• Truth By Surprise: Subverting Expectations Of The Kingdom Of God Through Homiletical Humor

      Naeve, Rory
      The congregants of First Baptist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee are like people in many churches around the United States. They are long-time church-goers who have attended Sunday school lessons and heard sermons on biblical texts enough to breed a familiarity that can prevent further insight. The preacher must find a way to bypass familiarity, allowing hearers to experience the text anew. This study measures how six sermons employing humor subvert expectations to give a renewed experience of Jesus’ descriptions of the Kingdom of God in the parables in Matthew’s Gospel. Twelve participants were interviewed in three sessions over six weeks to measure how effective humor is in communicating the complex and counter-cultural Kingdom of God that Jesus expresses in the parables. The group was interviewed together in three semi-structured sessions to allow participants to give their insights and experiences with limited researcher prompting. Participant responses indicate that humor indeed aided in experiencing familiar parables with a new perspective, a sense of personal interaction, and a desire to act upon the principles of the Kingdom as presented in the sermons. Humor can provide a fresh experience for preachers and congregations alike. Further study should be conducted in utilizing humor to preach texts of other biblical genres, such as the Hebrew prophets, proverbs, psalms, and epistles. Humor is a broad category, and some research into the congregation’s varied responses to specific types of humor (wit, anecdote, or satire) could be illuminating.
    • Two Worlds, One War: An Examination Of The Islamic East And Christian West Prior To The First Crusade

      Peeler, William Adam
      When one begins to study the Crusades, it can be seen that many of the resources in circulation today are strongly biased towards Western Christianity. There are countless works written from the view of the Crusaders, and painfully few written from the perspective of the Islamic world. In addition to this, Western readers have access to numerous documents detailing the potential intentions of Pope Urban II and his initiation of the Crusades, the politics of the Western World during the eleventh-century, and the economic effects the Crusades had in the West, but the same cannot be said for the Islamic East. The way one views the world affects his or her perspectives on life, faith, and politics. This can be seen in the differences between the Islamic East and Christian West of the eleventh century CE. This paper will examine the differences between the Islamic East and Christian West focusing on how each side viewed the formation of the world, their uses and implementation of Holy War, and their views on when the First Crusade actually began.
    • Undergraduates' Retrospective Perceptions Of Academic Dishonesty As Gifted High School Students

      Jenrette, Don Edwin
      Research shows that gifted high school students engage in academically dishonest behavior. Likewise, research shows that individuals can use neutralization techniques offered by Sykes and Matza (1957) to rationalize academic dishonesty. This study was to investigate how undergraduates, who are former gifted high school students, can rationalize academically dishonest behavior by using neutralization techniques identified chronologically by Sykes and Mata (1957), Klockars (1974), Minor (1981), Benson (1985), Cromwell & Thurman (2003), and Coleman (2006) in a high school setting. Likewise, this investigation was conducted to uncover any novel neutralization techniques for cheating, issues that could lead to academic dishonesty and procedures, and instructions that could promote academic integrity in a high school setting. This mixed-methods study used a quantitative online survey and semi-structured interviews focusing on neutralization techniques to rationalize academic dishonesty. The participants were undergraduates reflecting on their experiences as gifted high school students. Ultimately, 127 undergraduates from a private university in Georgia provided their degree of agreement with 19 neutralization statements that correspond to neutralization techniques identified by Sykes and Matza’s (1957), Klockars (1974), and Minor (1981). Four respondents agreed to be interviewed. These qualitative interviews focused on all identified and any novel neutralization techniques used to rationalize academic dishonesty. This study revealed that gifted high school students could use all identified neutralization techniques to rationalize academic dishonesty. Three previously unidentified neutralization techniques to rationalize academic dishonesty were identified. Furthermore, issues that could lead to academic dishonesty and procedures and instructions could promote academic integrity were identified. The findings support the need for curriculum and instruction that promotes academic integrity among gifted high school students. Recommendations for further research include the extent of drift (Matza, 1964) experienced by gifted high school students, if non-gifted students use the newly identified neutralization techniques, when do students first use neutralization techniques to rationalize academic dishonesty, desensitization to academic dishonesty, moral development, investigating the relationship of one’s mindset and their tendencies to neutralize and/or engage in academically dishonest behavior, and a focus on more qualitative research to investigate multiple aspects of academic dishonesty at all levels.
    • Understanding The Faculty Experience Designing, Developing, And Delivering Massive Open Online Courses To Inform Academic Leaders Considering Mooc Initiatives

