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Collection Description

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

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Wisdom as it illuminates the metaphysics and epistemology of Hui-neng in the Platform Sutra
This thesis analyzes mainly three topics: the wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology of Hui-neng in The Platform Sutra and it is divided up into sections with each section being analyzed separately. The goal of this thesis is to shine philosophical light on the meaning of Hui-neng's work, The Platform Sutra by clearly analyzing the importance of Hui-neng's wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology in each section that I cover. For example, in Section 24, I will define the Maha Prajnaparamita and tell the reader why it is an important concept relating to wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology. And the purpose of it is to give the reader an understanding of the importance of Hui-neng's Platform Sutra regarding his wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology. Concepts being analyzed include prajna, the Maha Prajnaparamita, the nature of prajna, the dharmas, thought, meditation, one practice samadhi, etc.... Each section included in this thesis will focus on Hui-neng's wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology. Moreover, each section analyzed explains the importance of that section regarding the meaning, metaphysics and epistemology of that section. The final purpose of the thesis will be to actually motivate the reader not only to think of the importance of Hui-neng's teaching regarding wisdom, metaphysics and epistemology but to actually put his teachings into practice so that the reader will understand and see into his own nature, which is the whole point of why Hui-neng expounded the Platform Sutra in the first place., San Diego State University
Wise optimism and well-being: are optimistic predictions always best?
Research on the consequences of optimism has tended to look at optimism as a stable dispositional characteristic, defining individuals along a single continuum and typically neglecting the possibility that people's predictions may vary across situations. However, other lines of research have shown that optimism can and does vary from situation to situation, suggesting that there may be more to optimism than always expecting the best. Using a new measure of optimism, the primary goals of this thesis are (1) to determine whether optimism can be understood not only in terms of how optimistic people tend to be in general (overall level), but also in terms of how much optimism tends to vary from situation to situation (cross-situational flexibility); and (2) to evaluate both dimensions of optimism by comparing people's descriptions of their own predictive tendencies to conventional notions of what ideal predictions ought to be (correspondence to prescribed ideals). I hypothesize that both overall level and cross-situational flexibility are measurable dimensions of optimism, as is correspondence to a situation-specific prescribed ideal, and that all three individual difference variables represent reliable aspects of a person's orientation toward the future. I also hypothesize that not only does the expression and experience of optimism vary by situation, but that the ideal prediction also varies, and corresponding to this shifting ideal is important for well-being. The "wise optimist" is predicted to be generally optimistic, but not too optimistic, and flexible enough to adjust their responses appropriately depending on the specific demands a given situation. To test these hypotheses, I conducted two studies: A cross-sectional study and a longitudinal study utilizing a cross-lagged panel design. The results of the cross-sectional study (N = 347) revealed that all three variables (level, flexibility, and correspondence) are measurable and reliable, and when entered into a simultaneous multiple regression, each was found to make a significant, independent contribution to well-being. The longitudinal study (N = 233), which utilized a more comprehensive measure of well-being, allowed me to investigate questions of both causality and stability (test-retest reliability) over time. Using structural equation modeling to evaluate the longitudinal data, correspondence to prescribed ideals was found to be a significant predictor of well-being over time, suggesting that there is some real wisdom to conventional wisdom, and corresponding to ideals prescribed by others has some important implications for well-being, at least in terms of subjective well-being. Taken together, these studies suggest that there is much more to being a wise optimist than always expecting the best.
With the Leaptoads
My novel deals with the adventures of a Vermont librarian who is challenged by his brother to Journey to California to join a vicious motorcycle group entitled the Leaptoads. What happens to this librarian, Irving Waters, in California is the focal point of my novel. I proceed to demonstrate in my novel that this character's adventures with the Leaptoads result in his character undergoing a growing process. When he returns to Vermont he is a different man. He has undergone a transformation. By having been accepted by the Leaptoads his life now has meaning for him. This is reflected in his pride in his Leaptoad jacket and his nonchalance in his learning that he will not be able to collect the million dollars his brother had originally promised him. Waters' elevation into manhood, I try to point out, is a result which rivals mere money., California State University, San Diego, Digitization of this archival thesis was made possible through a generous donation from Robin B. Luby.
