Class of 2019

This study seeks to explore how University of Mississippi first-generation and working class students attain cultural capital, the barriers that exist to acquisition, how it is employed once attained, and what formal and informal institutions help students learn the unspoken rules of higher education.

This study entails a two-part research design. First, this study uses a survey instrument to compare barriers and pathways to success among FG/WC students and non-FG/WC students at the University of Mississippi. The second part of this study uses in-depth interviews with a sample of FG/WC students from the initial survey to examine in finer detail how they make sense of their experiences at the University of Mississippi.
With Alzheimer Disease (AD) being the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, diagnosis at an early stage is very important. Although there is no cure or an exact way to stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, if detected early, a person has a greater chance to benefit from treatments and trials. Traditionally, doctors perform multiple tests and examine brain scans to determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s or not. In this study, MRI data from constructed brain networks is used to develop Artificial Intelligence models that predict whether or not a patient has Alzheimer’s. A K-Nearest Neighbors Algorithm is used to predict the diagnosis. A decision tree (DT) model was also constructed for the same purpose. The DT can be used to identify the best variable to split the data into two distinct categories, "Has Alzheimer’s" and "Does Not Have Alzheimer's." The results show that using the K-Nearest Neighbors technique in machine learning would be advantageous when diagnosing Alzheimer’s. The results also revealed that using a decision tree to cluster the most important variables in a dataset would make the test more effective when a person is being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Executive function (EF) is an important cognitive process recognized for the regulation of actions and cognition. Prior research has shown that there is a significant relationship between executive function and socioeconomic status (i.e., SES or an individual’s access to economic and social resources). However, few studies have been conducted in adulthood, especially during the college years. The aim of the present study is to examine SES and employment status on EF during college.

To examine this question, eighty students at the University of Mississippi were presented with three specific tests to analyze EF: the Stroop task to measure inhibition (Stroop, 1935), the Dimensional Change Card Sort task to measure shifting (Kirkham & Diamond, 2005) and the Self Ordered Pointing task to measure working memory (Craig & Nation, 2006). Results indicated that contrary to the hypotheses, SES did not show any relationship to EF. In addition, a significant interaction between job status and SES on performance on the Self Ordered Pointing Task was found, showing that job status related to better EF but only when SES was high.

Keywords: Executive function (EF), AND socioeconomic status (SES)
The Mississippi Delta, located in the northwest corner of the state, is a sub-region of Mississippi. It is an area that has experienced historically negative net migration for the past four decades. In this exploratory study, analyses of the Delta’s historical migration patterns were performed to assess the association, if any, between the Mississippi Delta’s past migration patterns and its current age composition and socioeconomic characteristics. Contemporary factors analyzed were age, age dependency ratio, educational attainment, poverty, and housing tenure. Regional comparisons were conducted to assess how counties located in the Delta compare to Non-Delta counties. The Mississippi Delta is usually characterized as homogenous. Therefore, additional comparisons were conducted within the Delta region to analyze variation across Delta counties. Among multiple factors analyzed, statistically significant differences were found throughout the region.
African American mothers in the Mississippi Delta region face numerous mental health disparities, including depression. Understanding how the women who reside in this area view their mental health and mental health challenges may allow health care providers and policymakers to provide quality support.

Using exploratory research, factors that contributed to the onset of postpartum depression among new mothers in the Delta were identified. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 31 mothers who had recently visited community health centers in Clarksdale and Mound Bayou, Mississippi. The results show that a mother’s socioeconomic status, education level, community location, and availability of adequate health care were associated with the chances of the mother developing depression.
This is a story about black women. This story is about a black woman—Assata Shakur. As a black woman, this story is also me. Beginning in 1848, feminism developed as a movement which centered on the idea of women’s rights. Since then, many women and organizations have revised the original dictates of feminism, giving way to multiple alternate feminist perspectives. The first two "waves" of feminism span from the years of 1848 to the early 1980s and are linked by the ideas of voting, property, work place, sexuality, and reproduction rights. In 1963, Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique sparked second wave feminism. Second wave feminism adjusted the feminist praxis to include the experiences and perspectives of women of color (Asian, Hispanic, and Native American) and black women. Since then, there have been a number of additional approaches: third and fourth wave feminism.

