Health
This thesis investigates how air pollution, both natural and anthropogenic, affects changes in the proximal small intestine and ileum microbiota profile, as well as intestinal barrier integrity, histological changes, and inflammation. APO-E KO mice on a high fat diet were randomly selected to be exposed by whole body inhalation to either wood smoke (WS) or mixed vehicular exhaust (MVE), with filtered air (FA) acting as the control. Intestinal integrity and histology were assessed by observing expression of well- known structural components tight junction proteins (TJPs), matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9), and gel-forming mucin (MUC2), as well known inflammatory related factors: TNF-α, IL-1β, and toll-like receptor (TLR)-4. Bacterial profiling was done using DNA analysis of microbiota within the ileum, utilizing 16S metagenomics sequencing (Illumina miSeq) technique. Overall results of this experiment suggest that air pollution, both anthropogenic and natural, cause a breach in the intestinal barrier with an increase in inflammatory factors and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This evidence suggests the possibility of air pollution being a potential causative agent of intestinal disease as well as a possible contributing mechanism for induction of systemic inflammation.
The Effects of Defensiveness and Social Desirability on the Reporting of Personality Traits
Psychological assessment relies on accurate and forthright reporting to determine valid clinical presentations. However, it has long been recognized that examinees may be motivated to present a "better picture" through Positive Impression Management (PIM). Within the PIM domain, two distinct motivations (i.e., defensiveness and social desirability) emerge that have not been clearly differentiated in empirical literature. This thesis addressed the research gap for detecting PIM distortion of personality pathology, utilizing the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). In this investigation, 106 psychiatric inpatients were recruited from the adult Co-Occurring Disorders and Trauma Programs at University Behavioral Health. Using a mixed within- and between-subjects design, participants engaged in simulation via scenarios to be considered for a highly valued rehabilitation program (defensiveness) or employment (social desirability). As expected, inpatients showed elevated levels of problematic personality traits when reporting genuinely, but suppressed them under PIM conditions. These findings highlight that the PID-5, like all multiscale inventories, is highly vulnerable to intentional PIM distortion. Interestingly, respondents in the social desirability condition generally engaged in more total denial than those in the defensiveness condition. Empirically- and theoretically-based validity scales were developed to identify simulators and differentiate between conditions. Besides PIM, higher levels of experienced stigma were associated with more personality pathology, particularly the domain of Detachment. In addition, ancillary analyses showed strong convergence of the PID-5 with its hierarchical trait model to the DSM-IV categorical model. Continued research to detect PIM distortion, and more importantly to differentiate between PIM motivations, is essential for accurate clinical assessment of personality disorder traits and effective treatment planning.
The Effects of Resilience and Self-Compassion on Symptoms of Stress and Growth Resulting from Combat Exposure in Service Members
The current study examined the impact of resilience and self-compassion on the relationship between combat exposure and psychological outcomes, specifically post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth. Service members and veterans with combat exposure (N = 143) completed an online survey, through which they were administered a Background Questionnaire, the Combat Exposure Scale, the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Self-Compassion Scale. Results of a path analysis revealed a positive direct effect of combat exposure on post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic growth and a negative direct effect of self-compassion on post-traumatic stress symptoms. Furthermore, self-compassion moderated the relationship between combat exposure and post-traumatic growth. Implications of these findings and future directions for research are discussed.
Emergency Fire Response in Ghana: The Case of Fire Stations in Kumasi
Comprehensive emergency management and response is crucial for disaster prevention and health emergencies. However, in African countries with an abundance of natural disasters and a rising surge in cardiovascular and obstetric emergencies, little research exists on emergency response. This study examines the fire emergency response in Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Ghana's second largest city. We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools including location -allocation modeling to evaluate the existing system of fire facilities, identify gaps in service, and suggest locations for new fire stations to maximize population coverage. Our results show that fire stations within KMA are poorly distributed and large portions of the metropolis are underserved, a situation that is partly responsible for the huge losses of lives and property during fire outbreaks.
Emerging Adults Delay Mental Illness Treatment: Another Manifestation of Experiential Avoidance?
