Class of 2012

This project was designed to document the social costs associated with the incarceration of African-Americans in Lafayette County, MS. Recent research suggests that “getting tough on crime” by way of sending people to prison can have significant social costs by disrupting parenting, decreasing the supervision of children, and reducing the already marginal economic vitality of families whose wage-earners are behind bars. These concerns fall particularly heavily on the African-American community because of its disproportionately high rates of incarceration. While previous studies have focused on majority-black cities, this study examines experts’ perceptions of the social costs of African-American incarceration in Lafayette County, Mississippi, which is majority white. The interviewed agreed that there were indeed social costs to incarcerating African Americans. The most social costs dealt with the following: parenting, rehabilitation, and income. The impact on parenting, rehabilitation, and income suggests that the social costs of incarceration remain high in the African-American community even when most residents of a city are white.
The search engine Google is a relatively new tool for extracting information from the web. Google returns searches of keywords and must rank the pages displayed in order of relevance. This research used the same page-ranking algorithm as Google to analyze the results of the 2011-2012 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. The teams were then seeded by these rankings into NBA playoff trees to determine if the PageRanks of the teams could be used to predict success in the playoffs as compared to the actual playoff results. As hoped, the PageRanks did closely follow the actual playoff results and playoff seeding with few discrepancies.
The endocannabinoid system is recently documented to play a role in various disorders, including cardiovascular, neuropsychological, metabolic and inflammatory disease (Pacher 2006). There are currently two known cannabinoid receptors identified which are cannabinoid receptors 1(CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). These receptors were first discovered as the molecular targets of the psychotropic component of the plant Cannabis sativa, to participate in the physiological modulation of central and peripheral functions (Demuth, D. 2006). CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain, but also in the lungs, liver and kidneys. CB2 is expressed mainly in the immune system.
The purpose of this study is to examine the potential electoral influences of President Obama’s recent public announcement supporting same-sex marriage. Specifically, the potential role of religion in Obama’s bid for re-election is examined considering most religious individuals are in opposition of same-sex marriage. The study begins by reviewing the literature on the role of religion and morality policy on voter decision making. To understand any potential implications for 2012, surveys from the presidential elections of 2008 and 2004 are analyzed. The cross-tabulations based on the data will compare how people felt about same-sex marriage and religion compared to their choice of presidential candidate. The findings indicate that the more a person supports same-sex marriage, the more likely they were to support the Democratic.
Cadherins are a family of transmembrane glycoproteins responsible for calcium-dependent cell adhesion. Bead aggregation is commonly used in the literature to assess the ability of mutant cadherins to bind to other cadherins, but is qualitative data, not allowing determination of rates of dimer assembly or disassembly. The purpose of this research is to develop a quantitative bead aggregation method to study the kinetics of dimerization by cadherin. During the research a two-domain construct of neural cadherin (NCAD12) is expressed and purified and attached to micron sized beads. The aggregation of these beads is monitored in a microscope. Aggregate size distribution was determined using ImageJ. As a result, the researchers successfully purified protein, derivatized beads and imaged the clusters in a microscope. Frequency plots of cluster size distributions showed that small clusters are well-represented, but large clusters are not.
Currently there is an ongoing debate about whether there should be requirements for more formal training and education among pharmacy technicians. There is also a new focus on requiring technicians to be certified. The idea is that pharmacy technicians who are certified have some knowledge of pharmacy practice. As the discussion continues about the technician workforce and the need for changes in training requirements, little is known about the Mississippi technician workforce and the perceptions the technicians have of their career. Before decisions are made to make these new requirements there has to be an understanding of how the technicians view their careers. Thus the purpose of this study is to understand the Mississippi pharmacy technicians’ attitudes about their career paths and career development and what factors impact their job satisfaction. The results of this study will provide insight into the interest and need for more technician career opportunities. Additionally, it will inform policy makers about the technician workforce environment in Mississippi and how requirements of formal education will impact the pharmacy technicians in the state.
5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is a DNA base found in the regulation of gene expression in mammalian embryonic stem cells. Another organism known for many years to have 5hmC is the T2 baculo-virus, which infects bacteria only. Regions of the T2 DNA are cytosine-rich and can form an i-motif structure under slightly acidic conditions. Researchers conducting this study examined an i-motif in DNA taken from the T2 genome. The i-motif structure formation was monitored by various tests such as UV spectroscopy, Circular Dichroism spectroscopy and melting temperature to determine when the structure was stable or melted. The bacteriophage structure to a similar c-rich sequence of eukaryotic DNA from the human c-myc promoter was then compared to identify if they share similar folded structures. It was found that the i-motif from human c-myc promoter was three times more stable than the T2 i-motif.
