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    42472 research outputs found

    Assessing strategies for achieving environmentally sustainable food systems using robust optimization

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 5/1/2024] With growing populations and affluence, many organizations predict that food demand will increase, which presents considerable challenges to achieving economic, environmental, and social sustainability 1. At the same time, more people are living in urban environments. In 2018 in the United States (U.S.) 82 percent ( percent) of the population lived in urban areas, with an anticipated increase to 89 percent by 2050 1. Increasing food production within urban areas could alleviate pressure to increase conventionally-grown agricultural commodities and the foods produced from them. Further, many entities promote localizing or regionalizing food systems in support of economic, social, and environmental sustainability 2. For these reasons, it is important to determine the extent to which localized food systems can be realized, including urban agricultural activities, changing food diets, and agricultural conservation practices given the nutritional needs of the population as well as the corresponding land available. In this research, we first used non-robust (average yield) and robust (varying yield) optimization techniques to find the minimum radius required from the center of Chicago, Illinois, accounting for differences in land area by type, to meet the population's nutritional needs given yield data for conventional and urban agricultural products. Then, we extended the optimization models to find if shifting from the current American diet to other diets would help with localizing food systems: What would be the benefits and costs in terms of nutrient adequacy and environmental footprints associated with each diet, and to what extent would potential future climate change impact on crop yields change the results? Finally, we assessed the impacts of an agricultural conservation practice called prairie strips in which we allocate some percent of corn and soybean fields to prairie strips to determine how this strategy would change the ability to localize food system among all diets/scenarios and what would be additional environmental changes associated with this practice.Includes bibliographical references

    Power from the people : tenant activism in the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex, 1950-1980

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 5/1/2024] Built in the mid-1950s in St. Louis, Missouri, the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex was constructed as the future of high-rise public housing design but was quickly labeled as a problem for local housing officials. Counter to the recycled narrative of Pruitt-Igoe as the "failure" of public housing, Power from the People argues that many tenants actively worked to better their living situations through communal organizations and kinship networks. Though the complex was ultimately vacated in 1974 then subsequently demolished, the daily grit and determination of resident activists is not forgotten.Includes bibliographical references

    Growing pains : pubertal status, gender, and skin tone as influences on Latinx parent-child relationships

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 5/1/2024] Puberty is a time of new changes for adolescents, both physical and social. Puberty signals changes in relationships such as the parent-child relationship, especially in Latinx families. Using a sample of 219 Latinx adolescents, the current study examines the relationship between pubertal status and domains of parenting, specifically autonomy granting and parental warmth, and the interactive effects of gender and skin tone. Gender-based differential treatment has been extensively researched among Latinx families, however, little is known about how skin tone can be impactful in Latinx family relationships. Significant results were found in the domain of autonomy granting but not parental warmth. Pubertal status, gender, and skin tone all had significant influences on adolescents perceived parental autonomy granting. Future research should consider how these cultural characteristics may impact other parenting measures (i.e., conflict, monitoring) among Latinx adolescents.Includes bibliographical references

    Determining the relationship between the Garlock fault and the Eastern California shear zone through detailed digital mapping and age characterization of faulted landforms, Southeastern California

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] Southeastern California is known for complex fault networks that accommodate strain from Pacific-North American plate convergence. The 250-km-long, left-lateral Garlock fault is integral to this system, yet its overall kinematic role within the plate boundary and relationship with faults of the Eastern California shear zone/Walker Lane belt remain poorly understood. A key area that has not been adequately studied is a 15-km stretch of the eastern Garlock fault, at its intersections with the right-lateral Brown Mountain fault and left-lateral Owl Lake fault. This segment of the fault lies within the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and U.S. Fort Irwin boundaries, which have restrictions on civilian access and portions of which contain unexploded ordnance, making them unsuitable and unsafe for field investigations. The purpose of this project is to use a combination of high-resolution LiDAR topographic data, remotely sensed imagery, and published geochronology data to map and establish the ages of faulted landforms along this portion of the eastern Garlock fault. The inaccessibility of this area makes it ideal for the application of remote-sensing techniques. A range of surface analysis techniques were used to differentiate and map Quaternary units in the study area. Geomorphic surface properties were determined from physiographic roughness and surface reflectance data, established from analysis of LiDAR, radar backscatter, and visual-near and short-wave infrared multispectral and hyperspectral reflectance datasets. The ages of faulted landforms were established using two approaches: (1) fault scarp and terrace riser degradation analysis and (2) a surface property-age model that links remotely sensed surface properties to new and published ages of alluvial surfaces in the region. A final goal of the study was to determine the slip rate along this segment of the Garlock fault and other faults in the map area. To accomplish this, offset landforms, such as terrace risers and channels, were analyzed in the context of the new age determinations. The results will be compared to published slip rate estimates for the region in order to better understand the Garlock fault's role within the plate boundary and how plate boundary strain is being accommodated in such an intraplate setting.Includes bibliographical references

    Development of novel fluorescent sensors for targeting biologically relevant molecules

