Electronic Theses and Dissertations - Open Access

Permanent URI for this collection

This collection contains electronic UTSA theses and dissertations (ETDs), primarily from 2007 to present. The collection is not comprehensive; search the UTSA Library Catalog for a complete list of UTSA theses and dissertations.

All of the ETDs in this collection are available to the general public. However, authors are able to request an embargo. Embargoed ETDs will not be downloadable until after their embargo expires.

Authors of these ETDs have retained their copyright while granting UTSA Libraries the non-exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their works.

Former students are invited to broaden access to their thesis or dissertation by making it available in the Open Access collection. To initiate this process, or if you have any questions about the ETD collection, please contact rrpress@utsa.edu.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 177
  • Item
    Designing mobile learning environments to support teacher-led field trips within informal learning environments
    (2016) Hawkins, Donald S.
    Mobile devices have become increasingly more visible within classrooms and informal learning spaces. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the impact of mobile learning (m-learning) tools to support student learning during teacher-led field trips. Specifically, the research questions for this study are: (a) What conditions affect student satisfaction within an m-learning environment? (b) What impact does an m-learning environment have on levels of motivation and engagement of students? and (c) How do m-learning tools facilitate student knowledge acquisition, participation, and collaboration? The hypothesis of this study is that mobile learning materials can improve students' engagement and participation. This design-based research (DBR) study relied on a combination of pre- and post-assessments, teacher interviews, and behavioral observations, in two iterations. The participants for this study included three teachers and 112 students, between 11 and 12 years old, drawn from a sixth grade public middle school in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Item
    English Learners Along the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Multiplicity of Crossroads
    (2018) Guajardo, Diana
    Language learners continue to lag behind their counterparts academically. Statistics reveal EL's data as follows: Hispanic students continue to lag behind their White counterparts by 23% according to state report Texas Academic Performance Report: TAPR formally called the AEIS report for the 2014-2015 scholastic year in two or more subjects. Therefore, this single case qualitative study was conducted in search of strategies or methods to better serve language learners. More precisely transnational learners; these students balance two diverse worlds. They commute between two countries and at times leave family behind as they come to school in the US. Identifying strategies which principals are delivering to support ELs was the core of this study. The purpose of this study was to seek mediums to better prepare our ELs for what is currently happening in our state, testing in English. Through this study the hope was to find strategies to better serve this population and thereby closing the academic achievement gap currently existing. As mentioned above a single case qualitative study was the method of investigation. This was utilized to better understand the participants. Through this type of qualitative design the researcher was in close proximity and came to know her participants very intimately. The theoretical framework implemented was positioning theory due to the participant and vii administrators who are in constant change. Each is impacted by what they confront and thereby making for a constant metamorphosis of each. By "identifying, analyzing, and reporting patterns (themes) within data (Braun & Clarke, 2006, pg. 79) the following themes emerged: a)family, b) community, c) teachers, and d) support for English Learners. From analysis of the data this study demonstrates some strategies being implemented to support English Learners. Only time will tell if the strategies have closed the achievement gap academically for ELs.
  • Item
    Semantics and syntax in sentence comprehension: An analysis of their relationship in time using event-related potentials
    (2009) Guajardo, Lourdes F.
    A central issue in psycholinguistics is how we process semantic and grammatical information and how these processes interact during online comprehension. Previous studies have yielded inconclusive results on how and when this interaction occurs; it is unclear whether these processes are continuously interacting or if they only interact at a later stage. The purpose of this study was to examine this interaction using the N400 and P600 as indices of semantic and grammatical processing, respectively. Native speakers of Spanish were presented with Spanish sentences containing a target adjective that was either semantically and grammatically correct or disagreed in meaning, grammatical gender, or both with the preceding noun. The adjectives were embedded in a range of weakly to strongly constraining sentences in order to compare the interaction effect as a function of contextual constraint. Semantic violations elicited a robust N400 effect followed by a late positivity, while grammatical gender violations elicited a left-lateralized negativity followed by a P600 effect. The interaction of semantics and gender was observed only at the P600 time window. Interestingly, sentential constraint modulated the onset latency of the N400 to semantic violations, while the P600 due to gender violations was modulated by constraint in a graded fashion. The findings seem to support late interaction models whereby semantic and grammatical processes are initially independent and interact only at a later phase. However, the interaction may be modulated by the amount of contextual information available, as both processors are combining efforts to predict upcoming words.
