Southern Methodist University

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    Thriving in College: International, First-Generation, and Transfer Students

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    Underrepresented-student groups experience unique challenges throughout their college experience, the impacts of which can be assessed by measuring students’ levels of thriving. The purpose of this study was to understand the thriving of underrepresented college students—first-generation, international, and transfer students, specifically. To understand this, we sought to measure students’ thriving levels and determine the experiences contributing to or detracting from their perception of thriving. This study utilized a sequential exploratory design using the established 72-item thriving quotient survey to measure students’ overall thriving levels. In addition, the study utilized a qualitative content analysis on an open-ended question asking participants to describe contributory experiences. The results show variation among first-generation, international, and transfer students. Our findings reveal first-generation students to have the lowest overall levels of thriving among the underrepresented-student groups, international students to suffer most in social connectedness, and transfer students to be thriving the most. Finally, our content analysis reveals six emergent themes of experiences contributing to the students’ perception of their thriving levels: university support, policies, and procedures; faculty and assignments; life events; concern over money and finances; self-confidence; and belonging

    Cognitive Reappraisal is Associated with Lower Dysphoria Symptoms During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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    The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented mental health concerns generally, but particularly for young adults navigating an already fluctuating and uncertain period of their lives. While there are many factors related to mental health, it is well-documented that emotion regulation– the ability to modulate an emotion or set of emotions– and risk perception appear to be relevant to the development, maintenance, and treatment of psychopathology. The current study aimed to assess the relationship between emotion regulation processes, COVID-19 risk perception, and dysphoria symptoms during the early months of the pandemic. Between April - May 2020, 243 undergraduate participants completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the dysphoria subscale of the IDAS-II, and questions about their perceived risk of COVID-19. Two subfacets of emotion regulation known as cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression were analyzed specifically. Results indicated, contrary to hypotheses, no significant interaction between cognitive reappraisal and risk perception on dysphoria, nor was there a significant interaction between expressive suppression and risk perception on dysphoria. However, there were significant main effects of cognitive reappraisal on dysphoria and expressive suppression on dysphoria indicating cognitive reappraisal may be a more beneficial emotion strategy for maintaining mental health

    Volume 8, Issue 1 Front Matter

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    Identifying Barriers to Mental Health Services Utilization for Black Youth in the United States: A Qualitative Study

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    Mental health in Black communities and racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service utilization remain growing concerns. Evidence suggests that psychotic disorders may be more prevalent among Black individuals than white individuals and the Black community faces barriers to care that can negatively influence outcomes. To better understand these barriers, we interviewed mental healthcare providers (n = 11) and Black young adults with first-person experience of psychosis (n = 13) about the experiences of minority young adults with mental health treatment. We analyzed interview transcripts and, consistent with constructivist grounded theory methods, identified iterative patterns across individuals about barriers to care. From the 11 mental healthcare providers and 13 Black young adults in the present analyses, five overarching themes emerged: lack of knowledge about mental health helpseeking, material resource unavailability, stigma, lack of family support, and trauma. These themes represented factors that dissuaded individuals from seeking care and must be addressed to improve engagement and outcomes for minority young adults. Innovative approaches to improving mental health literacy and decreasing stigma, along with systemic, policy-based economic changes, may provide starting points for effectively addressing these barriers

    Radon Plate-out and the Effects of Airflow and Electric Charge for Dark Matter Experiments

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    The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS) is an international collaboration designed to search for and detect dark matter particles, which make up ~85% of the matter in the universe. The plate-out, or deposition of naturally occurring radioactive decay byproducts onto surfaces, can create backgrounds that interfere with dark matter detection experiments. In the first series of these experiments, we analyze the amount of radon progeny, 214Pb and 214Bi, that plate-out on polycarbonate samples while controlling factors such as electric charge and airflow. These samples are exposed to radon-spiked nitrogen gas in a polycarbonate wind tunnel to simulate plate-out conditions in a controlled environment. To determine radon progeny plate-out rates for each trial, the initial activity of radon progeny is calculated from the measurements of an Ortec alpha counter. In previous iterations of the experiment, we observed static charge buildup on surfaces, especially polycarbonate. This charge buildup was reduced by the implementation of an electric field source in the wind tunnel, yielding more consistent polycarbonate trials. After neutralizing the electric charge on polycarbonate, the second series of the experiment compares normalized radon daughter plate-out for polycarbonate and copper samples. Copper measurements demonstrated a positive correlation between air speed and radon daughter plate-out rate from speeds of 0 to 60 ft/min, stabilizing at speeds between 0 to 60 ft/min. Acrylic measurements demonstrated no observable relation between air speed and normalized plate-out rates. Results from both results deviate from the linear correlation of air speed and plate-out rate predicted by the Jacobi plate-out model [1

    Navigating Through Cloudy Skies: The Montreal Convention & Article 17 “Accidents” Post-\u3cem\u3eMoore\u3c/em\u3e

