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Academic Stress in Student-Athletes

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: James, Christina

The Acceptance and Use of Cloud Computing Services by Small and Medium Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria

Description: This study explored the acceptance of cloud computing (CC) services by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lagos, Nigeria, which has been missing from CC services literature. It aimed to understand the motivations for adoption, the uses of the services, and the benefits they derive from it. The uses and gratification theory was applied as the theoretic framework for this endeavor. An online survey with close-ended and open-ended questions was distributed to 1200 randomly selected participants through email. In total, 392 valid responses were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics and categories. The results found that SMEs in Lagos, Nigeria had a low level of awareness and appreciation of CC services. The adoption rate was also low. Unlike their counterparts in other regions, SMEs primary concerns were service downtime, stable power supply, and better internet access. The study found that SMEs were not taking full advantage of the capabilities of CC services. Some sections, however, were doing better than others, such as the information and communications sub-sector. This study suggested that targeted interventions should be conducted to raise the awareness of CC services in SMEs, and to improve their efficient and effective use of CC services. The uses and gratification theory was appropriate for guiding this study to understand the acceptance and use of CC services by SMEs in Lagos, Nigeria.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Azogu, Olajumoke O

Adequacy and Equity: How the Texas Supreme Court's Perceptions Have Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Description: The purpose of this study identifies state court cases involving public school finance specifically related to adequacy and equity in funding. Results address how state court cases have challenged the constitutionality of school finance in the United States, including Texas, over the last 50 years. The study further shows how the decisions from previous cases have influenced the Supreme Court of Texas decision in the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness litigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Ford, Daniel William

Adrenergic and Cholinergic Regulation of Cardiovascular Function in Embryonic Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax basilianus)

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Cummins, James B

Age Friendly Cities: The Bureaucratic Responsiveness Effects on Age Friendly Policy Adoption

Description: Challenging a long-held attachment to the medical model, this research develops a cultural model placing local governments at the center of policy making and refocusing policy attention on mobility, housing, the built environment and services. To examine the phenomenon of age friendly policy adoption by cities and the magnitude of adoption, a 21-question web-based survey was administered to a sample of 1,050 cities from the U.S. Census having a population over 10,000 and having at least 14% of their population aged 65 years and over. The goal of the questionnaire was to help identify what kind of policy objectives cities establish to facilitate the opportunity for older adults to live healthy and independent lives in their communities as they age. Multiple linear and ordinal regression models examined the likelihood of policy action by cities and provide evidence as to why some cities support more age friendly policy actions than others. Evidence illustrates theoretical advancement providing support for a cultural model of aging. The cultural model includes multiple factors including bureaucratic responsiveness reflected in the management values of the administration. Findings show variation in the integration of a cultural awareness of aging in the municipality's needs assessment, strategic goals, citizen engagement strategies, and budgetary principles. Cities with a cultural awareness of aging are more likely to adopt age friendly policies. Findings also provide support for the argument that the public administrator is not the driving sole factor in decision making. A shared spaced with mobilized citizen need of individuals 65 and over is identified.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Keyes, Laura Marie

An Analysis of Litigation against Kansas Educators and School Districts under the Kansas Tort Claims Act

Description: This dissertation examines the significance of the Kansas Tort Claims Act of 1979 on state of Kansas court decisions in litigation against Kansas school districts and their employees. Through providing a historical perspective of the adoption and abolishment of the doctrine of sovereign immunity in the United States, which subsequently led to the enactment of the Federal Tort Claims Act, and ultimately led to the Kansas Tort Claims Act, the researcher analyzes pertinent case law and scholarly commentary pertaining to school negligence litigation. The goal of the analysis is to answer the following research question: How have Kansas state courts interpreted the Kansas Tort Claims Act in litigation against state school districts and their employees? Although the KTCA provides citizens with a vehicle for redress against governmental entities by virtue of tort claims, the KTCA also provides immunities from liability for governmental entities and their employees under exceptions to the KTCA. Most notably, the discretionary function exception and the recreational use exception are two exceptions to liability applied in a significant number of tort cases against Kansas school districts and employees. The case law analysis provides explanations for the types of actions of negligence that Kansas courts have qualified for school district or school employee liability, and, when permitted, negligent actions that qualified for immunity under a KTCA exception to liability.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Perry, Shaun Patrick