Socioeconomic Status (SES) is a variable that determines how well a student achieves a successful education. SES is the continuous variable that reveals inequalities and inhibits access to resources and materials. Researchers compare the variation in the achievement gap to the differing SES levels within a given school district. Findings suggest that students whose SES is low, score lower on standardized tests (Mickelson, 2010).

Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study is to understand how SES affects student performance in K-12 settings and its implications for teaching and learning. The following research question is addressed: How does SES affect student performance and outcomes in a rural K-12 school district in Mississippi? The protocol used in this study is comprised of interview questions to gather detailed answers from administrators and teachers. Additionally, the design and the procedures in the research study provide the blueprint for which the interviews are carried out.

The study finds that SES backgrounds do have a major effect on the academic outcomes of students. SES often hinders students from receiving the best, quality education. Findings of this research indicate that the negative effects of implications of SES stem from a lack of proper resources, teacher biases, and an insufficient level of self-efficacy affecting students in K-12 educational contexts.
The smartphone market has boomed over the past few years and the use of mobile applications has now become a part of everyday life. The purpose of this study is to determine what characteristics must be present in order to decide whether a mobile native or web application is more suitable for developers and consumers as it relates to the recent native versus web application debate. Over the course of this study, the advantages, disadvantages, and development methods of Android mobile applications were explored in order to determine under what circumstances developers should create a native application as opposed to a web application and in what instances users should use a web application versus a native one.
This research uses Caryl Phillips’ novel The Nature of Blood to explore the juxtapositions between the Jewish and African Diasporas. Jewish diaspora is said to have begun in 597 B.C. and to have ended in 70 AD where the Romans begin to actively drive Jews from their home they had lived in for over a millennium (Jewish Virtual Library 1). In comparison, the African diaspora is a dispersion of Africans during and after the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Millions of Africans were traded into Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Through careful analysis, this research will provide a literary reading of the novel to analyze Phillips’ assertion that there is a shared role of history between blacks and Jews to delve into the notion of juxtaposition between the two diasporas.
This research addresses the issue of partisan politics in America. Specifically it asks the question of whether a social network analysis can offer a clearer picture of political partisanship. In order to have a quantifiable measure of this partisanship, perhaps the most influential and powerful group in America, namely the U.S. Senate is studied. The committee structure of the Senate is at the heart of its operations, therefore the committee structure by a bipartite graph that matches senators to committees serves as the model for this research. In order to transform the graph into a social network, the adjacency matrix associated with this bipartite graph is multiplied by its transpose and unitized to make an adjacency matrix of the group of senators. This graph forms a social network as the node set consists merely of senators and not of senators and committees. The graph is analyzed in Mathematica for closeness centrality and other measures of connectivity between the senators.
This study examines the link between the retrospective reports of the different types of parenting behaviors on anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression disorders are among the most widespread form of adult and childhood psychiatric disorders. According to the evidence in the research literature, threatening parental behaviors have a strong impact on expressions of anxiety and depression disorders in an individual. Understanding the relationship between parenting and psychopathology can possibly help prevent development of mental dysfunctions. Findings from the current study suggested that maternal warmth, rejection, and anxious rearing practices had significant impact on children’s later symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Reducing litter improves the aesthetics of a collegiate campus and can produce labor costs savings. This project included the development and testing of data collection procedures that may allow universities to identify environmental factors that contribute to littering. By identifying such factors, administrators may be able to make simple, inexpensive changes to reduce littering. The project involved development of a data collection system, evaluation of that system, and interviews with potential users of the system. Data was collected on the permanent products (i.e., litter) of human behavior. The investigators interviewed community and universtity staff at two points during the development. The investigators analyzed observer agreement (IOA) for the data collection procedures and used descriptive analyses for the content of the interviews. The item littered most was cigarettes followed by food packaging. In addtion, most trash was in an area where trashcans were visible. Observer Agreement for most categories was less than desirable; therefore, future research should continue to refine the data collection methods.
