Collection Description

Collection of student theses and dissertations from as early as 1939, but mainly from 2010 to present.

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Where do I begin? A critical analysis of the current American education system
The intention behind this thesis is to conceptualize the conservation and reproduction of inequities in the educational system considering the underlining principals of assimilation and functionalism., San Diego State University
Which differences make a difference? Comparing diversity metrics and their relationship to outcomes in virtual teams
Despite abundant research and organizational interest, the impact of diversity on team outcomes is unclear. Inconsistent conceptual definitions and operationalizations may account for conflicting effects of diversity. Further, although evidence suggests that contextual moderators are particularly relevant for understanding the association between diversity and outcomes, contextual effects are not consistently accounted for in the literature. Given that most modern work teams collaborate virtually to some extent, the context of team virtuality may be a key omitted moderator that could affect the relationship between team diversity and outcomes. I explored these questions by investigating whether the operationalization of diversity differentially predicts team outcomes. I then examined contextual factors that may moderate the relationship between diversity and team outcomes to ultimately determine which measures of diversity make a difference to teams with differing levels of virtuality. Adopting an inductive approach using archival data, I compared diversity operationalizations in terms of convergence, potential computational bias, and predictive validity for team outcomes. I then assessed the independent main effects of diversity of two attributes that varied in terms of their job-relatedness, and finally tested for moderating effects of virtuality on the association between diversity and team outcomes. Findings showed that diversity metrics demonstrated a high convergence and revealed a small but significant team size bias in uncorrected diversity metric formulas. Diversity metrics showed incremental predictive validity over simple proportional measures for gender, but not the other attributes assessed. Job-related educational specialty diversity and non-job-related ethnicity diversity were not found to show significant effects on team processes and outcomes, but team virtuality did show a positive main effect. Tests for moderation showed that virtuality moderated the relationship between educational specialty diversity and task-based outcomes but did not moderate the relationship between ethnicity diversity and any outcomes. Results suggest that some measurement effects exist for diversity but may be a smaller threat than hypothesized. This thesis extends the literature emphasizing the contextual role of team virtuality in determining team processes and outcomes. Researchers and practitioners seeking to understand the effects of diversity in modern teams should consider the moderating influence of team virtuality., San Diego State University
White matter integrity and executive dysfunction in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure : a diffusion tensor imaging study
Includes bibliographical references (p. 42-54)., Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) affects 2-5% of the population and is associated with cognitive deficits in overall intellectual functioning and on indices of learning, memory, and attention. Individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure may demonstrate behavioral problems including hyperactivity and impulsivity and show neural abnormalities including reductions in overall and regional brain volumes, reduced white matter density, and increased gray matter density. White matter abnormalities throughout the brain have been recognized in children with prenatal exposure to alcohol. These structural abnormalities have been hypothesized to underlie many of the cognitive and behavioral deficits observed in this population. The purpose of the current study was to use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine white matter integrity in children with and without prenatal alcohol exposure. Participants included 47 children between the ages 10-16 years: children with heavy prenatal exposure to alcohol (AE = 25) and non-exposed children (CON = 22). Consistent with previous studies, prenatal alcohol exposure was associated with low fractional anisotropy (FA), high mean diffusivity (MD), and high radial diffusivity (RD), compared to non-exposed controls, in clusters in the frontal and parietal lobes, as well as the brainstem, fornix, external capsule, and cerebellum. More surprisingly, prenatal alcohol exposure was associated with clusters of high FA and low MD/RD in white matter tracts in all four lobes of the brain. To better understand these novel results, correlations between measures of white matter integrity and behavioral performance on measures of executive functioning (EF) using the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) were assessed. In clusters in the frontal and parietal lobe, decreased FA and increased MD/RD in the AE group were associated with impaired performance on several EF measures. Within areas where the AE group showed more homogenous white matter than controls, clusters in the temporal and occipital indicated that high FA and/or low MD/RD in the AE group were negatively associated with verbal and non-verbal fluency, while clusters showing reduced MD/RD (but not high FA) in the AE group in frontal-striatal tracts were positively associated with EF performance across several domains. These results suggest that white matter abnormalities in individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure may be more complex than initially believed, and are characterized by areas of both increased and decreased anisotropy relative to unaffected controls. Consistent with previous reports, we identified several clusters in which the AE group showed less homogenous white matter that were associated with impaired neuropsychological performance. However, this study also found that the AE group demonstrated higher FA and lower MD/RD than the CON group in clusters throughout the brain. This novel finding may be explained by either decreased neural branching (associated with impaired executive functioning) or compensatory mechanisms for other damaged structures (associated with improved cognition) differentially throughout the brain in individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure.
Who We Are: How Sub-Cultural Capital Intensifies Communication Conflict Between Whovians, Nuvians, and Fandom-at-large
For fans of media, the appeal of entering a community of like minded individuals can seem like the perfect way to establish lasting identities with others. However, research into fandom culture has indicated that this may not be the case. From social categorizing to the use of inclusive language and forced participation, fans seem to pattern their action in a way reminiscent of Thornton's (1996) subcultural capital proposal; in which fans gain social standing through fandom identity evaluation. In response to this capital distribution, some fan groups have seen their identity stratified as the fandom fractures into sepreate ingroups and outgroups. This study hopes to better understand what it really takes to be a fan in the age of the internet. Through the use of ethnographic and autoethnographic exploration, this study will investigate the dynamic relationships between new and old fans of the television series Doctor Who. The resulting observations will help shed light on the treatment of new fans within a group, the way fans express their superiority, and how these dynamics change between online and offline interactions.
