Brooklyn College

City University of New York
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    31043 research outputs found

    Adapting for Anti-Racism: Collaboratively diversifying faculty open professional development

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    Higher education institutions have become increasingly interested in exploring the innovative learning opportunities afforded by open educational resources and practices (OER). These same institutions have begun to more seriously consider ways to eradicate racism. However, few institutions have considered the ways that OER may prove useful in dismantling anti-racism and how to prepare instructional faculty to do so. Given their expertise and research skills, librarians may be uniquely positioned to take on this role. In this paper, we explore one such online asynchronous effort–adaptation and implementation of the Open for Anti-Racism faculty workshop in Learning Management System – and offer insights for other librarians (and instructional faculty). These findings include: the importance of 1) adapting for local institutional context, 2) providing multimodal peer engagement opportunities, and 3) having facilitators occupying different professional roles and social locations

    Mechanistic and Engineering Studies of LOV Photoreceptors in Yeast

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    A variety of cellular biosensors have evolved which can translate electromagnetic radiation from the environment into biological functions. Light-Oxygen-Voltage (LOV) domains in particular, are a group of photoreceptors that respond to blue wavelengths of light and can become a cellular photoswitch by converting this stimulus through their attached effector domains. For instance, the Helix-Turn-Helix (HTH) DNA-binding activity of the bacterial transcription factor EL222 and the Regulator of G-protein Signaling (RGS) in the fungal membrane associating protein BcLOV4 are both induced by blue-light sensing LOV domains. While previous work has provided the field with a structural characterization of LOV proteins in the dark state, the challenge has been to fully characterize the structural properties and mechanisms of action in the functional lit states. Owing to the highly dynamic conformation-state changes driven by blue-light activation, the structure-function relationship of these LOV proteins in the light-activated state remains elusive. This doctoral thesis employs a combination of biological and biochemical methods to derive novel insight to the mechanistic and structural properties of both EL222 and BcLOV4, which in turn has aided the engineering of new light-based tools for controlling cellular biology. In Chapter 2 of my thesis, I performed mechanistic studies to develop an early model of functional activity in EL222 including site-directed mutagenesis, in vivo fluorescence characterization, and kinetics in conjunction with in vitro classifications. Using flow cytometry-based transcriptional activity assays of 23 EL222 mutants in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae produced a dynamic range of expression profiles. A group of functionally inactive mutants, most notably EL222R215A, revealed residues critical to homodimer-complex formation and DNA binding. Surprisingly, a mechanistically important EL222D212A mutation drove allosteric like effects on ligand binding affinity resulting in dark state activity, providing the first evidence of EL222 acting as a hybrid sensor (ligand/light). These data, in combination with in vitro structural classifications, provide the most accurate, empirically driven structure-function model of light-activated EL222 to date. BcLOV4 is a fungal LOV protein in the Regulator of G-protein Signaling family (RGS-LOV) that undergoes light-induced translocation to the plasma membrane and is reversible in the dark. No structure of this protein is available, and the mechanistic properties and kinetics of membrane association/dissociation are poorly understood. In Chapter 3, I employed confocal microscopy and analysis of fluorescently tagged BcLOV4 in yeast to classify over 30 targeted residue mutations influencing membrane association/dissociation kinetics in vivo. Both alanine and glutamic acid mutations at the Ja helix/LOV b-sheet interface resulted in an ~4-fold increase in membrane dissociation kinetics. Contrary to our expectations, when we investigated the photochemical kinetics of LOV chromophore, we observed a slower photocycle indicating this is not coupled to membrane release. Our data aided the collaborative production of an experimentally driven HADDOCK model fitted to a low resolution cryo-EM map producing the first structural basis of photoactivation of an RGS-LOV protein. There is a great demand for research and development of novel tools and biosensors to probe complex biological questions in vivo. Successful development of LOV-based optogenetic tools include prerequisites for high spatiotemporal control, sufficient signal to noise, and low toxicity to host processes. In Chapter 4, I designed and engineered a novel light-activated optogenetic tool using EL222 fusion proteins and performed proof of concept experiments on light-driven chromatin modifications and gene expression. Using transcriptional assays, we tested the translocation properties of EL222-fusion proteins (either the histone acetyltransferase enzyme GCN5, Acetyl-CoA synthetase ACS2, or transcription factor PHO4) to the gene promoter region of the endogenous yeast acid phosphatase PHO5 and observed successful gene activation in some cases. These preliminary data provide proof of concept for a one component light-induced system employing EL222 fusion proteins. Together, my thesis provides novel insight to the structure-function relationship of two LOV proteins with unique properties and promotes future studies to address their endogenous mechanistic roles. The structural characterization of light induction in the LOV class photoreceptor and early insight gleaned from my development of an EL222-based optogenetic tool provides an avenue for the continual improvement of innovative research tools to probe biological questions in a variety of systems


