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Kiskowski, William LARAB AMERICAN IDENTITIES AND THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF DEARBORN, MICHIGAN
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Geography
Dearborn Michigan is perhaps the most notable Arab American community in the United States. This dissertation examines how Arab Americans in Dearborn have altered landscapes to suit their needs and tastes. Using qualitative approaches to landscape observation and participant engagement, I have explored the Dearborn community and neighborhood, focusing on the visual built environment to identify alterations to the landscape affected by Arab Americans. Informants also offered varied perceptions of the neighborhood’s ongoing redevelopment and Dearborn’s symbolic position as an Arab American enclave. In the context of Dearborn’s ethnic enclave and two of its major Arab American Organizations, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and the Arab American National Museum (AANM), I discuss the development of Arab American identities. The relationship between the various subgroups in the Arab American community is complex, and Dearborn is not perceived as an in-group enclave by all Arab American groups. It appears that the sense of pan-Arabism fostered by major organizations has yet to become salient among the majority of Arab Americans. There is, however, a growing level of comfort for Arabs, non-Arab Muslims, and other Middle Easterners within the Dearborn neighborhood and the surrounding area. Dearborn offers an inviting setting for visitors and students who wish to practice traditional culture without drawing notice.

Committee:

David Kaplan, Ph.D. (Committee Chair); Sarah Smiley, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jacqueline Curtis, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Landon Hancock, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Geography

Keywords:

Ethnicity; Immigration; Arab; Enclave

Alaql, Omar abdulrahmanGENERAL PURPOSE APPROACHES FOR NO-REFERENCE IMAGE QUALITY ASSESSMENT
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Computer Science
The last decade has witnessed great advances in digital images. Massive numbers of digital images are being captured by mobile digital cameras due to the increasing popularity of mobile imaging devices. These images are subjected to many processing stages during storing, transmitting, or sharing over a network connection. Unfortunately, these processing stages could potentially add visual degradation to original image. These degradations reduce the perceived visual quality which leads to an unsatisfactory experience for human viewers. Therefore, Image Quality Assessment (IQA) has become a topic of high interest and intense research over the last decade. The aim of IQA is to automatically assess image quality in agreement with human judgments. This dissertation mainly focuses on the most challenging category of IQA - general- purpose No-Reference Image Quality Assessment (NR-IQA), where the goal is to assess the quality of images without information about the reference images and without prior knowledge about the types of distortions in the tested image. This dissertation contributes to the research of image quality assessment by proposing three novel approaches for NR- IQA and one model for image distortions classification. First, we propose improvements in image distortions classification by introducing a training model based on new features collection. Second, we propose a NR-IQA technique, which utilizes our improvement in the classification model, and based on a hypothesis that an effective combination of image features can be used to develop efficient NR-IQA approaches. Third, a NR-IQA technique is proposed based on Natural Scene Statistics (NSS) by finding the distance between the natural images and the distorted images in 3D dimensional space. Forth, a novel NR-IQA approach is presented, by utilizing multiple Deep Belief Networks (DBNs) with multiple regression models. We have evaluated the performance of the proposed and some existing models on a fair basis. The obtained results show that our models give better results and yield a significant improvement.

Committee:

Cheng-Chang Lu (Advisor); Austin Melton (Committee Member); Kambiz Ghazinour (Committee Member); Jun Li (Committee Member); Mohammed Khan (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Computer Science

Lusher, Katelyn JRecognizing Student Emotion: Resistance and Pathos in the Composition Classroom
MA, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of English
Scholars have neglected the topic of or pathos, or emotion, in the classroom particularly student emotion; usually it is only the emotional labor of instructors that is analyzed at length. It is my belief that student emotion is at the core of their resistance in the classroom; when a student resists a teacher’s instruction, it is not necessarily “something to be overcome.” According to critical pedagogical endoxa/values students must eventually accept the teacher’s critical goals, but this perspective does not consider the potential for emotion-based resistance. My thesis demonstrates that critical pedagogy neglects student emotion rather than addressing this resistance. I also consider how and why pathos is underutilized in the composition classroom and suggest it as a way to understand resistance. To these ends, I use Laura Micciche’s definition of emotion: “emotions are enacted and embodied in the social world [and] produced between people and between people and things. That is, we do emotions—they don’t simply happen to us” (Micciche 2007 1-2). According to Micciche, students must be able to explore the emotions of their fellow classmates and their instructor. Understanding student emotions and acknowledging the need to address them will benefit composition instructors (particularly the inexperienced) and add another dimension to emotion studies; furthermore, I believe acknowledging student emotion will assist instructors in developing effective pedagogies for their classrooms.

