Theses - Honors College

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    The Role of Gaia Pelore in Hesiod's Theogony
    (2023-08-18) Hollinger, Alan; Heckenlively, Timothy; Greek.
    Gaia Pelore plays a crucial role in shaping the order of the cosmos and is described by a unique epithet: pelore. Though defined as 'monstrous,' this epithet is often translated as 'big' or 'vast' and is regarded by some scholars as a mere formula. Chapter 1 shows how Gaia Pelore is a marked epithet and has a significant role in each Succession by engaging in a close reading of the three Successions in the Theogony. Chapter 2 explores the relationship between Gaia Pelore and metis by analyzing the uses of her cunning intelligence. Chapter 3 explores the relationship between Gaia Pelore and gender by analyzing the gender dynamics in the Theogony. Chapter 4 explores the relationship between Gaia Pelore and monstrosity by comparing her to other monsters in Archaic Greek literature, particularly those with the epithet peloros.
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    Reluctant Father of the Bill of Rights: The Evolution of James Madison's Stance on Amendments to the Constitution
    (2023-05-22) Zimmerman , Hannah; Sweet , Julie Anne; History.
    The United States Bill of Rights serves as the foundation of freedom and liberty in American society today, and it has remained a highly respected standard throughout the nation’s history. When examining its origin, James Madison was the strongest advocate who ensured these protections would be enshrined in the Constitution to safeguard the civil liberties of the American people. Initially, Madison was not in favor of adding these amendments to the Constitution, but with time, he became not only the Father of the Constitution, but also the chief architect of the Bill of Rights. Regardless of the true motive for his mind change, without Madison’s dedication to drafting and introducing the amendments to his fellow members of the House of Representatives, the Bill of Rights may have never made it past the First Session of Congress. This thesis will explore Madison’s changing opinion on amendments, and it will also discuss the many challenges he faced to get these additions incorporated into the United States Constitution.
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    The Role of the Mood-as-Input Model in Explaining Not Just Right Experiences
    (2023-05-22) Wire, Nicole; Fergus, Thomas; Psychology.; Baylor University.
    Not just right experiences (NJREs) are situations that produce a subjective feeling that things are not how they should be, and they have significantly contributed to our understanding of the causes of repetitive behaviors seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). They are associated with significant distress and unease, especially in individuals with OCD, therefore, this study used the Mood-as-Input (MAI) model to determine if an elevated negative mood and ‘as many as can’ stop rule could increase the likelihood of experiencing NJREs and more distressing NJREs. Participants were Baylor University undergraduate students who were randomly assigned to be induced with a positive or negative mood and then performed a proofreading task according to a randomly assigned stop rule (i.e., as many as can or feels like continuing). Subsequently, participants reported whether they experienced a NJRE and rated its severity. No one combination of mood and stop rule increased the likelihood of experiencing NJREs (χ^2(3) = 1.88, p = 0.597) or associated distress (F(1, 95) = 0.70, p = 0.406). A potential explanation is that the mood induction procedure was not effective in eliciting the target moods, therefore, this study could not fully investigate the potential for mood and stop rules to contribute to NJREs. Future studies should investigate the applicability of the MAI model to NJREs with alternative mood induction procedures (e.g., watching affectively charged films) and consider the additional, important factors (e.g., perfectionism and control) in the development and intensification of NJREs.
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    What the West Wants Needs to Hear
    (2023-05-22) Williams, Anna; Jug, Steven; Management.
    Historical narratives must be continuously revised as research brings new information to light. While there is a large amount of scholarship surrounding Ilya Ehrenburg and his writing, there is very little about his work in Soviet War News. Ehrenburg’s Soviet War News articles provide insight into how he tried to use his unique personal background to advance Soviet narratives in the West. Comparing Ehrenburg’s World War II writing for a Soviet audience versus a Western audience shows what Ehrenburg believed the West wanted (or needed) to hear at different stages of the war. This new analysis gives historians a fresh perspective on World War II from a Soviet point of view.
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    The Anesthesiologist’s Responsibility to the Market: An Economic Analysis of Intravenous and Inhalation Anesthesia’s Effect on Patient Cognitive Outcomes
    (2023-05-22) Whitney, Samantha; Richards, Michael; Economics.; Baylor University.
    Spending on anesthetics in the healthcare market has steadily increased with little to no evidence of proportional improvements in patient outcomes. Investigations into this phenomenon illustrate that the effect of common complications are often minimized in treatment plans. Using QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year) metrics and data on the frequency and cost of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction, this research presents a comparative analysis of inhalation and intravenous general anesthesia methods. Each method is analyzed for their respective opportunity costs to the patient and to the greater healthcare system. The economic impact of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD) for both anesthetic methods is discussed to highlight the long-term costs that are typically neglected in the healthcare market. Finally, this thesis suggests an economically efficient course of treatment, examining the role of the clinician in advocating for cost- effective healthcare options in surgical care and evaluating the various policy approaches to minimizing costs while maximizing care.
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    Beauvoir and Butler on Gender: Gender's Definition, Origins, and Relationship with Sexuality
    (2023-05-22) Webster, Sophia; Corey, David; University Scholars.
