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Recent Submissions

The Cultural Aspects of Grief Experiences Among Sri Lankans: A Phenomenological Study
(2022-12) Witanapatirana, Kumudu
Understanding the cultural components associated with the grief phenomenon promotes building multicultural competency amongst counselors (ACA, 2014; Roysircar & Pignatiello, 2011). However, it is evident that counselors often lack the appropriate multicultural competency to adequately counsel clients (Kim & Park, 2015). Specifically, a lack of multicultural competency has led to Asian clients discontinuing mental health counseling services (Dewell & Owen, 2015). Further, the unique worldview and perspectives of Asian clients calls for counselors to pay close attention to the client’s needs (Dewell & Owen, 2015; Kaduvettoor-Davidson & Inman, 2012; Kim et al., 2009). To address a specific Asian population, this study aimed to inform counselors about the unique cultural attributes associated with the grief process among adult Sri Lankans. Specifically, a phenomenological research method using a constructivist worldview was used, including a theory-based phenomenological interviewing method to focus on the phenomenon of grief as viewed by Sri Lankans (Bevan, 2014). Interviews and a focus group discussion were conducted among adult Sri Lankans using convenient and snowball sampling. The results indicated that there were culturally specific attributes associated with how adults process grief after losing a family member. Several themes appeared for each research question, including sub-themes. Overall, the study shed light on the strength of collectivism while finding new responsibilities needed to build resiliency, the power of faith and religion, change in worldview, and the significance of mental health needs. Therefore, an outcome of this study is its role in providing counselors with an understanding of culture and giving voices to the bereaved.
Science Capital: Where it Started, How it Relates to a Student’s Performance, and Use in the Classroom
(2022-12) Isacco, Sara
This three-article format dissertation explores the use of science capital in the various formats it has appeared: as a theoretical framework, as a pedagogical approach to curriculum and teaching, and as a conceptual device to determine students’ adjustment and ability in science and able in science someone is. This topic is researched in three formats: as a systematic literature review, through an outdoor informal science education (ISE) program evaluation with students, and through an interview with parents after experiencing the ISE activities within the Backyard Field Trip Kit (BFTK). Conclusions and recommendations indicate that in order to develop students’ science capital further and to thereby increase the overall number of people entering the professional science related career field.
Explaining the Victim-Offender Overlap of Cyberbullying Perpetration and Cyberbullying Victimization
(2022-12) Rabbani, Md Golam
Cyberbullying is a public health issue frequently experienced by adolescents that can have detrimental effects, including mental health issues and even suicide. While prior research has found that those involved in traditional bullying are more likely to experience cyberbullying, less is known about how bonds to school and family may protect against perpetration and victimization of both types of bullying. The study uses multiple perspectives— social bond theory, lifestyle/routine activities theory, and low self-control theory—to examine the victim/offender overlap of cyberbullying perpetration and cyberbullying victimization. It uses data from Arizona Youth Survey, a survey of middle and high school students that is representative of the state of Arizona. Bivariate probit models are estimated to assess relationships between the victim/offender overlap and predictor variables consistent with social bond theory. Building on prior research, several hypotheses are tested. Hypothesis 1: There is an overlap between cyberbullying offending and cyberbullying victimization. Hypothesis 2.1: Adolescents who have greater attachment to family will be less likely to perpetrate cyberbullying. Hypothesis 2.2: Adolescents who have greater attachment to family will be less likely to experience cyberbullying victimization. Hypothesis 3.1: Adolescents who are more involved with conventional activities will be less likely to perpetrate cyberbullying. Hypothesis 3.2: Adolescents who are more involved with conventional activities will be less likely to experience cyberbullying victimization. Hypothesis 4.1: Adolescents who have higher self-control will be less likely to perpetrate cyberbullying. Hypothesis 4.2: Adolescent who have higher self-control will be less likely to experience cyberbullying victimization. Hypothesis 5.1Adolescents who have risky lifestyles will be more likely to perpetrate cyberbullying. Hypothesis 5.2 Adolescents who have risky lifestyles will be more likely to experience cyberbullying victimization. The results were consistent with the hypotheses. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
Professional Counseling Conferences: Influence on Professional Identity of Counselor Education Doctoral Students
(2022-12) Hollingsworth, Lori
One approach to becoming acquainted with academia and the professional world is attending and presenting at professional conferences. Counselor education doctoral students (CEDS) are encouraged to attend and participate through networking, presenting, volunteering, and serving in leadership roles at professional conferences. Attending a professional conference is one way to elevate a professional identity and develop other specialized identities (e.g., counselor educator, advocator, researcher, and leadership). There is a plethora of literature on the significance of developing a professional identity. However, the literature is sparse on the significance of a professional conference in developing the professional identity of CEDS. This study addressed the lack of information on professional conferences’ influence on the professional identity development (PID) of CEDS who attend a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) counselor education program. A qualitative instrumental case study was used to understand the conference experiences and perceptions of CEDS from CACREP programs in developing their professional identity. Furthermore, barriers were identified that might prevent conferences from contributing to the PID of CEDS. Findings from this study can inform counselor education programs, counseling associations, developers of professional conferences, supervisors, and mentors in endeavors to foster the professional identity of CEDS.