      Collins, Richard Bryan
      The work of academic faculty is what defines institutions of higher learning (Steward, 2013). Institutional leaders and decision-makers need valid, qualitative research information regarding faculty lived experiences in order to understand the opportunities and challenges of designing, developing, and delivering instruction on a massive scale. From 2008 to 2011 the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) went from an obscure experimental course to full-scale adoption by world-renowned institutions without consulting experts in the field of online learning, utilized older pedagogical frameworks, and still few have asked the academic faculty designing, developing, and delivering MOOCs if MOOCs are a viable learning experience or if MOOCs further institutional goals. The researcher chose to conduct a classical phenomenology by developing a 10 question semi-structured telephonic interview (Crotty, 1998; Husserl, 1931). Seven participants, four male, three female from the United States and Canada offered answers to the interview which resulted in rich data regarding their lived experiences. MOOCs can be extremely expensive and take an excessive amount of a professor’s time and energy to do well. Currently, MOOCs have not proved to be the educational panacea many had hoped however, MOOCs are likely here to stay for the foreseeable future as rapid changes become the new normal for higher education. Because of the emerging nature of this field of research numerous opportunities for future research are open. Institutional leaders need better understanding of costs and learning outcomes in MOOCs in order to evaluate the challenges and opportunities posed by MOOC initiatives in their respective institutions.
    • Understanding The Function Of Lmp1-ctar3 In Ebv-associated Lymphomas

      Ross, Tabithia
      Epstein-Barr virus, a ubiquitous virus infecting most of the world’s population, utilizes the traditional B-cell maturation pathway of the adaptive immune system to establish a life-long infection in the host due to the ability of the virus to immortalize B-cells. Latent EBV infection is associated with distinct lymphoid malignancies, and latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) has been identified as the primary oncoprotein associated with these lymphoid malignancies and the immortalization of naïve B-cells. The three C-terminal activating regions (CTARs) of LMP1 play a significant role in the transformation of a naïve B-cell by dysregulating the normal signaling pathways for cell maintenance and maturation thereby inducing the mature B-cell to continue proliferating without control, a classic hallmark of cancer. Our current research focuses on CTAR3, which resides between CTAR1 and CTAR2 and consists of an average of four and a half 11 amino acid repeats (11-aaR) and one-to-two proline-rich regions (PXXPXP). Previous research established an interaction between the CTAR3 and the JAK/STAT pathway via the proline-rich regions, but others have reported that CTAR3 was not necessary for the LMP1/JAK interaction or LMP1-mediated STAT activation. More recent work demonstrated a correlation between lower numbers of 11-aaR found in CTAR3 and increased pathogenesis; however, the exact role of the repetitive elements has not been elucidated. We hypothesized the repetitive elements found in LMP1 CTAR3 were necessary for the ability of CTAR3 to modulate the oncogenic nature of LMP1. Using GFP-tagged LMP1 expression constructs, we investigated the intracellular and extracellular trafficking of LMP1, cellular migration and protein solubility. While the number of 11-aaR found within LMP1 are variable in nature, we found that with the loss of the 11-aaR the normal biology of the oncoprotein was altered. We demonstrate that the repetitive elements of LMP1-CTAR3, specifically the 11-aaR, affect the biology of LMP1 including the stability and the intracellular and extracellular trafficking of LMP1, which can change the oncogenic potential of LMP1. We propose that targeting the functions of the CTAR3 repetitive elements may provide new advance therapeutic opportunities for patients with EBV-associated lymphomas.
    • Understanding The Nature Of Glycyrrhizic Acid In Breast Cancer Treatment

