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Item1-2-3! Catch-up for HPV: A Theoretically Informed Psychosocial Intervention to Increase HPV Vaccine Uptake Among Young Adults(2020-08-07) Harper, Kristina; Short, Mary; Bistricky, Steven; Kusters, IsabelleThe Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States causing a range of sequelae from genital warts to cancer. In the past 10 years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed three vaccines that target the most common and severe strains of HPV. Current guidelines recommend the HPV vaccine be given prophylactically during adolescence; however, vaccination rates remain suboptimal. Thus, there are increased efforts to increase vaccination among the catch-up group, or individuals between 18 and 26 years of age, due to increased autonomy in healthcare decisions. Previous research has utilized the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to understand factors that impact HPV vaccination uptake. The TPB posits that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control contribute to one’s intent and subsequent engagement in a behavior. Recently, an affective component, anticipatory regret, was added to the model to increase utility. Despite research suggesting the TPB variables are directly related to vaccine uptake, interventions have primarily focused on education only with minimal success. Thus, the current study aimed to enhance an education-based intervention to directly target the TPB variables for increased HPV vaccination among the catch-up group. The study was a randomized control design that compared a TPB-informed psychosocial intervention with both an education-only intervention and a no intervention control group. Results indicated that TPB variables explained 45.6% of the variance in intent to vaccinate, while increased knowledge about HPV/HPV vaccine contributed only 3.5%. Factors unique to the psychosocial intervention (attitudes, subjective norms, and anticipatory regret) were significant predictors of intent to vaccinate. The intervention model also effectively differentiated between those who did and did not endorse vaccination uptake at 6 months, explaining between 42% and 67% of the variance in vaccination status. In conclusion, the current study demonstrated that the TPB-informed intervention was more effective than an education-only intervention in increasing both intent and vaccination uptake among the catch-up group. The current study provides support for dissemination of TPB-informed interventions across college campuses to increase uptake and reduce HPV-related sequelae among the catch-up group. Item50/50 Two Way Immersion Program Implementation Perspectives(2017-12-22) Torres, Kari N; McEnery, Lillian; Huss-Keeler, Rebecca; Raymond, Roberta; Weaver, LaurieTwo-Way Immersion Programs are being implemented by school districts and charter school throughout the United States with increasing frequency. Many of these two-way immersion programs utilize the 50/50 model and districts implement them in different ways. The researcher intended to discover what TWI implementation successes and challenges existed at Bluebird Elementary and in Jones ISD, through analysis of stakeholder perceptions regarding implementation issues of the TWI 50/50 model. The researcher examined implementation perceptions of teachers and campus administrators in the Bluebird Elementary TWI program, as well as central office administrator perceptions regarding the Jones ISD TWI program. The researcher used a qualitative case study methodology based on language acquisition theory and TWI program best practices to determine the perceptions of teachers, administrators and central office program personnel in the TWI program. This case study examined key implementation challenges and successes that exist in TWI program implementation in Jones ISD, and revealed that teachers, administrators and district leadership shared similar perceptions for some implementation issues, and different perceptions for others. Data analysis of these perceptions revealed seven themes in TWI implementation, while giving insight into implementation structures that were successful and others that were challenges and may need to be addressed in Jones ISD to support ongoing effective implementation. The themes that emerged from the data collection included instructional implementation, staffing, model implementation fidelity, professional development, student selection and marketing, parental involvement and communication, and district and campus support networks. The implications of this study can inform TWI 50/50 implementation. ItemA case study of teacher attitudes, belief systems, and behaviors associated with substantive student academic achievement in a charter school serving an economically disadvantaged urban population(2016-11-09) Goodman, Jennifer Suzanne; Schumacher, Gerald T.; Orange, Amy; McEnery, Lillian; Price, CarlosThe purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to research teacher attitudes, belief systems, and behaviors associated with academic achievement for students in a charter school serving an economically disadvantaged, urban population. This research sought to acquire teacher and student perceptions concerning what they believed were the most effective perspectives, convictions, and actions of successful teachers. Since the research shows that the teacher really matters and is the most impactful component to student academic achievement, then administrators can use these guiding qualities to hire the best teachers for their students and to focus on improving the caliber of their teachers. Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory was utilized to frame this study as the researcher viewed perceived best practices through the lens of four teachers and nine high school students in a public charter school. The findings indicated that research based best practices supporting effective teacher attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are consistent in a public charter school as well and the greatest opportunity for academic achievement improvements lies with the quality of the teachers. ItemA Comparison of Noncontingent and Synchronous Reinforcement on Task Engagement(2022-04-29) Hardesty, Elizabeth M; Lerman, Dorothea C; Lechago, Sarah A.; Fritz, Jennifer NSynchronous schedules of reinforcement are those in which the onset and offset of a reinforcer are synchronized with the onset and offset of a target behavior. The current study replicated and extended Diaz de Villegas et al. (2020) through the evaluation of a synchronous schedule of reinforcement with a noncontingent schedule of reinforcement by evaluating the on-task behavior (completing math facts) of school-age children. A concurrent-chains preference assessment was then used to determine the preferred schedule of reinforcement. In addition, task preference assessments were conducted prior to and after the reinforcer assessment to determine potential mechanisms of noncontingent reinforcement. Results indicated that while synchronous schedules of reinforcement are more effective at increasing on-task behavior, noncontingent schedules of reinforcement may be more preferred. Additionally, the use of synchronous and noncontingent schedules of reinforcement are insufficient at manipulating the preference of a task item. ItemA Framework for Improving Performance Testing in Agile Software Development(2020-11-20) Whiting, Erik; Datta, Soma; Helm, James; Dabney, JamesThe subdiscipline of software quality assurance concerned with non-functional requirements (NFRs) and hardware metrics is known as performance testing. Conducting effective performance testing is complicated, time consuming, and expensive. These attributes put performance testing at odds with agile software development methodologies, which incrementally build software systems in quick cycles while being supported by exhaustive unit and integration test coverage. Due to a variety of challenges, performance testing often cannot keep up with an agile release cadence, and there is a growing body of research that catalogues and describes these challenges and proposes solutions to some of them. This study presents a software testing framework which implements several of the proposed solutions. The framework, called Lulu Performance Test (LPT), aims to confront many of the challenges noted in recent research, with the goal of making effective performance testing more palatable to agile software development methodologies. ItemA Framework for Planetary Resource Classifications to Further Sustainability in Space Exploration Missions(2020-12-21) Alvi, Arjumand; Dabney, James P; Bozkurt, Ipek; Sun, Dongmin; Helm, JamesThe long-term impacts and overall sustainability of space exploration missions in the space environment were often unknown in past space missions. Historically, the space exploration vision of various space-faring agents refers to "planetary sustainability" as a synonym for mission assurance, rather than as an evaluation of long-term viability or as a means to ensure the sanctity of the space environment. Moreover, past missions have treated the space environment as an infinite frontier and not as a finite resource. NASA's Artemis program aims to return to the moon and achieve sustainable presence in lunarspace by 2028. Many planned future endeavors require resource extraction or in-situ resource utilization efforts. Resource prospecting is considered the first step in accessing resources in the lunarscape. Prospecting is a term utilized most in the mining and extractive industries and, by definition, is a means of experimental drilling and excavation. Prospecting, however, is not the same as classifying. Resource prospecting is more invasive than resource classification, although resource prospecting can advance resource classification efforts. When terrestrial (Earth-based) resources are evaluated on various measures – including availability, recoverability, accessibility – quantifying resource reserve estimates are a part of the evaluation; however, there is no framework established to characterize planetary resources on the basis of mission resource metrics. This investigation develops a framework to classify resources on the lunar surface, in response to the current, heightened interest in resource recovery and utilization in planetary resource-focused missions. Resource and risk classification methods established by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and General Electric will guide framework development. In the process, the investigation considers existing research proposals to establish resource limits and discusses how resource restrictions and risk thresholds are implemented in the final proposed framework. A novel resource classification framework is the final deliverable and is applied to geologic data from lunar