Class of 2015

The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between the central actors in a Social Network within a partition of the node set of the network into communities. The tools used are the PageRank Centrality measure used by Google and the Degree Centrality of a network computed by Mathematica. Various applications of this process exist; in particular, recent applications to assist with a study of terrorist networks were investigated. The two methods were tested on the social networks of the 1998 terrorist attack of the U. S. Embassies of Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City. The PageRank and Degree Centrality of the nodes of both social networks were computed to determine if both methods will display the central actors. After computation, both concepts can be used to determine which actor to monitor in a social network.
Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) linked to growth deficits, cardiovascular toxicities, and endocrine disruption. Folate is a B vitamin that is more stable in the synthetic form, folic acid. Folic acid (FA) is suggested as an effective way to minimize the occurrence of certain developmental defects. The research team hypothesized that BaP exposure will result in folate-cycle gene differential expression and FA co-treatment will neutralize BaP-mediated effects. Fifty zebrafish eggs per treatment were exposed to DMSO, 50µg/L BaP, 33mg/L FA, or 50µg/L BaP and 33mg/L FA for 96 hours post-fertilization (hpf). Morphology was analyzed via body-length, optic area, brain deformities, pericardial edema, and swim bladder measurements. BaP zebrafish showed a significant decrease in body length and optic area, while FA/BaP rescued these effects. RT-qPCR on BaP-treated larvae will help determine effects on the expression of folate-cycle genes; (mat2ab) and (mthfr).
Objective: To explore undergraduate student perceptions and attitudes toward disaster preparedness and university readiness for various types of disasters.
Methods: Focus groups were conducted with a total of 54 students, each group focusing on one of three disaster preparedness themes (the results of the pilot study survey, natural disaster preparedness, or on campus violence and pandemic preparedness). Participants completed general demographic information before participating in the disaster preparedness discussion.
Results: Findings revealed complacency and lack of preparedness among students. Participants reported feeling most prepared for pandemic outbreaks, while they showed the least amount of confidence in their preparedness for incidents of violence on campus. Participants reported being relatively unprepared and unconcerned about natural disasters.
Discussion: Despite a lack of preparedness, participants generated suggestions for increasing preparedness of students. Findings, recommendations, and directions for research are discussed.
Keywords: preparedness, higher education, natural disasters, violence, disease, campus emergencies
The SES-Health gradient has extensively investigated the associations between health disparities and low socioeconomic position. However, much of this work has focused on racial and ethnic minorities and middle class non-Hispanic White populations. Using Gordon’s (1982) functional health framework, the purpose of this study was to investigate the self-rated health status of low-income non-Hispanics whites in Mississippi. This cross sectional exploratory study employs data from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Logistic regression results suggest that respondents who reported more days of not so good physical health, more days of not being able to carry out their daily activities because of poor physical and mental health, education level, having serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions because of physical, mental, or emotional condition, and level of exercise significantly predicted self-rated global health. However, although several factors predicted health assessments; education levels predicted the highest odds of shaping health perceptions. Therefore, efforts should be made to increase levels of education of low income non-Hispanic whites. Doing so could provide a viable pathway to lessening poor health and health disparities experienced by low income non-Hispanic whites in Mississippi.
Functionalists assert that one of the main purposes of the human memory system is to aid survival. In addition, several studies have demonstrated that collaborative inhibition can be reduced or eliminated when participants have a high level of expertise with the information they are subsequently asked to remember. Therefore, if human memory systems are ‘primed’ to aid survival, then the adverse effects of collaborative inhibition may be reduced or eliminated when a survival processing task is employed. In the present experiment, participants studied words using a pleasantness processing task, or a survival processing task. Following this, they recalled the words either alone or in pairs. The results revealed that collaborative inhibition was eliminated when the survival processing task was implemented, but not when the pleasant processing task was used.