Committee:

Sara Newman, Dr. (Committee Chair); Keith Lloyd, Dr. (Committee Member); Bill Kist, Dr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Higher Education; Literacy; Rhetoric

Keywords:

critical pedagogy, emotion, students, composition, classroom, rhetoric, pedagogy, resistance, pathos, instructors, teachers

Alexiou, KostasOrganizational Legitimacy in Entrepreneurial Contexts: Hybridity, Crowdfunding, and Social Entrepreneurship
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Business Administration / Department of Marketing
This dissertation contains three essays investigating entrepreneurship under conditions of institutional uncertainty; conditions in which clear, well-defined rules or logics are not available. Under such conditions, new organizations experience greater difficulty in building legitimacy, a critical first step for new ventures seeking capital and other necessary resources. This dissertation builds on prior research in social entrepreneurship, conceptualizing social enterprise as a type of hybrid organization - organizations that combine institutional logics in new and often unexpected ways - and explores the effects that hybridity has on legitimacy and crowdfunding outcomes. Essay 1 develops and validates a multi-dimensional, perceptual measure of legitimacy over the course of five studies. While this dissertation is focused on the context of entrepreneurship, a measure of perceived legitimacy should be most useful to researchers interested in the “microfoundations” of institutional theory. Essays 2 focuses on social entrepreneurship (social enterprise) as a form of hybrid organization. By definition, social entrepreneurs use market-based mechanisms to achieve a specific social cause or purpose. As a result, they simultaneously act as both a commercial organization as well as a charity, resulting in what is referred to as a hybrid identity. This can create conflicting sets of expectations in terms of how these organizations should behave, which can be a threat to an organization’s legitimacy. Essay 2 uses an experimental design and the measures developed in Essay 1 to examine how social entrepreneurs’ hybrid identities, in combination with the organization’s chosen legal form (for-profit, non-profit, B-Corp), influence perceptions of the different dimensions of organizational legitimacy. Essay 3 examines the relationship between social entrepreneurs’ hybrid identities and legitimacy by exploring the success/failure of crowdfunding campaigns. Using data gathered from a unique crowdfunding platform specific to social enterprise, the results of this study demonstrate that contrary to what prior research would predict, communicating a hybrid identity improves crowdfunding outcomes for social entrepreneurs. The results show that emphasizing the utilitarian elements of a hybrid identity has a positive effect on the amount of capital raised in a crowdfunding campaign due to the legitimate distinctiveness it bestows on these types of organizations.

Committee:

Jennifer Wiggins (Committee Chair); C├ęsar Zamudio (Committee Member); Greta Polites (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Marketing

Keywords:

social entrepreneurship; social enterprise; hybrid organizations; legitimacy; measurement; crowdfunding

Saha, NeeteINTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCES WITH ACADEMIC ADVISING AT A MID-WESTERN PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
PHD, Kent State University, 2018, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
International students’ experiences with academic advising is worth studying because the number of international students is growing significantly in the United States of America (USA) even though studies show that, upon arrival, international students experience cultural, social, academic, and psychological issues including homesickness, anxiety, depression, and loneliness (Saha & Karpinski, 2016; Tseng & Newton, 2002). In 2016/2017, 1,078,822 international students enrolled in American colleges and universities to pursue higher education (Institute of International Education [IIE], 2017). Despite the growing number of international students in the USA, research has been limited in the areas of academic advising and international students. Thus, with the increasing number of international students coming to study in the USA, it is imperative for American colleges and universities to be aware of their issues and needs. The purpose of this interpretive qualitative study was to understand and describe undergraduate international students’ experiences with academic advising. My primary research question was: What are undergraduate international students’ experiences with academic advising? Thirteen students from Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa participated in this study, and their country of origins included India, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Tanzania, and Somalia. The data analysis for this exploratory study was guided by the constant comparative method of analysis. Although a couple of the participants expressed dissatisfaction with advising, the majority of the participants were satisfied with academic advising. Overall, most participants appreciated the service and saw a need for academic advisors for international students.

Committee:

Mark Kretovics (Committee Co-Chair)

Subjects:

Higher Education

Keywords:

Academic Advising, International Students, Higher Education

ALBOSLEMY, TALIBKruppel-like factor 2: A regulator of macrophage-mediated innate immune response against Staphylococcus aureus biofilm.
PHD, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / School of Biomedical Sciences
Complications arising from cutaneous and soft tissue infections with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) are a major clinical problem due to the high incidence of these infections and the widespread emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. In particular, S. aureus infection involving the formation of biofilm is clinically challenging due to antibiotic resistance and immune evasive characteristics of biofilm-associated infection. Accumulating evidences support that macrophages associated with S. aureus biofilms have decreased secretion of cytokines and chemokines, which might have contributed to the impaired bactericidal activity. A series of recent studies have demonstrated that S. aureus biofilms skew macrophage polarization towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype that persists bacterial survival. However, the detailed mechanism underlying the evasion of macrophage-mediated innate immune response against S. aureus biofilm is poorly understood. The central hypothesis of this study is that S. aureus biofilm environment skews macrophage polarization toward the anti-inflammatory phenotype by interfering with a pattern recognition receptor (PRR)-dependent positive regulatory mechanism or aberrantly amplifying a negative regulatory mechanism of NF-kB activation. In this study, using an in vitro model of murine macrophages exposed to the secreted factors from S. aureus biofilm, we have determined the impact of the S. aureus biofilms on macrophage-mediated innate immune response and elucidated its associated signaling mechanism. The major finding of this study is that S. aureus biofilm environment associated with alpha toxin skews macrophage polarization toward the anti-inflammatory phenotype by aberrantly increasing the expression of krupper-like factor 2 (KLF2) in macrophages, which in turn negatively regulate the activation of NF-kB pathways for host innate immune responses. Our study provides an important insight into the mechanism by which S. aureus biofilm impair macrophage-mediated innate immune defense functions and is the first to identify KLF2 in macrophage as a molecular target by S. aureus biofilm to evade innate immune attack by macrophages. Understanding the nature of host-microbial interactions, in particular in the context of the mechanisms used by S. aureus biofilm to evade host innate immune defense, is the key to develop an effective immunotherapy for combating infectious diseases. Our study provides a new opportunity for immunotherapy for targeting macrophage polarization toward the anti-biofilm phenotype by targeting KLF2 and its associated signalling in macrophages against S. aureus biofilm infection.