  • Item
    Assessment of run-time malware detection through critical function hooking and process introspection against real-world attacks
    (2013) Griffin, Mark
    Malware attacks have become a global threat to which no person or organization seems immune. Drive-by attacks and spear-phishing are two of the most prevalent and potentially damaging types of malware attacks, and traditionally both of these rely on exploiting a client application such as a browser or document viewer. This thesis focuses on the detection of a malware attack after a target application has been exploited, and while the malware is still executing in the context of the exploited process. This research presents an implementation of an application monitoring system that hooks critical functions and inspects characteristics of the process state in order to detect malware. The testing of the application monitoring system utilizes a corpus of exploits taken from a variety of real-world malware attacks, including several well-publicized examples. The resulting evaluation demonstrates the utility of function hooking and process state inspection techniques as a platform for detecting and stopping sophisticated malware attacks.
  • Item
    The Relationship between Manual Therapy and Mental Health as It Is Perceived and Co-created by Recipient and Therapist
    (2020) Gutierrez, Timothy M.
    Over 40 million Americans suffer some form of anxiety disorder yearly. Numerous studies show the efficacy of massage therapy in reducing stress and anxiety. However, few, if any, examine the relationship between stress/anxiety and massage as it is perceived and co-created by recipients and therapists. I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2003 and have worked in this capacity on the campus of UTSA since 2011. For this project, I massaged twenty-two participants who are affiliated with UTSA in a diversity of ways and interviewed each of them immediately afterward. We discussed the experience of the massage as it related to stress and anxiety, potential explanations of how this relationship works and how the experience was co-created by our interactions. This study revealed a six-step interactive therapeutic strategy that, in simplest terms, includes: palpating and verbalizing tense areas, inquiring, exploring, treating, offering perspective and allowing space. Four categories of outcomes of the massage were identified that can be divided into general, physical, emotional and mental qualities. Six media through which co-creation of the therapeutic experience could be negotiated between client and therapist were identified: discussion during massage, the technical ability of the therapist, personal characteristics of the therapist, environment, helpful predispositions on the part of the participant and a spirit of teamwork. My project contributes to on-going discourses in embodiment theory, social touch and healing dramas within clinical borderlands, a topic domain for which I have coined the term "therapeutic borderlands.".
  • Item
    Mentorship Literacy: How an Alternative Literacy Is Developed and Used to Build the Mentor-Mentee Relationship between Teacher and Student in the Middle and High School Years
    (2021) Groves, Sonya
    This study looks at how a mentorship relationship between myself and thirteen graduates of an all-girls public academy developed over the course of six years. The study looked at how gender and race affected this mentorship, and finally, it looked at what alternative literacies were developed to help create and maintain this mentorship. The study was conducted as an autoethnography. I utilized Gloría Anzaldúa’s autohistoria-teoría to help guide how the autoethnography was written. Thirteen young adult women of color (9 Latinas, 2 African-American, and 2 Filipina) were interviewed separately. These interviews were semi-structured and each woman was interviewed three times. The question set was developed using Annette Kuhn’s (2007) memory method. This memory method is three lenses with the first lens asking about the self, the second progressing to the immediate participants, and culminating in the global perspective. The results of these interviews were coded by hand or with Nvivo looking for larger themes. These themes were Learning, Love, and Life. Specific concepts were attributed to each theme and discussed. For each major theme the concepts were the following – Learning: Non-traditional/Alternative Curriculum, Feminist Curriculum, Expectation and Engagement; Love: Student Welfare, Family, and Student (Self)Advocacy; Life: Race, Gender, Initium Vitae. The results indicate that there were alternative literacies created and implemented during the six years and that race, gender, and class were issues that impacted the mentorship relationship.