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] Fluorescence sensing plays an important role in a wide variety of fields such as medical science, chemical biology, food industry and so on. Several new fluorescent probes were developed to target various biologically relevant molecules and will be discussed herein. Firstly, a new strategy was devised to synthesize photoactive C,O-BODIPY substituted dyes for capturing 18F so that they can used as dual modality PET/Fluorescence imaging probe for labeling peptide constructs. Next, several sensors were developed for both inhibition and detection of thiaminase enzyme. The two novel fluorescent irreversible inhibitors were designed based on sulforhodamine and the sensor for measuring thiaminase activity was developed based on resorufin. Complex supramolecular systems have been developed for various applications. Designing such systems for aqueous phase work remains a challenge. We have been interested in preparing multi-component cucurbituril systems for use in fluorescent sensing. A series of different phenyl-pyridinium derivatives were thus synthesized as novel components and the CB[8] complexes of those components were characterized and analyzed. The binding stoichiometry between these components and the CB[8] macrocycle were studied using 1H-NMR, COSY, NOESY , DOSY and were found to self-assemble into 1:1 and 2:1(R2H) complexes. Various secondary guests were examined for formation of ternary complexes. These complexes were studied using 1H-NMR and fluorescence titrations. In addition to this, several cell-impermeable receptors were also designed for the extraction of glycolipids from the vesicles.Includes bibliographical references

    Experimental study of cold formed steel roof truss connections

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 5/1/2024] Cold-formed steel (CFS) roof trusses are commonly used due to their cost effectiveness, reliability, and high stiffness to weight ratio. To increase the effectiveness of these widely used trusses, the overall research project aims at evaluating the response of CFS roof trusses under static and dynamic loads resulting from an external blast. Numerical simulations models of full-scale CFS roof trusses are performed and validated using fullscale CFS truss experiments in the lab and in the field. To improve the simulation predictions, the accurate response of the connections will need to be incorporated into the numerical models. Since connection related failures are common in such trusses, and to improve the understanding of the full-scale truss response, it is necessary to study the response, including failure modes, of such connections. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to experimentally study the response of CFS truss connections of cold formed steel roof trusses. Material response, including modulus of elasticity, yield stress and strain, and ultimate stress and strain, were also evaluated in this thesis. The connection testing included the evaluation of connections with varying member types, number of screws, and screw spacing. The results included stiffness, deflection, and load capacities. Conclusions were made for several key subjects as follows. The cold rolling process results in changes to material properties that result in decreased ductility. Increasing the number of screws increases load capacity and stiffness. Decreased screw spacing causes a group concentration effect that reduces load and stiffness of the connection in proportion to number of screws. Connections exhibit bearing and tearing, tilting, pull-out, block shear and shearing of screws failures. The web member composing the end bearing connections had a drastic impact on the performance of the end bearing connection.Includes bibliographical references

    Journey to the virtual realm : transforming student online orientations with 3D desktop virtual reality

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] In the era of online education, student orientations hold a pivotal role in guiding students through the virtual learning landscape. However, traditional approaches often fall short in delivering interactivity and immersion. This dissertation investigates the transformative power of 3D desktop virtual reality (VR) technology in revolutionizing online student orientations. The systematic literature review delves into 64 selected studies, shedding light on emerging trends, the integration of VR in educational contexts, student performance, engagement metrics, and valuable user feedback. By addressing the research gap surrounding VR's specific benefits for online student orientations, this study uncovers the untapped potential of desktop simulations. Furthermore, the examination of learner attribute behavioral engagement in a 3D desktop VR new student online orientation reveals intriguing insights. While the impact of engagement on learning outcomes proves to be relatively weak, participants report high levels of perceived engagement during the VR experience. However, challenges arise in perceiving avatars as real individuals, necessitating further consideration of engagement factors in VR-based educational interventions. Additionally, the qualitative exploration of students' experiences in a 3D desktop VR-based orientation highlights its superiority over conventional methods, particularly for distance learners. The thematic content analysis of semi-structured interviews unveils valuable recommendations, such as minimizing in-world movements and incorporating optional breaks during the orientation. This comprehensive dissertation offers a deep understanding of the benefits, challenges, and educational potential of 3D desktop VR in online student orientations. The findings provide educators, policymakers, and instructional designers with valuable insights for leveraging this technology to develop impactful and effective orientation programs in higher education. By embracing VR experiences, institutions can transform student onboarding, fostering engagement, and enhancing the overall educational journey in the digital realm.Includes bibliographical references

    Application of ultrasound to enhance functional properties of soy okara obtained after protein extraction of soy press cake