Emerging adulthood is a term coined to recognize 18 to 25 year-olds who engage in self-exploration while not yet fully identifying as adults. Many emerging adult college students experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Although many colleges provide affordable and available mental health resources for students, many students who need help appear to not utilize these services. Gaining greater understanding of underlying processes that influence psychological treatment-seeking behavior is imperative. The current study sought to explore the role experiential avoidance (EA) plays as a treatment-seeking barrier in the context of emerging adulthood. Undergraduate students completed online measures of emerging adulthood dimensions, psychological symptoms, EA, self-stigma of, perceived public stigma of, intentions to, and attitudes and beliefs towards seeking treatment, treatment seeking behavior, and a demographics questionnaire. Binomial hierarchical logistic regressions and correlational analyses examined the relationship of EA and treatment-seeking behaviors, accounting for known barriers and emerging adult characteristics. After controlling for demographic variables, results indicated that EA was significantly positively correlated with self-stigma (r = .187), p < .001), perceived public stigma (r = .178, p < .001), intentions (r - .207, p < .001), psychological symptoms (r = .713, p < .001), and attitudes and beliefs (r = .009, p = .003). These and other findings are discussed further, along with the study limitations and implications, as well as possible future directions for work in this area.
"The Eviction"
The Eviction is a film about the forced eviction of a large homeless encampment in Dallas. In an effort to understand the gravity over a month of filming I will capture the stories of people, events, and the trials of those who are trying to offer a hand up.
Exploring Simscape™ Modeling for Piezoelectric Sensor Based Energy Harvester
This work presents an investigation of a piezoelectric sensor based energy harvesting system, which collects energy from the surrounding environment. Increasing costs and scarcity of fossil fuels is a great concern today for supplying power to electronic devices. Furthermore, generating electricity by ordinary methods is a complicated process. Disposal of chemical batteries and cables is polluting the nature every day. Due to these reasons, research on energy harvesting from renewable resources has become mandatory in order to achieve improved methods and strategies of generating and storing electricity. Many low power devices being used in everyday life can be powered by harvesting energy from natural energy resources. Power overhead and power energy efficiency is of prime concern in electronic circuits. In this work, an energy harvester is modeled and simulated in Simscape™ for the functional analysis and comparison of achieved outcomes with previous work. Results demonstrate that the harvester produces power in the 0 μW to 100 μW range, which is an adequate amount to provide supply to low power devices. Power efficiency calculations also demonstrate that the implemented harvester is capable of generating and storing power for low power pervasive applications.
A Feminist Rereading of Selected Works by Carlos Morton
Carlos Morton is a prominent Chicano playwright that has contributed greatly to Chicano theatre, creatively and academically, since in 1970s. This thesis offers a feminist analysis of the gender representation in three of his works: Lilith (1977), La Malinche (1984), and Dreaming on a Sunday in the Alameda (1992). The female characters in these three plays possess a unique agency that allows them to challenge oppressive patriarchal standards imposed on their gender identity. The second chapter explores Morton's Lilith, a play based on a Jewish creation myth. In the play, Lilith possesses agency of her gender identity and forms a bond with Eve to fight the patriarchal gender norms used to restrict women in Chicano culture. La Malinche is an adaptation of Eurpides's Medea set in post-Conquest New Spain. Chapter three focuses on the agency displayed by La Malinche through her indigenous roots to fight for her own form of motherhood and freedom from patriarchy. The final play analyzed in this thesis is Dreaming on a Sunday in the Alameda, a dream-like play that is based on Diego Rivera's mural by the same name. Several female characters in the play demonstrate agency through their androgynous sexual identities as they unite to resist male character's sexualized perceptions and expectations of females within Mexican and Chicano culture.
Food and the Master-Servant Relationship in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Britain
This thesis serves to highlight the significance of food and diet in the servant problem narrative of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain and the role of food in master-servant relationships as a source of conflict. The study also shows how attitudes towards servant labor, wages, and perquisites resulted in food-related theft. Employers customarily provided regular meals, food, drink, or board wages and tea money to their domestic servants in addition to an annual salary, yet food and meals often resulted in contention as evidenced by contemporary criticism and increased calls for legislative wage regulation. Differing expectations of wage components, including food and other perquisites, resulted in ongoing conflict between masters and servants. Existing historical scholarship on the relationship between British domestic servants and their masters or mistresses in context of the servant problem often tends to place focus on themes of gender and sexuality. Considering the role of food as a fundamental necessity in the lives of servants provides a new approach to understanding the servant problem and reveals sources of mistrust and resentment in the master-servant relationship.