fly-by and surface missions, thereby increasing the yield of existing mission data. Additionally, the framework integrates availability, recoverability, and accessibility metrics, while also addressing a composite sustainability metric. These four metrics are established as essential resource classification benchmarks to ensure that sustainable mission design is implemented early in the space systems engineering lifecycle by space systems engineers and mission designers in multidisciplinary teams. ItemA Job Analysis of Financial Coaches & Case Managers: Enhancing Selection, Performance Management, & Identifying Training Opportunities(2018-05-15) Sampogna, Olaguibel; Milam, Alex; Sublett, LisaThis project studies two positions at a social services agency in the southern region of the U.S. The purpose of the project was to identify the most critical tasks performed by case managers and financial coaches in order to enhance selection procedures and performance evaluations and identify training opportunities. Four subject matter experts were interviewed, and the information gathered was used to create a survey that was administered to the remainder of the subject matter experts. The project depicts the most critical tasks, groups them by categories, and compares their respective degrees of difficulty. The findings suggest that even though both positions do not consider their responsibilities to be very difficult, there is an expressed need for additional training. Selection for these two positions should be based on relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics, rather than past performance of the job. ItemA Mixed-Method Study of the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic On U.S. Students’ Educational Attainment(2021-07-27) Beheshti, Mohammadali; Shan, Xiaojun "Gene"; Jeong, Ki-Young; Bozkurt, IpekIn this case study, we implemented a quantitative and sentiment analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education, physical, and mental health of college students in the United States. As students are the future workforce of society and play a significant role in the future prosperity of a country, appropriate measures should be taken to minimize the impacts of adverse events on their education and health. As compared to natural disasters, health disasters could have more psychological impacts leading to stress and anxiety, as reflected in their educational performance. This study is based on survey data from students at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The survey consists of twenty-three questions that ask the students about their experiences during the pandemic of COVID-19. Based on the analyzed data, UHCL students’ attainment is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The average GPAs of participants show a decreasing trend from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 and mental health issues might lead to such problems as lacking behind the study. Increased levels of anxiety and nervousness are the most significant influencers on student achievement during the pandemic of COVID-19. ItemA Mixed-Method Study of the Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on U.S. Students’ Educational Attainment(2021-07-27) Beheshti, Mohammadali 1988-; Shan, Xiaojun "Gene"; Jeong, Ki-Young; Bozkurt, IpekIn this case study, we implemented a quantitative and sentiment analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education, physical, and mental health of college students in the United States. As students are the future workforce of society and play a significant role in the future prosperity of a country, appropriate measures should be taken to minimize the impacts of adverse events on their education and health. As compared to natural disasters, health disasters could have more psychological impacts leading to stress and anxiety, as reflected in their educational performance. This study is based on survey data from students at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The survey consists of twenty-three questions that ask the students about their experiences during the pandemic of COVID-19. Based on the analyzed data, UHCL students’ attainment is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The average GPAs of participants show a decreasing trend from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 and mental health issues might lead to such problems as lacking behind the study. Increased levels of anxiety and nervousness are the most significant influencers on student achievement during the pandemic of COVID-19. ItemA phenomenological study of doctoral student experiences in an educational leadership doctoral program(2018-07-27) Chance, Erica Marie; Marquez, Judith; Tello, Angelica; McEnery, Lillian; Perera-Diltz, DilaniThe purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of doctoral students in two higher education doctoral programs in Educational Leadership. This research was conducted to learn the experiences and barriers faced during the dissertation phase of the doctoral program. Past research has shown that attrition rates are over 50% and there are several reasons why doctoral students do not finish their program and are considered ABD. Participants selected for this study were doctoral students from two different doctoral programs in Educational Leadership. These doctoral students completed all coursework required for the doctoral program except for the