• The Role Of Academic Mindsets Upon The Mathematics Achievement Of Eighth-grade Female Students / By Stephanie Laverne Leggett.

      Leggett, Stephanie Laverne
      Abstract Stephanie Laverne Leggett The role of academic mindsets upon the mathematics achievement of eighth-grade female students Under the direction of Clemmie Whately, Ph.D. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation among the academic mindsets and the achievement of eighth-grade female students. The study utilized archival data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) of 2011. The sample population included 5,164 eighth-grade female students in the United States. Quantitative methods served to analyze the archival data to determine if there were statistically significant correlations between the variables under consideration for each of the research questions. The archival data included the participants’ mathematics scores, content domain scores, and survey results from the TIMSS questionnaires. Using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software, Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated for each set of variables. Multiple analyses were calculated for each research question in order to examine differences based on the role of academic mindsets. The researcher determined that the effect sizes of academic mindsets were small and medium to medium-large when considering the mathematics academic achievement of eighth-grade females in the sample population. Pearson’s r relationship between female students’ mindset and overall TIMSS math scores demonstrated an effect size for Value (r2= .015) and Like (r2= .037); whereas the mindset effect size for Confidence (r2= .152) was found to be medium to medium large for Confidence This finding was true also in relation to content domains. The effect sizes for Value were small in Algebra (r2=.015), Data and Chance (r2=.006), Number (r2=.008), and Geometry (r2=.018). The effect sizes for Like were small in Algebra (r2=.05), Data and Chance (r2=.02), Number (r2=.04), and Geometry (r2=.03). However, the effect sizes for Confidence were medium to medium large in Algebra (r2=.16), Data and Chance (r2=.10), Number (r2=.14), and Geometry (r2=.13).
    • The Role Of Cd44 And Its Isoforms In S. Aureus-induced Inflammation

      Hill, Brittany Kaye
      Hospital-acquired S. aureus infections have long been an issue in public health in the United States, but community-acquired infections are now on the rise as well. While the S. aureus bacteria present can be treated withare sensitive too numerous antibiotics, there is no known effective treatment for the superantigen activity within produced by the bacteria. Superantigens are virulence factors associated withsecreted by S. aureus that cause complications during infection due to cross-linking of MCH class II antigens on antigen presenting cells and T-cell receptors. T This process to stimulates a large numbers of T cells causing increased pro-inflammatory cytokine production, vascular leak, and severe inflammation [5]. This study examines the role of CD44 during S. aureus-induced inflammation and identifies CD44 isoforms CD44v6v7 and CD44v8v10 as potential targets for treatment of the effects associated with superantigen- infectioninduced inflammation. The results show that CD44 isoforms CD44v6v7 and CD44v8-v10 are elevated in PBMC’s isolated from patients bacteremic with S. aureus and in mice exposed to S. aureus. This could make them Consequently, these isoforms may be potential targets to reduce the effects of superantigen activity. The role of CD44 is shown through the use of CD44KO mice, which have reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production and reduced immune cell migration into the lungs after S. aureus exposure when compared to WT C57BL/6 mice. The CD44KO mice do, however, show increased bacterial loads in the lungs. This suggests that while not all CD44 molecules can be targeted due to reduced clearance of bacteria, perhaps the isoforms CD44v6v7 and CD44v8-v10 can. Future studies to target CD44v6v7 and/or CD44v8-v10 to examine the effects of the immune response following S. aureus infection are warranted.
    • The Role Of Ethics In The Professional Development, Academic Preparation, And Decision-making Processes

      Platts, James Anthony
      ABSTRACT This non-experimental quantitative study sought to examine high school principals’ perceptions of their academic preparation program, ethical philosophies, and actions related to leadership. A 26-item Principals’ Perception Related to Ethics survey that included an Ethical Trait chart and five open-ended questions used a five choice Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree�? for the respondents to choose from. The instrument was sent to 247 high school principals who were active members of a professional secondary principal organization located in the southeastern portion of the United States with a return rate of 30%. The study was guided by nine research questions using t-Test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson correlation. Based on findings of the data analysis, none of the nine null hypotheses was rejected, due to lack of statistical significance. The instrument did reveal that respondents believe additional ethical training is needed for both new and veteran high school leaders. The survey items revealed that high school leaders are viewed as the ethical leaders in the building and should represent the staff and students as such. Integrity and honesty were key traits/characteristics that the respondents felt all high school leaders should possess. Along with integrity and honesty, the respondents felt high school leaders must discuss ethical issues in faculty meetings, create an ethical environment for all stakeholders, and hire new employees that share liked ethical viewpoints as the leaders. Several conclusions were drawn from this study that spoke to changes needed in public educational settings to train and retrain those in high school leadership positions. Recommendations were made to conduct this study nationally.
    • The Role of Hyaluronic Acid Metabolism in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells’ Initiation of Anti-Inflammatory Pathways