Competition is an interaction between two organisms or species in which the fitness of one is lowered by the presence of another, and vice versa. Competition has been shown to influence the structuring of natural assemblages in many types of organisms. However, researchers are not fully aware of the interactions among different types of fungi. Here, the competition among the major different types of fungi, such as saprobic, pathogenic and mycorrhizal fungi, from a pine forest are examined. Six different types of fungi selected were: Suillus hirtellus, Laccaria ochropurpurea, Fusarium proliferatum, Mycogone perniciosa, Phlebiopsis gigantea, and Candida. For two weeks, the growth of each of the fungi was measured using agar media, both alone and in the presence of different neighbor species. As a result of this study, variation in fungal growth rates, competitive abilities, and if these fungi compete in a competition network or hierarchy was determined.
Developing a better understanding of breastfeeding as more than an individual act can improve opportunities to reduce racial and socioeconomic health disparities. Social institutions, such as the church, entail the connection between community structures and individual preferences. By examining church members’ shared perspectives on health issues, mainly breastfeeding, social barriers may be decreased to support higher breastfeeding rates.

What role do churches play in influencing a mother’s initiation and duration of breastfeeding? To measure this phenomenon self-completion surveys were administered to 399 participants from 14 churches spread across the Delta region of Mississippi. The dependent variable of breastfeeding attitudes was compared with demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. The findings indicated that having children (Cramer’s V =.200, p = .006) and a higher level of education (Cramer’s V = .163, p = .004) had the strongest associations with breastfeeding attitudes among church members. These findings can be used to inform potential health interventions to improve the social climate in support of breastfeeding.
The market for smartphones and mobile apps are continuing to blossom, while clothing retailers seem to take advantage of the rise of technology by using apps to sell products. Apps enable customers to easily shop “on the go” and for retailers to conveniently connect with customer. In this study, a retailer’s app is examined to determine if the app serves as a compliment or competitor to its physical store. After surveying 171 random consumers on Amazon Turk about their most recent experience with a clothing retailer’s app, the effects of gender, age, and app ease of use on consumers’ is examined to ascertain: 1) likelihood of making a purchase with the app and 2) intentions to make a purchase in physical store in the future.

Results indicated that age had a positive influence on whether or not respondents made a purchase with the app. Furthermore, app ease of use was also shown to have a positive impact on the likelihood that respondents made a purchase with the app. Nonetheless, gender was shown to have absolutely no effect on whether or not respondents made a purchase with the app.

The respondents’ intentions to shop at physical stores in the future were examined. Age of respondents had a positive effect on intentions to shop at the physical retail store in the future. The perceived ease of app use had no influence on respondents’ intentions to shop at physical stores in the future. Gender also did not affect respondents’ intentions to shop at physical stores in the future. According to the data and research collected, it was concluded that clothing retail apps should not be indicated as competition with physical stores. On the contrary, apps are considered promising investments for clothing retailers. The findings of this research potentially aid retailers to receive the best return on their investment with their mobile apps.
Concern about educational aspects of the school-to-prison pipeline flared in 2012, but equally important are youths currently affected and at-risk of recidivism. Needs assessment tools based on risks of recidivism among offenders can help Mississippi better determine necessities for supervision and intervention. Consequent policy efforts can be designed to optimally rehabilitate juvenile offenders and reduce recidivism. Methods include addressing criminogenic risk factors and incentivizing success by investing in their educational stability, familial unity, and communal support. The juvenile justice system has a moral obligation to focus on correcting behavior prior to punishment, one which also enhances public safety and saves money.
Cyberbullying is a relatively new topic that has yet to be studied empirically with a psychometrically validated scale. The current study uses the Cyberbullying Scale, the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale – short version, and the Loneliness Questionnaire to measure 757 students ages 10 to 19 (M = 13.73) in a school setting to provide more valid data in regards to cyberbullying and its correlates—specifically anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Researchers ran a correlation, which yielded significance in each p < .001. Linear regressions also indicated significant results (all ps < .001) in terms of cyberbullying predicting loneliness, depression and anxiety. The magnitude of variance accounted for by this single predictor was also demonstrated to be high, between 31 – 41% (depending upon construct). Finally, it was also determined that 67.4% of participants were exposed to cyberbullying in some form. These findings are discussed in terms of the social implications, with particular emphasis on the potential for future study.
