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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

The Acute Toxic Effects of the Synthetic Cannabinoid, JWH-018 on the Cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine System in Ictalurus punctatus (Channel Catfish)

Description: Cannabinoid (CB) receptors have been found in most vertebrates that have been studied. The location of various CB receptors in the body and brain are known, but their physiological functions are not fully understood. The effects CBs have on the cardiovascular system have been of growing interest in recent years. Increasing reports from emergency departments and law enforcement agencies detail acute cardiovascular and psychological effects from synthetic CB intoxication, such as JWH-018. This major health concern is substantiated by governmental agencies like the CDC and NIDA. This pilot study investigates the acute toxic effects of the synthetic CB, JWH-018, on the cardiovascular and neuroendocrine systems in Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish). Research in organisms besides the traditional mammal models can provide new insights into CB function and physiology. Ictalurus punctatus lend multiple benefits as a model organism that permits researchers to investigate in vivo effects of both cardiovascular and neuroendocrine systems without much influence from traditional sampling methods, and further more provide ample size and tissue to perform specific cardiovascular experiments. Multiple methods were used to assess cardiovascular function and sympathetic nervous system activation. Two different doses, low (500 µg/kg) and high 1,500 µg/kg, of JWH-018 were evaluated in the study. Delivery of JWH-018, via dorsal aorta cannulation, was administered to channel catfish in order to measure cardiovascular functions and sample blood. Plasma levels of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal/interrenal (HPA/I) biomarkers; ACTH, cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, were measured using ELISAs. Myocardial and neural tissue was collected after the exposures for rt-PCR analysis on β2 adrenergic and glucocorticoid receptor density change. Acute exposure of JWH-018 in undisturbed channel catfish yielded several findings: (1) High dose of JWH-018 was responsible for cardio depressor effects in catfish with a tendency to produce tachycardia, (2) rt-PCR results showed a 2.7 fold increase of glucocorticoid receptor mRNA density ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Taylor, Dedric Esmond

Additive Manufacturing of Metastable Beta Titanium Alloys

Description: Additive manufacturing processes of many alloys are known to develop texture during the deposition process due to the rapid reheating and the directionality of the dissipation of heat. Titanium alloys and with respect to this study beta titanium alloys are especially susceptible to these effects. This work examines Ti-20wt%V and Ti-12wt%Mo deposited under normal additive manufacturing process parameters to examine the texture of these beta-stabilized alloys. Both microstructures contained columnar prior beta grains 1-2 mm in length beginning at the substrate with no visible equiaxed grains. This microstructure remained constant in the vanadium system throughout the build. The microstructure of the alloy containing molybdenum changed from a columnar to an equiaxed structure as the build height increased. Eighteen additional samples of the Ti-Mo system were created under different processing parameters to identify what role laser power and travel speed have on the microstructure. There appears to be a correlation in alpha lath size and power density. The two binary alloys were again deposited under the same conditions with the addition of 0.5wt% boron to investigate the effects an insoluble interstitial alloying element would have on the microstructure. The size of the prior beta grains in these two alloys were reduced with the addition of boron by approximately 50 (V) and 100 (Mo) times.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Yannetta, Christopher James

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

African American Soldiers in the Philippine War: An Examination of the Contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers during the Spanish American War and Its Aftermath, 1898-1902

