Honors College

Permanent URI for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/2346/22740

Theses from Honors College graduates. For more information, please visit the Texas Tech University Honors College website.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 149
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    Few-Shot Learning Networks: Optimization Techniques and Trends
    (2023-05) Vidaurri, Jeremy; Sheng, Victor S.; Salman, Tara
    Most modern machine learning systems require to be trained over a large set of data. This is useful when there is readily large amounts of data. In recent years, few-shot learning has been proposed to circumvent this issue. Instead, the machine is given limited amounts of data and can make accurate predictions. Although the initial data may be limited, data can be artificially developed through data augmentation. Unfortunately, few-shot learning systems are not at the state where they can be utilized reliably. There is possibilities for these systems to be optimized through implementing dropout and hyperparameter tuning. This study is designed to analyze any trends and techniques that may allow for higher performance generally.
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    An Examination of the Classical Origins of Modern Racial Thought
    (2019-05) Lowetz, Chloe; Roy, C. Sydnor; Wong, Aliza; Caswell, Kurt
    Race in the ancient sense is not fully understood, but classical sources have been used for centuries to further racial agendas. Classical scholars in the past forty years have begun to analyze the effects of such uses, and theories of race and race relations perpetrated by the field. This project seeks to analyze the influence of classical works, specifically Homer’s Odyssey and Herodotus’ Histories, on exploration era travel narratives, especially the journal of Christopher Columbus (1492-1493) and letters of Amerigo Vespucci (1503 and 1504). It analyzes episodic parallels between the Odyssey and both Columbus and Vespucci which use a “civilizational framework” to describe indigenous Americans. This framework defines indigenous persons as either “civilized” or “uncivilized,” following classical categories for civilization, described by Redfield as “soft” and “hard” peoples.1 This is problematic, as the examples Columbus and Vespucci often refer to are mythical; Additionally, the people they describe are denied agency, and the exploration narratives are used to justify the subjugation of indigenous peoples.
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    Focusing on Those Who Cannot Focus
    (2021-05) Vance, Joseph A.; Davis, Tyler; Klein, Martina I.
    The neurological differences present in the brains of people with ADHD have been extensively studied in the past 30 years using neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), among others. After going through the history of ADHD research, this paper reviews a wide range of research conducted using these two techniques and uses their findings to attempt to persuade skeptics that ADHD is not simply ‘people being lazy’—it is a real, neurologically differentiated disorder involving functional deficiencies in multiple specific brain regions. Differences in neural activation rates in the ventral striatum and ventral anterior thalamus greatly hinder the reward-processing capabilities of individuals with ADHD, making it more difficult for them to make wise decisions. Lower frontal striatal network activation in ADHD brains hinders response-inhibition capabilities. Methodological concerns involving the differences between selective attention and response inhibition are also addressed. Activation differences in the left inferior prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and left inferior parietal lobe adversely impact ADHD individuals’ ability to accurately judge timing. Heightened activation in the precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex leads to issues with the brain’s default mode network in ADHD populations. Lowered activation in the frontal parietal, lateral prefrontal, temporal, striatum, and posterior parietal regions of the brain are associated with decreased working memory capabilities, the possible source of ADHD people’s characteristic scatterbrained tendencies. There is evidence to suggest that ADHD has a genetic component, specifically involving the DAT-1 genotype. In conclusion, people with ADHD are not simply ‘being lazy’—they are often trying their best to cope with neurological differences that make life more difficult for them than for those without the disorder.
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    Bastions or Brutes: French Antisemitism in the Press from 1894 to 1945
    (2021-05) Johnson, Nathan Joseph; Wong, Aliza; Voeks, Ashley
    Modern Era Europe, a time strife with power struggle, nationalistic growth, and scarred people and landscapes. France, a country unsheltered from the era’s terrors, faced a great struggle not unique to the rest of Europe; a country, a political mechanism, and populations of people supporting and accelerating Antisemitic beliefs. The once brave bastions of freedom once again fell into tyranny - a self-tyranny in a sense - where racism and antisemitism ruled their agendas. Beginning with Alfred Dreyfus and his exile and still propagating to this day, the Free French have become less about freedom and more about oppression and purification. At the root of this evil stood several major French publications, pushing a political mechanism. How were these publications controlled, were they under ideological control of the government? Are the journalists of these publications under guise of the propaganda machine or are they free thinking individuals who whole heartedly see the Jewish population to blame for major French downfalls? Are the “freedom fighters”, who are writing in protection of the Jewish population, doing so by way of clear conscious or career incentivization? What personal risks do these journalists take from the burden of speaking their truths? Also, as the period progresses and the 20th century truly takes hold, are the antisemitic beliefs held by the French remnants of the Dreyfus Affair, or are they influenced by current ideas held in Nazi Germany?