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    The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty that comprehensively regulates international air carriers. Specifically, Article 17 of the treaty allows passengers to recover against air carriers for injuries or deaths on international flights, so long as certain requirements are met. In Air France v. Saks, the Supreme Court held that “accident”—a controlling term in Article 17—describes an event that is external to the passenger and “unexpected or unusual.” Last year, in Moore v. British Airways PLC, the First Circuit purported to identify a split over what this language means. According to Moore, there are courts who (correctly) gauge whether an event is unexpected or unusual from the perspective of an airline passenger with ordinary experience in commercial air travel (an objective standard that I will call the Reasonable Passenger Approach). On the other hand, there are courts who (incorrectly) determine whether an event is unexpected or unusual from the perspective of the airline industry, using industry norms and customs as guides (a standard I will call the Industry Approach). In this Comment, I will explain why the standard endorsed by the First Circuit in Moore muddies the waters and how a more holistic, totality-of-the-circumstances approach (the Holistic Approach) offers a better rubric for Article 17 “accident” analyses. Given the recency of the Moore case, my goal in this Comment is to provide timely insight on its blind spots while offering an approach that might rescue Moore from a legacy of confusion

    Investigation into a Practical Application of Reinforcement Learning for the Stock Market

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    A major problem of the financial industry is the ability to adapt their trading strategies at the same rate the market evolves. This paper proposes a solution using existing Reinforcement Learning libraries to help find new strategies at a practical scale. Using a wide domain of ticker symbols, an algorithm is trained in an environment that better represents reality. The supplied decision-making algorithm is tested using recorded data from the U.S stock market from 2000 through 2022. The results of this research show that existing techniques are statistically better than making decisions at random. With this result, this research shows how a practical application of Reinforcement Learning is possible through the inclusion of many more ticker symbols than previous research has done before. However, there is still work to be done to achieve acceptable returns. Potential applications of this research include informing human traders or creating automated traders

    Fraud Pattern Detection for NFT Markets

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    Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) enable ownership and transfer of digital assets using blockchain technology. As a relatively new financial asset class, NFTs lack robust oversight and regulations. These conditions create an environment that is susceptible to fraudulent activity and market manipulation schemes. This study examines the buyer-seller network transactional data from some of the most popular NFT marketplaces (e.g., AtomicHub, OpenSea) to identify and predict fraudulent activity. To accomplish this goal multiple features such as price, volume, and network metrics were extracted from NFT transactional data. These were fed into a Multiple-Scale Convolutional Neural Network that predicts suspected fraudulent activity based on pattern recognition. This approach provides a more generic form of time series classification at different frequencies and timescales to recognize fraudulent NFT patterns. Results showed that over 80% of confirmed fraudulent cases were identified by modeling (recall). For every predicted fraud case, the model was correct 50% of the time (precision). Investors, regulators, and other entities can use these techniques to reduce risk exposure to NFT fraudulent activity

    The SEC\u27s Short-Sale Experiment: Evidence on Causal Channels and Reassessment of Indirect Effects

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    During 2005-2007, the SEC conducted a randomized trial in which it removed short-sale restrictions from one-third of the Russell 3000 firms. Early studies found modest market microstructure effects of removing the restrictions but no effect on short interest, stock returns, volatility or price efficiency. More recently, many studies have attributed a wide range of indirect outcomes to this experiment, mostly without assessing the causal channels for those outcomes. We examine the three most often cited causal channels for these indirect effects: short interest, returns and managerial fear. We find no evidence to support these channels. We then reexamine the principal findings in four recent studies using a sample that closely matches the actual experiment and a common research design and find minimal support for the reported indirect effects. Our findings highlight the importance of confirming a causal channel or an economic mechanism and show that sample selection and specification choices can produce statistical significance even without an underlying economic mechanism

    Hot Topics and Current Issues Related to Aircraft Ownership, Cost Sharing, and a Case in Point if the Law is Not Followed

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    This paper will explore the issues encountered when multiple users and/or entities purchase or sell an aircraft for business or personal use, which commonly involve the navigation of and compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations and accompanying federal statutes. This paper will also address the ownership of aircraft by multiple individuals and/or entities, and then operations under various ownership structures. Where multiple aircraft owners are involved, the utilization of dry leases, time sharing agreements, interchange agreements, and co-owner/joint-ownership agreements may be used to navigate FAA and IRS regulations and rules. Also, co-owning an aircraft, but not actually having “ownership” of the aircraft, through another company (an off balance sheet entity for example) will be addressed. Aircraft owned through an owner trust can also provide anonymity, ownership advantages, and can help navigate ownership registration issues. This paper will also address the U.S. Eastern District Federal Court Criminal Organized Crime and Drug Task Force Enforcement prosecution case against an aviation escrow, title, and trust company; along with the principals of those companies, which involved aircraft registration, sale, and ownership issues


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