      Christiansen, John; School of Medicine
      For acute inflammatory diseases like ARDS or sepsis, there are currently massive limitations to the treatment options available. Even with rapid treatment, permanent damage and high risk of recurrence often result from these disease pathologies. Cell-based therapies – like those involving MSCs – have emerged as remarkable candidates for supplemental therapies for a whole host of diseases due to both regenerative properties and their paracrine signaling qualities. Currently, there is very little known about their ability to metabolize hyaluronic acid and whether this process is vital in initiating these therapeutic effects. Gene expression analysis of human MSCs stimulated with SEB-stimulated PBMC secretome indicates HAS-3 and PDL-1 may play a significant role in this pathway. This was confirmed by increased HA production detected via ELISA despite heat inactivation of the inflammatory queue. This means the PBMC secretome may contain some moiety or vesicle, not denatured by high heat, that caused a further increase in expression of HAS-3 compared to the non- heat-inactivated inflammatory queue. In addition, HAS-3 inhibition with 4MU produced a downregulation in inflammatory markers PDL-1 and IDO-1. Decoding this unknown signal within heat-inactivated PBMC-Secretome may prove vital in understanding how HA metabolism plays into MSCs regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties.
    • The Role Of School Climate, Parent Involvement, And Principal Characteristics On The Effectiveness Of Looping As A Student Achievement Tool

      Harrington, Jocelyn Marie
      ABSTRACT JOCELYN M. HARRINGTON The Role of School Climate, Parent Involvement, and Principal Characteristics on the Effectiveness of Looping as a Student Achievement Tool Under the direction of OLIVIA BOGGS, Ed.D. School principals are responsible for implementing improvement strategies to address low academic achievement. Very little research connects the principal’s decision to implement looping and increased academic achievement. However, many principals continue to implement looping with little empirical evidence on the success of looping to increase student achievement. This study examined the extent to which principal characteristics, school climate, and parent involvement were associated with the effectiveness of looping as a student achievement tool. Further, the study sought to determine if there was a difference in the climate, level of parent involvement, principal characteristics, and academic achievement of third, fourth, and fifth grade students in Title I elementary schools that utilized looping as a school improvement strategy or did not use looping as a school improvement strategy. Principal characteristics included; years of experience, teacher to principal ratio, gender, and certification level. Title I elementary principals were contacted to determine if looping was implemented in their schools and to complete a school climate survey. Title I elementary third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers in looping and non-looping schools were then contacted to complete a school climate and a parent involvement survey. Principals provided CRCT data for teachers who participated in the study. Principal characteristic data were obtained from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. Data were analyzed using an independent samples t test to compare looping and non-looping schools. Fifteen research questions related to school climate, parent involvement, academic achievement in reading, English Language Arts, and mathematics for third, fourth, and fifth grade students in looping and non-looping schools guided the study. No differences were found in school climate, parent involvement, principal characteristics, and fifth grade achievement in looping and non-looping schools. No academic achievement data were collected for fourth grade. Differences in achievement were found in third grade reading, English Language Arts, and mathematics. Third grade students may benefit from looping. These students may have developmental and academic needs that support remaining with the same teacher for more than one year. Additional research on looping in Kindergarten first, and second grade may provide critical information on looping as a student achievement tool.
    • The Role Of Sumoylation In The Ebv Life Cycle

