Now showing items 1-20 of 11345

    • Beyond Purity Culture: Exploring History, Implications, and Alternatives

      Howard, Shelby Duncan; McAfee School of Theology
      This thesis offers a careful examination of the history and ethical implications of the purity culture movement upon the American evangelical teenage population and offers an alternative approach coined True Love Honors. The harm experienced by many participants in True Love Waits and other evangelical purity culture programs creates a moral dilemma for the American evangelical church today to reflect and develop a new ethical framework for sexual ethics for adolescents. The purpose of this research is to explore primary and secondary accounts of purity culture to understand specific ethical problems within the movement unto research of applicable ethical frameworks and approaches that may offer the substance lacking in the current sexual ethical norm. The concluding results identify three particular areas of lack which may be redressed by an ethic informed by feminist care ethics and privileging the values of autonomy, consent, and honor. For further study, I recommend the intersection of LGBTQIA+ youth with purity culture, contemporary thought on purity culture by Joshua Harris and other public figures of the early movement, and trauma-informed study on purity culture unto victims of sexual and domestic violence.

      Kale, Akanksha; College of Pharmacy
      NOVEL MICROPARTICLE-BASED MICRONEEDLE VACCINE FOR ZIKA VIRUS (Under the guidance of Dr. Martin D’Souza) Zika is an infectious viral disease caused due to the Zika virus. The primary mode of transmission for this virus is through mosquito bites. The common symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and joint pain. Vertical transmission during pregnancy can result in microcephaly, congenital Zika syndrome, and other congenital abnormalities. Zika can also lead to Guillain-Barr Syndrome – an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system. After the global outbreak of Zika in 2015-2016, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern. Research related to Zika has been included in the R and D priority list by the WHO. However, there are no approved treatments or vaccines available for Zika. Current vaccine candidates in research include whole-inactivated vaccines, nucleic acid vaccines, vectored vaccines, and subunit vaccines that are administered via conventional intramuscular or subcutaneous routes. These routes are invasive and painful, thereby reducing patient compliance. To explore a less painful alternative, we investigated the feasibility of the transdermal route as a vaccine delivery strategy for the Zika virus using polymeric microparticle-loaded microneedle patches. Integration of the particulate vaccine strategy and the transdermal route of administration together presented the potential to be efficacious in preventing Zika in a patient-compliant manner. The first part of the project included the formulation of poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) polymeric vaccine microparticles (MP) encapsulating the inactivated Zika virus, along with adjuvant MP encapsulating Alhydrogel® and MPL-A®. We characterized the vaccine MP for size, surface charge, morphology, encapsulation efficiency, and antigen integrity. Further, we evaluated the immunogenicity and cytotoxicity of vaccine MP in vitro in murine dendritic cells. Vaccine MP with adjuvants induced significantly higher production of nitric oxide, a marker of innate immunity, when compared to the untreated cells. In addition, vaccine MP with or without adjuvants induced increased autophagy in murine dendritic cells when compared to inactivated Zika virus, which is critical in antigen presentation. Vaccine MP along with adjuvant MP also enhanced the expression of antigen-presenting molecules – MHC I and MHC II as well as co-stimulatory molecules – CD80 and CD40 in murine dendritic cells. Next, we evaluated in vivo efficacy of vaccine MP with and without adjuvants in a preclinical murine model by measuring the immune response after intramuscular administration. Vaccine MP with adjuvants induced significant IgG, Ig2a, IgG1, and IgG3 titers as compared to the control group of untreated mice. After the challenge with live Zika virus, vaccinated mice showed higher antibody titers and enhanced expression of helper CD4 and CD8 cell surface markers in splenocytes and lymphocytes. Splenocytes of vaccinated mice also showed enhanced expression of IFN-γ required for cytotoxic cell-mediated immune response. Thus, the immunogenic efficiency of the particulate Zika vaccine was established. In the next part of the study, we embedded Zika vaccine MPs with adjuvant MPs in dissolving microneedles (MNs) administered via the transdermal route as a pain-free vaccine strategy. We characterized the MNs for needle length, pore formation, and dissolvability when applied to murine skin. Further, we evaluated the in vivo efficacy of vaccine MPs-loaded MNs with or without adjuvants by measuring immune response after transdermal immunization. Vaccine MPs-loaded dissolving MNs with adjuvants induced significant IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG3 titers in immunized mice compared to the untreated control group. After the dosing regimen, animals were challenged with the Zika virus, monitored for seven days, and sacrificed to collect spleen and lymph nodes. Lymphocytes and splenocytes from immunized mice showed significant expression of helper (CD4) and cytotoxic (CD8a) cell surface markers than the control group. Thus, the promising results of this study put forth a ‘proof-of-concept’ for a pain-free transdermal vaccine strategy against Zika.