The Geography of Maternal Health Indicators in Ghana
Ghana is identified among the developing countries with high maternal mortality ratio in Africa. This study unpacked the Demographic and Health Survey data by examining the maternal health indicators at the district level using GIS methods. Understanding the geographic patterns of antenatal care, place of delivery, and skilled birth attendants at the small scale will help to formulate and plan for location-specific health interventions that can improve maternal health care behavior among Ghanaian women. Districts with high rates and low rates were identified. Place of residence, Gini-Coefficient, wealth status, internet access, and religious affiliation were used to explore the underlying factors associated with the observed patterns. Economic inequality was positively associated with increased use of maternal health care services. The ongoing free maternal health policy serves as a cushion effect for the economic inequality among the districts in the Northern areas. Home delivery is common among the rural districts and is more prominent mostly in the western part of Northern Region and southwest of Upper West. Educating women about the free maternal health policy remains the most viable strategy for positive maternal health outcomes and in reducing MMR in Ghana.
The Impact of Causative Genes on Neuropsychological Functioning in Familial Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease: A Meta-Analysis
Mutations of three genes encoding amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PSEN1), and presenilin-2 (PSEN2) have been shown to reliably result in familial early-onset Alzheimer's disease (FAD); a rare, but catastrophic, subtype of Alzheimer's disease (AD) marked by symptom emergence before age 65 as well as accelerated cognitive deterioration. The current study represents the first known meta-analysis on the association of APP, PSEN1 or PSEN2 on neurocognitive variables. A total of 278 FAD mutation-carriers (FAD-MC) and 284 cognitively healthy non-mutation-carriers (NC) across 10 independent investigations meeting inclusion criteria were chosen for the current meta-analysis (random effects design). Findings revealed an overarching trend of poorer performance by FAD-MC individuals compared to NC individuals across the majority of cognitive domains identified. Significant differences in effect sizes suggested FAD-MC individuals exhibited worse performance on measures of attention, explicit memory, fluency, primary memory, verbal, and visuospatial functioning. Findings indicative of differential sensitivity to cognitive domain impairments across FAD-MC and NC groups inform neuropsychological descriptions of individuals in preclinical phases of FAD.
Improving Staff Tutoring in a Special Education Class Through Active Listening Skills
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2015, Texas special education programs were rated among the lowest in the nation. School districts in the state have a substantial need for effective and efficient staff training. In this study, researchers implemented TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach Packet to teach active listener qualities to staff members in a life skills special education classroom. A multiple baseline across staff members was used to evaluate the effects of the TAPS training on the presence and absence of the staff members' active listener qualities during a pre-test, a post-test, and probes. The staff members that underwent TAPS training acquired all of the active listener qualities as a function of the TAPS training, and the effects of the training maintained during probe sessions. Additionally, TAPS training appeared to improve staff members' scores on the Whimbey Analytical Skills Inventory (WASI) Test and anecdotally improved the quality of staff and student tutoring interactions. Several areas of potential research and improvement are discussed.
Improving the Gameplay Experience and Guiding Bottom Players in an Interactive Mapping Game
In game based learning, motivating the players to learn by providing them a desirable gameplay experience is extremely important. However, it's not an easy task considering the quality of today's commercial non-educational games. Throughout the gameplay, the player should neither get overwhelmed nor under-challenged. The best way to do so is to monitor the player's actions in the game because these actions can tell the reason behind the player's performance. They can also tell about the player's lacking competencies or knowledge. Based on this information, in-game educational interventions in the form of hints can be provided to the player. The success of such games depends on their interactivity, motivational outlook and thus player retention. UNTANGLED is an online mapping game based on crowd-sourcing, developed by Reconfigurable Computing Lab, UNT for the mapping problem of CGRAs. It is also an educational game for teaching the concepts of reconfigurable computing. This thesis performs qualitative comparative analysis on gameplays of low performing players of UNTANGLED. And the implications of this analysis are used to provide recommendations for improving the gameplay experience for these players by guiding them. The recommendations include strategies to reach a high score and a compact solution, hints in the form of preset patterns and a clustering based approach.