Who can come out and play? : re-conceptualizing Title IX to address the interrelated barriers of sexism, homophobia, and racism in women's sports
Includes bibliographical references (pages 66-77)., The purpose of this thesis is to theorize changes to Title IX to address homophobia and racism in addition to sexism in women's sports. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all federally-funded educational programs. This thesis, however, focuses particularly on women's sports programs. Since its enactment, Title IX has undeniably facilitated women's unprecedented access to federally-funded educational programs including sports, but in this thesis I argue that this policy can be strengthened by incorporating additional protections that address homophobia and racism. Both forms of discrimination have been cited by numerous sports scholars as barriers to equitable playing opportunities. Additionally, I provide suggestions for Title IX's general enforcement, as well as concrete plans of action to enforce the suggestions I set forth in this thesis. As a disclaimer, my research focuses primarily on addressing homophobia in women's sports. It was beyond the scope of this thesis to provide a comprehensive analysis on racism and sports, but nevertheless it would be irresponsible of me to not make these connections through dialogue; especially since I suggest a multidimensional framework to address these interlocking social barriers. For this project, I examined the following Title IX documents: Title IX the policy (1972), Title IX Regulations (1975), and the Athletics Investigation Manual (1990). These particular documents detail the policy's goals and enforcement. I used interpretative policy analysis, specifically category analysis, to examine which groups are explicitly protected by Title IX and what additional categories can be created to protect against sexual orientation and race-based discrimination.
Who is the speaker? A learning based audio-visual approach
This thesis presents a learning-based audio-visual approach for detecting active speakers in videos of group meetings. The video inputs often include an unknown number of humans with low-resolution facial regions, which pose great challenges to traditional vision methods. The key idea of this effort is to employ both visual inputs and audio signals to boost detection accuracy. The major contributions are threefold. Firstly, a learning-based object detection method is developed to localize human faces in videos and classify them as either speaker or non-speaker according to their facial features. Secondly, the synchronized audio signals are processed to estimate the existence of the speaker over time. Thirdly, a comprehensive fusion strategy for speaker detection is introduced to combine the results of visual analysis and the results of audio analysis. The proposed methods were evaluated on a newly collected video dataset that includes hundreds of YouTube videos. Experimental results showed that the audio-visual method achieved substantial improvements over visual methods., San Diego State University
Who is there and what are they doing? An agile and computationally efficient framework for genome discovery and annotation from metagenomic big data
Microbes are more abundant than any other biological guild, and in any environment it is important to understand which organisms are present, what they are doing, and how they are doing it. In many environments a majority of the microbial community members cannot be cultured. Metagenomics is a powerful tool to directly probe uncultured genomes and understand the diversity of microbial communities using only their DNA sequences. Analyzing the taxonomic and functional profiles present in a microbial community from unannotated shotgun sequencing reads is one of the goals in metagenomics, with extremely valuable applications in biological research such as medicine, biofuels, and ecology. Currently available tools do not scale well with increasing data volumes, which is important because both the number and lengths of the reads produced by sequencing platforms keeps increasing. This thesis integrates four agile and computationally efficient methods that I have developed (FOCUS, FOCUS2, Scaffold builder, and SUPER-FOCUS) to recover, scaffold, and annotate genomes from metagenomes. The framework was tested in over 500 human and ocean samples totaling over 6TB of data, and over six thousand genomes were recovered. Each computational method presented in this dissertation opens new horizons for the future of metagenomic data analyses independently of query and database size.
Who we are when we say we are : the politics of slam poetry
Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-54)., This study examines spoken word poetry and poetry slam competitions in regards to utopianism, identity politics, and actions of healing. My research methodologies include performance art theory and emotional theories—all through an intertwined feminist lens. This study will explore how possible intersecting identities function in the poetry slam world and how those intersecting identities create differences in definitions of "utopia." Further, the role of "emotion" in the world of slam will also be examined, specifically from the perspective of interviewees/spoken word performers. The purpose of this study is to explore how identity influences success in competitive poetry and success in actions of healing for marginalized voices. A total of six previous members of the San Diego Slam Team (ranging from 2008-2012) were interviewed for this research. All subjects involved in this study play a role in my analyses of how competitors in slam poetry employ their own emotions, experiences, and identities in the context of slam competition strategy. The "declaration of self" is also an important concept. A reclamation of stories—especially women's stories—will help to give voice to marginalized experiences in slam poetry. It is my hope through these methods and methodologies that I will be able to shed light on how women (and other marginalized groups) use spoken word poetry as a vehicle for social change and self-healing.
Who, when, and where? : Age-related differences on a novel
Age-related deficits in episodic memory have been documented using well-validated list learning tests such as the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT-II). The present study examined age-related differences on a novel episodic-like memory test assessing memory for "who, when, and where" in addition to associations among these elements. Young (ages 18-25) and older adults (ages 65+) were administered the CVLT-II and a novel episodic-like memory test. Our test consisted of two trials during which the participant was asked to remember a sequence of pictures of different faces paired with different places. The participant then was asked to pair each face with the correct place and put the face-place pairs in the correct sequence. Our test correlated significantly (p < .05) with the CVLT-II, providing preliminary evidence for validity. Older adults remembered significantly fewer face-place pairs and correct pairs in sequence compared to young adults on both trials (ps < .05). Although older adults committed more face and place intrusion errors on the first trial (ps < .05), there were no significant group differences on the second trial. Using a single test, we demonstrated that older adults are impaired in remembering associations between faces and places, as well as the temporal sequence in which face-place pairs were presented; both are critical for everyday episodic memory. Given that intrusion errors for the individual faces/places did not differ on the second trial, these age-related associative memory differences are not due solely to impaired memory for the individual items in the associations.