      Blanton, Rachel Grace; McAfee School of Theology
      In the conservative evangelical Church, a growing argument has been made for a hierarchical Trinity in which the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father in role and function, which pits itself against the trinitarian doctrine established by the early Church through the Nicene Creed. This conception of a hierarchical Trinity is often known as subordinationism or functional subordinationism, which brings into question the nature and role of Christ within the Godhead and in relation to humanity. The Council of Nicaea in 325 CE solidified and legitimated the beginnings of Trinitarian doctrine, established the nature of Christ, and yielded the Nicene Creed, which made the Church’s stance on the Trinity permanent: the Godhead is of one substance. Subordinationism believes in tandem with Christ’s subordinate role that women are to be subordinate to men, which has deep reverberations in the personal lives of Christians, the greater Church, and society. Two case studies will be analyzed: the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade, and evangelical “role relationship” theology. This thesis has both theological and philosophical goals. The theological goals are to firmly establish an understanding that the Triune God exists through the relationship of the three divine Persons by using the works of modern Protestant, Catholic, and eastern Orthodox theologians and to explore the nature and soteriological work of Christ. Philosophically, this work looks to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to understand the nature of Christ expressed through the Infinite’s desire for reconciliation of the finite via the incarnation. This work finds overwhelming support for a relational Trinity established through theological and philosophical thought and connects the two through Christ to explain how our understanding of Christ’s role in the Trinity reverberates into our own lives and that the Trinity acts as a model for human relations. Lastly, this work will look toward the eschaton and the missional role of the Triune God in reconciliation, which has profound implications for understanding our God in relation.
    • Q and the Passion - Challenging the Consensus View

      Collier, Steven D.; McAfee School of Theology
      This thesis challenges the consensus viewpoint of biblical scholarship that Q, the sayings source common to Matthew and Luke, contains no Passion account. Based on the absence of a Passion in Q (the Argument from Silence), the consensus view concludes Q’s theology is divergent from the cross-centered theology of Matthew and Luke. The purpose of the present study is to refute the Argument from Silence, and show that Q did in fact contain Passion material. With a Passion, Q must have had a theology more congruent with Matthew and Luke. The research methodology is source utilization, the study of how ancient writers used sources based on the then available technology of document production. Based on deviations from Mark in content, but more importantly order, source utilization points to a second non-Markan written source in Luke’s Passion, which source provided the alternative content and order. Q could be the second source because (a) the non-Markan portion of Luke’s Passion contains numerous sayings of Jesus consistent with Q’s genre as a sayings source, and (b) these non-Markan sayings also have thematic resonance with Q. The Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark in their respective Passion accounts further support these findings. The Minor Agreements demonstrate Matthew’ s awareness of: (1) non-Markan sayings thematically related to Q, and (2) non-Markan material precisely at the point where Luke deviates from Markan order, and is therefore following the order of the second written source. Based on all of these results, I conclude Q is in fact the second written source for much of the non-Markan Passion material in Luke, and the material is echoed to a lesser extent in Matthew. I will pull the analysis together and propose an addition to Q of about 300 words of Passion material drawn from Luke and Matthew. I will end with a brief discussion of the implications of a Q Passion. These include rebuttal of the Argument from Silence, consequences for the Synoptic Problem and ramifications for the theology of Q and the history of early Christianity.

      Hasan, Ahasanul; College of Pharmacy
      Sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) are a novel class of oral glucose-lowering drugs. In the USA, the FDA has authorized canagliflozin (Cana), dapagliflozin (Dapa), empagliflozin (Empa), ertugliflozin (Ertu), and bexagliflozin (Bexa) for use to treat type 2 diabetic mellitus (T2DM). Recent cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs) indicated cardio-reno protection due to SGLT2is' blood pressure (BP)-lowering effects. Even though numerous long-term processes have been implicated to lower BP, issues still remain to explain the immediate BP-lowering effects of SGLT2is as revealed in recent CVOTs trials. One plausible mechanism may be direct modulation of contractility of resistance arteries which regulate peripheral resistance (R) and thus, blood pressure. Hence, we investigated SGLT2is Empa, Dapa, and Cana's ability to relax resistance mesenteric arteries and the underlying molecular mechanism (s). Pressurized arterial myography and pharmacological inhibitors were utilized to study the direct effect of SGLT2is on the contractility of freshly isolated, resistant mesenteric arteries from rats. We discovered that acute administration of SGLT2is (Empa, Dapa, and Cana) causes concentration-dependent vasodilation in myogenic and phenylephrine (PE)-preconstricted resistant mesenteric arteries, irrespective of SGLT2 inhibition. SGLT2is-evoked vasodilation was blocked by non-selective inhibition of smooth muscle cell voltage-gated K+ (KV) channels. However, the SGLT2is' KV channel specificity varies as Empa targeted KV1.5 and KV7, Dapa targeted KV7, and Cana targeted KV1.5, KV2.1, and KV7. In contrast, KV1.3, ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels, SERCA pump, and small-, intermediate-, and large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels (SKCa, IKCa, and BKCa) did not reduce SGLT2is-induced vasodilation. Furthermore, vasodilation was unaffected by NO-sGC-PKG and prostacyclin (PGI2) inhibition. Besides, SGLT2is-evoked vasodilation was unchanged by endothelium denudation. Overall, our results suggest that the vasodilatory action of SGLT2is like Empa, Dapa, and Cana may be independent of SGLT2 inhibition and mediated by its action on other molecular targets such as smooth muscle cell KV channels with varying specificity. Our findings reveal for the first time SGLT2is' direct vasodilatory activity in resistance arteries, which may explain their blood pressure lowering effects as demonstrated in CVOTs studies and their cardio-reno protective effects. The reported vasodilatory effects may lower blood pressure in vivo, but more research is needed.
    • Mutual Vulnerability and Sacred Space: Are These the First Steps Toward a Community of Authentic Hospitality?