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    Continued professional learning is a consistent focus of attention for the field of student affairs within higher education. Yet, very little research has been conducted on the factors that influence the motivation of student affairs professionals to pursue continued professional learning, especially professionals within community colleges. This study utilized a quantitative research design to examine the physical and psychological factors of the work environment that can influence a community college student affairs professional’s motivation to pursue continued professional learning. Through the theoretical lens of Lewin’s Field Theory and Eccles’ Expectancy-Value Theory, I designed a 58-item survey (N = 41) that measured both the physical (institution orientation, institution policy, supervisor support, and coworker support) and psychological (expectancy, value, cost) factors within the work environment. Analysis of the survey results suggest that the institution’s orientation toward continued professional development has the strongest relationship with a student affairs professional’s motivation to pursue continued professional development. Secondary factors include supervisor support and expectancy, or an individual’s self-efficacy towards learning. Both showed to have moderately strong relationships to plans to participate in continued professional learning

    Using Leaf Spectra to Elucidate the Taxonomy and Ecology of Living and Dried Plants

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    Identifying plants and understanding of changes in plant communities are crucial to the conservation and management of nature. The shortwave spectral reflectance of leaves is a promising tool for rapidly identifying species at different taxonomic ranks and predicting important plant functional traits. However, the spectral reflectance of leaves changes in response to biotic and abiotic conditions. The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the potential of shortwave spectral reflectance to investigate (Chapter 1) how its variation affects the accuracy of methods used to predict plant taxonomies and what environmental factors most influence biophysically predicted traits, (Chapter 2) what are the changes within the spectral signature of leaves after controlled leaf desiccation, and what are the consequences for the prediction of leaf traits through radiative transfer models and inference of leaf-soil relationships, and finally (Chapter 3) how I can predict the past water content using only desiccated leaves, and what can I do to improve the prediction. In Chapter One, I found that the leaf reflectance classification accuracy improved when I used its natural variance in the classification model. I also found that species\u27 relatedness does not influence biophysically predicted traits, and environmental factors affect the biophysically predicted leaf traits in both magnitude and direction. In Chapter Two, I found that the reflectance of leaves changes the most in the NIR wavelengths after leaf desiccation but not that much in known absorption features. I also found that after leaf desiccation, the uncertainties around the prediction of PROSPECT leaf traits such as photosynthetic pigments increased while in phenolics and structural leaf traits decreased, and that PROSPECT traits predicted from dried leaves are better at inferring relationships with the nutritional composition of the rhizosphere. Finally, in Chapter Three, I predicted past water content using the empirically derived traits leaf dry mass per area, nitrogen, and phenolic content, from the spectral reflectance of dry leaves. I observed that some samples had a lower prediction error than others, and I attribute these outcomes to the tightly shared trait space and environmental spaces of these samples compared to the sparsity of the others. In conclusion, I have shown the potential of using the spectral reflectance of leaves in plant taxonomy, ecology, and trait reconstruction by using the spectral reflectance of leaves in fresh and dry states. I believe that further investment in the field of spectral biology will be of great use to aid the quick identification of plants, generate a deeper understanding of their ecologies, and increase the application of herbarium samples in the study of plant life

    An Examination of Factors Associated with IPV Victimization, IPV Disclosure, and Help-Seeking Among Partnered Sexual Minority Men: An Integrated Theoretical Approach

