Class of 2013

The study of social networks is of increasing importance in the modern world. A social network is a social structure that is made up of individuals or groups of individuals which are tied to one another through social relationships (Kleinberg 2010). These networks are modeled by graphs. A graph consists of a set of nodes, a set of edges, and an incidence function that connects each edge with an unordered pair of nodes. Two nodes are joined by a link or an edge if and only if there was communication between the nodes. There are many relationships that define a social network such as those defined by the spread of a disease, a communication link, and a social link such as Facebook or a professional network. This research investigates the relationship between the cores of a social network and its sub-networks. A core of a social network is a sub-collection of individuals who are highly related.
Education professionals and students from various parts of the country have different perceptions as to how the context (conditions and circumstances) of a school can impact the delivery of content, which affects students’ academic achievement. The size and geographical location of a school has been linked to the levels of students’ academic success (Nichols, 2004; Irvin, Hannum, de la Varre, 2010; Hines, 2002; Holland, 2009; Lewis, 2000; Gentry, 2001; Milner, 2013; Haycock, 2001; Townsville Bulletin, 2012; Foote, 2012). This study examines teacher and student perceptions of the impact of the school’s context upon student achievement in a rural setting. Two high school teachers and four high school students are interviewed about their experiences in their specific high school and their beliefs regarding geographical location and size. Additional emphasis is placed upon how those perceptions affect student academic achievement levels. The study finds mixed reviews of how academic achievement is affected by the location of the school. However, the respondents indicate the implications of where individuals live as influencing the level of academic achievement. Therefore, it is important to understand how perceptions of small rural communities serve to create realities for the academic performance and possibilities of those directly and indirectly involved.
Reading is important because it strongly influences the outcome of a child’s life. Reading fluency has been linked to employment, income, and prison rates. During the summer many children attend summer programs that emphasize fun. However, during summer, children often lose the literacy skills they gain during the academic year. One way to address summer learning loss is to use online reading software such as Mimio/HeadSprout. For this study, reading software was provided to 10 students at the Boys and Girls Club over the course of 2.5 weeks. A total of 20 students (10 experimental, 10 control) and their parents completed satisfaction surveys. Eight of these students (4 experimental, 4 control) also completed an assessment of reading fluency before and after the software intervention. Although no significant differences emerged between ratings of fun or enjoyment in reading, the quality of positive and negative statements differed between groups. Additionally, the experimental group demonstrated a larger increase in oral reading fluency than those in the control group. It is hypothesized that Mimio may be an effective tool for improving reading during summer programs with African-American children in rural areas.
Throughout Dracula, Bram Stoker challenges the continued abuse of the natural world and the suppression of female desire, a natural force that threatens patriarchy. While many view Dracula as an irredeemable monster, Stoker’s portrayal is more subtle. Throughout the novel, the Count represents unbridled nature that defies social rules and customs. Dracula liberates women from patriarchal control by allowing them to experience their sexual desires. Such desires alarm Victorian men, who struggle to control the sexual lives of wives and daughters in the same way that they labor to control the natural world. Stoker views such domination over nature and women as unnatural. Therefore, the real brutes of Stoker’s novel are men like Jonathan Harker who use violence to impose their values on others.
Intraracial prejudice—or colorism, as termed by Alice Walker in 1982 (Njeri 1)—is discrimination based on skin color within a race. Colorism, the preference of lighter skin and European features over darker skin and more ethnic features, has historically been important to the social processes and experiences of African Americans within the United States. Because African Americans have internalized these notions and thought them true, colorism becomes an important topic of discussion with black communities. Drawing on W. E. B. DuBois’s concept of double-consciousness, “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” (Grewal 30), novelists like Wallace Thurman and Toni Morrison illustrate colorism in The Blacker the Berry (1929) and The Bluest Eye (1970).

The heroines of this pair of novels, Emma Lou Morgan and Pecola Breedlove, are continuously and mercilessly victimized because of their dark tones; they, in turn, internalize these negative thoughts. Although both struggle to loose the holds of colorism and self-contempt, ultimately they find peace. This essay examines both novels to unearth these colorist biases and expose their origin. It also explores the relationship between colorism and gender in the stories of two African American women--one older, the other still a child--who suffer because of other people’s contempt for their dark skin.
kRAS is a member of the RAS protein family of GTPases that functions to signal cell growth, differentiation, and organ development. When kRAS is mutated, which occurs in 30% of all forms of cancer and in 90% cases of pancreatic cancer, it signals the nucleus mitose continuously. Previous studies have shown that a G-quadruplex (G4) DNA structure can regulate the transcriptional activity of kRAS. Some literature suggests that this G4 structure forms from the G-rich region of DNA most near to the transcriptional start site; however, this study demonstrates this is incorrect and highlights a further G-rich region (termed mid and far) to form silencing G4 structures.