  • Item
    Advancing analytical chemistry through research and education
    (2011) Haby, Gabrielle
    Countless hours and resources have been devoted to finding ways to make new technologies, established methods more efficient, and testing methods more portable. Similarly, there is much importance placed on finding ways to help students and future researchers excel academically. This thesis is a hybrid of two separate projects. The first takes a closer look into finding ways to reduce the effects of Joule heating in PDMS microchips. The second project examines the effect of incorporating structured group work into Analytical Chemistry at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Item
    Quantifying Climate Change Over the Early Cretaceous Ruby Ranch Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation, East-Central Utah
    (2018) Knight, John A., II
    The age of the Ruby Ranch Member (RRM) of the Cedar Mountain Formation in East-Central Utah was recently constrained using carbon isotope chemostratigraphy to span known excursions associated with the late Aptian. The RRM is characterized by calcrete horizons that are thought to occur across the C10 carbon isotope excursion. Along with carbonate stable isotope analyses and the region’s paleo-position in a depositional basin on the leeward rain shadow of the Sevier Orogenic belt, this interval is hypothesized to coincide with an aridification event. Our research objective is to quantify the extent of this aridity using clumped isotope paleothermometry (n = 7) and paleoprecipitation proxies (n = 51) for samples collected across the C10 chemostratigraphic interval. Two weathering indices, CIA-K and CALMAG, were applied to data obtained using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Using these proxies, we determined mean annual precipitation across the RRM at its type section. Precipitation values (n = 27) obtained through CIA-K for identified paleosol horizons ranged between 795 and 1275 mm/year, and through CALMAG ranged between 735 and 1042 mm/year. Precipitation values decreased through the C10 interval which may indicate increased aridity. Clumped isotopes provided Δ47 values ranging from 0.647 to 0.693‰. Paleotemperature measurements (n = 4) from accepted carbonate samples were between 27.9 and 46.3 °C. Isotopic compositions of water calculated from carbonates ranged between -4.4‰ and -1.9‰ VSMOW. Precipitation values and temperatures were not lowest during the C10 interval. Temperatures peaked at the end of the C10 interval and decreased afterward, indicating a potential for cooler, more arid conditions. These results suggest that carbon cycle changes during the mid-Cretaceous may have influenced paleoclimate conditions experienced in terrestrial settings.
  • Item
    A Detailed Monte Carlo and Measurement-Based Assessment of Gold Nanoparticle Dose Enhancement for Ir-192 HDR Brachytherapy, External Beam Radiation Therapy and Image Contrast Enhancement for Computed Tomography (CT) and Cone Beam CT
    (2020) Gray, Tara
    Radiation therapy has long been one of oncologists' most effective weapons to combat cancer. Advances in beam shaping and imaging-guided approaches have paved the way towards more effective forms of radiation therapy with fewer side effects experienced by cancer patients. However, innovative strategies which can localize the effects of ionizing radiation while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue by lowering the overall dosage are still needed. One promising strategy is the use of targeted gold nanoparticles to locally enhance radiation while also providing image contrast enhancement. The ultimate goal of this research project was to develop an optimized nanoparticle-based method for image enhancement and radiation sensitization. In order to accomplish this goal, four specific aims were pursued: (1) Computationally-aided design to predict and interpret the dose enhancing effects of gold nanoparticles both on the macroscopic and microscopic scale using accurate x-ray and radioactive source geometry with different sizes, concentrations and shapes of gold nanoparticles, (2) Experimental synthesis of different sizes and concentrations of radiation-enhancing gold nanoparticles and developing optimal experimental dose enhancement and image contrast enhancement measurement set-ups guided by Monte Carlo simulations, (3) Experimental characterization of the local radiation dose enhancement and image contrast enhancing effects due to different sizes and concentrations of gold nanoparticles, and (4) Experimental in vitro investigation of the radiobiological effects of gold nanoparticles. Three novel aspects of this project also distinguish it from previous studies of nanoparticle-enhanced radiation therapy. First, the theoretical gold nanoparticle dose enhancement at different therapeutic radiation therapy energies staring with Ir-192 and going up to 18 MV energy and for different imaging modalities (Computed Tomography and Cone Beam Computed Tomography), was rationally guided by Monte Carlo computer simulations, involving accurate radiation beam and radiation source set-ups, to determine the optimum nanoparticle size, concentration and surface area to volume ratio (on the nanometer scale) that maximizes X-ray interactions at these energy ranges both macroscopically and microscopically. Second, these simulations were utilized to guide the optimal gold nanoparticle (GNP) size and concentration to produce optimal dose enhancement experimentally and guide the experimental set-up for experiments involving both imaging and therapy enhancement, with the long-term goal of developing theranostic applications. Thirdly, in vitro cell studies were performed by irradiating C-33a cervical cancer cells, dosed with different concentrations of GNPs, with 18 MV energy to observe the enhanced radiobiological cell killing effects of GNPs with different doses of high energy radiation using a Trypan Blue assay. The key areas of focus of this project are medical physics and radiation oncology, and the secondary areas of focus are imaging and biomedical engineering.