Description: During the Philippine War, 1899 – 1902, America attempted to quell an uprising from the Filipino people. Four regular army regiments of black soldiers, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, and the Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth Infantry served in this conflict. Alongside the regular army regiments, two volunteer regiments of black soldiers, the Forty-Eighth and Forty-Ninth, also served. During and after the war these regiments received little attention from the press, public, or even historians. These black regiments served in a variety of duties in the Philippines, primarily these regiments served on the islands of Luzon and Samar. The main role of these regiments focused on garrisoning sections of the Philippines and helping to end the insurrection. To carry out this mission, the regiments undertook a variety of duties including scouting, fighting insurgents and ladrones (bandits), creating local civil governments, and improving infrastructure. The regiments challenged racist notions in America in three ways. They undertook the same duties as white soldiers. They interacted with local "brown" Filipino populations without fraternizing, particularly with women, as whites assumed they would. And, they served effectively at the company and platoon level under black officers. Despite the important contributions of these soldiers, both socially and militarily, little research focuses on their experiences in the Philippines. This dissertation will discover and examine those experiences. To do this, each regiment is discussed individually and their experiences used to examine the role these men played in the Philippine War. Also addressed is the role ideas about race played in these experiences. This dissertation looks to answer whether or not notions on race played a major role in the activities of these regiments. This dissertation will be an important addition to the study of the Philippine War, the segregated U. S. Army, and African American history in the modern period.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Redgraves, Christopher M.

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

"Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett

Description: Among the Voices Voiceless is a composition for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), viola, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics, based on the poem "What would I do without this world faceless incurious" by Samuel Beckett. The piece is a setting for disembodied voice: the vocal part exists solely in the electronics. Having no physical body, the voice is obscured as the point of empathy for the audience. In addition, instrumental solos compete for focus during the work's twenty minute duration. In passages including a soloist, the soloist functions simultaneously as antagonist and avatar to the disembodied voice. Spoken word recordings and electronic manipulation of instrumental material provides further layers of ambiguity. The companion critical essay "Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett proposes the distillation of Beckett's style into the elements of prosaicness, repetition, fragmentation, ambiguity, and symmetry. Discussions of Beckett's works such as Waiting for Godot and Molloy demonstrate these elements in his practice. This framework informs the examination of two other musical settings of Beckett's poetry: Neither by Morton Feldman and Odyssey by Roger Reynolds. Finally, these elements are used to analyze and elucidate the compositional decisions made in Among the Voices Voiceless.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Lyszczarz, Joseph E

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

Application of UV-Vis Spectroscopy to the Monitoring, Characterization and Analysis of Chemical Equilibria of Copper Etching Baths

Description: The continuously increasing demand for innovation in the miniaturization of microelectronics has driven the need for ever more precise fabrication strategies for device packaging, especially for printed circuit boards (PCBs). Subtractive copper etching is a fundamental step in the fabrication process, requiring very precise control of etch rate and etch factor. Changes in the etching chemical equilibrium have significant effects on etching behavior, and CuCl2 / HCl etching baths are typically monitored with several parameters including oxidation-reduction potential, conductivity, and specific gravity. However, the etch rate and etch factor can be difficult to control even under strict engineering controls of those monitoring parameters. The mechanism of acidic cupric chloride etching, regeneration and recovery is complex, and the current monitoring strategies can have difficulty controlling the interlocking chemical equilibria. A complimentary tool, thin-film UV-Vis spectroscopy, can be utilized to improve the current monitoring strategies, as UV-Vis is capable of identifying and predicting etching behavior that the current standard methodologies have difficulty predicting. Furthermore, as a chemically-sensitive probe, UV-Vis can investigate the complex changes to the chemical equilibrium and speciation of the etch bath, and can contribute overall to significant improvements in the control of the copper etching system in order to meet the demands of next-level design strategies.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Lambert, Alexander S

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

Are Streams Protected? Outcomes of Environmental Regulation

Description: Urban areas experience the loss of natural stream channels through conversion to artificial conveyances. This process tends to target headwater and other low order streams. The purpose of this study is to determine the patterns of stream loss in Denton, Texas, and explore the regulatory structure that manages these streams. Historic and current maps and stream data are used to map Denton's streams and categorize them according to their vertical connectivity as: 1) "intact", streams that are open to the atmosphere and connect to groundwater; 2) "concrete", channelized streams open to the atmosphere but cut off from groundwater; and 3) "buried", streams disconnected from the atmosphere and groundwater. A review of federal, state, and local regulatory codes and interviews with local government officials and other stakeholders elucidates stream management in Denton. Results from these analyses reveal high rates of stream loss in the urban center with low rates overall. The federal Clean Water Act and the local Environmentally Sensitive Areas code serve as the primary protective measures for natural streams. These regulations discourage stream impacts through expensive and complex permitting requirements. However the policies allow minor impacts which may cause cumulative effects. This study aims to inform future policy-making decisions and contribute to the knowledge of the environmental regulation of streams.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Rowen, Zachary