In Defense of Wilderness: A Documentation of the Social and Cultural Aspects of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)
My thesis research provides an alternative argument for the protection of the wilderness that extends far beyond that of the purely biological and instead looks at wilderness for the intrinsic value, focusing on the social and cultural aspects. Through an ethnographic approach, I uncovered the how, why, and in what context people connect with wilderness and how people lean on these experiences. Through analysis of the interviews and data that was collected, I was able to identify tangible and intangible values associated with wilderness exploration and understand how these social and cultural aspects manifest themselves in people's day-to-day lives.
Investigation of a Novel Vapor Chamber for Efficient Heat Spreading and Removal for Power Electronics in Electric Vehicles
This work investigated a novel vapor chamber for efficient heat spreading and heat removal. A vapor chamber acting as a heat spreader enables for more uniform temperature distribution along the surface of the device being cooled. First, a vapor chamber was studied and compared with the traditional copper heat spreader. The thickness of vapor chamber was kept 1.35 mm which was considered to be ultra-thin vapor chamber. Then, a new geometrical model having graphite foam in vapor space was proposed where the graphite foam material was incorporated in vapor space as square cubes. The effects of incorporating graphite foam in vapor space were compared to the vapor chamber without the embedded graphite foam to investigate the heat transfer performance improvements of vapor chamber by the high thermal conductivity graphite foam. Finally, the effects of various vapor chamber thicknesses were studied through numerical simulations. It was found that thinner vapor chamber (1.35 mm thickness) had better heat transfer performance than thicker vapor chamber (5 mm thickness) because of the extreme high effective thermal conductivities of ultra-thin vapor chamber. Furthermore, the effect of graphite foam on thermal performance improvement was very minor for ultra-thin vapor chamber, but significant for thick vapor chamber. The GF could help reduce the junction temperature by 15-30% in the 5-mm thick vapor chamber. Use of GF embedded vapor chamber could achieve 250-400 Watt per Centimeter square local heat removal for power electronics. The application of this is not only limited to electronic devices but actuator and avionics cooling in aircrafts, thermal management of electronics in directed energy weapon systems, battery thermal management for electric and hybrid vehicles, smart phones cooling, thus covering a wide gamut of heat flux applications.
Investigation of Spray Cooling Schemes for Dynamic Thermal Management
This study aims to investigate variable flow and intermittent flow spray cooling characteristics for efficiency improvement in active two-phase thermal management systems. Variable flow spray cooling scheme requires control of pump input voltage (or speed), while intermittent flow spray cooling scheme requires control of solenoid valve duty cycle and frequency. Several testing scenarios representing dynamic heat load conditions are implemented to characterize the overall performance of variable flow and intermittent flow spray cooling cases in comparison with the reference, steady flow spray cooling case with constant flowrate, continuous spray cooling. Tests are conducted on a small-scale, closed loop spray cooling system featuring a pressure atomized spray nozzle. HFE-7100 dielectric liquid is selected as the working fluid. Two types of test samples are prepared on 10 mm x 10 mm x 2 mm copper substrates with matching size thick film resistors attached onto the opposite side, to generate heat and simulate high heat flux electronic devices. The test samples include: (i) plain, smooth surface, and (ii) microporous surface featuring 100 μm thick copper-based coating prepared by dual stage electroplating technique. Experimental conditions involve HFE-7100 at atmospheric pressure and 30°C and ~10°C subcooling. Steady flow spray cooling tests are conducted at flow rates of 2 - 5 ml/cm².s, by controlling the heat flux in increasing steps, and recording the corresponding steady-state temperatures to obtain cooling curves in the form of surface superheat vs. heat flux. Variable flow and intermittent flow spray cooling tests are done at selected flowrate and subcooling conditions to investigate the effects of dynamic flow conditions on maintaining the target surface temperatures defined based on reference steady flow spray cooling performance.
