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    The Equity Elevator vs. Equity Staircase Effect: A study of Organizational Barriers faced by African American Employees within Public & Private Organizations in Louisiana

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    Many scholars have introduced the Glass Ceiling Theory and other artificial barriers relative to women within workplace environments but there is limited research on how those barriers affect African Americans. Some research even argues that African American men perhaps do not experience barriers from a gender perspective. Because of these gaps within the research and limited conceptual framework as well as data for artificial barriers impacting African Americans this argument becomes a compelling topic of interest. The purpose of this study was to identify the influence of selected factors on the progression of African American employees into leadership positions as perceived by African Americans currently employed in public and private organizations in Louisiana. A researcher designed Likert Scale instrument that consisted of 25 statements including 8 demographical questions were used to collect data on 214 participants within the study. This data was collected via Qualtrics and analyzed utilizing SPSS. It was illustrated that women have a much more positive perception of career advancement and belonging than African American Men. It was also revealed that African Americans have congruent perceptions of selected factors of equity, belonging, representation, and career advancement in private and public organizations. The study showed that the longer an African American employee were employed within their organization the more negatively they viewed equity and career advancement. The implications of these findings can cause African American employees to become disgruntled or cause for means of “quiet quitting.” The significance of this study is that the majority race experiences the “Equity Elevator” in public and private organizations while the minority races, specifically African Americans, experience the “Equity Staircase.” Organizations must be transparent and honest regarding their journey around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to ensure they are creating a psychologically safe workplace environment for all employees within their organization

    Understanding and Mitigating Corrosion Impact on Structural Steel: A Comprehensive Analysis and Case Study in Carrolton, TX

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    Corrosion damage to infrastructure is a major worldwide issue. “The global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US$2.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.4% of the global GDP” (International, 2024). Studies have estimated that 15%-35% of corrosion damage costs could be eliminated by currently available methods (International, 2024). Because corrosion damage costs grow exponentially, early identification and mitigation is important to obtaining the lowest life cycle cost (Secer & Uzun, 2016). Best practice solutions involve a combination of advance planning in design in corrosive environments, early identification of corrosion prior to significant structural damage, and targeted repairs that address specific areas of corrosion-related damage to avoid unnecessary repairs. The focus of this study is on corrosion damage repair. If left unchecked, structural corrosion damage can become a life-safety threat. The adverse impact of corrosion on structural steel is potentially catastrophic loss of the strength. This thesis will address the vast and complex nature of this phenomenon to assist engineers in obtaining a foundational understating of different types of corrosion, how each form of corrosion affects the mechanical properties of the material, identifying each form effectively, and implementing the correct repair given the current state of the structure. This study is focused on a chemical facility located in Carrolton, Texas that experienced corrosion damage to the steel mezzanine used by workers around four mixing tanks. The system consists of a metal grate system supported by cold-formed light-gage metal beams, and hot-rolled steel tube columns. Structural analysis software, RISA 3-D, is used to model the framing before and after the corrosion damage to ascertain the amount of structural capacity remaining in the structure, if this capacity meets current codes, and what repairs will be needed given the current conditions of the structure

    In-Person, Hybrid, or Remote: Exploring the Effectiveness of Teacher Practices on Student Performance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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    Schools and universities had to make unexpected changes beginning in Spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Spring 2021, one university in the southern region of the United States implemented hybrid teaching formats in College Algebra courses, where students attended half of the classes in-person, and the remaining half of classes were attended synchronously and remotely. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine if students’ attendance methods (virtual or in-person) impacted their academic performance in the course. Additionally, the study sought to determine how students and the instructor felt student performance was impacted by hybrid attendance. The quantitative portion of the study served two purposes. First, it assessed the correlation between student attendance methods and their academic performance. Second, the quantitative portion determined if there is a difference in student performance between a traditional, pre-pandemic semester and the hybrid semester of Spring 2021. The qualitative portion of the study assessed student and instructor opinions of hybrid teaching effectiveness. Key findings from the quantitative portion of this study determined that absences impacted overall averages more than method of attendance, but attending virtually did negatively impact overall averages as well. Additionally, the overall averages from Spring 2019, a traditional, pre-COVID semester, and the Spring 2021 semester were not statistically significantly different. There were, however, differences in the quiz category that was a part of the overall grade, which did not change from Spring 2019 to Spring 2021. Five themes emerged from the qualitative portion of the study. Students reported struggling with the virtual portion of class, making them feel disconnected and more distracted. The instructor reported that virtual learning fostered lower motivation and student engagement, which would result in lower student performance. There were mixed results on whether students found the hybrid attendance methods to be successful in their College Algebra course