Committee:

Min-HO Kim (Advisor)

Subjects:

Biomedical Research

Keywords:

Staphylococcus aureus; Biofilms; Macrophage; Inflammation; innate immune response; KLF-2

Anderson, Emma Elizebeth"If She Could Relax, Don't You Think She Would?"
MFA, Kent State University, 2018, College of the Arts / School of Art
My artwork functions as a personal expression of repressed emotions. I convey various negative emotions through the use of formal elements in my paintings and monoprints. My paintings and monoprints contain anxious and chaotic scenes that function as non-linear narratives from traumatic experiences in my life. The creatures operate as alter egos of myself representing my repressed emotions, or physical characteristics of my appearance. Creating my art allows me to work out personal issues through the use of forms and materials. My art pieces contain various applications of paint, jagged and gestural marks to form the figures, along childlike graphic imagery such as bulging eyes and crooked teeth. The paintings and monoprints contain energetic reds, acidic yellows, and vibrant purples which add to the energy in the work. The ultimate goal of my work is to spark an emotional response within the viewer. Ideally, I would like the overload of hectic information to evoke within the viewer a constant anxious feeling; the same feeling I experience as a result of my battle with anxiety. I am consistently told by others around me to just relax. Through the work the viewer will experience the anxiety that I constantly feel and am unable to escape. If I were able to relax, I would. The overwhelming sensation of anxiety is always with me.

Committee:

Martin Ball, Mr. (Advisor); Gianna Commito, Ms. (Committee Member); Arron Foster, Mr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Fine Arts

Keywords:

Painting; Neo-Expressionism; Emotions

Othman, SalemAutonomous Priority Based Routing for Online Social Networks
PHD, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Computer Science
Social Routing in Online Social Networks (OSNs) is very challenging, as it must handle privacy and performance. This study proposes a Social Online Routing (SOR) protocol for OSNs that satisfies Stratified Privacy Model (SPM) core requirements and minimizes end-to-end routing delays corresponding to the social routing information elements exchanged under the SPM. SOR uses five messages (I-need Message, I-have Message, I-thank Message, I-like/dislike message, and the I-Ack Message) for carrying routing information. Forwarding models (I-need Module, I-have Module, I-thank Module, and I-ack Module) and routing algorithms (Topology aware Shortest-Path-Based routing algorithm, Social-Priority-Based routing algorithm, and Queue-aware Social-Priority-Based routing algorithm) are introduced. Four anonymization techniques are also utilized for stratified privacy. To evaluate the study’s proposed protocol, an Online Social Networks Simulator is designed and implemented. Using real datasets from Google Plus, the simulator is used to evaluate end-to-end routing delays corresponding to the social routing information elements exchanged under the SPM.

Committee:

Javed Khan, Prof. (Advisor)

Subjects:

Computer Science

Keywords:

Online social networks; Social Priority based Routing; SOR Protocol; Social routing and forwarding; Simulation; Social requests; Anonymization; Privacy leakage; Privacy Enhancing Technologies; Social based Routing; Request Dissemination; Human dynamics;

Lawrence, Erin RUndermined: A Novel
MFA, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of English
This novel of speculative fiction takes on the possibility of propaganda, deceit, and war in Victorian Age Europe.

Committee:

Varley O'Connor (Advisor)

Subjects:

Fine Arts

Howdyshell, Stanford LukeON ESSENCES: PHENOMENOLOGICAL INSIGHTS INTO OBJECT ORIENTED ONTOLOGY
MA, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Philosophy
Object Oriented Ontology (OOO), as developed by Graham Harman, draws on many of the insights developed in the research programs of phenomenology, systems theory, active network theory, and Deleuzian ontology. From the phenomenological tradition, Husserl's theory of intentional objects and Heidegger's tool analysis have been central to the development of OOO. Discussion on essences has been, for the most part, neglected by the philosophers of OOO. While maintaining that OOO is a metaphysical system which includes essences, they have been content to either leave the question of essence to the phenomenologists or to neglect them altogether. This is a problem because OOO allows for objects to change while retaining their identity, but lacks a firm theory of identity conditions. In this thesis I will investigate this shortcoming of OOO and apply the positive insights from Edmund Husserl’s and Martin Heidegger’s philosophies of essence to OOO. This investigation will result in a theory of essence that integrates the phenomenologist’s philosophies of essence into OOO.