Mechanical characterization of alginate microgel beads
(2022-12) Uddin, Md Mezbah
Micrometer-sized spherical hydrogel beads, also known as microgels, are used in a wide range of applications, including drug and nutrient delivery, tissue culture, soft actuators, sensors, artificial muscles, and soft robotics. In applications with microgels, mechanical properties play a crucial role. For example, for drug delivery, mechanical strength is crucial as microgels must survive the stress experienced in the needle while injection into the tissues or blood capillaries. Besides, in tissue engineering studies, stiffness is vital as cell growth patterns can depend on the extracellular matrix mechanical strength. Moreover, the elastic modulus is linked to solute permeability. Although measurements of mechanical properties of bulk hydrogels are available, limited data is available about microgel beads. Therefore, a systematic investigation of the mechanical properties of microgel beads is needed. On the other hand, the available techniques are unsuitable for mechanical characterization in a scalable fashion. This thesis will study the mechanical properties of alginate microgel beads produced by a flow-focusing microfluidic device. First, we generated alginate microgel beads of different formulations to see the effect of polymer and crosslinker concentration methodically. We varied the polymer and crosslinker concentration from 1.0 to 2.0 wt% and 100 mM to 200 mM, respectively. From the compression test of the beads, we observed that Young’s modulus of the bead increases with polymer and crosslinker concentration. In addition, we produced beads of diameters ranging from 50 μm to 1000 μm to investigate if the size influences the mechanical strength. Interestingly, we observed that the smallest beads have higher modulus values than the larger beads. Next, we studied the time-dependent poroelastic behavior of the beads by performing load-relaxation tests on 2.0 wt% 200 mM alginate beads at different depths ranging from 10-40 μm. Analyzing the relaxation plots, we observed that the beads showed a time-dependent poroelastic response. We also extracted the poroelastic parameters such as characteristic relaxation time, shear modulus, and diffusivity by fitting the experimental data to a published model. Interestingly, we observed the poroelastic parameters change with compression depth. In addition, we also performed a load relaxation test on 1.0 wt% 200 mM beads to compare the poroelastic parameters of beads of two different concentrations. We noticed that lower concentration yields a smaller modulus and higher diffusivity. Finally, we developed a microfluidic-based technique with four parallel tapered microfluidic channels for scalable mechanical properties determination of microgel beads called tapered microaspiration. We studied the influence of friction on the measurement of elastic modulus and found an insignificant contribution. To validate the technique, we measured Young’s modulus of microgel beads of different polymer concentrations (1.0-3.0 wt%) and found a positive correlation as expected. Finally, we showed that this technique could be used for external agent-driven time-dependent mechanical characterization. In summary, in this thesis, we present a systematic approach to understanding the mechanical behavior of individual microgel beads. We showed that other than polymer and crosslinker concentration, the size of beads can have a significant effect on mechanical strength. Then we showed that the beads are poroelastic, and the poroelastic properties can change with deformation and formulation. Finally, we have also developed a simple microfluidic-based technique for studying the mechanical properties of the beads in a scalable fashion.