      Gallman III, Rawdon Lee; McAfee School of Theology
      Central Baptist Church has enjoyed a great history of inclusion and of welcoming a variety of people in the community, particularly those whom other churches have struggled to welcome. But after two difficult splits in 1991 and 2006 and a declining community, Central has become an aging church with some reticence to start new ministry initiatives that would attract people that look and act differently than those who historically made up the church. Yet there are many members of Central who want to actively engage those in our community. Still the biblical mandate to practice radical hospitality is evident. This project was created to give an opportunity for church leaders to examine individually and corporately their sense of radical hospitality, by table facilitating at a weekly gathering called Connections. Because those who are a part of Connections form a diverse cross-section of our community, these are the people with whom Central can build the relationships that create transformation in the community. This project shows that people can claim, affirm, or reclaim their sense of authentic, radical hospitality.

      Williams, Jania D; School of Engineering
      Acute ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries that affect everyone. Gait and muscle strength are negatively impacted, especially by chronic ankle sprains. The period of rest and immobilization causes muscle atrophy from nonuse. In this study, three braces were used: a hinged design, lace up, and engineered brace. The engineered brace’s main components are neoprene material, a drawstring, and elastic band. Three testing systems were used to capture data: Mat Scan, 2D gait analysis, and electromyography (EMG). Mat Scan uses a pressure mat for single and double limb support balancing. 2D gait analysis uses Simi Aktisys software to test movements of the hip, knee, and ankle joint with LED markers. EMG measures muscle activity from electrical signals of the targeted muscles: tibialis anterior(TA), peroneal longus(PL), lateral gastrocnemius(LG), and medial stabilizing structures(MSS), bilaterally at 3 walking speeds. Mat Scans COF testing revealed anterior shifts due to higher activity from plantar flexors. Patients compensate for muscle weakness by increasing loads on the anterior portion of one limb and the posteriorly on another. The hinged design brace increased pressure and load to the uninjured limb. The elastic band from the engineered brace and the lace up style brace’s compression enabled the joint to bear more weight and perform optimally. A one-way ANOVA was used to analyze the hip, knee, and ankle for each phase at all three speeds combined. All joints exceeded the confidence interval, except for the hip joint in the engineered brace. This phase also contained the lowest p-values. Analyzing the EMG data revealed the muscle strength and tendon condition. TA performed consistently and best in initial data. PL had optimal performance while wearing the lace up and engineered brace due compression. LG performed poorly in all designs due to a lack of support in stabilizing the joint. MSS performed the most inconsistently, but the best when lateral support was present, like the engineered brace. Expansion of this research should include manipulation of the tension band to vary in width and strength. Athletes and patients with preexisting conditions displayed the need for specialized sizing and bracing options.
    • Evidence of Andragogy in a four-year baccalaureate college serving nontraditional students

      Hammett, Maria; Tift College of Education
      ABSTRACT MARIA ANN. HAMMETT EVIDENCE OF ANDRAGOGY IN A FOUR-YEAR BACCALAUREATE COLLEGE SERVING NONTRADITIONAL STUDENTS: A CASE STUDY Under the direction of Olivia M. Boggs, Ed.D. The problem targeted by the study was that while nontraditional students are increasingly attending college in record numbers, they are more than twice as likely as other students to drop out in their first year of study, indicating the delayed promise of degree completion may never be realized. The study focused on the opportunities and fiscal challenges accompanying this exponential growth of students who are typically older, financially independent of their parents, employed full time, parents of dependent children, possibly ex-military, and often have a GED rather than a traditional high school diploma. Using case study methodology and the lens of Malcolm Knowles’s theory of andragogy, the research identified the campus culture, philosophies, and institutional behaviors used to successfully recruit, retain, and graduate nontraditional students at a traditional college or university. The case was a four-year public state college in the northwestern United States that was nationally ranked as having the highest completion rate of nontraditional students. Two research questions guided the study: (a) In what ways do the mission, core values, and culture of a higher education institution that has created a nontraditional student program reflect the tenets of Malcolm Knowles’s theory of andragogy? and (b) What are students and leadership’s perceptions of the impact of student loan debt on student success? Data were collected and triangulated from (a) interviews with the college president, vice presidents, faculty, and staff, (b) analyses of 46 documents, and (c) surveys received from 87 current students. Using interpretivism to bring meaning to data identified five themes: Access, Employment Connection, Intentional Focus, Nimbleness, and Support that were pervasive in Perseverance College’s culture and demonstrated evidence of andragogy in their commitment to serve the nontraditional student population. Perseverance College Intentional Focus created greater Access and Support for nontraditional students, and their Employment Connection and Nimbleness ensured education programs formed connections to employment opportunities, the number one goal of nontraditional students. The researcher recommends additional research on new benchmarks for nontraditional student graduation rates, nontraditional student stop-outs, connecting education to employment, and further applications of andragogy.