Application of High Entropy Alloys in Stent Implants

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Alagarsamy, Karthik

Applied Use of Video Modeling in Educational and Clinical Settings: A Survey of Autism Professionals

Description: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display deficits in communication and social interaction that can impact their ability to function in daily environments. To remediate these deficits, it is critical for professionals to use effective interventions. While there are many evidence-based practices (EBPs) identified for ASD (e.g., video modeling), the adoption of these EBPs may not occur automatically. Existing research suggests professionals have a generally favorable impression of video modeling. However, little research has examined opinions and applied use of video modeling, which was the purpose of the present study. Using survey methodology, data were collected from 510 professionals in various disciplines (e.g., special educators, speech-language pathologists [SLPs], and behavior analysts [BCBAs]). Data were analyzed primarily via factor analysis and multiple regression. Factor analysis was used to examine the underlying structure of the instrument, revealing two predominant factors: (1) interest in and (2) perceived accessibility of video modeling. Multiple regression was used to examine which demographic characteristics (e.g., age and years of experience) were associated with each factor. Results indicated that BCBAs and SLPs perceived video modeling as more accessible. In terms of interest, professionals who worked with preschool-aged students, who worked in a suburban location, and who had an extended family member with ASD showed higher interest in video modeling. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Caldwell, Nicole

An Argument in Favor of the Saxhorn Basse (French Tuba) in the Modern Symphony Orchestra

Description: The French tuba was a much-needed addition to the brasswind musical instrument family, adding depth, projection and a unique color to French orchestral literature. Its ancestors the serpent and ophicleide both lacked the tonal stability and sonic power to adequately present the bass wind role in a robust orchestra. Through the efforts of its developer and patent-holder Adolphe Sax, the French tuba made converts among players and composers, effectively creating its own niche in music history. Musical tastes change however, and the French tuba has been largely supplanted by tubists using instruments twice its size. Since French composers composed specifically with the distinct timbre of the French tuba in mind, this unique and characteristic musical entity deserves a resurgence in performances of French orchestral repertoire.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Kleinsteuber, Carl

Artistic Decision Making and Implications for Engaging Theatrically Gifted and Talented Students in Non-Arts Classes

Description: This cognitive ethnographic study explored the mental processes that professional actors used when making artistic choices while engaged in creative practices to begin a conversation about how the theatrically gifted and talented population is viewed, researched, and educated in non-arts subjects. Professional actors at two sites were observed, videotaped, and interviewed over several rehearsals during play production. The major thematic findings indicated that artistic decision making results from actors engaging in a cyclical process of private work, affective validation, and collaboration. Implications for teaching theatrically gifted students call for classroom environments and processes that echo theatrical rehearsal structures, while engaging the imagination through personal connection and discovery.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Willerson, Amy

Assessing Rainfall Interception by Urban Tree Canopies in Denton, Texas

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Edington, Patrick

Automated GUI Tests Generation for Android Apps Using Q-learning

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Koppula, Sreedevi

Becoming Successful in Education: Beating the Odds, Despite a Background Entrenched in Poverty

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of three relationships on academic achievement in mathematics in students of poverty. The three factors that were examined included: teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer- student relationships. The driving question for the research was as follows: Do external factors such as teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer-student relationships lead to academic success for students of poverty? The study employed a non-experimental, quantitative approach and utilized longitudinal data from a national database High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS) used a sample of 944 public and private high schools across the USA. A total 0f 28,240 were represented in the survey. Of these 28,240 students, 2641 were used in this study as identified by parental income below the poverty threshold. The outcome of the study indicated that there was little or no correlation between the three relationships and mathematics achievement (academic success). Correlations between the dependent variable (math achievement) and the independent variables even though some were statistically significant their weights had no concrete significance. The study recommends that several initiatives can be instated in schools to support and enhance academic achievement in students of poverty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Thompson, Pauline A