      Harrod, Abigail Elana
      ABSTRACT THE ROLE OF SUMOYLATION IN THE EBV LIFE CYCLE By: ABIGAIL E. HARROD Under the direction of: DR. GRETCHEN L. BENTZ, PHD Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is responsible for ~1.6% of human cancer cases, world-wide. A hallmark of many EBV-associated cancers and malignancies is an overall increase in cellular protein sumoylation. EBV Latent Membrane Protein 1 (LMP1) is the main viral oncoprotein responsible for dysregulating sumoylation. By directly interacting with enzymes of the sumoylation pathway through its C-Terminal Activating Region 3 (CTAR3) domain, LMP1 dysregulates sumoylation of enzymes and proteins involved in various cell maintenance and signaling pathways, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth and division. LMP1 aids in the maintenance of viral latency through increased sumoylation of the EBV lytic co-repressor, Krab-associated protein-1 (Kap1) and dysregulated sumoylation of innate immune activator, interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7). Because EBV, along with other herpes viruses, exploits the SUMO machinery, it has been targeted for viral cancer therapies. Although several natural E1 and E2 inhibitors, including Spectomycin B, ginkgolic acid (GA), anacardic acid, and glycyrrhizic acid (GLA), have been identified, most have low potencies and exhibit toxicity, except for GLA which is relatively non-toxic. Here, we examine the effects of ML-792, a novel synthetic small-molecule inhibitor with a specific binding mechanism, on multiple B-cell lines. We hypothesized that ML-792 would modulate the oncogenic potential of EBV LMP1 by inhibiting sumoylation processes. Western blot analysis revealed that ML-792 decreased global cellular protein sumoylation levels at nanomolar concentrations, while having no effect on ubiquitination. Using Trypan Blue Exclusion Assay, we observed that ML-792 treatment inhibited cell growth, induced cell death, and altered cell-cycle progression. ML-792 decreased the ability of lytic virus to infect new cells and led to increased cell clumping and decreased cell migration following Scratch assays. Measuring EBV DNA levels with qPCR showed that drug treatment induced low levels of viral reactivation in cells. In conclusion, we propose that ML-792 could be a safe and potent treatment option for EBV-induced malignancies.
    • The Role Of The Patch Compartment Neurons In Methamphetamine-mediated Reward

      Kendrick, Troy Lewis
      The striatum is significantly important in the formation of habitual behaviors as well as reward association. Elicited reward behavior from methamphetamine (METH) is mediated by the striatum. Two distinct striatal sub regions, the patch and matrix, have been shown by previous studies to have key relationship in the regulation of addiction behavior. The patch compartment, in contrast with the matrix, expresses a high density of mu opioid receptors and receives dense inputs from limbic regions of the brain. Patch compartment neurons contribute to habitual behaviors, and our hypothesis is that these neurons also contribute to reward. The goal of this work was to investigate the role of the patch compartment neurons in METH-induced reward behavior. The approach was designed to determine if the ablation of mu opioid receptor-containing neurons of the patch compartment would alter METH-mediated Condition Placed Preference (CPP). This was achieved by using Dermorphin-Saporin (DERM-SAP), a neurotoxin that specifically targets and eliminates mu opioid receptor-containing neurons. Male and female rats in this study were bilaterally infused in striatum either with DERM-SAP or unconjugated Saporin (SAP), which was used as a control. After eight days of recovery, subjects were placed into the CPP paradigm, receiving either a moderate dose of methamphetamine (2mg/kg) or saline. After eight days of conditioning, a preference test was conducted on each animal. It was found that METH-mediated CPP was reduced in female rats which were pretreated with DERM-SAP, while METH-mediated CPP was increased in male rats with DERM-SAP lesions. These results allow us to conclude that patch compartment neurons are necessary for METH-induced reward behaviors in females, but not males.
    • The Roles Of Teacher Self-efficacy And Spirituality In Classroom Practices

      Grant, Sarah Ary
      ABSTRACT SARAH ARY GRANT THE ROLES OF TEACHER SELF-EFFICACY AND SPIRITUALITY IN ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS Under the direction of SHERAH B. CARR, Ph.D. Over half of teachers consider quitting the occupation before reaching the five-year mark. Within the United States, diverse student populations, little support from administrators, few opportunities for collaboration with fellow teachers, and lack of resources all contribute to the high percentages of teacher turnover. Education research links heightened self-efficacy to teacher retention. Additionally, spirituality appears to be a mediating factor to the stressors associated with the occupation. However, little research exists on the reasons behind veteran teachers’ decisions to remain in the profession, specifically related to efficacy and spirituality. This qualitative case study explored the classroom practices of teachers with high self-efficacy and spirituality. Participants were one kindergarten and one fifth-grade teacher who self-reported high scores on the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale and the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale. Data included weekly observations and subsequent interviews with each teacher. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The results revealed four overarching themes: having a calling, knowing what works, committing to everyday successes, and maintaining relationships. In addition, the participants found distinct connections between their personal teaching efficacy and spirituality. Recommendations for future research include qualitative and quantitative research on teachers with heightened efficacy and spirituality as well as how these constructs impact classroom practices and student success.
    • The Sacred Call Of A Deacon: The Role Of The Nominations And Lay Leadership Committee In The Corporate Discernment Of Deacons At First Baptist Church, Greenwood, South Carolina