Parallelism plays an important role in programming. In recent times, speed and accuracy also play an important part when creating applications because the faster an application is, the better it will perform. There are two known computing systems used around the world. The first, which is known as a Central Processing Unit (CPU), processes codes and information in serial form, while the second, a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) processes codes and information in parallel form. The main focus of this paper is to determine the execution time of a proposed method for distance image hand detection on GPUs. The process goes as follows: (1) discussion that is centered on the history of CPUs and GPUs and how they have evolved since time, (2) discussion on GPU Computing, (3) introduction to hand detection and how distance image plays an important role in hand detection and (4) the transformation of binary image to distance image, calculation of speed (measured in microseconds) and discussion on the data recorded. In conclusion, the data from execution times on CPU and GPU show that when executing the time (in microseconds) for distance image based hand detection on CPU and GPU systems, GPU execution time for distance image is roughly 14 times faster than CPU, proving that GPU systems are faster at executing information than CPU systems.
The Kallikrein-Kinin System (KKS) is a compilation of several proteins that work in conjunction to regulate hemostasis and blood pressure. The goal of this study was to monitor Prolylcarboxypeptidase (Prcp) gene expression over several passages to determine if Prcp gene expression is influenced by age. If Prcp gene expression is variable, it may be possible to implicate telomeric shortening in the loss of Prcp at advanced cellular age. A decline in Prcp expression over time may result in older people having higher incidences of cardiovascular disease as their endothelial cells senesce and lose the ability to express sufficient quantities of Prcp.
The aim of this research is to determine the effects of poverty on those living in urban communities. The usage of data from the Knight’s Foundation 2002 Community Survey Indicators aided in this investigation. The Survey focused on six areas: education, well-being of children and families, community development, economic development, civic engagement and human relations, and cultural life. Using this survey, this researcher evaluated social factors that contributed to people living in urban communities, and more importantly, social conditions that reinforced why voter efficacy was prevalent among some people and not others. In addition, this research focuses on the impact environmental consequences have on individuals’ perceptions about voting in urban communities. This paper also challenges the reader to confront the social conditions that contribute the pessimistic view of many regarding the political process.
MYC is responsible for a wide range of functions including transcription, angiogenesis, and metabolism. Up to 80% of all cancers overexpress MYC, which leads to enhanced cell growth, transcription, and metastatic potential. Within the DNA region controlling the expression of MYC, the promoter region, lies a region that controls the activation/silencing of transcription called the NHE III1. This is a region capable of forming unique secondary DNA structures called G-quadruplexes (G4s) and i-Motifs (iM), which function as transcriptional silencers and represent promising targets for drug development. This study focuses on the G4 found on the guanine rich DNA strand of the NHE III1; previous research shows that stabilization of the G4 can inhibit transcriptional activation, decrease expression, and facilitate anti-cancer activity. Specifically, researchers conducting this experiment sought to examine the incorporation of particular guanines into the G4 structure in a supercoiled plasmid containing the myc promoter, under various conditions. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to optimize primers that amplify the plasmid, agarose and acrylamide gel electrophoresis were used to visualize the DNA with varying degrees of detail, and DMS foot-printing was used to determine guanine base-pairing conditions. Several sets of primers that are candidates for PCR were successfully identified, and the time with DMS for complete reactivity optimized. Future works include using these parameters to demonstrate a concrete myc promoter G4 in plasmid DNA under varying conditions. These works, ultimately, will be used to demonstrate G4 formation in chromosomal DNA, and to rationally design compounds to stabilize the structure in drug development efforts.
Researchers conducting this project investigated the six degrees of separation hypothesis in massive social networks using the concept of the diameter of a graph. Three methods, triadic closure, giant components, and random graphs, were applied to the study. Eight networks from the Stanford Large Network Dataset Collection were analyzed. The networks were analyzed to determine if the six degrees hypothesis would hold true for massive networks. To do so, the Wikipedia voting graph was selected. Using Mathematica, the giant component was identified and the diameter calculated. Consistent results were obtained that supported the six-degree of separation hypothesis.