      Rautela, Ruchi Kiran Singh; College of Pharmacy
      Hypertension affects nearly 78 million adults in the US every year. Perindopril erbumine (PE) is an ACE inhibitor used to treat hypertension, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. Traditional dosage forms such as tablets provide a challenge for patients to comply with the therapeutic regimen. Transdermal delivery can address major side effects of PE such as low bioavailability, poor conversion into perindoprilat, and low intestinal absorption. Physical enhancement techniques like microneedles and iontophoresis are used to increase the delivery of molecules into and across the skin. In-vitro permeation using cathodal and anodal iontophoresis was conducted on porcine ear skin. The current density was set at 0.5 mA/cm2 for 4 h which was followed by passive permeation up to 24 h. Further, 1% PE gel in hydroxypropylcellulose was formulated and characterized for pH and rheology. Cathodal iontophoresis was conducted on gel, and samples were analyzed by HPLC. The total delivery of PE via passive permeation was 98.56 ± 11 μg/cm2. Iontophoresis resulted in a significant increase in the total delivery of PE of 269.27 ± 19 11 μg/cm2 through anodal and 285.48 ± 4 μg/cm2 via cathodal iontophoresis. Significant decrease in lag time of PE was observed in cathodal iontophoresis. The total delivery from gel formulation via passive permeation was 34.77 ± 9 μg/cm2 while through cathodal iontophoresis it was found to be 101.95 ± 4 μg/cm2 which reached the target delivery of 60 μg/cm2, equivalent to delivery from a 4 mg tablet, using a 50 sq.cm2 patch and taking into consideration the bioavailability. This study demonstrated the feasibility of iontophoretic transdermal delivery of perindopril erbumine.

      Basey, Stephanie Michelle; School of Medicine
      Despite being one of the nation’s wealthiest states, food insecurity is prevalent in many Georgia communities. Food insecurity is a lack of consistent access to enough food to lead a healthy, active life. Addressing the complex challenge of Georgia’s hunger and food insecurity problem requires a comprehensive understanding of the food environment from the perspective of a Georgia household and what it means for that household to access, prepare, and consume food. The food environment is generally considered a connected system of physical, social, economic, cultural, and political factors that impact access to food. However, there is no universal definition of “food environment,” much of the current food environment research focuses on the physical presence and availability of food, often excluding the experience of the individual or household. The study's objectives are to identify the factors that shape a household’s food environment and to understand how rurality moderates the relationship between the household’s food environment and food security. The study results indicate that the characteristics that impact the ability to access and prepare food can be used to predict food insecurity. This study found that distance to the closest grocery store was not a significant predictor of food insecurity, but other access-related variables, like the ability to afford fruit and vegetables, annual household income, and transportation reliability, were significant predictors of food insecurity. Additionally, variables associated with the ability to prepare food significantly predicted food insecurity. In this study, food insecurity was greater in rural than in non-rural households. The odds of food insecurity were 14.09 greater in rural households that could not afford fruit and vegetables. Rural households with an insufficient annual income to support the household were 13.23 times more likely to be food insecure. Rural households without the necessary tools and equipment to prepare food were 15.23 times more likely to be food insecure. The study highlights the importance of understanding the food environment from the perspective of a Georgia household and the need to address the complex challenge of food insecurity in the state.

      Moody, Ana Maria; School of Engineering
      Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that can have many underlying causes. Patients with scoliosis suffer from uneven shoulders and hips, muscle imbalance in the back, gait abnormalities and in more severe cases, rotation of the spine [1]. Currently the method of treating adult scoliosis is surgery, steroid use, or physical therapy [1]. Surgery severely limits the patients’ range of motion and is not necessary in mild cases. Steroid use can lead to muscle degeneration and physical therapy is beneficial, but can be harmful if not conducted by a specialist. This research provided additional treatment methods for adults with scoliosis that is mild enough to not need severe medical interventions. This study consisted of 20 patients split into three different treatment groups. The first group underwent TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine use that should relax the muscles and relieve pain paired with stretching. The second group completed physical therapy at home that will stretch the muscles. The third group wore a common soft scoliosis brace that provides comfort but does not correct the muscle imbalance. The treatment groups were compared using a variety of testing including range of motion, electromyography, and measuring the degree of curvature. Though there was no statistical difference between the results of the three treatment groups, group one improved more patients overall than the other groups. For degree of curvature, group 1 improved all 7 patients with the average improvement of 58%, while groups 2 and 3 only improved 5 patients with an average improvement of 33.8% and 49.8% respectively. In the range of motion symmetry patients in Group one experienced an average of 18% improvement patients in Group two experienced 10% and 30% improvement. For the EMG testing the percentage of improvement cannot be calculated but more patients in group one and two were trending towards more symmetrical when looking at the flexion relaxation position while more patients in group 3 we're trending towards more symmetrical when looking at the posture position. The general trends show that each patient's symptoms of scoliosis are heading towards improvement no matter the group. All the patients felt more comfort after the study period and now have various inexpensive treatment options for their mild scoliosis.