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    The emerging body of research illustrates that sexual minority cis men (SMM) in a relationship experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at rates comparable to those reported by cis women in a heterosexual relationship. Although research on IPV in male relationships has increased, it is a phenomenon that remains considerably understudied compared to research examining IPV in a heterosexual relationship. Despite comparable rates of IPV victimization, SMM are less likely to disclose and use informal and formal support services compared to heterosexual women. To conceptualize and understand challenges to disclosure and help-seeking as well as identify facets to develop relevant and tailored treatments, utilizing an integrated theoretical framework to examine the barriers and facilitators to disclosure and help-seeking would be most fruitful. The occurrence of IPV, as well as subsequent disclosure and help-seeking among partnered SMM, has been predominately explained through Minority Stress Theory. Researchers have applied alternative theoretical frameworks to explain IPV within this population, including disempowerment and social learning theories. While data support the application of these theoretical frameworks to explain IPV in male relationships, they are often examined in isolation. There is no research examining IPV among partnered SMM through an integrated theoretical lens. The current dissertation was designed to build on existing research regarding factors associated with IPV victimization as well as barriers to and facilitators of IPV disclosure and help-seeking among partnered SMM. The current dissertation utilized an explanatory sequential mixed-methods approach consisting of two phases to understand IPV victimization, disclosure, and help-seeking through an integrated theoretical framework. Phase 1 was a quantitative study involving a sample of 1,055 partnered SMM recruited in the U.S. through geo-location-based dating applications and direct recruitment through email. Path analysis tested an integrated theoretical model to examine social-, individual-, and dyadic-related factors associated with recent (past 12 months) IPV victimization. Additional analyses were conducted to examine if the associations between theoretical constructs change based on sexual identities and racial and ethnic identities. Phase 2 was a qualitative study that drew upon quantitative information obtained in Phase 1. A total of 41 participants who reported IPV victimization in the past year on the online survey in Phase 1 were purposively sampled to ensure equal representation of non-Hispanic White-identified, racial and ethnic minority-identified participants (i.e., Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian) as well as gay-identified and bisexual and other sexual minority-identified participants (i.e., queer, pansexual, and demisexual). Participants completed semi-structured interviews that explored how social-, individual-, and dyadic-related factors influence perceptions of IPV and the decision-making process for IPV disclosure and help-seeking. Furthermore, participants provided recommendations to increase awareness and quality of services. For Phase 1, data collection occurred between October 2021 and August 2022. The final analytic sample included data from 1,055 respondents. A majority identified as gay (84.1%, n = 887), non-Hispanic White (67.3%, n = 710), and from the South (34.8%, n = 367). Age ranged from 18 to 81, with an average age of 44.0 years (SD = 12.5), and relationship length ranged from 3 months to 46 years, with an average length of 8.5 years (SD = 8.7). Participants reported their demographics and completed measures to assess IPV victimization (IPV-GBM scale), relationship power (a dyadic-related factor; Relationship Control subscale of the Sexual Relationship Power Scale), depression (an individual-related factor; CESD-10), anxiety (an individual-related factor; GAD-7), sexual identity-based discrimination (a social-related factor; Everyday Discrimination Scale for sexual identity), racial and ethnic identity-based discrimination (a social-related factor; Everyday Discrimination Scale for race and ethnicity), couple-level discrimination (a social-related factor; Couple-Level Discrimination subscale of the Couple-Level Minority Stress Scale), and family exposure to violence (a family-of-origin related factor; Adverse Childhood Experiences scale). AIM 1 involved testing an integrated theoretical model to examine direct and indirect associations between family exposure to violence and recent IPV victimization in a current relationship. Results provided support for an integrated theoretical model. Family exposure to violence was indirectly associated with recent IPV victimization through social- (minority stress: sexual identity-based, racial and ethnic identity-based, and couple-level discrimination), individual- (mental health: depression), and dyadic-related factors (relationship power). AIM 2 tested two separate moderated mediation models to examine whether indirect paths from family exposure to violence to recent IPV victimization through social-, individual-, and dyadic-related factors were moderated by (1) sexual identity or (2) racial and ethnic identities. Results showed that the indirect effect of family exposure to violence to recent IPV victimization through sexual identity-based discrimination (a social-related factor) and relationship power (a dyadic-related factor) was stronger for bisexual and other sexual minority-identified participants compared to gay-identified participants. In contrast, no evidence supported the hypothesized associations in the racial and ethnic identity moderated model. Findings supported the broad hypothesis that an integrated theoretical model provides a valuable framework for explaining and conceptualizing IPV victimization in male relationships. While the current study did not explicitly assess social-related factors specific to bisexual and other sexual minority-identified persons, the findings provide foundational support for the utility of an integrated theoretical framework to examine IPV victimization among bisexual and other sexual minority-identified cis men. Phase 2 analyzed qualitative data from semi-structured interviews completed by a subsample of participants recruited from Phase 1. The qualitative interview protocol also attended to social-, individual-, and dyadic-related factors that shape experiences and perceptions of IPV as well as the decision-making process for IPV disclosure and help-seeking. The sample for Phase 2 was comprised of 41 respondents. A majority of the sample identified as bisexual or another sexual minority identity (53.7%), as a racial or ethnic minority (51.2%), and reported living in the Northeast (29.4%). The age ranged from 20 to 60, with an average age of 37.7 years (SD = 11.1). Relationship length ranged from 6 months to 17 years; the average relationship length was 4.7 years (SD = 4.0). Thematic analysis of the transcripts highlighted the relevance of an integrated theoretical approach to understand how a range of social-, individual-, and dyadic-related factors can shape experiences and perceptions of IPV perpetration and victimization as well as the decision-making processes around disclosure and help-seeking in response to experiences of IPV. Participants reported that recognition of IPV events contributed to cognitive processes regarding subjective evaluations of acceptability and justification of IPV experiences. In other instances, accounts illustrated how experiences of intersectional stigma and structural oppression shaped perceptions of IPV-related behaviors as well as inhibited motivation for disclosure and help-seeking. In addition to intersectional stigma, several participants exclaimed that socialized gender norms and discrepancy stress influenced experiences and perceptions of IPV events as well as decisions around disclosure and help-seeking. Lastly, participants offered recommendations to increase the utilization of formal services as well as improve the overall quality of service provision. Their recommendations attended to structural barriers to formal disclosure, to which participants stated that increased availability, awareness, and accessibility of services, making services more affordable, and increasing the diversity of service providers to be more representative of the sexual minority community would provide a great benefit for those who wish to seek support in response to IPV. Similar to findings from Phase 1, the qualitative data aligned supported the application of an integrated theoretical framework as a way to further conceptualizations of IPV in male relationships as well as to examine the decision-making processes for disclosure and help-seeking in a sample of partnered SMM