  • Item
    Benchmarking Seismic Evaluation Methodologies for Existing Reinforced Concrete Buildings
    (2022) Khodadadi Koodiani, Hamid
    This dissertation consists of three essays on topics related to seismic assessment of reinforced concrete buildings. The first and second essays present studies on the use of machine learning techniques to improve nonlinear models of RC frames. The title of the first essay is "machine learning tools to improve nonlinear modeling parameters of RC columns." The second essay is titled "parametric variation study of RC column nonlinear modeling parameters using deep neural network model." The two essays are aimed at improving the fidelity of nonlinear models by taking advantage of a new generation of data analytics methods. A methodology to develop simple equations for nonlinear deformation modeling parameters is proposed. In this methodology machine learning tools are used to determine the most suitable mathematical expressions to describe the shape of the relationship between input variables and modeling parameters from complex data sets of component experiments. The proposed methodology was evaluated using an experimental set of rectangular and circular reinforced concrete columns using a robust database (ACI 369 column database).The third essay presents a benchmarking study for the nonlinear analysis procedure in the ASCE 41 Standard encompassing three building case studies. Standardizing seismic evaluation of RC buildings is controversial and challenging because the process inherently relies on engineering judgment. The main motivation to standardize the seismic evaluation process is that engineers may arrive at different outcomes depending on the assumptions they adopt to create building models, conveying different measures of expected performance. The variability of possible outcomes is problematic for building owners, building officials, and local authorities, given the financial implications of retrofit or replacement. All these constituencies benefit from an objective process based on a uniform measure of risk. Standards such as ASCE 41 seek to provide a common set of rules for creating building models and assess the expected level of performance for standard seismic hazards, in a process that is uniform and consistent. The ASCE 41 Standard provides a consistent framework for seismic evaluation, based on several methodologies of analysis. Of all the methodologies in the standard, the Nonlinear Dynamic Procedure (NDP) is the most complex and most accurate. The NDP requires the creation of nonlinear numerical models based on modeling parameters for building components specified in the standard. Modeling parameters for some types of components (columns, beams and flexure controlled structural walls) have been carefully calibrated using test data, while others were defined based on engineering judgement. Thorough validation of system performance calculated using modeling parameters specified in the ASCE 41 standard is important given the reliance of the methodology on simulated component behavior. The 2009 NIST Report 09-917-2, titled "Research Required to Support Full Implementation of Performance‐Based Seismic Design", identified benchmarking of current performance-based design methodologies contained in ASCE/SEI 41, Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings, (ASCE, 2006), as a high priority research need. The third essay evaluated the accuracy of building numerical models created with component modeling parameters and other rules in the ASCE 41 Standard, by comparing calculated metrics of building performance with observed and recorded values.
  • Item
    Organizational Climate in Texas Private Schools
    (2018) King, James C.
    Private schools are by definition separate corporate entities, not supported by the government, but primarily by private funds. While private schools are independently owned and operated, their similarities end there. Their extensive organizational diversity creates problems for researchers and results in few studies with practical significance for the private school leader. Likewise, studies utilizing instruments and lenses common to public school research has limited private school data. The purpose of this research was to describe the organizational climate of Texas private schools. Based on 3,000 faculty respondents from 75 organizations, representing an estimated 120,000 K-12 students, this research will begin to fill a void in the organizational climate literature as it relates to private schools. Furthermore, this study will equip private school leaders with practical information to assess and improve their organizations' climate. The findings reflect healthy and open environments across three dimensions of the Organizational Climate Index (OCI) for all participating schools representing all three major private school typologies.
