Master's Theses

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This collection includes master's theses submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University master's degree candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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    The modern age must: comic books and American history at the turn of the century
    (2023-12) Turner, Kathleen M.; Johnson, Emily Susan
    In the over 80 years of comic books, fans and scholars have divided comic books into four different ages: the Golden Age (1938-1955), the Silver Age (1955-1970), the Bronze Age (1970-1985), and the Modern Age (1985-present). Scholars have used the Comic Book Ages to better understand comics’ place in American culture; however, they have failed to define the parameters that define an Age. There are three factors that define the beginning of a new age. Firstly, industry change typically coincides with revisions in the Comics Code Authority. Industry changes also include changes in creative teams behind popular characters or changes in editorial staff. Secondly, tonal change is a change in the overall tone or theme of an Age. This often cannot be determined until well after an Age has ended, however, by examining the changes in storytelling and looking for trends within comic books, a tonal change can be determined. Lastly, character change happens either as an influx of new comic book characters or an updating of legacy characters. Typically, industrial change will happen first, which will then influence the changes in tone and character. Tonal and character change will coincide with one another after the industrial change. Character change is tied to the tonal change of a new Age, as the changes in character will assist in setting the tone and vice versa. The time has come for the ending of the Modern Age of Comics to be recognized. September 11, 2001, created a new age of comic books that will help historians and fans realize the importance of comic books to American culture. The influence comics have had in American history is only just starting to be fully appreciated by historians. By creating these Ages, comic books can be studied more easily, and their place as historical sources can be better analyzed.
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    Determining the location of Pus1A and Pus1B in candida albicans
    (2023-12) Kumal, Anu; Bolin, Jocelyn
    Candida albicans is an opportunistic and prevalent human fungal pathogen causing the USA's fourth most hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. Few antifungal drugs are available to treat C. albicans, and some isolates of C. albicans has acquired resistance to these drugs. To develop the next generation of antifungal treatments, we must better understand what differentiates C. albicans from mammalian cells at the molecular level. This study focuses on the isoforms of pseudouridine synthase PUS1. PUS1A and PUS1B play crucial roles in RNA modification. Our proposed research seeks to understand the location of Pus1A and Pus1B proteins in yeast and filamentous forms of C. albicans upon heat stress. We designed a recyclable plasmid construct having GFP followed by an inducible Flippase and NatR gene (antibiotic resistance gene) flanked by the FRT site. Using this construct, we created C. albicans strains expressing either Pus1A-GFP or Pus1B-GFP. Using fluorescence microscopy, we demonstrated that, under normal growth temperature, Pus1A and Pus1B predominantly reside in the nucleus. However, upon heat shock, we observed a shift in localization of Pus1 isoforms from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Our preliminary findings suggest a dynamic redistribution of these proteins, which may play a critical role in C. albicans response to heat shock and its pathogenicity. Future research should focus on understanding these proteins' molecular mechanisms and distinct roles in the context of different types of stress and C. albicans' pathogenicity.
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    College adaptation and depressive symptomatology: the mediating role of the self-efficacy and stress dyad
    (2023-12) Desai, Vedant A.; Lueke, Niloufar
    Previous studies have consistently shown that college students experience significant amounts of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptomatology was reported to be closely related to how well college students adapt to college life during their first semester. While self-efficacy and perceived stress had separately been shown to associate with the relationship between college adaptation and depression, no previous study had examined these variables simultaneously. The present research attempted to understand how generalized self-efficacy and perceived stress serially mediate the relationship between college adaptation and depressive symptoms. A representative undergraduate first-year sample in a mid-sized American university hypothesized that poor college adaptation would be positively associated with depressive pathology, and generalized self-efficacy and perceived stress would serially mediate this relationship. The findings of this study illustrated the mediating role perceived stress had on the relationship between college adaptation and depression. However, self-efficacy did not play a mediating role, and neither was a serial mediation observed. The findings of this study can be used to better inform institutions and clinicians to utilize interventions for stress reduction in the first semester of college for undergraduate students and promote better well-being.
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    Re-evaluation of the water quality conditions at Prairie Creek Reservoir in Eastern Indiana
    (2023-12) Deifenbaugh, Dan; Han, Bangshuai
    Prairie Creek Reservoir serves as both a secondary drinking water source for the city of Muncie, Indiana, and as a public park featuring outdoor recreational activities such as boating and fishing. The reservoir is located in a watershed that is subject to nutrient runoff from local agriculture. Multiple water quality studies over the past two decades have identified Prairie Creek Reservoir as a eutrophic water body. Conservation plans have been implemented in the region since 2007 to address this issue. These plans aim to improve the water quality of the reservoir by protecting the water source from excessive nutrient input. During the summer of 2019, the water quality of Prairie Creek Reservoir was studied to assess the effectiveness of soil and water conservation programs in the area and as a follow up to earlier investigations. Biweekly water sampling from epilimnion and hypolimnion depths at both the north and center of the reservoir occurred from May through September following established protocols. Water quality parameters, including temperature, pH, turbidity, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen were determined on-site at the reservoir. Concentrations of nitrate, ammonia, total nitrogen, orthophosphate, and total phosphorus were determined through laboratory analysis. Findings from this study displayed variations between different sampling locations and depths and showed different patterns in comparison to previous studies. Average epilimnion temperature from May – September decreased in 2019 from the same sampling period in 2007. Average dissolved oxygen decreased in the epilimnion from 2007 to 2019 but increased in the hypolimnion during the same period, despite the persistence of anoxic conditions in deeper layers from June through September. Total ammonia-N decreased in 2019 from 2007. Total nitrogen, nitrate-N, and total phosphorus increased in 2019 from 2007. Soluble reactive phosphorus was similar for both years. Results from 2019 also differed from 2005 and 2006 studies of the reservoir which sampled different locations over longer time periods. Average temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity were higher at the center than at the northern end of the reservoir in 2019. Average specific conductivity and all nutrients except total phosphorus were higher at the northern end than at the center of the reservoir in 2019. Eutrophic and hypereutrophic conditions occurred throughout most of the 2019 study period despite the implementation of numerous conservation projects within the Prairie Creek Subwatershed since 2019. The unusually high average concentrations for some nutrients during this study can be partially attributed to anomalously high nutrient levels and other specific water quality conditions such as internal nutrient loading on certain days.
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    Multidimensional perfectionism and sleep: the role of self-compassion
    (2023-12) Assar, Arash; Diaz, Anjolii
    Previous research has documented relations between perfectionistic behavior and sleep difficulties in college students. However, very little research exists examining protective factors or conditions that moderate this association. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether self-compassion moderates the link between multidimensional perfectionism and sleep disturbance in a sample of college students. A total of 178 college students (M = 19.88, SD = 1.50) completed self-report measures assessing perfectionistic concerns and perfectionistic strivings (the two higher-order perfectionism dimensions), self-compassion, and sleep. Sleep was also measured objectively via wrist-actigraphy, which participants wore for three continuous weekday nights. Findings indicated several main effects of perfectionistic tendencies on sleep outcomes. Moreover, a significant and moderate interaction was observed between perfectionistic strivings and self-compassion when predicting subjective sleep quality. Simple slopes analyses indicated that the negative association between perfectionistic strivings and poor sleep quality was significant at high levels of self-compassion followed by average levels of self-compassion. Future research on theoretically supported moderator variables is necessary to further elucidate relations between perfectionism and other facets of sleep difficulties.
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