      Freeman, Darius; Tift College of Education
      Otherfathering, according to Brooms (2017), involves Black men teaching younger Black males the life skills and unwritten rules of becoming an adult Black male. The dearth of Black males in education is an issue plaguing the educational construct. Several initiatives have tried to mitigate the gap in the representation of Black male teachers. However, Black males continue to represent the smallest demographic among educational professionals. The lived experiences of Black males have impacted the decisions of Black males to join the profession of education due to negative experiences in the classroom as students. Those experiences are rooted in negative interactions with teachers and administrators due to cultural misinterpretations and biases. Black males with positive classroom experiences had someone to serve in a mentoring capacity. For the few Black males that teach, understanding their motivations to do so needed to be explored. Because otherfathering is the act of mentorship with an emphasis on the Black male identity between the same gender and ethnic backgrounds of teacher-student pairs, this study aimed to provide insight into the career decisions of Black male educators and the factors that influenced them. Additionally, this study sought to identify any mentors these Black males had as students, details of their specific journeys into the profession, and how they impact their current students. Utilizing the Kim’s (2016) Bildungsroman genre of narrative inquiry, this study detailed each individual’s story, addressing the specific goals of the study. Because Black males represent the smallest teaching demographic, criterion sampling was used to recruit Black males who had taught for a minimum of five years, currently worked as a public P-12 educator, and identified as a Black male to identify any potential otherfathers they may have had and to study the impact of those otherfathers on their career decisions. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with five participants and utilized specific procedures to address trustworthiness by establishing credibility and providing steps for transferability. The research results highlighted two aspects regarding the motivations of Black male teachers to enter or remain in the profession. Black males who received mentorship as students were exposed to education through the lens of a Black male teacher due to sustained influence. Additionally, Black male students who participated in mentorship now provide their students similar experiences to learned behaviors and traits afforded to them by their mentors. These two aspects developed from the participants detailing their own motivations to teach, describing the impactful relationships with their teachers, and how representation effected their perceptions of Black males in education. Based on the results, school districts can begin to sustain the teacher pipeline with Black males by screening Black male teaching candidates for qualities of otherfathering.

      Zaragoza, Gabriel; Tift College of Education
      Research indicates that dual language immersion programs support English learners to achieve high results in core academic areas. Current research related to dual language immersion has been conducted in parts of the United States that are traditional Latinx Diaspora areas. The influx of English learners in schools has changed demographics drastically, which directly impacts student learning and schools’ abilities to meet all students’ instructional needs, especially related to English acquisition. The purpose of this research was to determine if English learners enrolled in dual language immersion programs have significantly different achievement results than their peers in traditional education settings in the New Latinx Diaspora. Student assessment data were collected from end-of-year assessments within a large urban school district in the southeastern part of the United States. This school offered dual language immersion and traditional education programs to English learners. A two-way multivariate of analysis (MANOVA) was used to determine if there was an interaction effect between grade level and program. Then multiple one-way MANOVAs were used to determine if there were differences by grade level of program. The results of this study showed that there was no difference in student achievement for English learners in the dual language immersion (DLI) program or the traditional program. The results also showed that first grade scores were significantly higher than other grade levels in reading and mathematics. Finally, although there was no significant difference, the data show that English learners in the DLI program achieved similar mean scores to English learners in the traditional program. The results of this study do not align with prior research as many students in DLI programs achieve higher than their traditional program peers in the upper grades. The implications of this research include further analysis through case studies for school and district level administrators. There were potential benefits of bilingual education provided to Latinx English Learners in this study that can be explored since both group of students performed similarly. Program goals should be analyzed to further understand the student outcomes. Potential factors that could have impacted student scores include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic school closures, teacher experience, and student English language proficiency levels. Future research for this study should include an analysis of program implementation to determine factors that impact Latinx English learner student achievement in dual language programs. Schools in the New Latinx Diaspora are very new to dual language immersion. Additional analysis of bilingual proficiency should also be considered when analyzing student data for academic instructional gains. A case study analysis would further the research that can include cross functional action teams with insight from local and district level leaders, teachers, and other school staff. This future research can support district level planning for DLI expansion and reevaluation of DLI program implementation to support Latinx English learners.
    • Worship in the Worlds: How Theological Worlds Can Inform Worship Music and Express the Deepest Spiritual Needs of Worshipers

