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    2738 research outputs found

    School Leadership Initiatives: To Promote Equitable and Inclusive Family Engagement Practices for English Language Learners

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    This qualitative case study aimed to understand and document changes that coincided with a planned district-wide initiative, especially from the perspectives of the school system leadership team and families of English language learners (ELL). The following research questions were addressed in this study: How did school leaders experience the initiative to increase equitable family and inclusive family engagement practices for English Language Learners? How did the parents of ELL students experience change through the initiative? The findings of this study revealed that to work effectively with parents of ELL students, school systems must understand the experiences and needs of these families. Working with families of diverse backgrounds must be important to school system leaders to affect important change initiatives on their behalf. Increasing equitable and inclusive family engagement practices for ELLs requires that school systems understand the group’s social, cultural, and linguistic needs and values, which requires training and open mindsets

    Guiding Organizations Through Transformational Change and Crisis

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    With sensemaking as a framework, the researcher used document analysis and semi-structured interviews to examine the main institutional logics, culture, and values used in communication from university leaders related to changes in response to crisis. Qualitative data from analysis of written communication from the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic and interviews with presidents and chief communication officers (CCOs) were consolidated to address the research questions: (1) What sensemaking strategies do university leaders employ to frame organizational events and actions? and (2) Are institutional logics and culture used within leadership communication related to university presidents’ framing of the change process, and if so, how are they related? Participants were limited to the presidents and chief communication officers of institutions within a large university system in the southern United States. Focused interviews with six university presidents and four CCOs and written communications from eight universities comprised the data set. The following conclusions were drawn from the findings: Through content analysis of 118 artifacts (presidential communication issued between March 2020 and June 2020), the researcher found eight individual codes used to communicate changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic: Health and Safety, Caring, Retention, Student Centered, Challenge, Change, Online Instruction, and Continuity of Learning. Interviews with university presidents and CCOs yielded data that coalesced in six themes: Caring, Change, Retention, Reaction, Values, and Sensemaking. In interviews, CCOs and presidents stated that they were aware of the presence of institutional values in leadership communication related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it necessitated; however, the majority did not indicate that the inclusion of values and culture was conscious. The diagnostic data gathered in this study may be used in a prescriptive manner to craft communication related to changes in response to crisis. Based on the findings, concrete and actionable recommendations are provided on how to use sensemaking in communication to help stakeholders comprehend the necessary changes when crisis is encountered

    Lunar Applications of Direct Contact Membrane Distillation For Regolith And Hydroponic Water Processing

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    Water management has always been a critical issue facing lunar missions, since its uses are as numerous as they are vital. Using ionic liquids has been proposed for the purpose of processing the metal oxides in lunar regolith into oxygen and metals. The process used dilutes the ionic liquid. Recycling the ionic liquid solution after regolith processing is essential to reduce materials required in resupply missions and to supply oxygen. Water will also be needed for lunar farms to both grow food and assist in maintaining a habitable atmosphere. The use of direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) technology is a method of water purification that was tested for viability in both concentrating ionic liquid streams and in hydroponic salt based nutrient streams. It was found that the ability of PTFE and PVDF based polymer membranes to separate solutes from water held potential in concentrating aqueous solutions and in recovering water from aqueous solutions. This was tested using a bench scale DCMD system to perform the operation at the temperatures of 50 ℃, 65 ℃, and 80 ℃. The results were tested using UV-Visible spectroscopy to determine concentrations. Through this method, the benefits and limitations of PTFE and PVDF membranes were found when operating at various temperatures with either aqueous ionic liquid solution or simulated hydroponic nutrient solutions

    Case Study of the Contexts in Which Inclusive Leaders Learn Essential Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions to Lead Inclusive Schools

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    This case study was implemented to better understand how leaders of inclusive schools develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to improve schooling for all students. Inclusive leaders find that leadership preparation programs provide theoretical knowledge that is only minimally useful to them when they are faced with the day-to-day complexities of leading inclusive schools. The most important learning takes place through “trial by fire” on the job. They learn through experiencing critical incidents which occur over both the short and long term. These critical incidents have been categorized through this study as acute and chronic critical incident. Additionally, significant learning occurs through mentorship with seasoned leaders who have themselves learned to successfully lead inclusive schools