Committee:

Gina Zavota (Advisor); Michael Byron (Committee Member); Andreea Smaranda Aldea (Committee Member); Kevin Floyd (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Philosophy

Nardy, Margaret TThe Cost of Urban Change on Neighborhood Schools: The Case of Youngstown, Ohio, 1946-1997
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
NARDY, MARGARET T., Ph.D., May 2017 CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION THE COST OF URBAN CHANGE TO NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS: THE CASE OF YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, 1946-1997 (200 pp.) Director of Dissertation: Vilma Seeberg, Ph.D. This study was designed to trace the phenomena that led to the degeneration of the neighborhood school system in a city in decline. Youngstown, Ohio, once a thriving, populous, steel-producing town, has been in a steady state of decline since the late 1970s. This study used socio-historical research methods and relied on selected literature primarily on how deindustrialization, suburbanization, and relevant social and education policies have affected the Youngstown school system’s decline. This study argued that Youngstown’s school system decline is a result of deindustrialization, suburbanization, and educational and social policies, all of which played a significant role in the dismantling of its neighborhoods and neighborhood schools. The study explored the specifics and dynamic interactions of both national and local facets of deindustrialization, suburbanization, and social policies relevant to the school system.

Committee:

Vilma Seeberg, PhD (Committee Chair)

Subjects:

Education

Keywords:

deindustrialization, suburbanization, urban renewa, federal policy, and neighborhood schools

Singh, ShwetaYOU ARE WHAT YOU STUDY OR YOU STUDY WHAT YOU ARE? CHOICE OF COLLEGE MAJOR AND IDENTITY AFFIRMATION AMONG EMERGING ADULTS
MS, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
One of the critical developmental challenges of emerging adulthood is identity development and affirmation. This process continues throughout college when many undergraduate students experience increased independence and are thus free to “try on” new identities, or affirm existing identities which have proven meaningful. Opting for a major is a big leap towards shaping a student’s future and defining their desired adult identities. Additionally, it may be an expression of who they are and who they desire to become. This study aims to understand the role of this choice in the process of expressing and affirming one’s identity. This study tests the hypothesis that selection of a major provides an opportunity to affirm a student’s identity because it denotes certain desirable characteristic traits, or identity images. The study was conducted in two parts. Study 1 tested the hypothesis that unique clusters of identity images can be identified for different undergraduate majors (i.e., Hospitality Management, Recreation, Parks & Tourism Management, Journalism, Fashion Design and Biology). The findings suggested that discrete sets of identity images do exist for some of the majors while others shared some identity images. Study 2 investigated the second hypothesis and found that students tended to correspond highly to the identity images symbolized by their chosen major more than the identity images symbolized by other majors. Study 2 also asserted that emerging adults perceive a great degree of freedom in their choice of a college major. Results are discussed along with implications and future research prospects.

Committee:

Andrew Lepp, Dr. (Committee Member); Aviad Israeli, Dr. (Committee Member); Philip Wang, Dr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Behavioral Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Education; Recreation

Keywords:

identity image, identity affirmation, college major

Bober, Delia ASingled Out for Success: A Narrative Inquiry of Single Mothers in the Community College
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and understand single-mother community college students’ perceptions of their ability to succeed. The theoretical framework that guided this research was Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory concept of self-efficacy, defined as a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed. Given prevalent deficit mindset surrounding the single-mother population, this study sought to flip the negative narrative and investigate these students through a strengths-based lens. In this narrative inquiry study, I collected data through semi-structured interviews of seven single-mother students at a large Midwestern community college. Utilizing a three-dimensional model, participants shared their life histories, current realities, and future visions leading to an understanding of participants’ perceptions of academic success. Data analysis was completed using narrative analysis techniques from both Connelly and Clandinin (1990) and Luttrell (2010). Seven themes emerged in relation to single mothers’ views of academic success: (a) Range in Parental Perceptions in Relation to Success; (b) Educational Upbringings—A Sense of Not Belonging; (c) Overcoming Abusive Environments; (d) The Community College Paradox—Barriers and Supports to Success; (e) Common Motivators to Success—Children and Single Motherhood; (f) A Positive Shift in Self-Efficacy; and (g) Perceptions and Future Aspirations of Success—”Finishing the Degree” and Paying It Forward.

Committee:

Susan Iverson, Dr. (Committee Co-Chair); Martha Merrill, Dr. (Committee Co-Chair)

Subjects:

Higher Education

Keywords:

Single Mothers; Single Mother Students; Single Parent Students; Community College; Narrative Inquiry

Moore, GabrielleMagic Mae
BS, Kent State University, 2018, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
Magic Mae is a children's novel about a deaf girl who is placed in the public school setting. In this thesis, there is an in-depth analysis developed, commenting on the writing and illustrations done by the author. This book highlights many different topics, including Deaf culture, diversity, language development, oppression in the form of audism, and stereotypes, in addition to many other issues.

Committee:

Jamie McCartney, Dr. (Advisor)

Subjects:

Minority and Ethnic Groups

Keywords:

deaf; deaf culture, ASL; american sign language; children; book

Kotik, Jessica DawnUsing Mindfulness Meditation to Reduce Academic Anxiety in Struggling Readers
BS, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Psychology
Can a mindfulness meditation intervention help struggling learners overcome anxiety caused by a deficit in reading comprehension and improve trait mindfulness, efficacy, and reading abilities? I hypothesized a mindfulness intervention could significantly improve all these areas, thus enhancing classroom performance. In this study, participants in a five-week reading intervention program took pre-assessments to measure the above-mentioned variables. They were then randomly assigned to one of two groups—mindfulness intervention or control. The mindfulness group practiced the intervention for five weeks, while the control group only received the intervention in the fifth week. Following treatment, post-assessments were taken to measure any changes in variables. Results indicated a main effect of time for reading anxiety. Subsequent analyses suggested that mindfulness meditation may have influenced this main effect.