dissertation. These students were classified as ABD. Data was collected through phone interviews and analyzed by the researcher once interviews were transcribed. Results from the study show three main themes which include outside support, competing demands, and program obstacles. Tinto’s Doctoral Theory of Persistence was used to frame this study as research has shown that academic and social factors impact doctoral success. The findings suggest that support from the cohort, chair, and the institution is effective in helping doctoral students overcome barriers faced during the dissertation phase. Recommendations for doctoral programs in Educational Leadership are provided. The study’s findings suggest further research is needed to investigate the gender differences in doctoral studies, chair perspectives in ABD status, and Latino ABD students’ experiences ItemA qualitative case study examining the factors that contribute to the retention of experienced special education teachers in Texas public schools(2023-05-05) Newsom, Jeanne Lynn; Beavers, Elizabeth; Seevers, Randy; Peters, Michelle; Cooper, JaneThe special education teacher shortage in the U.S. continues to grow and the implication of this shortage is multifaceted. First and foremost, students that are eligible for special education may not be receiving the educational supports and services that they deserve and legally require. Additionally, this shortage may cause great financial burdens on school districts that are continually having to hire and train new special education teachers. There also may be negative financial obligations when districts are sued because there are inadequate or uncertified teachers supporting these students. There are many studies that have inquired why teachers leave the field of education, however, there are minimal that have explored special education teachers specifically, and according to Billingsley and Bettini (2019) current studies of special education teachers that leave or remain are largely quantitative. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of special education teachers that have remained in the field. The research questions revolved around intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors regarding why they have remained. Using both in person and a video conference platform, five participants were interviewed with an open-ended interview protocol. The researcher then analyzed the interview transcripts which revealed two intrinsic (work itself and achievement) and three extrinsic (supervisor/leadership quality, working conditions, and coworker relations) emergent themes. Overall, the findings of this qualitative study revealed interventions for education leaders and authors/instructors of educator preparation programming to assist in reducing the special education teacher shortage. ItemA scalable image/video FPGA processing platform with approximate design(2018-12-04) Zhang, Yunxiang; Yang, Xiaokun; Wu, Lei; Lu, JiangThis dissertation presents a scalable image/video platform with approximate computing design on Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The platform is able to capture images in real time with a low-cost OV7670 camera and display the original, in-process and final results of images on a VGA-interfaced monitor. To make the platform reusable and expandable, the design with Verilog Hardware Description Language (HDL) and the verification environment including six Open Verification Components (OVCs) are provided. Compared to prior works, our proposed work achieves the least FPGA resource cost (753 Look Up Tables (LUTs) and 277 Registers) on the design of a Camera-FPGA-VGA platform. Furthermore, we present a novel approximate design library with FPGA and provide several slice-energy cost solutions corresponding to different application constrains. Specifically three approximations of multipliers and two approximations of adders, along with the exact designs, are presented and integrated as twelve benchmarks to implement RGB to grayscale conversion as a case study. Experimental results show that the minimum slice-energy cost, integrated with approximate\#2 adder and approximate\#3 multiplier, achieves 25.17% slice-energy saving compared with the exact design by sacrificing the quality of results as 5.69% error for multiplier and 2.85% for adder. ItemA Sliding Window Based Voting Classifier for Activity Sensor Based User Identification(2021-04-30) Vallam Sudhakar, Sai Ram; Sha, Kewei; Wei, Wei; Yue, Kwok-BunIdentification is the core of any authentication protocol design as the purpose of the authentication is to verify the user’s identity. The efficient establishment and verification of identity remain a big challenge. Recently, biometrics-based identification algorithms gained popularity as a means of identifying individuals using their unique biological characteristics. In this thesis, we propose a novel and efficient identification framework, ActID, which can identify a user based on his/her hand motion while walking. ActID not only selects a set of high-quality features based on Optimal Feature Evaluation and Selection and Correlation-based Feature Selection algorithms but also includes a novel sliding window based voting classifier. Therefore, it achieves several important design goals for gait authentication based on resource-constrained devices, including lightweight and real-time classification, high identification accuracy, a minimum number of