Investigation on the Effects of Indoor Temperature Modulations on Building Energy Usage and Human Thermal Comfort
Energy efficiency in the operation of buildings is becoming increasingly important with a growing emphasis on sustainability and reducing environmental impacts of irresponsible energy usage. Improvements have been made both on the technology side of energy efficiency and on the human behavior side. However, when changing human behavior, it is critical to find energy conservation measures that will maintain comfort for occupants. This paper analyzes how this can be done by implementing a modulating temperature schedule based on the concept of alliesthesia, which states that pleasure is observed in transient states. EnergyPlus simulations were used to show that in cooling applications, this type of scheduling can produce significant energy savings. However, energy savings are not predicted for the same type of scheduling for heating applications. Thermal comfort was examined with a cooling experiment and a separate heating experiment, each lasting 45 minutes and taking place during the corresponding season. The experiments showed that modulating temperatures can cause occupants to experience more pleasure than if the temperature remained constant in a cooled space, whereas modulating temperatures had a negative impact on comfort relative to the constant temperature in the heated space. This presents evidence for an ideal opportunity for cooling applications by implementing modulating temperature schedules: an increase in thermal pleasure accompanied by a decrease in cooling energy.
Leader-Follower Model and Impact of Mobility on Consensus Building
Wireless sensor networks are an indispensable tool in this highly connected world. WSNs have been the focus of research efforts in areas of communication, electronics and control for many years. Advancements in the fields of MEMS, RF and digital circuit technology has led to the development of low cost and extremely power efficient smart sensors. This has led to the need of a fast, reliable and inexpensive method of consensus building for these sensor networks. Basic concepts of graph theory and consensus building are explained in this thesis. This thesis reviews the models and strategies for consensus building present in the literature. The shortcomings of these models are explained through examples and a leader-follower model based consensus building strategy is presented. Algorithm to convert any graph into a bipartite graph by edge removal and a strategy to select effective leaders based on a weighted combination of node centrality, ratio of leaders to the total number of nodes and presence of leaf nodes in the group is presented in this thesis. Proposed leader-follower model is compared against classic models for consensus building are compared and proven to be better. Mobility is studied using deterministic and random mobility models to show the improvement in convergence rate of the network. It is shown that mobility can turn any disconnected network into a connected network, which is able to reach consensus.
Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning: An Investigation of Miranda Abilities in Adult Inpatients
Nearly 700,000 suspects with mental disorders are arrested and Mirandized each year. The current study systematically examined the effects of cognitive deficits and psychological symptoms on both Miranda comprehension and reasoning. The current sample was comprised of 85 adult psychiatric inpatients recruited from University Behavioral Health (UBH), a private psychiatric hospital in North Texas. Unexpectedly, most inpatients demonstrated pervasive deficits in their immediate recall of a representative Miranda warning, omitting approximately four-fifths of its content. In addition, the majority of inpatients evidenced damaging errors in their reasoning about waiver decisions. As a result, 64.7% waived and subsequently confessed after only a 3-5 minute interrogation. Interestingly, impaired verbal ability but not the severity of their symptoms predicted greater deficits in Miranda comprehension.
Moteino-Based Wireless Data Transfer for Environmental Monitoring
Data acquisition through wireless sensor networks (WSNs) has enormous potential for scalable, distributed, real-time observations of monitored environmental parameters. Despite increasing versatility and functionalities, one critical factor that affects the operation of WSNs is limited power. WSN sensor nodes are usually battery powered, and therefore the long-term operation of the WSN greatly depends on battery capacity and the node's power consumption rate. This thesis focuses on WSN node design to reduce power consumption in order to achieve sustainable power supply. For this purpose, this thesis proposes a Moteino-based WSN node and an energy efficient duty cycle that reduces current consumption in standby mode using an enhanced watchdog timer. The nodes perform radio communication at 915 MHz, for short intervals (180ms) every 10 minutes, and consume 6.8 mA at -14dBm. For testing, the WSN node monitored a low-power combined air temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure sensor, together with a typical soil moisture sensor that consumes more power. Laboratory tests indicated average current consumption of ~30µA using these short radio transmission intervals. After transmission tests, field deployment of a star-configured network of nine of these nodes and one gateway node provides a long-term platform for testing under rigorous conditions. A webserver running on a Raspberry Pi connected serially to the gateway node provides real-time access to this WSN.