In addition, the MAZ transcription factor has been shown to activate kRAS transcription, and it was suggested that this activation is due to an interaction with the near-G4-forming region. A mapping of MAZ binding sites confirms that one exists in the near region, but that two binding sites exist in the mid-region. Current studies thus concentrated on where the MAZ-induced transcriptional activation of kRAS expression occurs. Using a series of luciferase plasmids harboring various regions of the kRAS promoter, either transfected alone into HEK-293 cells or with a MAZ-expression vector, the role of MAZ in kRAS transcription was studied. After confirming MAZ protein was expressed through a Coomassie stained protein gel, it is confirmed that adding the mid+far regions of the kRAS promoter increased transcription by >15%, but that deletion of the near region from the whole promoter decreased transcription by almost 30%. Thus, the findings indicate that the transcription of kRAS is more complicated than expected and that more studies into other regions of the promoter, or into other proteins, such as Sp1, p53, or WT1, are required.
This project is a textual comparison of The Clarion-Ledger and The New York Times newspapers’ coverage of the Tougaloo Nine sit-it. The study was conducted by gathering microfilm scans of The Clarion-Ledger and The New York Times newspapers from the J.D. Williams Library. The articles were then compared and contrasted by date of coverage, title of headline, content of story coverage, and connotation of particular phrases used by each newspaper.

Tougaloo College was founded in 1869 by the American Missionary Association in Tougaloo, Mississippi; now considered part of North Jackson. The college was founded as an institute for newly freed slaves to help them become more equipped and knowledgeable about their new freedom. During the 1950s and 1960s, Tougaloo became very involved with the Civil Rights Movement. During this time, nine Tougaloo students were responsible for organizing the first sit-in demonstration in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Clarion-Ledger covered the story of the Tougaloo Nine sit-in for three days between the dates of March 28, 1961 to April 4, 1961. The coverage consisted of details of the sit-in’s purpose, police statements, and coverage of the proceedings of the trial. The New York Times covered the story one day and reported that the nine students were convicted and in a different article reported the protest; however, there was no report of the sentencing. The New York Times included pictures of the Tougaloo Nine and of police allowing a German shepherd to attack a Negro protester. The Clarion-Ledger included no photos in its coverage.
Since 2001, 2.2 million military service members have been involved in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Many have returned with significant injuries. This research aims to study the best treatments available to support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other co-occurring conditions. Seven articles were reviewed and information was compiled regarding the best practices for helping patients cope with PTSD. Several treatments were found to be very effective in helping patients cope with PTSD, including, but not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy (CBCT; closely associated with CBT), prolonged exposure therapy (PE), eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EDMR), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), stress inoculation training (SIT), relaxation training, dialectical behavioral therapy, and lastly exposure therapy using virtual reality (VR). Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Key words: veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health conditions, treatments for PTSD, OIF/OEF veterans with injuries.
The aim of this research is to evaluate the nutrition profile of school lunch menus after replacing fryers with combi-oven steamers. A nutritional analysis of each individual menu was conducted using NDSR to assess changes in the nutrient content of the food prepared with fryers and the food prepared with combi-oven steamers. The nutrient analysis report illustrated the changes in nutrients which were found to cluster around total kilocalories, total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat contributions. Only minimal changes were detected in the micronutrients and non-lipid containing macronutrients. Due to the relationship of intake of fats, saturated fats and trans fats on increasing risks for obesity, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, additional studies need to look more closely at the recipe composition and industrial food technology applications that could have a positive impact on health trends.
The alpha/beta hydrolase fold family of enzymes is rapidly becoming one of the largest groups of structurally related enzymes with diverse catalytic functions. The largest alpha beta hydrolase is acetlycholinesterase which has eight beta sheets and six alpha helices. The smallest alpha/beta hydrolase fold is cutinase. Cutinase contains only five beta sheets and 4 alpha helices. The fact that cutinase is still able to function while missing many components leads to the question, is it possible that there is an alpha beta hydrolase smaller than cutinase.
There is an increasing body of literature focusing on the achievement gap between African American and Caucasian students. Although African Americans are employed broadly within schools, there are not many African American males serving as teachers and a smaller percentage serve as elementary school teachers (Martino & Rezai-Rashti, 2010). Particularly among males, these students tend to be at greater risk of academic failure as well as vulnerable to other dilemmas such as expulsion, suspension, special education placement, and school violence. Understanding how African American male teachers influence the success of African American male students is important to learn ways to decrease risks facing African American male adolescents. Thus, this research examines the voices of African American male educators in schools to learn about their roles in the classroom and beyond for the African American students they serve.
BaP is a member of a class of compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are ubiquitous environmental contaminants derived from incomplete combustion of carbon. PAHs are of concern because they are toxic to aquatic life and are suspected human carcinogens. RNA was extracted from two adult female zebrafish (Danio rerio) livers, reverse transcribed, and used to optimize primers. Embryos were extracted to quantify the deposition of BaP found in F1 embryos following a parental (P0) dietary BaP exposure. No detectable BaP residues were detected in embryos despite good extraction recoveries. This study evaluated whether the CYP1s and/or GST messenger RNA was inducible by benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) in zebrafish adult liver. We used quantitative reverse transcriptase real-time PCR (qRT/RT-PCR) to measure liver gene expression of CYP1B1, CYP1C1, and GSTpi messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in control and BaP-exposed adult fish. Constitutive expression of GSTpi and CYP1A mRNA were higher compared to CYP1C1 and then CYP1B1 in liver of tissues of adult female zebrafish. Although not statistically different, there was induction in CYP1B1, CYP1C1, and GSTpi mRNA expression. Highest fold induction was found in CYP1B1 followed by CYP1C1 and GSTpi (92-, 36, and 22-fold, respectively). There were sex differences in mRNA expression. In P0 males there was a statistically significant dose response in increased CYP1A mRNA expression, however in P0 females there was not. Our results suggest that CYP1B1, CYP1C1, and GSTpi are induced by BaP and should be further investigated for their role in carcinogen bio-activation.
The purpose of this research is to explore the both computational and physical design of DNA nanostructures, otherwise known as DNA origami. A computational design for a 2-dimensional DNA nanostructure was created. In addition, an attempt was made to physically create this structure using a DNA origami protocol. Once the structures were physically created, they were imaged and verified for their form using gel electrophoresis and atomic force microscopy.