Despite these multiplying feminisms, the experiences of some black women continue to be marginalized and discounted in public and scholarly discourse. Indeed, though it has been 168 years since Sojourner Truth asked, "ain’t I a woman," there are many black women today who, according to dominant frames, are left asking the same. This paper is about those black women. This paper is about one of those black women—Assata Shakur. As a black woman working through my own identity, experiences, and emergent ideas, this paper is also about me. Through poems, storytelling, and content analysis, this research offers an Africana Womanist reading of the life and times of Assata Shakur. Ultimately, this paper pushes for the legibility of all black women—a call that bears on academic and public discourse, public culture, and everyday life.
The cerebellum (CB) has traditionally been associated with motor coordination. However, recent studies show it plays a key role in spatial learning. And, unlike the traditional view of the CB as relatively static, discoveries show estradiol (E2) and Arom related neuroplasticity in the CB. Sex differences in neuroplasticity may result from sex differences in hormone levels or local synthesis of estradiol (E2) from testosterone (T) might equalize neurorepair. However, female zebra finches also have greater Arom upregulation than males after CB damage. Thus, sex differences in E2 related neuroprotection were examined by comparing CB lesion-induced spatial deficits in Escape Maze in zebra finches with or without local Arom inhibition at the lesion site. No baseline sex differences in spatial learning and no influence of sex on lesion-induced deficits even with Arom inhibition were found. As in previous studies, Arom inhibition was necessary to reveal lesion induced deficits in spatial learning.
Prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP) is involved in the regulation of local blood flow and is implicated in the etiology of vascular inflammation. While proinflammatory factors are extremely important in the response to injury, they may target vascular endothelial cells resulting in the development of structural and functional abnormalities of the vessel wall. Glial cells, consisting of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, ependymal cells, and radial glia, regulate blood flow to the brain (largely orchestrated by astrocytes). Glial cells also respond to injury, promoting neuroinflammation as part of the healing process largely through the activity of microglial cells, a major source of cytokines and growth factors. Despite the unambiguous vascular function of PRCP potent ligands, angiotensin III, des-Arg9-bradykinin and prekallikrein (PK), PRCP function remains elusive in the brain. Researchers conducting this study hypothesized that glial cells can also be a significant source of PRCP.
Opioid drugs of abuse have been shown to potentiate HIV-1-mediated neurotoxicity. One HIV protein that can synergize with opioids is the HIV-1 trans-activator of transcription (Tat). Actions of Tat may be inhibited by novel compounds that are based on a steroid hormone structure. As such, the present study aimed to delineate oxycodone’s effect on HIV-1 Tat-mediated neurotoxicity and to determine whether the gonadal steroids, estradiol (E2) or progesterone (P4), could attenuate these effects.

To investigate this, differentiated SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells were (or were not) exposed to HIV-1 Tat (100 nM), oxycodone (500 nM), and E2 (0, 1, or 10 nM) or P4 (0, 10, or 100 nM) for 20 h and assessed via an immunocytochemical live/dead assay. Tat significantly increased the proportion of death among SH-SY5Y cells. Oxycodone did not further potentiate this effect. Irrespective of whether cells were treated with Tat alone, or in combination with oxycodone, gonadal steroids were neuroprotective. Any concentration of E2 (1 or 10 nM), or the highest concentration of P4 (100 nM, but not 10 nM) significantly attenuated Tat-mediated cell death. These data lend further evidence to support the potential neuroprotective efficacy of gonadal steroid hormone-based therapeutics for the treatment of HIV-1 mediated neurotoxicity. The lack of interaction with oxycodone may support their utility in oxycodone-prescribed or naïve-patients.
In the last twenty-five years, scholars have sought to better understand the nature and prevalence of racial discrimination, especially as it impacts black Americans. One recurring approach—the audit study—has used racially distinctive (i.e., "white-" and "black-sounding") names to parse the potential effects of discrimination on select social and economic outcomes (e.g., hiring callbacks). These studies consider questions like, "does a resume submitted by a "Lakisha" fair better, worse, or the same as one submitted by an "Emily"? Do credentials matter more for Jamal or Greg? And, so on. Findings from these studies suggest that discrimination against black-sounding names is a pervasive feature of the U.S. labor market. But, there are two sides to this equation. This study discusses "the other side""—-not the potential adverse impact of having a black-sounding name, but whether or not black people (with black-sounding names) are aware that their names might have such an impact. This researcher is especially interested in how black people negotiate the politics (i.e., assumptions, stereotypes, motives for behavior) of their names in public settings. To assess these aims, a content analysis of three scenes from popular culture demonstrating black people negotiating their names in public is employed.
Racial tension has been an issue in America since its founding. While most are concerned with the interracial tension between black and white Americans, another rivalry exists within the black community and has existed nearly as long. Despite similarities in race and experiences in America, there is a noticeable lack of solidarity between African Americans and African migrants. Ultimately, sociological and historiographical perspectives implicitly argue that the antagonism between the two groups is a structural problem. Here, an analysis of Yaa Gyasi’s historical fiction novel, Homegoing serves as a useful tool for highlighting the complexity of the structural causes behind the relationship between Africans and African Americans.