Object Recognition Using Scale-Invariant Chordiogram
This thesis describes an approach for object recognition using the chordiogram shape-based descriptor. Global shape representations are highly susceptible to clutter generated due to the background or other irrelevant objects in real-world images. To overcome the problem, we aim to extract precise object shape using superpixel segmentation, perceptual grouping, and connected components. The employed shape descriptor chordiogram is based on geometric relationships of chords generated from the pairs of boundary points of an object. The chordiogram descriptor applies holistic properties of the shape and also proven suitable for object detection and digit recognition mechanisms. Additionally, it is translation invariant and robust to shape deformations. In spite of such excellent properties, chordiogram is not scale-invariant. To this end, we propose scale invariant chordiogram descriptors and intend to achieve a similar performance before and after applying scale invariance. Our experiments show that we achieve similar performance with and without scale invariance for silhouettes and real world object images. We also show experiments at different scales to confirm that we obtain scale invariance for chordiogram.
"Off Main Street": Stories
"Off Main Street" is a collection of short stories concerned, primarily, with the expression of womanhood in the American Midwest.
The Persuasive Power of Ridicule: A Critical Rhetorical Analysis of Gender and Humor in U.S. Sitcoms
The serious investigation of humor's function in society is an emerging area of research in critical humor studies, a "negative" subsect of the extensive and "positive" research that assumes humor's goodness. Using Michael Billig's theory of ridicule as a framework, this study explored how humor operated to discipline characters who broke social norms or allowed characters to rebel against those norms. Layering this with gender performative theory, the study also investigated how different male and female characters used ridicule and were subject to it themselves. After examining ridicule in The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and The Odd Couple using a critical rhetorical analysis, the findings revealed that disciplinary ridicule was used more overtly throughout all three programs, while potentially rebellious ridicule emerged in only a few scenes. In addition, men were overwhelmingly the subjects of disciplinary ridicule, although women found themselves as subjects throughout all three programs as well. The discursive ridiculing of non-normative bodies constructed and maintained social norms about gender and sexuality, thereby uninviting these bodies from participating in society.
Practical Evaluation of a Software Defined Cellular Network
This thesis proposes a design of a rapidly deployable cellular network prototype that provides voice and data communications and it is interoperable with legacy devices and the existing network infrastructure. The prototype is based on software defined radio and makes use of IEEE 802.11 unlicensed wireless radio frequency (RF) band for backhaul link and an open source GSM implementation software. The prototype is also evaluated in environments where there is limited control of the radio frequency landscape, and using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) performance metrics to measure the quality of service. It is observed that in environments where the IEEE 802.11 band is not heavily utilized, a large number of calls are supported with good quality of service. However, when this band is heavily utilized only a few calls can be supported as the quality of service rapidly degrades with increasing number of calls, which is due to interference. It is concluded that in order to achieve tolerable voice quality, unused licensed spectrum is needed for backhaul communication between base stations.
Probabilistic Analysis of Contracting Ebola Virus Using Contextual Intelligence
The outbreak of the Ebola virus was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Due to the complex nature of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had created interim guidance for monitoring people potentially exposed to Ebola and for evaluating their intended travel and restricting the movements of carriers when needed. Tools to evaluate the risk of individuals and groups of individuals contracting the disease could mitigate the growing anxiety and fear. The goal is to understand and analyze the nature of risk an individual would face when he/she comes in contact with a carrier. This thesis presents a tool that makes use of contextual data intelligence to predict the risk factor of individuals who come in contact with the carrier.
Recidivism among Determinately Sentenced Juvenile Homicide Offenders in Texas
Juvenile homicide offenders pose a significant risk to society considering the severity of the crime, yet this population of delinquents receives little attention in terms of recidivism research. This study examined the recidivism outcomes of a group of 256 determinately sentenced homicide offenders in Texas. Each of these juveniles had be confined to and subsequently release from the Texas Youth Commission, and were followed for three years following release. The aim of this research study was to distinguish recidivists from non-recidivists across demographic, delinquent history, and risk factor measures. These same measures were then used to predict recidivism among the entire sample. Overall, the measures of race, gender, and previous delinquent adjudications emerged significant. First, Black youth were significantly more likely to recidivate than both Hispanic and White youth. Additionally, recidivism among males was significantly greater than non-recidivism among males. In contrast, there were fewer females in recidivist group than the non-recidivist group. Finally, youth with a greater number of previous delinquent adjudications were significantly more likely to recidivate, and the risk of recidivism increased as the number of previous adjudications increased. These findings are consistent with previous literature and indicate that these factors are prevalent in analyzing the recidivist behavior of determinately sentenced juvenile homicide offenders.