    From the Outside Looking In: Transmasculine Narrative Identity, Experiences, and Larger Narratives on Social Media

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    Narrative identity development is an essential process in how individuals perceive themselves and the world around them. Often, narrative identity is studied in cisgender heterosexual individuals and applied to others without the acknowledgment of individuals that fall outside of these categories. Drawing upon existing literature and autoethnography, this thesis aims to meaningfully bridge this gap by studying the narrative identity development of transmasculine individuals through the lens of social media. This thesis proposes that the use of social media to share gender transition journeys has created a new digital trans and queer narrative for users and viewers. This narrative is essential to the narrative identity development in transmasculine individuals utilizing social media to learn about transitioning, share their transition, and/or find trans community. The thesis argues that (1) social media creates a gender neutral and liminal space where transmasculine individuals are able to present differently and more authentically than what is possible in the real world and (2) this new space creates room for gender to be defined and experienced differently thus, contributing to a new trans and queer narrative that is an alternative to the cisheterosexual master narrative often transmitted through mass media and American culture

    No ELA Without Ella: Understanding the Naming and Crafting of Gendered Subjectivities in Puerto Rico

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    At the beginning of the 20th century, the official metadiscourses about gendered job titles sedimented the idea that names or indexes pointing to women should be interpreted as unskilled, cheap, or even free labor in Puerto Rico (Azize, 1985; Muñiz Mas, 1998; Baerga-Santini, 1999). For this reason, Puerto Rican women organized and fought for equality in work settings. Furthermore, they became more active in politics and the government. Nevertheless, the Estado Libre Asociado (ELA) and local media discourses and interpretations about women’s labor discouraged them from participating in more senior positions (Acevedo Gaud, 2012). However, this interpretation seemed to have changed in 2016 with the official appointment of three women in the most important institutions of the ELA: the Department of Education, the Police Department, and the Executive Office. At that moment, the local media put these women at the center of public discourse. Yet, the government and the media confronted a noteworthy sociolinguistic problem: there was no “appropriate” way of naming these senior public female officials. To solve this problem, local newspapers created new names and feminized job titles, receiving thousands of reactions from their readers and public officials. In this dissertation, I argue that naming these women caused a breach, a moment of dissonance and discontinuity in public discourse (Garfinkel, 1967; Mangual Figueroa, 2019). This breach prompted readers and social media users to negotiate the appropriateness of these names to address these senior female public officials. At the same time, the public’s comments uncovered the process of crafting and interpreting gendered subjectivities in the 21st century. Moreover, they showed how gendercraft, which I define as the process that combines institutionalized modes of perception, legal and economic consequences, and instances of linguistic materiality (i.e., names), naturalizes the interpretation of working women as expendable labor for the modern colonial state