sensors, and a minimum amount of data collected. Performance evaluation shows that ActID is cost-effective and easily deployable, selects only a minimum number of 10 high-quality features, uses only accelerometer sensor and increases the cost efficiency of user identification, collects only a small amount of 10 seconds of activity data, satisfies real-time requirements, and achieves a high identification accuracy of 100% when applied to a 30 user dataset. ItemA Snapshot; Job Attitudes Within the HR Profession(2019-12-16) Dodd, Angela; Sublett, Lisa; McIntyre, ScottThe purpose of this project was to analyze job attitudes, specifically in the Human Resources (HR) department, using two samples. Sample 1 is comprised of HR employees in an organization located in Houston, Texas. This organization wanted to establish a baseline regarding how HR employees felt about working there. Sample 2 included a broader sample of HR professionals from various organizations, recruited through LinkedIn, who were asked to complete a survey that focused on the areas of interest. Participants in both samples reported their levels of turnover intention, job satisfaction, departmental commitment, distributive justice, perceived coworker support, and perceived supervisor support. Ultimately, results found significant relationships between all variables and turnover intention. Job satisfaction was strongly, negatively predictive of turnover intention, and departmental affective commitment was moderately, negatively predictive of turnover intention. This paper will discuss these areas of focus in depth from a theoretical viewpoint before outlining the results of the surveys from both groups. ItemA Study of Texas Community College Property Tax Funding and Selected Student Performance Measures(2019-04-30) Wilson, Michelle Cantu; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Raymond, Roberta D; Richardson, TimThe purpose of this sequential mixed methods study was to examine the relationship between Texas community college property tax revenue and student transfer, licensure, and completion. This study reviewed data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Association of Community Colleges for a purposeful sample of the 50 community college districts in Texas in order to determine funding impact. A purposive sample of 16 community college chancellors and presidents was used for the semi-structured interviews which allowed for a deeper understanding of the relationship between property tax funding and transfer, licensure, and completion. Findings of the study concluded that there was a relationship between Texas community college property tax revenue and transfer, licensure and completion. For both rural and non-rural community colleges in Texas, there was a relationship between property tax revenue and transfer, licensure, and completion. For border and non-border community colleges, there was a relationship between property tax revenue and transfer, licensure, and completion. Regarding the 10 education regions in Texas, there was a relationship between property tax revenue and transfer in Regions 3, 6, and 8. There was also a relationship between property tax revenue and licensure in Regions 3, 6, 7, and 8. Findings of the study showed there was a relationship between property tax revenue and completion in Regions 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. Lastly, findings from the semi-structured interviews revealed that 65% of the community college chancellors and presidents felt there was a relationship between property tax revenue and transfer, 50% felt there was a relationship between property tax revenue and licensure, and 94% felt there was a relationship between property tax revenue and student completion. ItemA Study on the Impact of Kindergarten on the Mathematical Skills of African American Students(2021-12-06) Green, Aronda LaShe; Brown, Amber L; Lastrapes, Renee; Graves, Shanna; Jain, PreetiThe specific purpose of this study was to add to the previous research using The Early Childhood Longitudinal Database to examine if there is a difference in the mathematics achievement growth trajectory of African American students based on racial-ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and kindergarten participation (attendance for the first time or repetition). Using a convenience sample, a nationally representative sample of children was identified from archival data that included mathematical assessment scores, student racial-ethnic identity, family socioeconomic status, and kindergarten participation. The researcher used a quantitative study method to test the effects of students’ characteristics on their mathematical assessment scores. Data analysis showed math scores generally increased significantly from kindergarten to third grade for all students independent of their subgroup affiliation. However, math scores did not change at the same rate when disaggregated by student ethnicity. The rate of change in student math scores from year to year did not differ significantly relative to income. Overall, however, there was a significant difference in math scores relative to income. Math scores did not change at the same rate when disaggregated by whether students attended kindergarten for the first time. Overall, however, there was no significant difference in math scores between students who had attended kindergarten for the first time and students who had attended kindergarten