      Jernigan, Tracie Anne; McAfee School of Theology
      TRACIE ANNE JERNIGAN WORSHIP IN THE WORLDS: HOW THEOLOGICAL WORLDS CAN INFORM WORSHIP MUSIC AND EXPRESS THE DEEPEST SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF WORSHIPERS Under the direction of David G. Garber, Jr., Ph.D. Worshipers form connections to God through their individual and communal theologies. These theologies form the embedded theologies of the church, giving insight to how they think through and act out their faith. The role of the worship planner includes paying attention to how worship music forms and expresses the congregants’ understanding of God. I implemented this project to better understand how worshipers at The Summit connect to God and how worship music can help them express their deepest spiritual needs. The embedded theology of worshipers was measured using the Five Theological Worlds of W. Paul Jones. Participants took the Theological Worlds Inventory by Jones, answered questionnaires following five worship gatherings representing a single World each week, and attended a focus group. I recognized the embedded theologies of the congregation through their answers on the Theological Worlds Inventory and experimented with deliberative theology through the worship experiences. Several themes surfaced during evaluation of my data. Participants’ ability to resonate with a worship song can be linked to theological, spiritual, nostalgic, and stylistic reasons. Participants were able to understand their primary World, resonate with their primary World through its definition and scripture, and resonate with other nonprimary Worlds. Participants interpreted worship songs through the lens of their primary World as well as current and past church experiences. Some participants have experienced theological formation through worship songs. The intention of the worship planner stands in balance to the reception of the material through the lens of these experiences and Worlds. I found reception to lead to three primary results: resonance, lack of resonance, and/or deliberative theology. Worshipers resonate with songs that meet a spiritual need represented by their theological home. Worshipers can also resonate with music that speaks to a non-primary theological home through the lens of their primary theological home. Additionally, worshipers can experience theological formation through songs from their primary theological home, a resonant theological home, and for some, a challenging, unfamiliar theological home. Worship planners can help a diverse theological community find a unifying expression of worship by identifying a core repertory of worship music and offering opportunities for theological reflection.

      Junaid, Mohammad Shajid Ashraf; College of Pharmacy
      Skin, being the most easily accessible route for drug delivery, provides an appealing alternative to the commonly utilized routes. Transdermal drug delivery has multiple benefits including bypassing first-pass metabolism and reduced fluctuations in plasma drug concentrations. However, for passive permeation of a drug molecule through the transdermal route, the molecule should ideally have a molecular weight of < 500 Da, moderate lipophilicity (log P 1-3), and a melting point of < 250 ºC. To achieve the therapeutic plasma concentration for a drug lacking these properties, several chemical and physical enhancement techniques can be implemented. Transcutol, oleic acid, and isopropyl myristate are examples of commonly used chemical penetration enhancers that have been studied in this research. Furthermore, we investigated physical enhancement techniques such as iontophoresis and microneedles to facilitate transdermal delivery. Conversely, microsponges were used to retard the delivery of drug into and across the skin by limiting the amount of drug available for absorption at a given time. In one of the aims, we have explored the effect of chemical penetration enhancers and microsponges on the delivery of a chemical warfare antidote: 4-phenyl butyric acid (4-PBA). We aimed to explore techniques that can modify the delivery of 4-PBA, so that a suitable formulation could be prepared to meet the exact drug delivery profile required to treat any given complication arising from arsenical chemical warfare. Dose titration is important in the case of baclofen (GABAb agonist) treatment since the effective dose varies depending on the individual and disease condition. Maltose microneedles and iontophoresis were investigated to deliver baclofen to reach a therapeutically relevant plasma concentration. Microneedles were observed to be the most promising method in delivering baclofen. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis extract. CBD is used in the treatment of myriad skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Hence, there is a need for topical formulation development for the delivery of CBD. Semisolid preparations such as cream and emulgel of CBD were prepared and evaluated for percutaneous delivery of cannabidiol. Additionally, the effect of drug concentration, chemical penetration enhancers, and essential oils on drug delivery was explored in this study.