DNA origami is still a growing field and has only recently has been explored for all its applications. This research also involved searching for potential uses for these structures in today’s medical and engineering fields.
The AS1 transcription factor is critical for proper cell differentiation in Arabidopsis leaves and flowers. By repressing the expression of certain genes, AS1 acts to establish boundaries between the leaves and the stem, and between the flowers and floral stem. Specialized cells develop at the flower-stem boundaries that secrete the enzymes required for abscission. Through a screen for mutants that affect floral organ abscission, the Liljegren lab identified a set of bibb mutants, which prevents the normal abscission of sepals and disrupts the AS1 gene. In this study, the relevance of the bibb-5 mutation was analyzed. This mutation causes a glutamic acid at amino acid 66 to be replaced with a lysine. It was found that this glutamic acid is highly conserved and essential to forming a salt bridge in the DNA binding domain. Regions of the AS1 gene were also sequenced to identify the site of the bibb-2 mutation. The location of this mutation was narrowed down to two regions of the gene, which include the promoter and the untranslated regions.
College students must learn to adapt to the environment and form new relationships as they matriculate through college and face young adulthood. With this growing crisis, the current study examined the relationships among stress and social support and other variables previously found to be related to academic success. The survey consisted of social support, stress, general health, academic psychological well-being, loneliness, coping, academic performance, and demographics. This study used a quantitative online survey that allowed eligible students to participate. Researchers analyzed data using SPSS to determine relationships among the variables of interest. It was reported that there was a significant positive correlation between stress and loneliness (r = .69, p < .001). Stress and general health were significantly positively correlated (r =.82, p <.001). However, there was a significant negative correlation between stress and academic psychological well-being (r = -.71, p < .001). In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between social support and loneliness (r= -.75, p < .001), and social support and general health(r = -.59, p < .001). However, social support and academic psychological well-being was significantly positively correlated (r = .51, p < .01). Coping strategies, study habits, and GPA were found to be unrelated to stress and social support. The findings suggest the more stressful life events a student experiences, the more likely he or she will be lonely. In addition, greater social support gives college students a sense of belonging, which makes them feel confident in their academics because they have specific people that offer encouragement.

Keywords: Academic Success, Loneliness, Coping Strategies, Health, Social Support
The structure of the social fabric of the world is increasingly complex. A social network models this structure. This research studies the organizational structure of the Canadian Senate by the use of graphs. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between subgraphs and the notion of community structure in a social network.

Communities in social networks are formed by maximizing the proportion of links between individuals in communities to the total number of links. The hypothesis of this research is that if the influential members of a social network are removed from the network, then a clearer picture of the community structure of the network will be revealed. The committee structure of the Canadian Senate was encoded in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This structure was input into Mathematica and converted to a social network. Then subgraphs of the network and the communities of these networks were computed. Observations were then made about the community structure.