      Jennings, David
      ABSTRACT DAVID ANTHONY JENNINGS THE SACRED CALL OF A DEACON: THE ROLE OF THE NOMINATIONS AND LAY LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE IN THE CORPORATE DISCERNMENT OF DEACONS AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA Under the direction of Daniel Vestal, Th.D., Faculty Supervisor Too often churches select and nominate individuals to serve in the sacred call of a deacon based on an old model rather than a discernment process. Under the old model, committee members randomly select potential deacon nominees and immediately contact them about having their names placed into nomination. The following project thesis introduces the First Baptist Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee to a corporate discernment process that allows space for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the scared call of a deacon. The research methodology used in the project thesis involved the researcher being engaged as a participant observer. The researcher also used a combination of participation, observation, and interpretation of data collected from interviews as the primary qualitative research method. The researcher, working with the Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee, compared the answers to pre- and post-research questions after introducing the committee to the First Baptist Corporate Discernment Process. Through the introduction of the First Baptist Corporate Discernment Process, members of the Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee discovered a new way of selecting and nominating individuals to serve in the sacred call of a deacon. Members of the committee stated that the introduction of the corporate discernment process gave the committee the tools necessary to find spiritual consensus during the deacon selection and nomination process. The corporate discernment process also provided the space needed for the movement of the Holy Spirit as the committee sought spiritual consensus during the deacon selection and nomination process. Opportunities for additional study associated with the project thesis include the use of the corporate discernment process with other committees and boards of First Baptist. Further study also includes introducing the corporate discernment process to the diaconate. Additional opportunities for further study include introducing the corporate discernment process to other Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches in the state of South Carolina as well as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
    • The Study Of The Properties Of Polymeric Materials Both Pristine And Coated With Metallic Nano-layers With Regard To Impact Erosion

      Culp, John Kevin
      This project will examine the impact erosion behaviors of a variety of composites and polymer materials, as well as the effect of factors such as additives and thin film coatings on the polymers and composites. The materials to be examined will be: Polycarbonate, Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Polystyrene, PVC, and Epoxy resin. Samples of each of these six materials will be subjected to Rockwell hardness tests, three-point bending tests, and solid particle erosion tests at a normal impact angle with the goal to ascertain the behavior of these materials in regards to erosion. Additionally, samples of certain materials will be coated with a thin film layer of copper, titanium, or titanium nitride by the method of DC magnetron sputtering. The coated samples will also be subjected to erosion tests to determine the effectiveness of the coatings in improving the characteristics of erosion.
    • The Use Of Gratitude As A Spiritual Discipline In The Spiritual Formation Of Online Students At Point University

      Thompson-Lewis, Shirley
      This project in the category of spirituality examines the usefulness of gratitude as a spiritual discipline in the spiritual formation of students at Point University. The students participated in an eight-week synchronous and asynchronous experience facilitated through the University’s learning management system. A One-Group Pre-test/Post-test quasi-experimental design was used to measure the frequency with which students expressed and/or experienced gratitude in their day to day lives across six areas: God, self, family, community/others, suffering, and grace. Qualitative measures included interview responses and Count Your Blessings forum posts. Quantitative data was collected from pre and post surveys. The quantitative data infers that there was an increase in the students’ awareness of God in their day-to-day experiences through the practice of gratitude. The self-reported subjective qualitative data provided by the students in the interview and the forum supports the inferences of the quantitative data that the students’ awareness of God had increased during the project using gratitude as a discipline. Recommendations for further study include using a larger sample and incorporating additional experiences such as virtual life groups and online service projects. Another recommendation is to consider exploring gender differences in student participation in spiritual formational programs.