Bodies of Evidence: A Qualitative Analysis of the Lived Experiences of Female Central American and Mexican Asylum Seekers in Dallas

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Kober, Ryan Kylie

Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Applications: Privacy Threats and Countermeasures

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Bhalotiya, Anuj Arun

Building an Effective Piano Technique while Avoiding Injury: A Comparison of the Exercises in Alfred Cortot's "Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique" and Carl Tausig's "Daily Studies for the Pianoforte"

Description: It is the teacher's responsibility to guide students in building an effective and injury-free piano technique. Improper technique, poor training and bad posture at the instrument all may cause problems such as lack of muscle control, weakness, or tension in the hands. Many teachers are interested in finding information about specific exercises dealing with finger strengthening, stretching, and warm-up strategies, as well as guidelines for safe practicing. It is therefore important for both teachers and students to understand how to build a technique from the earliest years of instruction. Carl Tausig (1841-1871) and Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) both contributed to the development of piano technique by writing books that include a significant number of exercises and excerpts. Their books incorporate detailed instructions on how to play each exercise effectively and without fatigue. Subsequently, Heinrich Ehrlich (1822-1899) collected and systematically arranged Tausig's notes, complementing them with detailed information on how to play Tausig's exercises without causing injury. This dissertation compares and contrasts the exercises found in Alfred Cortot's book, Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique, and Carl Tausig's book, Daily Studies for the Pianoforte. The latter is based on the practical guidebook, How to Practise on the Piano: Reflections and Suggestions, written by Heinrich Ehrlich. Included in this study are references to the performing arts medical literature dealing with pianists' injuries. By comparing two different historical piano methods and considering their effectiveness in light of modern medical performance research, this dissertation aims to help teachers to determine which methods might be better for students to build a solid piano technique without injuring themselves.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Woo, Lae Hyung

Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge: Urge Magnitude Influence in Men and Women

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Mlynski, Christopher

Case Studies to Learn Human Mapping Strategies in a Variety of Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Architectures

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Malla, Tika Kumari

Catalytic Properties and Mechanical Behavior of Metallic Glass Powders

Description: 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 ...
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Garrison, Seth Thomas

Catastrophe in Permanence: Benjamin's Natural History of Environmental Crisis

Description: Walter Benjamin warned in 1940 of a certain inconspicuous threat to political thinking, not least of all to materialism, that takes progress as an historical norm. Implicit in this conception is what he describes as an empty continuum of time along which the prevailing tradition chronicles its own mythic development and drains everyday life of genuine historical experience. The myth of progressive history advances insidiously today in consumeristic and technocratic attempts at reconciling cultural imagery with organic nature. In this dissertation, I pursue the contradictions of such images as they crystallize around the natural history of twenty-first century commodity society, where promises of ecological remediation, sustainable urban development, and climate change mitigation have yet to introduce a true crisis of historical experience to the ongoing environmental crisis of capitalism. A more radical way of seeing the cultural representation of nature would, I argue, penetrate its mythic determination by market forces and bear witness to the natural-historical ruins and traces that constitute, in Benjamin's terms, a single "catastrophe" where others perceive historical continuity. I argue that Benjamin's critique of progress is instructive to interpreting those utopian dreams, ablaze in consumer life and technological fantasy, that recent decades of growing environmental concern have channeled into the recovery of an experience of the natural world. His dialectics of nature and alienated history confront the wish-image of organic abundance with the transience of its appropriated expression in the commodity-form. Drawing together this confrontation with a varied literature on collective memory, nature, and the city, I suggest that our poverty of experience is more than simply a technical, economic, or even ecological problem, but rather follows from the commodification of history itself. The goal of this work is to reflect upon the potentiality of communal politics that subsist not in rushing headlong into a progressive ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Bower, Matthew S