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

Assessment of Competencies among Doctoral Trainees in Psychology

Description: The recent shift to a culture of competence has permeated several areas of professional psychology, including competency identification, competency-based education training, and competency assessment. A competency framework has also been applied to various programs and specialty areas within psychology, such as clinical, counseling, clinical health, school, cultural diversity, neuro-, gero-, child, and pediatric psychology. Despite the spread of competency focus throughout psychology, few standardized measures of competency assessment have been developed. To the authors' knowledge, only four published studies on measures of competency assessment in psychology currently exist. While these measures demonstrate significant steps in progressing the assessment of confidence, three of these measures were designed for use with individual programs, two of these international (i.e., UK and Taiwan). The current study applied the seminal Competency Benchmarks, via a recently adapted benchmarks form (i.e., Practicum Evaluation form; PEF), to practicum students at the University of North Texas. In addition to traditional supervisor ratings, the present study also involved self-, peer supervisor, and peer supervisee ratings to provide 360-degree evaluations. Item-response theory (IRT) was used to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PEF and inform potential revisions of this form. Supervisor ratings of competency were found to fit the Rasch model specified, lending support to use of the benchmarks framework as assessed by this form. Self- and peer-ratings were significantly correlated with supervisor ratings, indicating that there may be some utility to 360-degree evaluations. Finally, as predicted, foundational competencies were rated as significantly higher than functional competencies, and competencies improved significantly with training. Results of the current study provide clarity about the utility of the PEF and inform our understanding of practicum-level competencies.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Price, Samantha

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

Best Practices in Targeted Advertising for Fashion Entrepreneurs

Description: A key to a business's success is reaching the target market. This ensures that consumers are exposed to the retailer's offerings and by turn, inspired to purchase. In turn, the business can reach its goal of a profitable organization. The purpose of this paper was to determine the most effective fashion advertising appeals for reaching target markets. To address these issues, this thesis consisted of two studies. The purpose of the first study was to determine the advice given to fashion entrepreneurs regarding effective target market practices. The purpose of the second study was to determine effective advertising strategies fashion entrepreneurs may employ for effectively reaching target markets. Data was collected to test the effectiveness of the advice from Study 1, degrees of brand awareness, attitudes towards advertising, willingness to follow trends, purchase intention, purchase behavior, and shopping involvement. The Theory of Reasoned Action was employed as the theoretical framework of the study. The framework was utilized to predict that attitudes towards targeted advertising and pressure to follow fashion trends would positively relate to intent to purchase which, in turn, would positively relate to purchase behavior. The results of this paper concluded the TRA model provided a proper framework to predict purchase behavior from targeted advertising employed by fashion entrepreneurs.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Slaton, Kelcie Shaelyn

BLE Controller Module for Wireless Sensor Networks

Description: Sensors have been an integral part of our life since a long time. Traditionally, the transmit information to a data collection center through a physical wire. However, with the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication protocol, more research is being done into the field of wireless sensor networks (WSN). BLE was introduced to target low power applications. The CC2650 Launchpad designed by Texas Instruments (TI) can lead to a bulky final product. The aim was to design hardware for the CC2650 micro-controller with the aim of making it more compact for use in WSNs. A top-down approach was used wherein the available product is studied to identify the redundant and reverse engineer it to design a new product. A 2 layer printed circuit board (PCB) was designed which resulted in a 64 percent decrease in size compared to the Launchpad. Also, experiments were performed to test the proof of concept.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Vaswani, Mohit Suresh

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