      Hall, Jessica S
      Breast cancer (BC) is the second most common cancer in women with 1 in 8 women in the United States developing BC within their lifetimes. Of the numerous types of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is the most common accounting for 80% of all breast cancers. The use of chemotherapeutic drugs such as doxorubicin (DOX) improves the prognosis and survival of patients diagnosed with BC. Yet, many BC cells form a drug resistance leading to relapse and worsening of prognosis for the patient. We hypothesize that the alternative medicine, glycyrrhizic acid (GA) will lead to the induction of apoptosis in BC cells while sensitizing the cells in combination with first-line chemotherapeutic, DOX. The effects of treatment on BC cell growth was assessed and measured using TACS MTT Cell Proliferation Assay, Trypan Blue Dye Exclusion, DeadEndTM Fluorometric TUNEL System, Annexin-V/PI-double staining, Western Blot, cellular production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the detection of mitochondrial membrane potential to determine mitochondrial function. In the current study, treatment with GA led to decreases in cell proliferation and viability in addition to the induction of apoptosis. Our results also show that exposure to GA leads to increased ROS generation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that GA may be effective when used as co- treatment with DOX for BC treatment. Recommendations for further study involves illustrating the role and mechanism of hyaluronic acid (HA) on each cell line, investigating the usefulness of co-treatment with GA and DOX, examine the effects of ROS inhibitors on ROS generation and transition studies to focus on 3-D BC cell models.
    • Unlocking The Code : Matters Of Agency, Metalinguistic Skills, And Literacy Achievement For Speakers Of Non-mainstream American English / By Adrina O. Smith.

      Smith, Adrina O.
      This study examined the latent factors of dialect variation as they relate to reading achievement of second grade students. Sociocultural theory, identity theories, and critical theory used against a metaphorical backdrop of a bundle of locks were used to illustrate the complexity of language variation and its effect on reading achievement within minority populations. Current findings have established a negative correlation between reading achievement and use of Non-Mainstream American English (NMAE)—such that reading achievement decreases as use of NMAE increases. Although this relationship has been established, few researchers have utilized qualitative inquiry to explore the relationship between linguistic variance and reading. This study implemented an explanatory design of mixed methods. Quantitatively, the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation-Screening Test (DELV-S) measured the linguistic variation and the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement-Third Edition (WJ-III) measured the reading comprehension of four second-grade students. Qualitatively, the students participated in follow-up interviews, sharing their lived experiences of metalinguistic awareness, dialect variation, and literacy acquisition. Findings affirmed the inverse relationship between use of NMAE and reading achievement and linguistic awareness. Findings also indicated that semantic awareness shapes linguistic awareness and conscientiousness of linguistic style, and the ability to accommodate the speech styles of others by means of convergence increases as variation away from Mainstream American English (MAE) decreases. Recommendations for further study include interviews with older students, monolingual students, and students who code switch regularly.
    • Using Facial Features to Produce an Augmented Reality System

      Sharma, Pragya; School of Engineering
      Under the direction of Anthony Choi, Ph.D. In the following work, an augmented reality system is proposed that takes the gaze of the eye, along with facial movements for assistance, as an input to allow the user to interact with a sample menu from a restaurant. Currently, the only way for a customer to order food at a restaurant is by touching a menu in person or by having the customer touch a screen. In either instance, the customer is having to interact with surfaces that are shared by many individuals, with the risk of contracting any number of illnesses. Such is a bigger problem when it comes to living through a pandemic, for instance, where interaction between shared surfaces poses a higher risk of exposure to the virus. Using an already trained neural network that incorporates pre-identified facial landmarks that every user possesses, the program can keep track of the user’s gaze and show the positions of both the left and right pupils, respectively. Along with this, the program begins with the user opening their mouth to pass a certain threshold and starts to read input. The user guides the cursor with the movement of their face within the green box shown on screen. By stopping facial movement, the user can select a menu item with the wink of their left eye. While conducting tests to see if the program was displaying correct coordinates, user testing took place and it was found that nine times out of ten, the program was displaying the correct coordinates. With more practice, the user was able to get used to using their facial movements to guide the cursor, although the cursor control speed could be better adjusted for future testing. Along with this, such exaggeration of facial movements could be adjusted so that the user does not feel awkward utilizing the system.
    • Using Patch Clamp Electrophysiology To Detect Changes In Excitatory Synaptic Strength In The Striatum Of Rats Treated With Methamphetamine