Spanning seven generations, Homegoing relays the tale of the generational trauma of slavery through two lineages of one family that operate on different sides of the slave trade. This essay illustrates Homegoing’s dramatization of the historical and sociological perspectives assists in understanding the structural causes of the antagonism between Africans and African Americans.
This research seeks to gain a greater understanding of the social media usage within the Japanese student-based movement led by SEALDs. Specifically, this research will conduct a content analysis of SEALDs’ #DontTrashYourVote campaign by examining three of its twitter accounts. There are two questions that this research asks. First, how does SEALDs frame posts on Twitter to encourage youth to vote? Second, what common themes are employed on Twitter to effectively engage youth in politics? Previous scholarship on SEALDs has examined the group as a holistic movement, but have not thoroughly analyzed SEALDs’, specifically #DontTrashYourVote, social media accounts and what role social media plays in this Japanese student-based movement. A content analysis of the twitter posts from the #DontTrashYouVote campaign will be conducted to draw common themes from the posts that may have engaged. Once the analysis is completed, the results can aid schools, politicians, and other movements on how to use social media to effectively engage youth in politics, even if that does not entail an increase in youth voters.
African American students at predominantly white institutions of higher learning (PWIs) face multiple challenges, but much of the research focuses on their interactions with white students, faculty, and staff. This report serves to bring attention to the backlash that African American students at PWIs face from people within their own community. Six African American students at the University of Mississippi answered questions in semi-structured interviews concerning in-group stigma. The data from the study revealed both information that was predicted at the beginning of the research and information that was surprising. The report lays the foundation for future researchers to explore in-group stigma among African Americans at other PWIs throughout the South.
Nationally, diabetes is a major health problem. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 30.3 million individuals in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, developed diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when blood glucose, similarly, identified as blood sugar, is excessive. Occasionally, the body does not create enough-or any- insulin or does not utilize insulin well. When this happens, glucose remains in the blood and does not reach cells that causes diabetes. With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), there are many machine learning algorithms that can be effectively utilized for the prediction and diagnosis of diseases. In this paper, diabetes is diagnosed using three different machine learning algorithms: K-Nearest Neighbor, Decision Tree, and Random Forest.
Theory of Mind (i.e., ToM or the knowledge of one’s own desires and aspirations and of those around one, which influence behavior, Wimmer & Perner, 1999) is an important social cognitive development that plays a large role in human understanding and interaction. For example, being able to understand other people’s mental states are important to friendships and relationships (Miller, Avila, & Reavis, 2018). One common element of ToM is false belief, which assesses the understanding that people can hold incorrect beliefs and that these beliefs, though incorrect, can drive behavior (Siegelman & Rider, 2018).

Understanding false belief is a crucial development in children’s ToM. Further, other social development, like deception is a ubiquitous human behavior (Barnes, 1994, Bok, 1989, DePaulo, et, al., 1996, Iῆiguiez et al., 2014), generally considered to begin by age 3, and is thought to rely on false belief. These important social developments are also thought to be shaped by children’s environment.

A large part of children’s social interaction and experience with others come from interacting with family members (Dunn, 1985; Foote & Holmes-Lonergan, 2003; Perner, Ruffman, & Leekam, 1994). However, only one study to date has investigated and demonstrated that children with siblings engage in more deceptive behavior (O’Conner & Evans, 2018).
This qualitative study utilized in-depth interviews with residents of Charleston, Mississippi, to explore social and behavioral factors that contribute to poor sexual health outcomes in the Mississippi Delta. Six African American adults with experience working with Charleston youth discussed barriers, opportunities, and social factors that impact sexual health among African American adolescents. Participants, aged 19 to 45, included teachers, health educators, recent high school graduates, a coach/minister. Transcript analysis, using the constant comparative method, highlighted four emergent themes: rural community connections, challenges in reaching adolescents, risk perceptions, and possible solutions. This study provides insights and ideas for a future culturally appropriate, safe sex intervention for rural communities.