      McBride, Tiffany Nicole; Tift College of Education
      TIFFANY N. MCBRIDE YOU’RE ON MUTE: THE COMMUNICATIVE EXPERIENCES OF BLACK FEMALES ON THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE OF THE ACADEMIC IVORY TOWER Under the direction of WYNNETTA SCOTT-SIMMONS, Ed. D. Although institutions of higher education have set goals to increase faculty diversity, researchers note the continued challenge for faculty of color, specifically Black females. While there is a significant amount of literature on the lived experiences of Black women faculty at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), there has been little research on their communicative behaviors such as nonverbal communication and expressing their feelings, needs and wants as a potential faculty member. The research problem of this study focused on is the small percentage of Black female faculty representation at PWIs and the communication experiences of Black female faculty during the recruitment, hiring, and tenure process. The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry was to understand what, if any, communicative behaviors exist between hiring committees at PWIs and the hiring experiences of Black female faculty at those institutions. Further, this study sought to provide solutions to help create consistent communication throughout the hiring process to support recruitment efforts of Black female faculty. Use of purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews facilitated the collection of information about how Black female faculty in tenured or tenure track positions recalled their communicative experience at PWIS. Utilizing the frameworks of muted group communication theory, critical race and Black feminist thought as lenses, the findings identified that the seven participants experienced some form of a communication barrier throughout their process of entering academia. Issues of diversity, learning how to navigate White spaces while being Black, and the overall inconsistencies of communication between the participant, department, and university played a major role in participants’ job outlook as professors. Consequently, examples of racial microaggressions and campus climate issues caused most of the participants to feel they were silenced or muted throughout the hiring process, resulting in unwillingness to voice concerns about departmental or university issues they faced. Recommendations for future research include considering research within different disciplines; more specifically participants in the area or field of STEM related disciplines who might have a different story or perspective in comparison to a participant from the social sciences or the arts. The difference in disciplines could very well have an impact on how the participants’ perspective was towards any of the storyline and therefore cause a different outcome of responses. In addition to the difference in disciplines, a comparison between traditional ( four year institutions) and nontraditional universities (community colleges or trade schools)and exploring the concept of tokenism. Lastly completing a study that focuses on the communicative behaviors of Black women faculty vying for faculty positions at historically Black colleges and universities.

      Bellamy, Brittany Nichole; Tift College of Education
      While the completion of a baccalaureate degree is the gateway to a greater quality of life in areas of employment, health, housing, civic engagement, mortality, and economic wealth, the college experience for Black American students is typically coupled with the accumulation of a disproportionately high amount of student loan debt. While the most significant enrollment growth of Black American college students is found in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black American college graduates hold the highest rate of defaults on student loan repayments. The study explores the mental and emotional implications of student debt on Black American first-generation graduates of HBCUs. This study sought to fill the dearth of research on the borrowing behavior patterns, levels of financial literacy, and the psychological impact of said debt experienced by Black American college students and graduates. Specifically, the limited research on why inequities persist in student loan borrowing behaviors led to a desire to better understand, from a historical context, the impact of collective trauma on this financial dilemma. Using the lens of intergenerational cultural trauma theory, the study sought to better understand the possible link between horrific historical ordeals and contemporary behaviors as it relates to struggles of Black students with student loan debt. The foundational use of this theory draws a parallel between the multi-century system of enslavement which provided no opportunity for early generations to earn money, manage debt, or sustain wealth and the crippling socioeconomic and psychological impact student loan debt has on Black American college graduates today. The researcher used a biographical narrative inquiry approach, purposeful sampling to select the participants and conducted semi-structured, virtual interviews with each of the eight first-generation graduates of HBCUs. The findings of this study indicate that each participant leaned into his or her individual understanding of learned survival strategies to persist to graduation but encountered unexpected psychological challenges when faced with loan repayment. Within the context of intergenerational trauma theory, the researcher was able to relate possible patterns of the themes with codes and events of antebellum enslavement. Recommendations for future research include a deliberate focus on the borrowing behavior patterns of Black American students, access to quality and sustainable financial literacy and mental health resources on college campuses, and the opportunities to create equitable access to such resources to help improve academic, financial, and psychological outcomes for the most vulnerable student populations.

      LaShoto, Nathan Richard; McAfee School of Theology
      ABSTRACT NATHAN RICHARD LASHOTO DIRECTED BY DISCIPLESHIP: UNTANGLING OUR DESIRES AND LOVES Under the direction of Graham B. Walker, Jr. Ph.D., Supervisor In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ final words on Earth were an instruction to go and make more disciples. In the book of John, Jesus defines a disciple as one who loves as Christ loves. While some in the church consider discipleship to Jesus to be head knowledge, Christ defines discipleship as a type of heart knowledge. This heart knowledge knows the proper things to love, desire, and pursue. In modern America we are told many things to love, desire, and pursue through advertisements, social media, and political campaigns. If discipleship to Jesus Christ is the goal of Christians, then the church must learn how to interact and compete with a variety of desires and models presented and help reorient congregations back on the path of discipleship. The thesis entangles with the claims of Luke Burgis’ Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire and James K.A. Smith’s You Are What You Love to offer a better way to connect discipleship to Christ to the lived-experiences and identities of church congregations. Six participants were chosen to join in this project and participated in an introductory meeting to inform them of the structure and requirements for participation. Three times, over the course of five sermons, participants met for a semi-structured interview. During this time, the group was asked specific questions about the sermon and how effective it was in providing a discipleship orientation for their week. After introducing the problem in detail, this thesis explores the biblical, theological, philosophical, and psychological foundations for why discipleship to Jesus Christ involves a reorienting of our desires and loves. It then details the central finding of the project, which concerns how desires and loves are shaped and formed. The primary themes that emerged are how sermons interact with desire, the importance of models for desire, and the importance of providing space to wrestle with competing desires. Finally, this thesis concludes with ideas for future development, which include how sermons can more intentionally interact with discipleship through connections with desire.