      Thompson, Catherine Cater
      Methamphetamine (METH) abuse is quickly becoming an epidemic in both the United States and the world. One symptom of METH use is stereotypic behavior, or repetitive, non-goal oriented behaviors that interfere with goal directed behaviors. Investigators have looked at the striatum for the formation of these behaviors since ritualistic behaviors are defining characteristics of this region. The ventral striatum is associated with limbic circuits while the dorsal striatum is linked to motor circuits. Within these regions lie two additional subregions, the patch and the matrix. The patch receives predominantly limbic inputs while the matrix has predominately sensorimotor inputs. Previous work has determined that the patch region of the dorsal striatum is responsible for the formation of stereotypic behavior, but the precise mechanism remains unclear. We hypothesized that these behaviors arise from synaptic plasticity occurring in the patch and matrix regions of the dorsal striatum. Chronic METH was given to rats and electrophysiology was used to determine changes in excitatory synaptic strength in neurons within this brain region. Although we did not find any statistically significant difference when comparing the patch and matrix neurons of saline and chronic METH treated animals respectively, we did see a trend towards long term potentiation in chronic METH patch treated neurons. More studies will need to be done to increase the sample size and determine if the synaptic changes are long-term or short-term in nature.
    • Viewing Educational Leadership Through The Lens Of Spirituality : How African American Females Cope / By Alison Dawn Smith.

      Smith, Alison Dawn
      The spiritual voice of the African American female in Educational Leadership has been omitted from educational and theological literature. This study will be guided by the overarching theme of the research: viewing educational leadership through the lens of spirituality, specifically how African American females cope. For the purpose of this phenomenological study, data were collected via structured and unstructured interviews, audio recordings and observations. Throughout the surveys, focus groups, and the interviews, the spirituality of African American females in educational leadership was evident as a viable coping mechanism. In fact, the existence of spirituality seems to be a way of life as opposed to just being a means of surviving. Furthermore, it is the belief of the researcher that one cannot deny the belief that not only does spirituality make one a better leader, it is necessary to the survival of the African American female leader. Amongst the fifteen African American females in educational leadership interviewed, surveyed, or observed, faith and spirituality were the most valuable coping mechanism they possessed. Based on the data presented in and throughout this dissertation, there was a phenomenon amongst African American females to cope in educational leadership spirituality Specifically, this research and methodology was designed to transform the perceptions of the African American Female Leader, create social action by empowering leaders to lead in a more efficient way unique to their culture, and to minimize a gap in the literature. Viewing spirituality as a lens to lead triangulates African American females, educational leadership and spirituality thereby forging a new path in educational research.
    • Walking With The Spirit: A Phenomenological Study Of Charismatic Renewal In The Global South

      Geeslin, Matthew Turner
      This thesis is a phenomenological study of charismatic Christianity in the global south as it pertains to the spread of charismatic Christianity in the country of Brazil. The purpose of this study is to determine the reasons for the rapid spread of Pentecostalism in Brazil in the last hundred years. Additionally, it seeks to identify any major theological and social trends through an overview of the country’s religious, social, and political history. Extensive census data from the PEW Research Institute’s study on globalized religion in Latin America will be used as a tool and reference point for this study and will also help frame Brazil in its modern context. The results of this research will conclude that there is a direct tie between Brazil’s social, political, and religious history, and the growth of charismatic expressions of Christianity. Additionally, the conclusion will offer theoretical patterns of growth, history, and religious advancement, in an attempt demonstrate their intertwined nature. These patterns will be suggestive for future research in terms of identifying similar patterns or social behaviors in other areas of the global south.
    • Water Purification And Antibacterial Effects Of Metallic Nanoparticles Deposited Using Dc High Vacuum Magnetron Sputtering On Filtering Materials