  • Item
    Investigation of Methods in Fluorescent Dye Extraction from Activated Charcoal for Use in Dye Tracing
    (2019) Kirkendall, Alyssa Blaise
    Dye tracing in water is a powerful tool used by hydrologists to determine groundwater flow paths, time-of-travel, and potential contaminant transport mechanisms in karst. This thesis tested the effectiveness of common eluents used to extract fluorescent dye absorbed by activated charcoal used in dye tracing. The objective was to test laboratory methods of dye extraction from charcoal to determine the reliability of charcoal and optimize processing methods for use in dye tracing studies. Two hypotheses were formulated and tested: 1) charcoal use in dye tracing is an effective and reliable method for obtaining data; and 2) eluted dye samples can be stored for at least one month with minimal change in concentration. Elution solutions and methods for the analysis of charcoal for dyes varies widely in practice and in literature. There are no "standard methods" for dye analysis between different laboratories. Field work and laboratory testing were performed to better understand some of these eluents and how they affect the dye elution process. The eluents tested were solutions of 2-propanol and sodium hydroxide (Eluent A), 2-propanol, aqua ammonia, and potassium hydroxide (Eluent B), and 2-propanol with potassium hydroxide (Eluent C). A tracer test was performed between Joe's Diet Cave and Cave Without a Name near the city of Boerne in Kendall County, Texas using uranine dye. Samples were taken using charcoal packets, automatic water samplers, and hand samples. The results found a flow velocity of approximately 0.18 km/day between the two caves. This value agreed with a previous study. Laboratory data were collected by pumping solutions of five different dyes through packets of activated charcoal. Dye was extracted from charcoal using an eluent and analyzed with a luminescence spectrometer. Based on laboratory analyses, it was concluded that the extraction of dye from charcoal cannot be completely relied on to determine whether dye was detected in a specific location. It was also determined that long-term storage of samples of dye containing elutant do not cause a statistically significant decrease in dye concentration. For future work it is recommended that the adsorption rate of charcoal be tested, and unfiltered spring water be used to dilute dye, simulating actual field conditions. A wider range of different experimental designs may help refine analytical techniques for the recovery of dye from granular activated charcoal.
  • Item
    Design and Construction of a Detonation Tube for Use as a Non-Intrusive Diagnostics Testing Apparatus
    (2021) Kaialau, Dean K.
    Renewed interest in the development of detonation propulsion systems for both air-breathing and rocket applications has led to a need for improved diagnostic techniques and tools for the determination of detonation environment properties and flow mechanics. The need for quantitative, time-resolved, and detailed spatial resolution is vital to hastening the development of these devices and their viability as a more efficient propulsion system in the future. To that end, the development of a linear detonation tube was undertaken at the University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) Hypersonic Laboratory, specifically for the purpose of expanding the capabilities of non-intrusive methods. The apparatus maintains a continuous 1.5-inch inner diameter through its 6-foot length, which consists of a visually clear 2-foot section for chemiluminescence image capturing and contains a total of fourteen instrumentation ports. The detonation tube is resistant to chemicals and is designed to utilize a wide range of fuel types. Nine initial tests were conducted on the system using a 3:1 ethylene to oxygen mix at an initial pressure of 3.0 psia. Results from these tests confirm an operational capability of generating consistent detonations at Mach 7.05 with this mixture. Velocity measurements are found to be within 3% of Chapman-Jouguet calculations.
  • Item
    The Determinants and Trends in Household Energy Consumption in United States During 2001-2009
    (2013) Karuppusamy, Sadasivan
    Objective: The focus of this study is a broad examination of household energy consumption for appliance use, space heating, space cooling, and water heating in United States over the period 2001-2009 using Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) from the years 2001 and 2009. Methods: Linear Regression Analysis is used to identfy determinants of household energy consumption for each of the end uses. Regression based decomposition analysis is used to identify trends in residential energy consumption for each of the end uses. Results: The study identified current determinants of household energy consumption for each of the end uses. These determinants are employed in the study to predict trends in household energy consumption for each of the end uses. Based on the results policy interventions at local and federal level for energy conservation are suggested.