    A Look at Lincoln

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    In the midst of our country’s current debates over immigration, Harold Holzer’s new exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration, offers a timely reminder that such contentious issues are not unique to our time. Holzer’s new book delves into a pivotal subject during the Civil War and unveils Lincoln’s multifaceted stance on immigration and its profound impact on American society – both then and now

    Enhancement of soybean growth and disease resistance through seed-priming strategy

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    Disease pressure and other environmental stresses, especially increasing temperature and drought incidence, accompanied with global climatic change have presented hard challenges to Louisiana soybean producers. The objective of this study was to explore the efficacy of seed priming techniques as new alternatives to improve soybean crop protection to reduce the amount of yield losses caused by biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, five chemicals were used as priming agents at different concentrations (0.1 mM, 1 mM, and 10 mM) to evaluate their effectiveness in enhancing disease tolerance and yield in soybeans. A seed priming procedure was developed by partially soaking the soybean seeds in the priming solution for four hours, followed by drying them for eight hours and storing them for less than ten days. The results showed that soybean seeds primed with salicylic acid and benzothiadiazole at concentrations of 1 mM exhibited stronger defense systems against the attack of Rhizoctonia solani AG1-IA and AG-4 compared to non-treated plants under greenhouse conditions. Furthermore, seed priming techniques also led to a significant improvement in yield under field conditions when compared to non-treated plants. In conclusion, the study demonstrates that seed priming can effectively improve disease resistance and increase yield in soybean plants. The use of priming techniques could be a valuable alternative to enhance crop protection in soybean production, helping Louisiana producers to overcome the challenges presented by disease pressure and climate change

    Damage Detection Methods at the Bone-Implant Interface

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    In the United States, over 300,000 hip replacements are performed each year. Most hip replacements are performed in elderly patients, along with a small number performed in younger patients suffering from degenerative arthritis. Over time, total hip replacements may fail and require revision surgery, with failures being the result of a wide array of causes such as implant wear, infection, dislocation, and fracture. Of particular concern are periprosthetic fractures, defined as common bone fractures around the implants of a total hip arthroplasty, which are causally related to factors such as patient age and gender, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Detection of periprosthetic fractures currently relies on the frequent use of x-ray imaging, which increases risks of developing health complications, such as potential cancers. Additionally, imaging to determine a catastrophic implant failure is generally only performed after a patient injures them self or suffers pain; thus, not allowing for continuous monitoring and effective prevention in early stages of implant failure. To develop a better method of preventing and diagnosing periprosthetic fractures, a new direction is needed. In this research, implant materials, bone, and the bone-implant interface are investigated through a structural mechanics framework with the application of structural health monitoring methods used as a real-time strategy to assess damage to the near-implant bone. A structural health monitoring method that holds potential to detect damage in this application relies on the piezoelectric effect, a reversible phenomenon linking mechanical strain and electric fields of crystalline materials, and the use of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) patches operating as actuator-sensors pairs to detect mechanical property changes in bone. Digital image correlation (DIC) is used to monitor strain and crack propagation during mechanical deformation of the tested materials. My research seeks to improve the ability to detect damage and fracture associated with implant failure using continuous structural health monitoring with piezoelectric sensors, thus guiding the creation of safer and more effective methods to treat and prevent periprosthetic fractures on total hip arthroplasty patients


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    This study aims to delve into and interpret “The Mysterious Sound of Flute” and “Poems on Western Yunnan” from a singer’s perspective while also providing guidance and recommendations for other performers. The research encompasses the history of Chinese art songs, a biography of Shande Ding, and an introduction to his compositional style. A comprehensive examination of each song includes background information, song analysis, translation, a Chinese lyric diction guide, and performance suggestions. Art songs constitute a significant genre in music composition, and Chinese art songs have yielded numerous outstanding composers and captivating works over the years. Among these composers, Shande Ding stands out as one of the prominent figures in 20th-century China, showcasing a diverse range of works characterized by a distinctive style. Grounded in Chinese ethnic music traditions, his works boldly incorporate Western modern techniques, thus establishing a notable position in the field of Chinese art songs. “The Mysterious Sound of Flute” and “Poems on Western Yunnan” serve as representative pieces within Shande Ding’s art song repertoire. Despite their initially limited popularity, these two compositions have gradually gained recognition in recent years, capturing widespread attention