      Le, Khang Nguyen
      Water and water purification is an important problem that is confronting our generation at a global level. Our research tested the antibacterial effects of Silver, Copper, Titanium, Zirconium and Aluminum metallic nanoparticles deposited on microsize filtration materials. The DC High Vacuum Magnetron Sputtering Equipment was used for the deposition of metallic nanoparticles. The thickness of the coatings was in-situ monitored using a quartz crystal microbalance and ex-situ evaluated using a profilometer. The chemical composition of the structures was characterized using the X-Ray diffraction analysis and their surface morphology was investigated using digital optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Each metallic material was deposited on 3M filter paper with different thicknesses. The antibacterial effect was tested were using mBlue-E.coli 24 media, the membrane filtering technique, and an incubator which was set at 35 Celsius degrees, according to standardized methods for the examination of water and wastewater. The testing media containing the bacterial samples was contaminated water collected from the wastewater basins. The water was initially tested for the bacterial content as collected and then exposed to metallic deposited filtering materials; the remaining targeted bacteria was quantified. The antibacterial effects of metallic nanoparticles were observed and analyzed. Deactivation rates for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli were measured for different metals with varying metallic thickness coatings. All metallic nanoparticles showed a good adhesion at microscopic level to water filter paper as observed by digital microscopy and scanning electron microscopy examination. Titanium nanoparticles did not have antibacterial effect showing no change in time evolution of E. Coli and Total Coliforms as well as control samples. Zirconium and Aluminum nanoparticles had some antibacterial effect showing a small change in time evolution of E. Coli and Total Coliforms for the control and coated samples. Silver and copper nanoparticles coated filters gradually removed both E. Coli and Total Coliforms. Various thickness of silver and copper nanoparticles coated filters were investigated, and it was observed that the thickness of coatings does not have significant impact on their antibacterial activity. Additionally, this research is investigating the synergistic antibacterial effect obtained by using silver and copper thin films deposited on water filter paper and the effect of the potential applied to the electrically conductive structures. It was observed that silver nanoparticles had high antibacterial effects when a high power is applied to its conductive structures.
    • Water Quality At Mountain Springs Used For Drinking Water In The El Cercado Area, Dominican Republic

      Resto-Fernandez, Monica Cristina
      Globally, many hundreds of millions of people living in developing rural mountainous areas are believed to lack access to a safely managed drinking water source. Typically, this population subset is sustained by groundwater emerging at mountain springs, which previous studies in three different world regions have found to be commonly contaminated with E. coli. The presented research focuses on water quality of mountain springs in a rural area of western Dominican Republic. Initial preliminary investigations established understanding of study-area-wide topography and geography. Thirty-seven mountain springs throughout the study area were assessed qualitatively (for land use, geology, infrastructure, and biota) and quantitatively (for pH, temperature, electrical conductance [EC], total dissolved solids [TDS], nitrate, alkalinity, and E. coli) at 109 sampling points during three field research trips in 2017 and 2018. The study area is comprised of a high percentage of developed and agropastoral land. The mountains which surround the study area are underlain by highly fractured carbonate rock. A majority of springs were located near or in a river/streambed and had up-slope agropastoral land. Generally, a decrease in elevation of mountain springs was related to a decrease in water pH, and an increase in temperature, EC, TDS, and alkalinity for springs in the same general mountain area. E. coli concentrations of emerging groundwater were compared to water collected from the likely points of user collection (LPUC; e.g., spring box, spring pool, pipes) and results show that a higher percentage of LPUC samples were considered Unsafe, while a higher percentage of groundwater upwelling samples were considered Low Risk/Safe: 35% for upwelling and 40% for LPUCs. Water at springs was commonly contaminated with Intermediate to Unsafe levels of E. coli: >70% and >65% of springs sampled at the upwelling and spring box, respectively. E. coli was present even at springs “protected�? by spring boxes, indicating that this infrastructure does not prevent contamination of spring water. Recommended future work includes using relatively low-cost, portable rock-coring machines to drill wells at mountain springs for studying the extent of bacterial and nitrate contamination by accessing safe groundwater tens of meters below ground for community water supply.
    • We Are All Thomas Now: Millennial Christians And The Need For New Theological Worlds At The First Baptist Church Of Augusta, Georgia