Cell aging has been associated with DNA damage, unprocessed proteins, and cell surface damage. However, the underlying mechanisms that promote aging in response to damage remains largely not understood. It was hypothesized that the activation of KKS is elevated with increasing cell passage number in-vitro. To determine whether cell passages influence the activation of plasma kallikrein kinin system, a PK activation assay and a PRCP activation assay was performed. While PK activation was elevated with cell passages, PRCP activity was reduced, concluding that cell passages do influence the activation of plasma kallikrein-kinin system.
The reemergence of farmers’ markets in local communities continues to strengthen social capital and develop sustainable local economies as well as produce jobs for the region. By interviewing farmers’ market vendors, surveying farmers’ market customers, and conducting an economic impact analysis, the author predicts the economic impacts associated with the potential growth of local farmers’ markets in Lafayette County, the northeast region of Mississippi, and state of Mississippi. The findings indicate that industry growth at the county level does not significantly impact jobs or increase average earnings. However, cumulative growth at the regional and state level creates a notable increase in jobs and in average earnings. Therefore, growers, public officials, economic developers, and other stakeholders should leverage public policy that will advance capacity building in the industry and develop stronger networks that will promote economic growth and facilitate an increase in regional trade and network capacity within local food economy.
Breast cancer is a very common malignant disease found in women. Various types of breast cancers have a poor prognosis and/or initial response to treatment, followed by resistance. One of these types is the Her2/neu-positive breast cancer, which encompasses 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers. Patients with this form of cancer typically have the worst forms of cancer and suffer the worst outcomes. Although there have been many therapeutic advances; and patients often progress, and there remains a dire need for new treatments. It has been noted that in patients overexpressing the Her2/neu receptor, there is frequently concurrent overexpression of another transmembrane protein – ADAM-15.

ADAM-15 is a sheddase protein that increases metastasis and functions with Her2/neu to increase cellular growth. Within the ADAM-15 promoter lies a G-rich region capable of forming a unique non-B-DNA structure called a G-quadruplex (G4), which was hypothesized to be a silencer element. To test this theory, the current study utilized luciferase plasmids with a wild-type or mutated ADAM-15 promoter as well as an in vitro breast cancer system. Luciferase studies confirmed the G4 to be a silencer element. Stabilization with the pan-G4-binding compounds, quindoline i (Q-i) demonstrated moderate cytotoxicity in MCF-7 and BT474 breast cancer cells with a concurrent abrogation of ADAM-15 mRNA expression. These studies demonstrate that stabilization of the G4 within the ADAM-15 promoter will decrease its expression, and that it is a viable option to develop new targeted drugs to increase the survival of Her2/neu-positive breast cancer.
The objective of this research is to study the effects of Hurricane Katrina on individual behaviors and well being, such as physical and mental health, migration and residential decisions, employment, and other human responses. The research also explores whether such effects differ across groups, such as race and income classes. This paper provides a survey of existing studies on Katrina impacts, followed by a quantitative analysis using data from Displaced NewOrleans Resident Pilot Survey (DNORPS). Among other results, previous studies and quantitative analysis provided through this research project suggest that low income, less educated African Americans were more likely to report destroyed or severely damaged homes. On the other hand, respondents with the lowest pre-Katrina monthly household income had the lowest reporting of a worsened health status after Katrina, among all income categories.
The topic of financial illiteracy has become very popular in recent years. Some studies show that financial matters are the main cause of newlywed couples' disagreements. The question considered for this research is: How does financial illiteracy affect newlywed couples? The purpose of this study is to add to an expanding body of research and to gain a better understanding of the lack of communication among newlywed couples when it comes to their financial matters. This research will go in depth about why couples have issues with communicating, merging their finances, spending, and dealing with debt. Suggestions on how to become financially literate will also be included in the research. Most studies focus primarily on married couples. However, this study will examine the financial habits of newly married couples. The main objective of this research is to focus in on newlywed couples because they are adjusting to the financial pressures of their new union.
The use of affirmative action in college and university admissions has long divided the discourse on racial and educational equity. This legal-historical analysis surveys the landmark cases dealing with affirmative action, reviews the literature associated with major themes, and analyzes the current legal posture of affirmative action in higher education admissions. Also, an analysis of the United States Supreme Court’s prospective options in Fisher v. University of Texas, an affirmative action case currently pending, is provided to shape the future legal contours of affirmative action in higher education admissions in the United States.