    The Role of Notch3 in Human Adipose Stem Cell Fate

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    Stem cell-based therapies are the future of medicine, as their natural abilities of self-renewal and differentiation have the potential to treat currently incurable diseases. Stem cells are categorized based on differentiation potential, with multipotent stem cells being the most differentiated while still having the ability to divide down defined lineages. Adipose stem cells (hASCs) are easily derived multipotent, mesenchymal stem cells with already demonstrated therapeutic potential. Despite current success, there are a multitude of factors that regulate the physiology and role of adipose stem cells, including transduction pathways and transcription factors, that remain to be researched and fully understood. One such transduction pathway –the Notch signaling pathway– is known to be crucial in stem cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in all animals. The focus of my research is on Notch3, one of four Notch transmembrane surface receptors involved in stem cell fate determination, embryonic development, and some forms of cancer. I utilized siRNA-mediated knockdowns of Notch3 to evaluate its role in stem cell proliferation, self-renewal, metabolism, and morphology. Results have indicated that Notch3 plays a highly active role in cellular proliferation and self-renewal, while not eliciting an effect on metabolism and morphology. This data continues to drive the research into stem cells and their regulators forward, bringing us one step closer to finding curative degenerative disease treatments

    Antimicrobial Edible Coating Composed of Chitosan Polyvinyl Alcohol and Zinc-Coated Halloysite Nanotubes

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    Changes in everyday activities like food packaging are required due to the global shift from a linear to a circular economy. Therefore, industrial, and institutional research centers are interested in using biodegradable materials like polyvinyl alcohol and natural raw materials like chitosan to develop novel food packaging films. Edible coating materials have been extensively researched to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables and reduce the risk of ingesting chemical reagents. Chitosan (CH) is widely used as a natural preservative for fruits and vegetables, but its poor mechanical, and water resistance limits its use. To improve the properties of chitosan, we prepared chitosan composite films by incorporating polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with varying amounts of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) and zinc oxide coated HNTs (ZnHNTs) into a 1% chitosan solution. The effects of PVA/CH blended films with varying concentrations of HNTs and ZnHNTs were assessed using SEM/FESEM, FTIR, and XRD. FTIR and XRD confirmed the presence of zinc on the HNT surface. SEM showed a rough surface that increased roughness with HNT/ZnHNTs addition. Adding ZnHNTs and HNTs improved the chitosan/PVA film\u27s tensile strength (TS) and elongation at break (EAB) with a decrease in light transmittance. We tested the films\u27 antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). The CS/PVA/ ZnHNTs films were significantly antimicrobial over two weeks. Coatings made of PVA and chitosan (80/20 ratio) with concentrations (0, 0.2%, 0.4%, and 0.6%) of HNTs and ZnHNTs were selected for further study. The results indicated that the bio‐based films can extend food shelf life and could be used as novel active food packaging materials. Among them, the most promising film was 0.6% ZnHNTs, showing a good preservation effect

    Examining Representation of Gifted Students in an Urban Gifted Education Program Through the Lens of Social Capital Theory and Culturally Relevant Leadership

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    Gifted education has been permeated with discrepancies in representation since its inception. Despite efforts to minimize the gifted gap, under identification of minority groups continues. A gifted student’s social capital and a school district’s execution of culturally relevant leadership may impact underrepresentation. Therefore, an instrumental case study was implemented to understand, through a social capital and culturally relevant leadership lens, how gifted policy impacts representation of students in a gifted education program in an urban school district. Gifted identification relies heavily on teacher recommendations, which is why it is essential to understand educators’ perceptions of giftedness when investigating underrepresentation. Twenty educators were surveyed, and twenty-two educators and leaders were interviewed to explore perceptions of giftedness and the district’s current gifted education program. Educators’ and educational leaders’ perceptions of giftedness are similar; however, educators acknowledge more need for the social and emotional development of gifted students. Educators and leaders perceive social capital to be an essential component for identification. Elements of culturally relevant leadership are present; nevertheless, a better understanding of the gifted education program is necessary for educational leaders to challenge underrepresentation and induce change in the gifted education program. Educators and leaders at the secondary level do not prioritize gifted education, though they understand the importance of meeting gifted students’ educational needs. Additionally, educators and leaders acknowledge the need for policy reform. Results indicate that implementing the following could lead to an increase in identification: provide professional development on gifted characteristics and the gifted identification process; implement forms of culturally relevant leadership; incorporate an equity policy and scrutinize gifted numbers