      Dyer, Junior, Thomas William
      ABSTRACT THOMAS WILLIAM DYER, JUNIOR WE ARE ALL THOMAS NOW: MILLENNIAL CHRISTIANS THE NEED FOR NEW THEOLOGICAL WORLDS AT THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF AUGUSTA, GEORGIA Under the direction of Graham B. Walker, Jr., Ph.D., Supervisor According to the Pew Research Group, the fastest growing religious identification in the United States is “None.�? This trend is particularly strong with the generation known as “Millennials,�? where more than thirty-five percent reported that their religious affiliation is “None.�? This report has been widely reported on and has generated incredible anxiety in churches. While many in the church blame culture for a rapid decline of religious faith, it is the purpose of this thesis to show that one reason for the precipitous drop in religious identification in the United States is that the church has ceased to speak about God in a way that connects to the lived-experience of Millennials. If the gospel is going to spread in a post-Christian culture, then the church must learn to use variegated language to speak about how God is to be found in the world. This thesis uses the Five Theological Worlds from W. Paul Jones as a launching point to offer a better way to connect the lived-experience of Millennials to the way they understand how God is at work in the world. Six Millennials were chosen to participate in this project, which began with each individual taking the Theological Worlds Inventory. After completing the Inventory, participants took part in one-hour long experiences of each of the five Theological Worlds. After the completion of the experiences, they were invited to take the Theological Worlds Inventory for the second time, with the hope that any change in Theological World could be measured by their responses. Follow up interviews were done with each of the six participants with questions geared to measure how each of the experiences impacted their lived-experience and their theological understanding of how God is at work in their lives. It is important to note that there were also four people who acted as a control group. They were invited to take the Theological Worlds Inventory on two separate occasions, but they did not take part in the experiences of each Theological World. The intent of the control group was to see the power of experience in offering a variegated understanding of Theological Worlds. After introducing the background problem in detail, this thesis traces the biblical, theological, philosophical, and historical foundations for why new understandings of how God is at work in the world are often times necessary in the life of the church. It then details the central findings of the project, which concern how Theological Worlds are formed and shaped in the lives of individuals. The three primary themes that emerged are the centrality of childhood experience in shaping Theological Worlds, the role of trauma/experiences of loss in changing Theological Worlds, and the importance of experience, and not cognition, in helping people align their lived-experience with their understanding of how God is at work in the world. Finally, this thesis concludes with ideas for future development, which includes how liturgy can shape Theological Worlds and how preaching is best practiced as a theatrical experience.
    • We Did It! Examining how First-Generation College Students Graduated from a Four-Year College or University through a Positive Psychology Lens

      Johnson, Joleesa Adriana; Tift College of Education
      More and more first-generation college students have been enrolling in colleges across the United States; however, enrollment does not mean graduation. Research has shown that first-generation college students are less likely to graduate than their non-first-generation college peers. A gap exists between first-generation college students’ enrollment rates and their graduation rates, as well as their graduation rates and the graduation rates of their non-first-generation college peers. This qualitative study was conducted to understand the lived experiences of first-generation college students. It explored how first-generation college students graduated from a four-year higher education institution by examining their positive characteristics, specifically their character strengths (Norrish et al., 2013). The researcher employed a phenomenological approach to help understand the lived experiences of first-generation college students as they relate to the character strengths they utilized to graduate from college. The researcher used purposeful and snowball sampling to recruit participants for this study. This studied included 10 first-generation college graduates who attained their bachelor’s degree within the past 10 years. To collect the data, the researcher conducted one semi-structured, virtual interview with each participant. The researcher also followed verification procedures to mitigate researcher bias and increase the trustworthiness of this study. The results of this study showed that the participants faced many challenges while in college; however, giving up was not an option as the six themes emerged: Agency, Supportive Circle, Future-mindedness, Stick-to-it-iveness, External Motivation, and Positive Emotions illustrated their persistence toward graduation and the desire to attain their degree. The participants employed the following character strengths: perseverance, self-regulation, love, hope, gratitude, bravery, and leadership to graduate from college. According to the definitions of these character strengths, they were found to demonstrate the six themes and the six themes gave context to the realization and utilization of these seven character strengths. The results of this study demonstrate the possibility of higher education institutions creating an environment that includes interventions that encourage and empower their students, especially first-generation college students, to identify and use character strengths to assist in the persistence and graduation of this population. Recommendations for future research include conducting more qualitative studies to explore how first-generation college students graduated from college. Also, conducting mixed-method studies that use the Values in Action (VIA) Survey to increase the accuracy of identifying first-generation college students’ character strengths.