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    Wind Legislation Strategies for the Lone Star State
    (2018-05) Weis, Elizabeth
    Texas introduced Senate Bill 277 as its first wind energy siting law during the 2017 Legislature. The bill combats radar interference between wind and military equipment by exempting any wind farm within thirty nautical miles of a military base from tax deductions. This rule does not make sense for several reasons: it defies the economic logic grounding Texas’ decision to pursue wind energy, it addresses an issue traditionally handled by the federal government, and employs inefficient tactics the Department of Defense no longer uses. The inadequacies of this legislation point out that lawmakers misunderstand wind as a resource and that Texas property law does not account for the value of wind energy. This paper suggests laws to promote the Texas wind industry based on how Texas became the wind capital of America, how Texas defines similar property interests, and other states’ wind legislation failures.
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    Negative Effect of Chronic High-fat Diet Consumption on Postprandial Plasma Peptide YY Levels
    (2015-12) Kennerly, Nayane
    Introduction: Peptide YY (PYY) is a satiety hormone that is released from the small intestine following consumption of nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fats. Chronic excess energy consumption leads to suppressed satiety signaling. Therefore, we hypothesized that chronic consumption of high amounts of dietary fat stimulates PYY release while promoting rate of fat absorption. Methods: In this study, male C57BL/6 mice (age 8 weeks) were given either chow or a high-fat diet (HF) ad libitum for twelve weeks (n = 6/group). Mice were weighed and their food intake was measured weekly. Mice were fasted and given a high-fat liquid meal challenge via oral gavage following the twelve-week trial. Postprandial tail vein blood was collected and PYY levels were measured by an ELISA assay. Mice were euthanized and tissues were collected for further analyses. Results: As predicted, HF-fed mice gained significantly more weight than standard chow-fed mice (38.3+/-1.8 vs. 29.8+/-1.6; p=0.0002). To our surprise, HF-fed mice displayed significantly reduced basal and postprandial plasma PYY compared with chow mice (2808.9 ±290.5 pg/ml and 3640.7 ±605.5 pg/ml, respectively). Intriguingly, HF-fed mice displayed elevated intestinal PYY expression. Conclusion: Our observations indicate that PYY levels are decreased in high-fat mice. Thus, this study provides evidence supporting the hypothesis that chronic high fat consumption promotes enhanced fat digestion and absorption, which ultimately leads to increased food intake and obesity.
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    Time-Dependent Environmental Degradation of Polymeric Fabrics
    (2015-12) Logan, April
    It is qualitatively understood and accepted that the mechanical integrity of polymeric webbing materials, such as those used in the construction of backpacks, tree stands, and other outdoor equipment, deteriorates due to outdoor exposure to sun’s UV radiation and the heat and moisture from the environment. Quantitative studies of these effects are rare and they have primarily been performed via accelerated tests conducted in laboratory settings. The purpose of this study was to develop a quantitative understanding of the effect of exposure time and dosage to outdoor environment, including solar radiation, heat, wet, and dry cycles, on polymer webbings materials. Three different common webbing materials—polypropylene, polyester, and nylon—were selected and subjected to up to 24 months of outdoor exposure, at one month increments. Following environmental exposure, each material was tested via standard tensile test to determine the load-deflection behavior of each material for different exposure periods, the results were compared with those of unexposed baseline materials. It was found that polypropylene had the greatest resistance to environmental degradation but also the lowest tensile strength, while polyester had the least resistance but the highest overall tensile strength.
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    A Metamodern Approach to the Buddhist Problem of Free Will
    (2015-12) Bednarz, William
    The problem of free will in Buddhism arises from apparent inconsistencies in its essential doctrines of not-self, dependent origination, and karma. These as well as other Buddhist teachings set up two conflicting theoretical poles: a view of causality and determinism in which there is no substantial self that persists through time and no free will, and on the other hand, a view in which something is reborn and reaps the consequences of its karma, implying a form of moral agency and responsibility that seems impossible without belief in some type of substantial self. This conflict also engenders the Buddhist distinction between absolute truth and conventional truth. In previous scholarship on this problem, the procedure has generally been to decide which aspects of either pole of the conflict are most important and then reconstruct the other aspects in a way that falls in accordance with them. Thus, the paradigm of thought on this problem in the West has been one of compromise within a postmodern deconstructionist dialectic, in which the scholar leans toward either pole of the conflict and attempts to force the other one into agreement. This has led to a variety of proposed solutions, all of which are at least slightly unsatisfactory, both philosophically and to the Buddhist in practice. In recent years, however, scholarship has begun to move away from this paradigm, and I propose in this thesis a new paradigm and solution: a metamodern approach to Buddhism that collapses the distance between the two poles of the conflict, as exemplified by its response to the Buddhist problem of free will.