Committee:

Christopher Was, Ph.D. (Advisor); Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Katherine Rawson, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Belinda Zimmerman, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Psychology

Keywords:

mindfulness meditation; reading anxiety; academic anxiety; efficacy; trait mindfulness; reading abilities; reading comprehension; reading attitudes; writing abilities; spelling abilities

Remark, Linda NPortraits of Developmental Reading Students: A Case Study Exploration
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies
The purpose of this study was to explore developmental reading students’ abilities and attitudes in reading, as well as the role literacy played in their lives. As higher education is funded based on student performance, it is in all college stakeholders’ interest to help all students, including developmental learners, succeed. Learning from developmental reading students has been proven to be advantageous in understanding their experiences and assisting with their academic success. Using a descriptive multiple case-study design, data were collected from 16 developmental reading students through two questionnaires, two reading assessments, literacy tracking, and two semi-structured interviews. Five participants’ data were further explored through a case and cross-case analysis. The study found developmental reading students were open to improving their reading abilities and viewed the developmental course as a medium through which to do this. They also appreciated and valued reading, though not always in ways academia would require. Finally, developmental readers were not always able to accurately identify their reading needs and did not view literacy as a social or cultural experience. The results of this study have important curricular implications for developmental students, educators, and their institutions. Instructors should provide meaningful opportunities for reflection on reading abilities and attitudes. Additionally, institutions should incorporate placement measures which place and diagnose specific literacy needs. Finally, classroom experiences need to incorporate and expand on the different types of literacy students are using outside of the classroom as well as support literacy use with others.

Committee:

Denise N. Morgan, PHD (Committee Co-Chair); Kristine E. Pytash, PHD (Committee Co-Chair); Tracy Lara Hilton, PHD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Adult Education; Community College Education; Education

Keywords:

Developmental Reading;Developmental Students;Community College;Case Study

Hamad, Ayman I.AELLIPTIC FLOW STUDY OF CHARMED MESONS IN 200 GEV AU+AU COLLISIONS AT THE RELATIVISTIC HEAVY ION COLLIDER
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Physics
Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong interaction between quarks and gluons, predicts that at extreme conditions of high temperature and/or density, quarks and gluons are no longer confined within individual hadrons. This new deconfined state of quarks and gluons is called Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). The Universe was in this QGP state a few microseconds after the Big Bang. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island, NY was built to create and study the properties of QGP. Due to their heavy masses, quarks with heavy flavor (charm and bottom) are mainly created during the early, energetic stages of the collisions. Heavy flavor is considered to be a unique probe for QGP studies, since it propagates through all phases of a collision, and is affected by the hot and dense medium throughout its evolution. Initial studies, via indirect reconstruction of heavy flavor using their decay electrons, indicated a much higher energy loss by these quarks compared to model predictions, with a magnitude comparable to that of light quarks. Mesons such as D0 could provide information about the interaction of heavy quarks with the surrounding medium through measurements such as elliptic flow. Such data help constrain the transport parameters of the QGP medium and reveal its degree of thermalization. Because heavy hadrons have a low production yield and short lifetime (e.g. ct = 120µm for D0), it is very challenging to obtain accurate measurements of open heavy flavor in heavy-ion collisions, especially since the collisions also produce large quantities of light-flavor particles. Also due to their short lifetime, it is difficult to distinguish heavy-flavor decay vertices from the primary collision vertex; one needs a very high precision vertex detector in order to separate and reconstruct the decay of the heavy flavor particles in the presence of thousands of other particles produced in each collision. The STAR collaboration built a new micro-vertex detector and installed it in the experiment in 2014. This state-of-the-art silicon pixel technology is named the Heavy Flavor Tracker (HFT). The HFT was designed in order to perform direct topological reconstruction of the weak decay products from hadrons that include a heavy quark. The HFT consists of four layers of silicon, and it improves the track pointing resolution of the STAR experiment from a few mm to around 30 µm for charged pions at a momentum of 1 GeV/c. In this dissertation, I focus on one of the main goals of the HFT detector, which is to study the elliptic flow v2 (a type of azimuthal anisotropy) for D0 mesons in Au+Au collisions at vsNN = 200 GeV. My analysis is based on the 2014 data set (about 1.2 billion collisions covering all impact parameters) that include data from the HFT detector. There are two new and unique analysis elements used in this dissertation. First, I performed the analysis using a Kalman filter algorithm to reconstruct the charmed-meson candidates. The standard reconstruction is via a simple helix-swim method. The advantage of using the Kalman algorithm is in the use of the full error matrix of each track in the vertex estimation and reconstruction of the properties of the heavy-flavor parent particle. Second, I also used the Tool for Multivariate Analysis (TMVA), a ROOT-environment tool, to its full potential for signal significance optimization, instead of the previous approach based on a set of fixed cuts for separating signal from background. This dissertation presents the elliptic component (v2) of azimuthal anisotropy of D0 mesons as a function of transverse momentum, pT . The centrality (impact parameter) dependence of D0 v2(pT) is also studied. Results are compared with similar studies involving light quarks, and with the predictions of several theoretical models.