    Peptide Carriers to Improve Uptake and Functionality and to Cross BBB to Arrest Secondary Injury Post TBI

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    Cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) possess the ability to transport different cargos efficiently across the cell membrane. In this study, the ability of a CPP to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and stably carry therapeutic components across the plasma membrane was assessed. The therapeutic efficacies were determined by the ability of the KAFAK conjugated anti-inflammatory peptide drug to inhibit the progression of secondary neuronal damage in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) model at 7-day post-injury (DPI) by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines. A related study with minocycline and PgP-rolipram was conducted to improve the outcome in TBI models at 14 DPI. Similarly, the ability of halloysite nanotubules (HNTs) to cross the BBB was investigated. Improving the BBB-crossing carrier library is the primary objective of this study, which seeks to identify reliable carrier molecules that can transport therapeutic compounds to the brain to treat brain injury and disorders. Initially, two peptides were synthesized: (1) an anti-inflammatory peptide (AIP-1) that specifically target the MK2 pathway (mitogen-activated protein kinase) to regulate the inflammatory response (control), and (2) KAFAK, a CPP conjugated to AIP-1. The intracellular delivery, therapeutic efficacy, and cytotoxicity of these peptides were compared in rodent primary BBB cells (primary brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC\u27s)) and four cell lines (macrophages (RAW, J774), neuronal cells (SHEP-1), and hepatocytes (HEP G2)). KAFAK did not induce cell toxicity at concentrations below 250 µM in primary BMVEC cells and below 1000 µM in the cell lines. Subsequently, the CPP conjugate was validated in vivo for its uptake and localization in the brain and its therapeutic efficacy in a TBI mouse model following non-invasive intranasal administration for six days. The results showed that KAFAK was primarily localized in the olfactory bulbs. Some diffused throughout the cortex, and it reduced cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) production in TBI mice as compared to vehicle-treated mice. Halloysite nanotubules (HNTs), naturally available nanoparticles, were also explored for their ability to penetrate the BBB. HNTs were loaded with rhodamine isothiocyanate (RITC) to determine their uptake and localization in the brain at 4, 24, and 48 hours after a single noninvasive intranasal administration. Another group of mice received HNTs loaded with diazepam intranasally for six days and was evaluated for behavioral changes versus mice that received HNTs alone. Fluorescence from RITC was observed in the brain tissue of mice treated intranasally with HNTs loaded with RITC but not in mice treated with RITC alone. The intensity of fluorescence decreased over time, and no HNTs-associated behavioral changes were observed. Mice treated with HNT-diazepam exhibited diazepam-associated behavioral changes, indicating that HNTs could penetrate the BBB and release the drug into the brain. In summary, HNTs and CPPs have demonstrated that they have the potential to transport drugs across the BBB

    Alternative Approach for Assessment of Hydraulic Design Basis for Pressure Pipe Liners

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    New product development requires stringent testing to ensure that strength and safety standards are met by the innovative materials. When developing a new pipe material, several factors have to be tested for. In addition to normal material characteristics such as elastic modulus of pipe materials, long-term hydrostatic strength (LTHS) and hydrostatic design basis (HDB) are needed. Tests for typical material characteristics are commonplace and can certainly be conducted in most lab facilities. In contrast, LTHS and HDB as described in ASTM D2992 are two tests that can prove very challenging to conduct. The current method requires a minimum of 18 full pipe specimen be placed under hydrostatic test at various stress levels to produce required failures. Successfully generating these failures can be very hard to achieve with a relatively unfamiliar material. This work suggests a modified method drawing from years of successful ASTM D2990 testing. This method will combine the loading apparatus used for ASTM D2990 creep testing, strain gauges and a new relationship between strain and the typical ductile failures seen in D2992 testing. It is also possible, with existing long-term data, to model the material behavior and reduce time further. The goal of this approach is to increase the volume of testing in order to ensure a higher level of confidence for designers and owners and save clients research funding as well


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