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    Breeding Love: How a Dehydrating Food Plant in Lubbock, TX Went on to Feed Millions
    (2015-08) Bojórquez, Siria
    Few people are aware of Breedlove Foods Inc. This thesis will help shed light on the importance and impact of this food dehydrating plant in Lubbock, Texas. It demonstrates through research in documents and interviews how Breedlove has provided international food relief aid to over eighty countries and, in the process, worked to introduce a piece of legislation that passed successfully through the United States Congress. This legislation provides Breedlove and other organizations with the ability to help under- and malnourished individuals both in the United States and abroad. With this information, readers will be able to discover the difference that an idea can make and they will see the process by which Breedlove was able to open the door to providing the food they produce to those who need it around the world. It also provides an example of how a local organization can leverage political influence to improve its ability to provide foreign aid.
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    In the Child's Best Interest?
    (2012-05) Smith, Sarah
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    Cardiac Hypertrophy and Regresion during Postpartum in C57B1/6 Mice
    (2014-12) Lunsford, Taylor
    Cardiac hypertrophy is an increase in heart size due to either physiological or pathological reasons. Physiological inducers include exercise or pregnancy. For instance, athletes experience cardiac hypertrophy during their seasons of workouts. However, when they stop working out consistently, their hearts undergo cardiac regression, the decrease of heart size back to normal. This regression also happens after a woman delivers a baby. However, hypertrophy may still continue throughout breastfeeding; in such cases, regression would occur after lactation has ended. Although cardiac hypertrophy has been extensively researched, hypertrophy during lactation and the regression of hypertrophy has been significantly less investigated. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the heart mass after pregnancy-induced cardiac hypertrophy, and identify the signaling pathways responsible for these changes. Mice were divided into the following groups: control (non-pregnant diestrus cycle), 17 days of gestation (late stage of pregnancy), 7 days of postpartum, 21 days of postpartum (time of weaning), 7 days after weaning, and 21 days after weaning. We hypothesized that the heart size would increase throughout pregnancy and even more so during lactation by modifying pro-hypertrophic signaling pathways, and then it would decrease in size after weaning by altering pro-atrophic signaling. We found that lactation further increases pregnancy-induced cardiac hypertrophy. In addition, signaling pathways including phosphorylated FoxO and ERK were significantly increased during lactation. Cardiac regression begins to occur after the lactation period has ended, but hearts did not regress completely back to normal after 3 weeks of weaning. Our results suggest that lactation further increases pregnancy-induced cardiac hypertrophy and this is mediated by inactivation of FoxO and ERK signaling pathways.
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    Development of the Services Matching Instrument: A Measure to Match Inmates to Correctional and Mental Health Services
    (2015-05) McDaniel, Brieann
    Current research has explored the interface of mental illness and criminality as well as the interactions between these two constructs. The purpose of this study was to conduct an initial examination of items and the internal consistency of clinical scales for a measure designed to assess the dual constructs of mental illness and criminality. The Services Matching Instrument (SMI), which is designed to assess traumatic history, negative affect, psychiatric symptoms, criminalness, social functioning, social networking, substance abuse and antisocial attitudes and associates, was administered to 66 adult male residents from the Lubbock County Court and Residential Treatment Center. Participants had a mean age of 29 years, were predominately Caucasian (60.7%), and half were convicted of drug and alcohol offense (e.g., driving while intoxicated, possession). The original measure consisted of 197-items and after analysis to identify poor items and reconfigure the measure 158-items remained. The remaining items all exhibit proper internal consistency and meet requirements for inclusion. The SMI can be used in forensic and correctional settings to increase the efficiency of intake procedures and effectively identify offender needs.
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    Technological Investigation of the Physical Movements of Pianists
    (2014-12) Latimer, Jesse
    An analysis of physical movements of pianists provides a unique application of biomechanical engineering to piano pedagogy. This research presents a method of analyzing and comparing joint-center movements when pianists are playing in each of two modes: “correct” and “enjoyment.” Each subject plays two pieces in the correct mode (i.e., he or she was invited to play them “as correctly as you can”) and then plays the same two pieces in the enjoyment mode (i.e., “this time, just think about enjoying yourself – whatever that means to you”). Three-dimensional motion capture was used to record the movement of the upper body (i.e., the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, head, vision, and spine) in the two modes. The difference in forward/backward, vertical up/vertical down, and lateral right/lateral left movement for each joint center, as well as the right- and left-hand arcs, was analyzed. T-tests were performed on the movement data and the jerk data (resulting from the third derivative of the position data with respect to time). Results suggest more movement in the enjoyment mode than in the correct mode, while the results for the jerk data are more uncertain. Future work will include more subjects and investigate the mode difference among genders.