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] Soy okara is an insoluble byproduct from the production of soymilk, tofu, and soy protein extraction. Recently, there has been increasing interest in alternative processing of soy protein with the use of soy press cake as starting material instead of the traditional solvent-extracted soybean meal. While the utilization of okara has been studied, the literature is still limited, especially those that focus on okara from soy protein processing of soy press cake. This environmentally-friendly approach could become practical with an increasing demand of plant-based food and plant-based protein as well as environmental awareness. In this study, soy press cake was utilized as the initial material for protein extraction, and the resulting okara was subjected to freeze-drying. Okara dispersions were employed to create oil-in-water emulsions with different volume fractions ([phi]) of 0.2, 0.4, and 0.6. The effects of sonication during protein extraction (with sonication: SOK; without sonication: UOK) and during the preparation of the okara dispersion (0, 10, and 20 minutes) on the physical and emulsification properties were comprehensively examined. This investigation resulted in the production of okara with varying yields, compositions, secondary structures, and functional properties. The application of sonication during protein extraction significantly decreased the yield, protein content, and fat content of the okara (e.g., SOK 0.05). Sonication during dispersion preparation could significantly enhance the physical and functional properties of both freeze dried UOK and SOK powders. Sonication reduced the size of the okara particles and modified the secondary structure of the okara protein, resulting in a notably higher content of [beta]-sheet and lower [alpha]-helix. The okara, which was predominantly composed of polysaccharides and protein, exhibited strong adsorption activity at the oil-water interface as well as excellent emulsification properties at different [phi]. Types of okara (e.g., UOK vs SOK), and sonication during dispersion preparation influenced droplet/particle sizes, rheological properties and stability. In conclusion, value-added okara from soy press cake can be prepared to have enhanced functional properties for food applications.Includes bibliographical references

    Development and validation of the teacher SEC scale (T-SECS) using Item Response Theory

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] The purpose of this dissertation study was to develop a comprehensive and effective self-report scale, Teacher Social-Emotional Competence Scale (T-SECS) using Item Response Theory (IRT) to measure social and emotional competence in teachers in order to facilitate future research regarding teacher SEC's predictive validity. The prioritization of social-emotional competence (SEC) has been primarily focused on students with little to no attention on teacher SEC (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). The limited available research regarding teacher SEC suggests that it may be correlated with positive student and classroom outcomes such as healthy teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management, and effective implementation of SEL curricula (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). There are no known and published assessments of teacher SEC. Several studies that have examined teacher SEC have used scales of well-being, efficacy, emotion regulation, physical symptoms, psychological distress, depression, and mindfulness (Jennings et al., 2017; Jennings et al., 2013; Jennings & Greenberg, 2011), which are all limited in their capacity to measure the social and emotional experiences of teachers. Based on the literature on scale development using IRT, a conceptual framework for the item pool was first identified through a thorough review of relevant content from SEC literature (Revicki, Chen, & Tucker, 2014). Consequently, a three-phase approach was used to meet the purpose of the study: (1) conceptual framework and item generation (2) item development and content validity, and (3) psychometric evaluation, scale refinement and validation. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) Do the data meet the IRT assumptions of unidimensionality, local independence, and monotonicity? (2) When using a polytomous IRT model, do any items require removal due to poor statistical performance? (3) When using a polytomous IRT model, is the selfreport measure of teacher SEC reliable and valid? After running initial psychometric analyses, the item pool of twenty-six items was reduced to nine items. The final scale of T-SECS met all three assumptions without compromising content validity. Psychometrically, T-SECS discrimination parameters values indicated that all nine items were able to discriminate between participants well based on their levels of SEC. Results of the fit indices suggested that the Graded Response Model used to standardize the T-SECS appeared to be appropriate. Individual item fit showed that seven out of the nine items fell significantly above p value of .1, which indicates good item fit. At the overall test level, the final T-SECS scale was found to be most reliable at the left and middle ends of the scale, indicating that the scale could estimate SEC more precisely for participants with low and average-to slightly above average levels of SEC.Includes bibliographical references

    Biotic interactions in the fossil record: an investigation on the patterns of predation and parasitism of Plio-Pleistocene bivalves from the Nashua Formation of Florida

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] The present study investigated for patterns of predation and parasitism among a collection of Plio-Pleistocene bivalves from the Nashua Formation of Florida. The processed sample yielded 2010 unique whole and broken valves representing 34 genera among 21 families. Traces indicative of predatory drill holes were the dominant trace type (7.7 percent; n=154) followed by trematode-induced pits and igloo-like structures (2.2 percent; n=45) and polydorid-induced traces (1.7 percent; n=35). Drillers strongly preferred Parvilucina and Cavilinga, polydorids preferred Mulinia and related forms and trematodes preferred Gemma and Mulinia and related forms as their preferred prey/host. Valve selectivity was found only for predatory traces in Caryocorbula and combined corbulids whereas site selectivities were recorded only in Mulinia and related forms where drilling predators selectively drilled the dorsal sectors and polydorid parasites preferentially parasitized the posterior sectors. Drilling predators were also size selective of their prey. We further explored if there is a trade-off between selecting parasitized versus healthy prey/hosts by testing for association, avoidance, or neutrality among the trace makers. No evidence for association or avoidance was found with the absence of patterns is best explained by the overall selection of taxa by the Nashua trace makers that limit competition and overlap between Nashua trace makers.Includes bibliographical references


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