Committee:

Spyridon Margetis, Prof. (Advisor); Declan Keane, Prof. (Advisor); Veronica Dexheimer (Committee Member); Songping Huang (Committee Member); Mietek Jaroniec (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Nuclear Physics; Particle Physics; Physics

Keywords:

Nuclear Physics; Heavy Ion Collisions; Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider; Quark Gluon Plasma; Heavy Flavor quarks; Heavy Flavor Tracker Detector; Azimuthal Anisotropy

Wingate, Tiah JAn Examination of Instrumental Support Received by Parents of Children with Special Health Care Needs Throughout the Life Course
MA, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the instrumental support received by parents of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) throughout the life course. The study sample included 489 parents of CSHCN obtained from the Wave III sample and the Refresher sample of the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) survey. The study provided a description of the sources of unpaid assistance for the parents of CSHCN and yielded significant findings regarding variations in support receipt associated with life course variables. Parents receive significantly more instrumental support from informal sources than from formal sources at each stage of the family life cycle. Additionally, a significant positive relationship exists between the amount of support received from formal sources and the amount of support received from informal sources. The receipt of support from various specific sources also demonstrates a relationship with the receipt of support from other specific sources. Finally, life course variables including religious participation and gender were associated with the receipt of support from formal sources, whereas family life cycle stage was associated with the receipt of support from informal sources. Parents from families with young children reported receiving significantly more unpaid assistance from informal sources than parents from families at all other life cycle stages. These findings help inform service providers as to parents who may potentially need assistance securing instrumental support as well as point to potential areas for future research.

Committee:

Kelly Cichy, PhD (Advisor); Maureen Blankemeyer, PhD (Committee Member); Rhonda Richardson, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Families and Family Life; Health Care; Social Research; Social Work

Keywords:

children with special health care needs; parents of CSHCN; social support; instrumental support, parents of children with illness or disability; instrumental support for parents of children with special needs

Mazzola, Bridget TThe Neurosociologial Approach to Gender Bias in STEM Careers
BA, Kent State University, 2018, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Sociology
The lack of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers is a commonly discussed issue in the 21st century. This inequality has lessened in life science professions over the years, but little progress has been made in math-intensive fields. Much research has been conducted focusing on the societal beliefs about gender and mathematical ability that contribute to the disparity. This thesis uses a combination of sociology and neuroscience, or “neurosociology,” to obtain a fresh perspective on gender bias in STEM careers. Electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) analysis provide insight into the subconscious, neurological activity that signals bias. The feedback-related negativity (FRN) is a specific ERP component that encodes unfavorable, unexpected events, including social expectancy violations. Results from a small pilot study reveal that the FRN was larger when male, undergraduate math majors viewed images of women performing tasks in STEM-related settings compared to when they viewed images of women performing domestic tasks. A larger study is needed to confirm a neurological foundation for a `glass ceiling’ that prevents women from entering STEM careers, particularly those that are math intensive.

Committee:

Will Kalkhoff (Advisor); Kristen Marcussen (Committee Member); Candace Bowen (Committee Member); Suzanne Holt (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Gender; Neurobiology; Neurosciences; Social Research; Sociology

Keywords:

STEM; Gender Bias; Neurosociology; Event-related potential; FRN

Whalen, Kevin ChristopherA map system to disseminate national science on forests for the creation of regional tree planting prioritization plans
MS, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Computer Science
In the United States, urban forestry efforts are sustained through efforts from individuals, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies across local, state, and national levels. The i-Tree Tools suite of software promotes the use of, peer-reviewed science to explain the benefits that trees provide in a method intended for the general public. This thesis shares the computer-specific knowledge collected during the design, implementation, and continued expansion of i-Tree Landscape. The i-Tree Landscape application is a web-browser based, online, geographic information system, referred to as a web-GIS app. The "pages" of the web-app are part of a system of software libraries and services, along with dedicated hardware, which were specifically researched, compared, selected, and optimally configured for their roles in supporting the system as a whole. This work will also briefly touch upon the open source libraries and services running in the Landscape system, as well as, some of the decisions they influenced with acquiring hardware to support its deployment. Delivering the data and formulas associated with the benefits of trees for the entire geographic area of the United States becomes difficult over the internet, especially when it must be achieved via a non-expert interface. To manage this, the flow of the application is separated into five, non-sequential steps, prefixed with a landing page, and postfixed with a publishable report. This partitioning helps with code responsibility separation, as well. In addition to producing a tailorable report for describing the benefits of trees, the primary purpose of the application is to help prioritize tree planting efforts. This is well needed by foresters to help allocate for popular practice of mass tree plantings. The planning is done via a customizable model utilizing nearly all of the possible attributes as weighting options. The regional aggregations for this are available to users through nine boundary layers, most notably including counties, block groups, and watersheds. The research supporting the data on trees is from working directly with the authors of peer-reviewed research from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service laboring at the Northern Research Station at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. i-Tree Landscape has succeeded in becoming a science dissemination facility, by the use of information visualization, with the purpose of making decisions that promote urban forestry stewardship through modern web-GIS, and data processing techniques.