Within-day variation in particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentrations in the cities of El Cajon and Escondido, California
Air pollution poses a global public health risk. Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution is associated with adverse human health effects, including cardiovascular and respiratory effects. Air pollution is shown to disproportionately affect low-income and/or ethnic minority groups, and is considered an environmental justice issue. PM2.5 particulates from vehicle traffic, especially from diesel engines, contribute to high concentrations of PM2.5. The cities of El Cajon and Escondido in San Diego, California, are surrounded by mountainous terrain and are prone to inversion layers that trap air pollution. Interstates 15 and 8 also run through Escondido and El Cajon, respectively, and are heavily congested. To investigate whether these communities might be considered environmental justice communities, five years of air pollution data (2009-2013) were analyzed from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District air-monitoring network. Data included PM2.5, CO, NO, NO2, wind speed and wind direction. The 5-year mean PM2.5 concentrations in the Escondido (13.3μg/m3) and El Cajon (13.6 μg/m3) sites were elevated compared to the Downtown (12.9 μg/m3), Alpine (11.4 μg/m3), and Camp Pendleton (10.8 μg/m3) sites. Concentrations CO, NO, and NO2 were highest during the hours of 0600-0800 and 1800-2000, especially during low wind speeds. The highest concentrations of PM2.5 occurred in December for Escondido (18.8 μg/m3) and El Cajon (18.1 μg/m3), with high concentrations overnight. Seasonal meteorology and traffic patterns likely contribute to elevated PM2.5 concentrations in Escondido and El Cajon measured at the SDAPCD monitoring sites. The findings of elevated PM2.5 levels, combined with the presence of vulnerable population at these locations, add to evidence that these areas should be considered environmental justice communities and should be considered for designation under California Assembly Bill 617. By identifying periods of high PM2.5 concentrations, residents and individuals responsible for vulnerable populations can potentially reduce outdoor exposure to PM2.5., San Diego State University
Without voice, beyond silence: A trauma-informed program addressing the impact of domestic violence on Latinas and their young children
Domestic violence is a serious social/health problem affecting many Latina women and their children. Latinas who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to show health problems such as chronic diseases and mental health issues. These emotional and mental health problems include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, problems with emotional regulation, and low self-esteem. Despite these problems, in many cases, Latinas do not seek professional assistance due to the barriers they encounter that include language difficulties, poverty, cultural values, and legal status. The purpose of this project is to design a culturally sensitive curriculum that educates Latinas about domestic violence and the negative impacts on their children. Utilizing trauma informed practices, this program aims to, 1) raise the women’s awareness of the effects of domestic violence and trauma on themselves and their relationships with their children; 2) teach the women the importance of strong parent-child attachments in coping with trauma and share strategies to enhance their relationships with their children; 3) empower the women with skills to teach themselves and their children the importance of self-care; and 4) teach the women positive parenting skills that do not trigger trauma symptoms but instead model emotional regulation, empathy, and positive communication for their children. The project highlights the importance of developing domestic violence interventions for Latinas with young children using trauma-informed practices. These practices include creating a welcoming safe environment where they can reflect on their resilience as Latina women who have faced multiple challenges and who have young children to raise. The lessons include reflective, art and bibliotherapy activities that celebrate their strengths and culture, while teaching them the brain science of trauma, building positive parent-child relationships, and promoting self-care. Research-based recommendations for program implementation are discussed., San Diego State University
Women News Directors: Gender Obstacles to Achieving Television Newsroom Leadership
Women are represented by tens of thousands of media messages the public unintentionally ingests every day. Yet there is little consideration of the women behind those messages. Relatively few media scholars have examined the barriers faced by women who work within the media industry, particularly in television news, which has an historic and persistent lack of female leadership. Through the lens of social dominance and social cognitive career theories, this study examines: (1) the personal, institutional and socio-cultural obstacles female news employees perceive in the career path toward becoming a news director, (2) how current women news directors have successfully overcome those obstacles. Using quantitative survey methodology (N = 116) and qualitative interviews (N = 10), this study goes beyond initial descriptive numbers of women leaders in newsrooms to explore why the number of female managers is low and what can be done to encourage more women to aspire to become news directors at their respective broadcast stations.