    Representaciones ideológicas de la lengua, la conversación y la comunicación en manuales de urbanidad del siglo XIX en México: guías para la civilización, el orden y el progreso nacional

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    This study explores the main ideological representations of language, language use, conversation and communication found in a set of five etiquette manuals that were published and used in Mexico during the 19th century. Following a glottopolitical perspective for the study of normativity, language policies, and sociolinguistic practices, the main hypothesis developed establishes that the ideas about language contained in these texts are strongly connected with the social, political, and economic period in which they are elaborated and enunciated, that is, the moment in which the nation is still defining itself, struggling to consolidate its viability and its value facing the international order after winning Independence from Spain. More than a simple correlation, these ideas are a clear expression of the socio-political order. This dissertation also offers a review of the positivist approach to social ideas about language, as developed within the linguistic disciplines, namely pragmatics, sociopragmatics, historical pragmatics, and historical (im)politeness, since they have studied similar phenomena by using descriptive labels such as (im)politeness, face threatening acts, intensifiers and mitigation markers and strategies, for the most part without fully reflecting on the broader social and political processes behind the instances of language named by this and other labels. It is in sight of this problem that this study proposes an alternative reading of the corpus, while retrieving and analyzing from the etiquette manuals the content produced by a small group of privileged authors trying to imitate the European values associated to civilization and progress. This work, thus, extracts those ideas that circulated, and somehow still circulate, in the Mexican public sphere, to organize them and interpret them critically

    Socially Safe on Smartphones: How Smartphone Use Reduces Social Risk Taking

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    Consumers are often faced with decisions that carry a degree of social risk, with uncertain outcomes that could impact their social standing. Examples include choosing the ideal outfit to wear to an upcoming party or selecting a gift to give to a friend. Given the prevalence of smartphones in consumer decision making, I investigate the effect of smartphone use on social risk taking. Across seven studies, I find that smartphone use, relative to the use of other devices, results in a lower propensity to make socially risky decisions. I propose that smartphone use, by increasing the salience of one’s social relationships, decreases the need for affiliation and lowers the perceived benefits associated with social risk taking. This effect holds across a variety of consumption and social media scenarios. The findings contribute to the literature on consumer risk taking and consumer-technology interactions. They also offer practical insights for digital marketing and mobile retailing strategies

    Values in Evidence-Based Policy: Bridging Socio-Political, Moral, and Epistemic Domains

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    Values constitute an inescapable constant of any policymaking or evidence-production process. In this dissertation I explore ways in which socio-political, moral, and epistemic values inform evidence production and use in public higher education policy. In “Chapter One: Introduction and Literature Review”, I provide a brief overview of evidence-based policy as a practice. I then discuss three major categories of values, focusing on higher education examples whenever possible. Finally, I present the central study of this dissertation. The central question of my dissertation is In what ways do epistemic, socio-political, and moral values frame the production and deployment of evidence in institutional policy? I answer my research question with two case studies grounded in personal accounts of data analysts and policymakers in public higher education. In “Chapter Two: Autoethnography”, I conducted an autoethnographic investigation of my own work as a data analyst. I concluded that various kinds of values are negotiated simultaneously at different junctions of data analysis and report writing. I also concluded that socio-political and moral values tend to play a more dominant role compared to epistemic values during the initial stages of work, such as a decision to join the project. Additionally, I concluded that an individual analyst has some degree of freedom and agency to enact their values during the evidence production process, but their actions are moderated by other stakeholders and institutional structurers. “Chapter Three: Interviews” presents findings from a modified grounded theory analysis of 8 semi-structured interviews with higher education policymakers. In this chapter, I similarly concluded that policymakers negotiate various kinds of values simultaneously throughout the policymaking process and that the meaning of at least some values is dependent on the context in which they are enacted. I also concluded that policymakers operate within implicit institutional value structures. Furthermore, in my analysis I demonstrated that uncertainty represents an inescapable reality of evidence-based policymaking and that moral questions tie into every aspect of policymaking, particularly when action must be taken in light of limited evidence. In “Chapter Four: Discussion and Conclusion”, I discuss the theoretical, personal, and practical implication of my findings, as well as the limitations of this study and directions for future research


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