Committee:

Cheng-Chang Lu, PhD (Advisor); Austin Melton, PhD (Committee Member); Gokarna Sharma, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Computer Science; Ecology; Environmental Science; Geography; Urban Forestry; Urban Planning

Keywords:

budget national map processing; geographic information system; GIS; national land cover; forestry; tree planting prioritization; GDAL; GEOS; GeoServer; PostGIS; JTS; Open Geospatial Consortium; OGC; Open Source Geospatial Foundation; OSGeo;

Muckridge, Nicole AAdult Learners' Knowledge of Fraction Addition and Subtraction
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies
The purpose of this study was to examine adult developmental mathematics (ADM) students’ knowledge of fraction addition and subtraction as it relates to their demonstrated fraction schemes and ability to disembed in multiplicative contexts with whole numbers. The study was conducted using a mixed methods sequential explanatory design. In the first phase, 72 developmental mathematics students took a written assessment containing disembedding, fraction scheme, and fraction addition/subtraction items. Based upon the results of the assessment, three individuals from the first phase were selected to participate in one-on-one clinical interviews. These interviews were aimed at identifying and describing the cognitive processes underlying the participants’ performance on the written assessment items. Results from the quantitative phase indicated statistically significant moderate correlations between disembedding in multiplicative contexts, demonstrated fraction schemes, and fraction addition/subtraction. Moreover, regression analysis revealed that age, fraction schemes score, disembedding score, and number of repeated mathematics courses were all significant predictors of a participant’s fraction addition/subtraction score. Analysis of the clinical interviews revealed that norming and the equi-partitioning scheme play an important role in ADM learners’ conceptions of fractions. This study quantitatively measured the relationship between disembedding, fraction schemes, and fraction addition/subtraction, which has been hypothesized in prior qualitative research. The results also have important instructional implications. Instructors of ADM courses should use the results of this study as an indication of the importance of determining their students’ existing schemes and providing them with opportunities to engage in actions associated with higher-level schemes.

Committee:

Karl Kosko (Committee Co-Chair); Joanne Caniglia (Committee Co-Chair); Jay Jahangiri (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Adult Education; Education; Higher Education; Mathematics; Mathematics Education

Keywords:

adult learners; fractions; developmental; fraction schemes; disembedding; mathematics

Stern, Sholom DA phenomenological study of how Orthodox Jews experience spirituality and religiosity within the context of marriage
PHD, Kent State University, 2018, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
This qualitative phenomenological study explored the interaction between the constructs of spirituality and religiosity of Orthodox Judaism with marriage. Eight participants were selected to be interviewed for this study. All of the participants were from the Greater Cleveland area and considered themselves to be members of the Orthodox Jewish faith. The interviews were conducted using the responsive interviewing method, allowing for the participants to offer data in expected and unexpected areas of interest. From these interviews, the data was analyzed using a four step process and organized into four major themes: (a) the experience of Orthodox Judaism enhances marriage, (b) marriage enhances the experience of Orthodox Judaism, (c) the experience of Orthodox Judaism detracts from marriage, and (d) marriage detracts from the experience of Orthodox Judaism. These themes were each supported by two or more sub-themes that detailed specific ways each of the themes is substantiated from the interview data. Additionally, two minor themes were found: (a) the community’s role in the Orthodox Jewish experience of marriage, and (b) differing roles and foci of marriage partners in Orthodox Judaism. This study revealed that Orthodox Judaism interacts with marriage in a bidirectional manner, with these constructs enhancing each other in various ways and detracting from each other as well. Further research might look at how these constructs interact in those of various faiths, sampling from more specific populations within Orthodox Judaism, and use of a more anonymous methodology to gather data.

Committee:

Jason McGlothlin (Advisor); Martin Jencius (Advisor)

Subjects:

Counseling Education; Counseling Psychology

Keywords:

spirituality religiosity marriage phenomenology Orthodox Judaism

Joudeh, Nidaa MTHE ROLE OF SERINE/THREONINE PHOSPHATASES IN SPERM FUNCTION
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Biological Sciences
This thesis sheds light on the role of two main Ser/Thr phosphatases in sperm function: PP1¿2, and Calcineurin (PP2B). The results show for the first time that spermatogenesis in the testis can be supported by the somatic PP1 isoform PP1¿1, and that the unique male germ cell phosphatase “PP1¿2” has probably evolved in mammals along with the evolution of the mammalian epididymis for the sole purpose of supporting sperm epididymal maturation. We suggest that calcineurin has high activity in caput sperm due to the high levels of intracellular calcium. And that the effect of high calcium levels along with high phosphatase activity in caput sperm, have an inhibitory effect on sperm motility, opposing the effect of calcium on motility during sperm hyperactivation in the female reproductive tract. We propose that calcium signaling in sperm function has a biphasic role depending on which calcium dependent proteins are selectively activated at each developmental stage of the sperm journey. Calcieurin may also have a role in regulating mitochondrial activity. A shift in energy production pathways and substrate utilization occurs during sperm transition from the caput to the cauda epididymis, and calcineurin is believed to play a role in this process. With PP1¿2 shown to be irreplaceable by PP1¿1 during sperm epididymal maturation, the following step would be comparing the phosphoproteome of PP1¿2 bearing sperm with those of PP1¿1 bearing sperm. A wide phosphoproteome analysis will reveal the specific substrates of PP1¿2 that PP1¿1 are unable to dephosphorylate, highlighting proteins with an essential role in epididymal maturation and sperm motility regulation. There is a possibility that the phenotype of PP1¿1 rescue males is caused by the effect of the transgenes incorporation into a random region 145 of the mouse genome. The only way to test this hypothesis would be the generation of a new transgenic model using a gene knock-in technique, where the endogenous promoters function will be maintained, and there will be no random incorporation of genetic material into the genome. If the results of that new transgenic model support our data, then only we can confirm our conclusion. There is strong evidence that calcineurin has a role in mitochondrial energy production and activity. The following step would be analyzing PPP3R2 KO males for additional mitochondrial function parameters, such as oxygen consumption or measurement of a number of mitochondrial enzyme activities. Scanning electron microscopy can be performed to look for any mitochondrial elongation or fusion.

Committee:

Srinivasan Vijayaraghavan, Dr. (Advisor); Douglas Kline, Dr. (Committee Member); Jennifer Marcinkiewicz, Dr. (Committee Member); Fayez Safadi, Dr. (Committee Member); Soumitra Basu (Other)

Subjects:

Biology

Keywords:

Spermatogenesis; Sperm function; Male reproduction

Akram, Hadeel AbdulahTHE PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES OF THE ARABIC VERSION OF THE SELF-DIRECTED SEARCH (SDS)-FORM R, 5th EDITION FOR FIRST-YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services / School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
The factor structure of Holland’s hexagonal model as shown in the Self-Directed Search (SDS) has received extensive attention across the world. The goal in creating the SDS was to equip guidance counselors and services with information about adults’ personality types, interests, preferences, and career options. More precisely, the SDS items assess personality types and link them to other measures or instructional repositories containing tools for educational and vocational planning. The SDS has been translated into 25 languages, adapted for use in many cultures, and supported in many countries such as Australia, Africa, Europe, and Asia, but not in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This study evaluated the application of the SDS to Saudi students, and examined the newly-translated inventory’s internal structure and consistency in the KSA and Arabic-speaking cultural context. The Arabic version of the SDS-Form R, 5th Edition was administered to first-year students (N = 1,090) at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU), Jeddah, KSA. The main objective was to evaluate the validity and the reliability of the Arabic Version of the SDS-Form R, 5th Edition. The secondary objective was to examine the differences on the SDS responses between male (n = 457) and female (n = 633) students and between students in the Scientific track (n = 603) and the Administrative and Humanitarian track (n = 487) and to determine the equivalence of both genders and tracks in fitting the data to the Holland model. Evidence regarding the application of the SDS in the Saudi population was obtained.

Committee:

Aryn C. Karpinski (Advisor); Tricia Niesz (Committee Member); Ning-Kuang Chuang (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Educational Tests and Measurements

Sharma, RekhaA Uses and Gratifications Perspective of the Relationships among Consumption of Government-Conspiracy-Theory-Oriented Media Fare, Trust in Government, and Political Participation
PHD, Kent State University, 2017, College of Communication and Information / School of Communication Studies
Contemporary political discourse is rife with accusations of shadowy forces operating in secret to accomplish nefarious goals. Such discourse has been a mainstay in U.S. politics, but little quantitative research has been done on the impact of government-related conspiracy theories in media and how people differ in their use of such fare. This dissertation situates conspiracy theories in a media effects framework, applying uses and gratifications theory to examine whether specific background characteristics (i.e., media skepticism, need for cognition, locus of control, and conservatism or liberalism) work in concert with individuals’ motives for and exposure to government-conspiracy-theory-oriented media fare to impact individuals’ trust in government as an attitudinal outcome and political participation as a behavioral outcome. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify four motives for choosing media fare related to government conspiracy theories: (1) social utility/relaxing recreation, (2) political evaluation, (3) pass time, and (4) general information seeking. Significant correlations were found between several background characteristics and use of government-conspiracy-theory-oriented media fare. Use of such fare also correlated with trust in federal government entities and with political participation. Additionally, hierarchical regression analysis revealed the relative contribution of individual differences, motives for conspiracy-theory-oriented media use, and exposure to such fare in predicting levels of trust in four entities of the federal government. Regression analysis also showed the relative contribution of individual differences, motives for conspiracy-theory-oriented media use, exposure to conspiracy-theory-oriented media fare, and trust in government in predicting four forms of political participation. This study affirmed the value of a comprehensive uses and gratifications model for studying the political impact of government conspiracy theories in media.

Committee:

Paul Haridakis, Ph.D. (Advisor); Danielle Coombs, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Janet Meyer, Ph.D. (Committee Member); James Ponder, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Communication; Journalism; Literacy; Mass Communications; Mass Media; Political Science

Keywords:

uses and gratifications; motives; conspiracy theory; government conspiracy theory; trust in government; political participation; political communication; political media; media literacy; media selectivity; media effects

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