more than once. ItemA Systems Engineering Approach to Staff Scheduling Problems, as Applied to Flight Controller Scheduling at NASA’S Mission Control Center(2019-05-17) Honey, Benjamin; Dabney, James B; Harman, Thomas; Helm, James C; Bozkurt, IpekThe flight controllers of NASA’s Flight Operations Directorate (FOD) have become experts at human spaceflight operations over the past six decades. Despite this expertise, flight controllers and their managers are still struggling with the challenges of building effective console schedules in a 24/7 operations environment. By studying the lessons learned from the operational research field, NASA FOD can improve their staff scheduling practices, which have been largely home-grown. Likewise, the field of staff scheduling research itself suffers from an insular focus on finding more and more optimal mathematical techniques for solving schedules, ignoring important factors such as operator preferences and the health effectives of shift work. By adopting a systems engineering framework, these optimized solutions can become even more useful. These concepts are developed and then applied in a case study of the Attitude Determination and Control Officer (ADCO) flight controller group within FOD, demonstrating the effectiveness of systems engineering thinking when applied to new fields. As a result, the ADCO flight controller group has adopted the new framework into their standard scheduling practices, which has improved measured outcomes. ItemAfter-School STEM Programs and the Impact on 21st Century Skill Development(2021-12-13) Dees, Sara Katherine; Willis, JanaThis thesis used data collected from an online survey of 22 Code Ninjas employees in the United States to determine the impact of an after-school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program on students’ development of 21st-century skills. This study’s findings indicated most owners and Center Directors agree social skills and creative thinking skills are improved through enrollment in an after-school program like Code Ninjas. More than half of the participants shared first-hand accounts of instances where students demonstrated 21st-century skills while working in the Code Ninjas program. ItemAn Analysis of Employee Work Environment: Improving Methods for Engagement, Affective Commitment, and Return-to-Office Strategies(2022-12-07) Egbe, Amaka; Sublett, Lisa; Milam, AlexEmployee engagement and organizational affective commitment are increasingly popular topics, especially with the rise of remote workplaces and hybrid work models. This project focuses on the engagement and commitment levels of employees at a mid-sized software organization. While this organization (hereafter referred to as "The Company") is a global entity, this project focused on its United States branch. After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, travel for events and on-site client engagements were heavily disrupted, as did their in-person work schedule. Employee engagement and affective organizational commitment were observed utilizing a 33-item survey that included existing measures such as Utrecht's Work Engagement Scale (2004) and the Allen & Meyer (1990) Organizational Commitment Survey. The results gathered from the survey helped to create an informed guide for an interview which provided clarity on employee engagement and commitment in relation to one’s work environment. The results gathered from the survey suggest that frequency of remote work positively correlates with employee engagement, but not with affective commitment. Changes to the frequency of remote work negatively correlate with higher levels of engagement and organizational commitment. There were no significant differences in engagement or commitment with race, but tenure, gender, and age were found to have a significant positive relationship with commitment. There is an additional need for change management initiatives to ease employees into any work format and scheduling shifts. Additionally, when transitioning work schedules or planning return-to-office initiatives, change management processes may be required to ensure that engagement levels do not decrease. ItemAn examination of teacher leader' and teachers' perceptions of the Trainer of Trainer model of professional development(2017-08-14) Hobbs, Shandar Nicole Armstrong; Matthew, Kathryn; McEnery, Lillian; Raymond, Roberta; Harrell, ScottThe practice of using teacher leaders to support and develop teachers from within the educational organization is gaining support from research. The Trainer of Trainers (TOT) model of professional development is one practice used to develop educators. This study focused on the perceptions of teacher leaders within the TOT model. Teachers’ perceptions were studied regarding professional development received from teacher leaders as a result of two TOT learning opportunities. Student interviews offered insight into the transference of strategies from the TOT to classroom practice. Qualitative research was conducted through interviews, observations, reflections, and professional development artifacts. Findings support the use of Adult Learning Theory practices during TOT opportunities. Teacher leaders and teachers prefer professional development opportunities in small, manageable chunks which allows time to absorb material, practice within the classroom, and receive feedback regarding implementation of new instructional practices.