      Weatherspoon, David Mark; McAfee School of Theology
      ABSTRACT DAVID MARK WEATHERSPOON PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL PASTORAL CARE IN A TIME OF COVID Under the direction of Graham B. Walker Jr. Spiritual care providers encountered the challenge of trying to provide pastoral care in a time of COVID. The context for this project involved a collection of pediatric hospitals within the United States where pediatric chaplains adjusted the way they serve patients, families, and staff following the onset of COVID-19. Having served as an ordained chaplain for eighteen years and a pediatric hospital chaplain for seven of those years, I interviewed pediatric hospital chaplains to learn what best practices were being cultivated among spiritual care providers in order to provide quality pastoral care rituals for patients, families, and staff. It was a primary goal of this project to identify the main ways pediatric chaplains altered their best practices of pastoral care rituals to comply with safety protocols through interviews from a cross section of 5-8 pediatric chaplains. From these conversations, I hoped to provide a summary of the innovative ways chaplains created structured experiences, from here forward known as “pastoral care rituals,” that established a focused sense of presence, security, safety, and at times, a self-identifiable change by patients, families, and/or staff. I looked for ways technological changes were effectively utilized by pediatric chaplains in being able to provide a professional standard of care. I assessed the ways pastoral care rituals were adapted to meet the challenges of social distancing and other safety protocols. Pediatric hospital chaplaincy distinguishes itself in the ways pastoral care rituals are provided to meet the scope of needs of children who are patients in need of care; their families who are assisting in the care of their children while in the hospital; and the staff who are uniquely trained to handle the nuances of caring for the health of children while also being sensitive to the needs of family members. This project utilized semi-structured interviews to capture the experiences of pediatric chaplains and how they adjusted their pastoral care ritual best practices during the pandemic. The project narrowed further as it focused specifically upon the positive developments realized by pediatric chaplains in their practice of pediatric pastoral care rituals during the pandemic. The primary themes concerning the innovations in pastoral care rituals that developed following the interviews with the pediatric chaplains were the following: 1. A marked increase and usage of technology: Pediatric chaplains confirmed their increase in technology to provide pastoral care rituals. 2. Creative innovations to pastoral care rituals: Pediatric chaplains were very innovative in how they provided pastoral care rituals post-pandemic. 3. Intensified focus on staff: Interviewed pediatric chaplains shared that staff had heightened spiritual care needs due to the pandemic. 4. Collaborative efforts increased: pediatric chaplains worked much more closely with other departments and outside clergy. 5. Advocacy for needs of self, profession, patients, families and staff: Participants sensed a heightened need to advocate and voice concerns for all layers of their hospital interactions. 6. Pediatric chaplains confronted systemic racism: Participants demonstrated a focused awareness of issues of race and the need and willingness to speak openly about racism and systemic racism within the hospital work environment.

      Dandekar, Amruta Arun; College of Pharmacy
      Topical and transdermal delivery uses skin as a route for non-invasive administration of various pharmaceutical active ingredients. Topical and transdermal delivery thus offers a sustained and controlled release of drugs with avoidance of first-pass metabolism, thereby increasing patient compliance. However, the unique structure of skin favors permeation of only small (molecular weight <500 Da), unionized, and moderately lipophilic molecules (log P- 1 to 3), posing a challenge in exploring this route of administration for most drugs. Therefore, various physical and chemical enhancement strategies are investigated to aid drug delivery via skin. Our goal was to understand the effect of some of these technologies on transdermal delivery of single and co-administered molecules across normal and compromised skin. Our study used physical enhancement strategies such as microneedles and iontophoresis to administer potential anti-psoriatic candidate – tofacitinib citrate. We observed that a therapeutic drug dose could be delivered using microneedles alone and in combination with iontophoresis. We also tested the effect of these physical enhancement techniques alone and in combination to deliver model drug diclofenac sodium across normal and compromised skin from marketed formulations. We observed increased absorption of diclofenac sodium into and across compromised skin, indicating potential increased systemic exposure. In addition, we tested the feasibility of simultaneous administration of two novel antidotes, N-acetylcysteine and 4-phenylbutryic acid, via skin for the first time. Considering different lipophilicities of these molecules, we screened various chemical enhancers to deliver these antidotes alone and in combination. These showed significant enhancement in delivery of the antidotes into and across skin. We developed a foam formulation based on these preliminary studies to deliver the antidotes. Our last aim was to test this foam formulation for the antidotes' short- and long-term delivery along with decontamination. The developed foam formulation achieved simultaneous decontamination and short-term delivery of 4-phenylbutyric acid within 5 minutes of application on skin. The same foam formulation achieved long-term delivery of up to 24 hours for both antidotes upon re-application of foam following decontamination.