  • Item
    Intelligent cache management techniques for reducing memory systemwaste
    (2012) Khan, Samira M.
    The performance gap between modern processors and memory is a primary concern for computer architecture. Caches mitigate the long memory latency that limits the performance of modern processors. However, modern chip multiprocessor performance is sensitive to the last-level cache capacity and miss latency. Unfortunately, caches can be quite inefficient. On average, 86.2% of the blocks in a 2MB last level cache are useless. These blocks are dead as they will not be referenced again before eviction. These dead blocks are a waste of valuable cache space that should contain useful blocks that will contribute to the hit rate and improve performance. This dissertation explores the inefficiencies in the memory system and proposes simple cache management techniques that reduce memory system waste and improve performance. We propose dead block cache management techniques that reduce dead time and improve performance. We introduce a new dead block predictor that can accurately identify dead blocks by sampling only a small fraction of memory references. This predictor learns from a few cache sets, reducing the predictor power and storage overhead. It also decouples the replacement policy from prediction, so it can improve performance even with the inexpensive random cache replacement policy. We propose a new cache management scheme to use dead blocks efficiently. We propose placing victim blocks in the predicted dead blocks of the cache. When the victim blocks are referenced again, they are found in the dead blocks. This "virtual victim cache" improves performance by avoiding misses. We also propose a dynamic cache segmentation technique that reduces dead time of dead-on-arrival blocks. This segmentation attempts to keep the best number of non-referenced and referenced blocks in cache sets. Dynamic cache segmentation even with a default random policy can outperform LRU using half the space overhead.
  • Item
    Preliminaries to watershed instrumentation system design
    (2011) Joseph, John F.
    Watershed instrumentation system design consists of identifying the locations and types of stream gauges, rain gauges, and other instruments needed for collection of input data for hydrological models, such that the models are useful in achieving objectives. The design is based on assessing the impact of various alternatives on the uncertainty in the model output. This assessment can occur only if certain preliminaries are adequately established: model selection, spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and the uncertainty analysis method. In this dissertation, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model is selected as most appropriate for the site and objectives of concern, and applied to the Little Washita River Experimental Watershed (LWREW) in Oklahoma, and subwatershed I of the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREWswI) in Georgia. For spatial resolution, SWAT subbasin delineation is to most nearly match that of the field, and the number of hydrologic response units (HRUs) aggregated to 102 for LREWswI provides nearly identical results to those of an unwieldy 10,700 HRUs, the finest resolution possible. For temporal resolution, a novel event-adaptive time series may prevent the underestimation of event flow (as shown by the 11% increase and better matching of peaks for LREWswI), and provide better estimates of parameters, including the baseflow recession constant for LWREW. For uncertainty analysis applied to a synthetic LREWswI, a novel likelihood function estimates water budget components with an average error of 1.2%, while a conventional likelihood function leads to an average error of 13.3%. Also, the use of storm volume uncertainty parameters are to be included in the likelihood function if both the parameters and the flow quantities are to be estimated unbiasedly. These preliminaries help establish the foundation for watershed instrumentation system design.
  • Item
    Elementary music teacher perception and instruction of subdivision: a mixed methods study
    (2016) Jones, Jason David
    The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore elementary music teacher perspectives of subdivision and its instructional value in the general music classroom. This study aims to answer the questions: (a) How does the perceived definition of subdivision influence instruction? (b) How do elementary music teachers relate subdivision to other concepts? (e) How does training and professional development influence teacher perception? Elementary general music teachers (N=26) from an inner-city Title 1 school district in Central Texas participated in a descriptive survey. Results indicated that while participants explained that important relationship between subdivision and other concepts and marked it as extremely significant (88%), they ranked it seventh out of eight and allotted less than five minutes for instruction during lessons. In addition, the greatest influence on teacher perception of subdivision was the amount of training in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Kodály and Orff Schulwerk, While Kodály teachers primarily related subdivision to rhythm, and thought that it was too complicated for young students, Orff and Dalcroze teachers were more likely to teach it in every concept. This study along with previously conducted studies suggest that elementary music teachers believe that subdivision aids in student learning. However, elementary music teachers appear to be hesitant to utilize subdivision during instruction.