    Investigating Drivers of High Wetland Loss Rates in Brackish Marshes of the Mississippi River Delta

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    Coastal wetlands provide numerous ecological services, but high rates of wetland loss have been seen, especially within the Mississippi River Delta. The erodibility of the marsh, which depends on its strength, can be affected by waterlogging-impacted factors. This study focused on investigating factors influencing soil shear strength in brackish to intermediate salinity marshes along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast using a comparative field study and a controlled greenhouse experiment to test the hypothesis that soil waterlogging reduces soil strength. I predict species-specific responses such that marshes dominated by the Sporobolus pumilus (formerly, Spartina patens), which is less flood tolerant and forms hummock-hollow micro topography, will have lower soil strength than marshes dominated by the more flood-tolerant Sagittaria lancifolia. The comparative field study tested differences in strength and stability between stable and unstable Sporobolus marshes spanning three locations and four sites (Chenier Plain and Barataria Bay, Louisiana and Grand Bay, Mississippi) and a stable Sagittaria marsh (Barataria Bay, LA). Hummock-hollow topography was evident in both the Chenier Plain and Barataria marshes. These hollows had significantly weaker shear strength than the hummocks. The stable marshes had 3.5 times greater soil shear strength on average when compared to the unstable marsh. Sporobolus and Sagittaria marshes in Barataria Bay had lower elevation and higher inundation depths than the two stable Sporobolus sites in the Chenier Plain and Grand Bay. The greenhouse study tested the effects of flooding (5, 45, and 90% time flooded) and nutrients (control and 2 mgN/L + 0.1 mgP/L) on growth and strength of Sporobolus pumilus and Sagittaria lancifolia. Sporobolus at higher elevation had higher aboveground biomass and higher shear strength than at low elevation. Overall, in both field and in a greenhouse setting, soil strength and biomass production of Sporobolus is negatively affected by highly flooded conditions, while Sagittaria is able to remain consistent throughout various flooding regimes in terms of above and belowground biomass and shear strength at low salinity

    City Boy by Judd Greenstein: a transcription from chamber quintet to full wind band

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    The goal of this project is to create a wind band transcription of the chamber work City Boy by Judd Greenstein. Greenstein describes his own music as being “built on contrasts and juxtapositions between the jittery, competing pulses of the New York City streets where he grew up and the placid landscapes of the rural farm land he now calls home.”1 His music is also influenced by his passion for contemporary popular music genres, specifically hip-hop and rap. This duality is a major aspect of Greenstein’s musical language, which he describes as “a genre- fluid musical infrastructures that endeavors to open new channels of participation and representation in contemporary music.”2 The purpose of this project is ultimately to contribute a new work to the overall body of wind band literature in addition to exposing the medium to a composer that has not written for it much previously.3 Exposing his musical language and innovative perspective would fit well within the wind band medium and hopefully encourage more collaboration between his music and the wind band medium, as well as other composers with similar musical approaches and influences

    Conflict and race in literature & law. The case of Americanah

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    In Americanah, the 2013 novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, there is a scene when one of the characters, Laura, speaks of her Ugandan classmate who did not get along with an African-American colleague. Laura is surprised as, for her, all persons of color are similar, with no understanding for their differences in background, personal stories and experiences. The novel depicts and critiques this very categorization of race, which flattens differences, conflating groups and individuals who might share very little, if anything. For a long time, law (with its stipulations, precedents and rulings) has operated in a similar manner, disengaging or even obliterating any understanding of racial differences, as pointed out by Kimberlé Crenshaw in her seminal article published in 1989. Having Americanah as a starting point, I will discuss whether intersectionality can multiply legal perspectives of race, and thus, avoid conflict and misunderstandings. I will also make use of Luce Irigaray’s concept of „speaking (as) woman” (parler femme), understood here as „speaking (as) race” (parler race), that is considering that „law is profoundly a social phenomenon”[1], and a „cultural product by excellence”[2]. As such, products of law are not neutral. They shape our narratives and, most importantly, they seriously impact our live


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