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A PHENOMENOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS’ EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE IN ADVISING STUDENT-ATHLETES ON THE NCAA COLLEGE TRANSITION PROCESSThis phenomenological investigation examined the experiences and knowledge of high school counselors in advising student-athletes on the NCAA college transition process. The study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, successes, and experiences of school counselors in supporting student-athletes during a critical transition period. School counselors often receive insufficient training in this area, resulting in a lack of adequate support for student-athletes to navigate the college transition process effectively and maximize their opportunities for postsecondary education (Paramo-Garfio, 2017; Vaughn & Smith, 2018). The research was conducted using interviews to capture the lived experiences and perspectives of nine Georgia high school counselors. The research examined school counselors’ roles and their facilitation of advising student-athletes on the NCAA college transition process. The findings of this study may contribute to the existing literature and provide insights for improving support services and training programs for high school counselors working with student-athletes (Stahlke and Cranmore 2021). The study concludes with recommendations for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to facilitating a successful college transition for student-athletes.
Use of Simulation in U.S. Physical Therapist Programs: A Multiple Case StudyThis study explored how U.S. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs integrate and implement simulation-based learning into their curricula. While recent research takes a broad view of how physical therapy (PT) programs are using simulation, this research sought an in-depth understanding by exploring the questions about (1) how are programs integrating simulation into curricula, (2) how are programs designing and implementing simulation, (3) what are barriers or challenges to simulation use, and (4) how are programs using simulation for interprofessional education. This exploration spans across three manuscripts. The first manuscript is a systematic literature review, which examines current published research regarding how PT programs use simulation. The review of the literature showed that many programs use simulation to replicate the acute care setting, to address interprofessional education, and to assess clinical decision-making skills. The second and third manuscripts are qualitative case studies that examine in-depth how three different PT programs use simulation in their curricula. The empirical research part of this dissertation was a multiple case study design. Three DPT programs were selected for their diversity from volunteers who responded to a national call for participants. Three one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom with all three participants. Artifacts were also gathered to enrich the interview discussions and enhance data analysis, such as plans of study, simulation planning documents, debriefing guides, case information, and assessment rubrics. Utilizing Saldaña’s Themeing the Data approach for data analysis of the interview revealed a consensus on important aspects of curricular integration, planning and executing effective simulations, and challenges with conducting simulations. Additionally, Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core Competencies underscored interprofessional simulations. Finally, participants agreed that collaboration of participating programs and intentional integration in the design and planning phases of simulations are necessary to accomplish effective learning events. The findings from this study serve to further understanding of how PT programs use simulation, to identifying existing gaps in following best practices, and to continuing the push towards developing standards of best practice and assessment specifically for simulation use in PT education.
STEM PERSISTENCE AND THE DOUBLE BIND: INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO STEM SUCCESSThis study investigated the complex relationship between women’s attributes, collegiate experiences, and STEM cultural ideology, all of which significantly impact STEM persistence. This study specifically addressed the disparities between Black and White women pursuing undergraduate STEM degrees across diverse institutions in the United States. Furthermore, it explored how institution type and collegiate experiences influenced STEM persistence among women pursuing STEM undergraduate degrees. Multiple methods were used to collect and analyze the data. Results of statistical analyses revealed significant differences in collegiate interpersonal relationships, institutional influences, and STEM cultural ideology experienced by Black women and White women, echoing the prevailing trends in existing research. Further, significant differences in collegiate interpersonal relationships and institutional influences were observed between public and private institutions, with no significant differences between universities and four-year institutions or between historically Black colleges and universities and their non-historically Black counterparts. Finally, the results of statistical analyses for the sample revealed that STEM cultural ideology was the only predictor that influenced STEM persistence, while race/ethnicity, women’s attributes, interpersonal relationships, and institutional influences did not. These findings challenge much of the available literature and suggest that STEM persistence may be influenced by additional factors not accounted for in this study. As such, further research is necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the contributors to STEM persistence for Black and White women in STEM undergraduate programs of study.
Novel Pain-Free Immunization of a Combination Microparticulate Vaccine for COVID-19 and InfluenzaSevere Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Influenza are contagious respiratory viruses that can only be effectively prevented by vaccination. Both COVID-19 and Influenza have previously caused Pandemics that have significantly affected the well-being of people globally. Although there are several approved vaccines for both diseases, the limitations and shortcomings of these vaccines are why there is constant research for developing a better vaccine. The current vaccines are primarily painful and non-patient-friendly intramuscular injections, resulting in vaccine hesitancy in children and older adults. IM injections also require trained healthcare professionals for vaccine administration, contributing to the workforce's burden. There is also a requirement to store these vaccines in a cold temperature setting to preserve the life of these biologicals. However, such conditions pose an issue during the transportation and distribution of these vaccines worldwide. Developing and underdeveloped countries are affected by such limitations in storage and distribution. All these factors lead to declining vaccination rates and an increase in the frequency of the emerging mutant strains. Considering all these factors, we tested an inactivated microparticulate vaccine for COVID-19 and a combination microparticulate vaccine for COVID-19 and Influenza. Utilizing a microparticle matrix to encapsulate the vaccine antigen protects the antigen from degradation. Additionally, particle-based vaccines are being investigated for stability at various temperatures, including room temperature. The vaccine was tested via different non-invasive routes such as transdermal using microneedles, buccal using oral dissolving films, and intranasal route to minimize or eliminate pain during vaccination. First, the microparticle vaccines were prepared, characterized, and assessed in vitro for their immunogenicity, cytotoxicity, autophagy, and antigen presentation. Next, the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and the inactivated combination SARS-CoV-2-Influenza vaccine were tested in vivo in a preclinical mouse model and evaluated for immunogenicity and efficacy upon administration to mice. The study's results are summarized in this dissertation and clearly show that non-invasive vaccination strategies can induce effective immune responses in mice. A microparticle vaccine approach can solve multiple problems in vaccine development, distribution, storage, and administration when combined with a non-invasive vaccination strategy. However, like every vaccine, novel vaccination strategies warrant further investigation.