  • Item
    The social life of guayusa from amazonian ecuador: an examination of livelihoods, landscapes, and politics
    (2019) Jarrett, Christopher
    This dissertation examines the possibilities and complexities of tropical plant commercialization as a way to integrate economic development and environmental conservation. Specifically, it traces the "social life" of the guayusa leaf (Ilex guayusa), a culturally important plant for the Amazonian Kichwa people that is used in energy drinks and other beverage products sold around the world. It investigates the complex social, economic, environmental, and political processes involved in the guayusa industry, which began in 2008 with the creation of the enterprise RUNA. Fieldwork was conducted from 2013 to 2017. Methods involved participant observation, semi-structured and life-history interviews, weekly economic diaries, and a livelihood survey. The dissertation analyzes guayusa's role in Kichwa culture and livelihoods (Chapters 1-2), efforts to manage and regulate guayusa domestication (Chapter 3), Fair Trade certification processes (Chapter 4), intellectual property debates (Chapter 5), and the role of social enterprise in the industry (Chapter 6). Rooted in Kichwa perspectives, it argues for a more nuanced understanding of indigenous peoples' relationships with market-oriented activities and questions the idea that commodification necessarily implies a devaluing of indigenous peoples' resources. It highlights the heterogeneity of global capitalism and argues for greater attention to the diversity of capitalist configurations across time and space. Finally, while demonstrating that commercialization of tropical species can enhance and diversify indigenous peoples' livelihoods, it describes the limitations of such approaches and calls for more modest expectations regarding the ability of for-profit business to address social and environmental challenges.
  • Item
    The Relationships Between Gender, Mindset, and Science Inquiry in Middle School Science
    (2022) Hooper, Jennifer D.
    My dissertation is a pre-mid-post-test, quantitative research design, including surveys and written assessments, to answer these research questions:1. How do students' science mindset vary over time when engaged in science inquiry activities? Is there a difference between male and female students?2. Is there a relationship between 7th grade students' performance on science inquiry activities and their science mindset? Is there a difference between males and females? The scatter plots generated from the survey data for question #1 display a pronounced shift for all students, moving an average of one point towards a growth mindset and 49% of females had a positive change from a fixed to a growth mindset. For question number #2 I did not find a linear correlation between a student's science mindset and their written assessment, despite showing a large movement of student's mindset towards growth after a second science inquiry intervention. A female's science identity weakens if elements such as self-efficacy, interest, and willingness to challenge themselves are missing. As students become more familiar with scientific inquiry, there is a deeper understanding of the science content by communicating within their group and engaging in a hands-on lab activity. In pursuit of a more in-depth understanding, a student's self-efficacy and identity in science increase as well as a growth mindset (Devers, 2015). My research shows that the use of scientific inquiry as a teaching method directly impacts a female's science growth mindset and may reduce the gender gap in science achievement.
  • Item
    Private Parts: A Heuristic Inquiry Into the Relational-Cultural Experience of Chronic Pelvic Pain
    (2023) Hudson, Brittany Christyne
    Chronic pelvic pain is a complex condition that impacts up to one in five women in the United States. Despite its prevalence, chronic pelvic pain has been marginalized throughout history. Women with chronic pelvic pain often feel disempowered in their relationships. The associated mental health outcomes are pertinent to counselors. However, counselors have few scholarly resources on chronic pelvic pain to reference. There remains a need for theoretically informed counseling research on the experiences and needs of women with chronic pelvic pain. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and depict the relational-cultural experience of chronic pelvic pain. The integrated theoretical framework included feminist disability studies and relational-cultural theory. I utilized heuristic inquiry to collect and analyze data from eight women with chronic pelvic pain. I identified four interrelated themes, as represented by the infinity symbol: feeling isolated and misunderstood ∞ seeking understanding and care ∞ negotiating sexual relationships ∞ finding and creating community. This study points to the difficulty of and need for relationships. The findings suggest that the sexualization of chronic pelvic pain is a force of disconnection. In this dissertation, I discuss the findings and their implications for counseling, counselor education and supervision, and future research.