Women in action: A grassroots perspective on promoting seasonal agricultural worker rights in Auquinco, Chile
For over four decades, Chile’s government has promoted neoliberal policies that favor export-oriented fruit production, which offers seasonal and temporary labor to women. The precarious nature of the employment of female laborers in the fruit industry is characterized by a lack of basic labor protections, high occupational risks, low wages, and long workdays with no overtime pay. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the effects of Chile’s fruit export industry on the lives of women in Auquinco - a rural community of agricultural workers within the largest fruit producing region in the country. The study also seeks to contextualize current efforts at worker and community organizing in order to better understand labor rights and advocacy from the perspective of women at the grassroots level. Civil society groups, such as the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (Asociación Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas, ANAMURI) and the Rural and Indigenous Women of the Orilla de Auquinco (Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas de la Orilla de Auquinco, ORIMURI), are defending the economic, social and political rights of seasonal laborers through training, education and outreach, especially where government service provision is limited at the local, regional and national levels.This study addresses the contradiction between Chile’s economic success and precarious employment for women. Due to the exclusion of seasonal laborers from public policy, the struggles of these women will likely continue to be a major issue for years to come. The research design was qualitative and included fourteen one-on-one interviews with rural Chilean women residing in the Colchagua Province. Current and former seasonal laborers shared insight on fruit harvest employment, working conditions, and participation in civil society groups - namely ORIMURI and ANAMURI. With this study I attempt to fill the gap in literature on female seasonal laborers by focusing specifically on the viable strategies employed by local community members in response to the precarious nature of fruit production in Chile. The intended benefit of this study is a more robust understanding of the strategies employed to advocate for labor rights, which will lead to better-informed federal policies and programs., San Diego State University
Women’s construction of chronic illness experiences through medical encounters and use of health information technology
In recent years, health and illness discourse has shifted considering patients` experiences and perceptions central to constructing legitimacy, diagnoses, and care, however, few studies account for the impact and role of health information technologies (HIT) such as diagnostic websites and electronic support groups on shaping the experience of illness. This study examines how this new context, abundant with accessible medical information (lay and official alike) facilitated by HIT, shapes women’s experience of chronic illness and medical encounters. In order to explore how women experience and perceive their illness and interactions with medical professionals, a brief online survey (n=31) was conducted along with 11 in-depth interviews with women who identified as either white or Filipina and ranged in age from 21 to 71 years old. Consistent with previous research, women’s accounts indicated having to navigate self-presentation in order to “earn” Parson’s ‘Sick Role’ when they did not meet health and illness archetypes informed by the biomedical norm. Specifically, participant identities and self-presentation were found to challenge biomedical norms and archetypes of gender and age. Findings also suggest the importance of HIT on patient empowerment and consumer power during medical encounters as well as the limitations to both. While participants expressed a newfound sense of control over their illness attributed to their HIT use, their accounts also demonstrated maintaining traditional medical standards of knowledge and ultimately, dependence upon medical authority for the diagnoses or treatments they desire. The study design and analysis was informed by social constructionist theory taking a critical look at the ‘Sick Role’ and recent trends of medicalization through an intersectional lens. In general, interview findings suggest a significant impact of gender and age on patient perceptions and experiences of medical encounter with little mention of race whereas a Fisher’s exact test utilizing survey data found significant but limited evidence of race-ethnic disparities in perception of having been “taken seriously” by medical professionals (P<0.01)., San Diego State University
Word representation and processing in deaf readers: Evidence from ERPs and eye-tracking
Skilled hearing readers activate phonological, orthographic, and semantic representations in order to recognize and comprehend words. However, deaf readers may achieve reading comprehension by different means. More specifically, enhanced visual attention, reduced access to phonology, and bimodal bilingualism may influence how deaf readers represent and process words. In this dissertation, I introduce the topic of deaf readers and review literature describing the unique sensory and linguistic experiences that shape how they read. I then present data from a set of behavioral, eye tracking, and electrophysiological studies to compare deaf and hearing readers matched on reading skill and identify alternative approaches to achieving reading success. In Chapter 2, I present a pair of eye tracking studies that suggest deaf readers are more efficient at processing words in sentences and more sensitive to letter transpositions compared to hearing readers. In Chapter 3, I present ERP data from a masked lexical decision experiment showing similarities in how deaf and hearing readers process words and nonwords at sublexical and lexical levels. In Chapter 4, I use ERP evidence to demonstrate that deaf readers co-activate English word representations when recognizing ASL signs. Overall, deaf readers are more sensitive to the visual-orthographic structure of words, which makes them more reliant on orthographic representations during word recognition and more efficient at processing visual word forms in sentence reading., University of California San Diego; San Diego State University