    This thesis answers the questions of how Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler understand gender, its origins, how it functions, and its relationship to sexuality. Beauvoir and Butler similarly argue that gender is a social construction, and Beauvoir sees gender as a historical development. Butler argues that biological sex is a gendered construct, while Beauvoir believes it has some connection to gender, although she argues that sex and gender are separate concepts. Butler defines gender as a performative act, while Beauvoir examines gender through the concepts of Subject and Other. Gender connects to sexuality in different ways according to the two theorists. Butler and Beauvoir both see society’s standard of heterosexuality as a way to reinforce gender roles, but Butler adds the idea of a heterosexual matrix that works to maintain a traditional construction of sex, gender, and sexuality.
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    Contemplation and Cinema: Film through the Lens of Michael Oakeshott
    (2023-05-22) Turner, Matthew; Corey, Elizabeth; University Scholars.; Baylor University.; Honors College - Honors Program
    In recent years, the film industry has increasingly focused on entertaining blockbusters and films that preach a socio-political message. Can cinema be more than a means to an end? This thesis argues that, if properly approached, it can. Drawing on the work of philosopher Michael Oakeshott, specifically “The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind,” this thesis argues that cinema is valuable in itself and that it is corrupted when it serves a subsidiary end, such as profit or politics. The thesis begins by establishing an understanding of Oakeshott’s work, discussing the different modes of experience Oakeshott lays out, with poetry, or aesthetics, as his focus. After establishing that cinema does indeed fit Oakeshott’s description of poetry, the thesis discusses films that stray from this character. The thesis then discusses examples of contemplative cinema, concluding with a consideration of the aesthetic and spiritual benefits of approaching film contemplatively.
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    Playwrighting for Virtue Development: The Original Realistic Family Drama MYTHOS OF AUTUMN and its Influences from New Natural Law Theorists and American Dramatic Literature
    (2023-05-22) Tully, Joseph; Toten Beard, DeAnna; University Scholars.
    Throughout time, stories have proved pivotal to establishing a virtuous soul. This thesis examines the different ways tragic dramatic literature, specifically works of modern, American realism, aid in moral formation. Utilizing Northrop Frye's foundational exploration of literary criticism, this thesis formulates a new framework for examining serious works of dramatic literature. Additionally, this framework reflects the ideals held by the New Natural Law Theorists, demonstrating the ways in which theatrical performances portray this philosophy. Finally, this thesis contains an original play, which was written in the style of modern, American realism and intends to convey the ideals of the New Natural Law Theorists.
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    Bacterial Indole Production and Epithelial Barrier Function in Colorectal Cancer
    (2023-05-22) Tremble, Kaitlyn A.; Greathouse, K. Leigh; University Scholars.; Baylor University; Honors College - Honors Program
    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most diagnosed cancer globally and second leading cause of cancer mortality, accounting for approximately 10% of annual cancer diagnoses and related deaths, with early onset CRC on the rise. The intestinal epithelial barrier is the link between external processes of the microbiome and internal processes of the host system. Therefore, the development of intestinal diseases such as CRC spark questions as to the specific contributions and interplay between each side of this barrier; among them, what microbial metabolites might increase cancer risk and how the body’s response might further contribute to carcinogenesis. This thesis explores the role of Fusobacterium nucleatum—a common member of the gut microbiome in both healthy and diseased states—in CRC pathogenesis through the action of indole metabolites. First, the nature and quantity of indole production by F. nucleatum is explored. Then, the response of human colonic epithelial cells is assessed via changes in proliferation and gene expression. Further elucidation of the relationship between F. nucleatum, indole metabolites, and the colonic epithelium could advance our understanding of the mechanisms behind pathogen behavior and its contribution to CRC pathogenesis.
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    Physically Broken, Eternally Whole: Examining the Diverse Experience of People Living with an Ambulatory Disability
    (2023-05-22) Tran, Doan; Levin, Jeff; Biochemistry.
    Physical limitations are the most common forms of disability. The lives of people living with this type of disability can be deeply complex as they navigate frequent inconveniences. Religion serves as a helpful coping mechanism for many of these individuals, according to a substantial literature of peer-reviewed studies. This thesis project first surveys the existing literature on religion and disability, as well as describing the primary teachings on disability of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Next, a series of interviews are conducted with eight individuals with ambulatory disabilities who live in the United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines from Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and non-religious backgrounds. These interviews document their experiences, as well as the role of faith in coping with their limitations. Common themes were identified throughout these respective narratives. Finally, a discussion is provided of the implications of this study for churches, healthcare providers, and families to better care for those living with a disability.
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    Trading Fours with Mr. PC: Toward an Improved Model for Jazz Synthesis
    (2023-05-22) Thompson, Christopher; Hamerly, Greg; University Scholars.
    Machine learning (ML) is a demonstrably effective method for learning pattern- and rule-based systems, such as natural language or music. This thesis identifies jazz improvisation as one such system and seeks to design an ML model for learning it. To this end, Mr. PC is an ML model capable of synthesizing novel jazz improvisation in a swing style. It was constructed using a state-of-the-art Transformer-XL architecture and trained with the hereunto unexplored Filosax dataset. The Transformer-XL architecture is a promising solution for inducing long-term structure in generated improvisation: a persistent challenge in the music generation literature. The quality of the generated improvisation is evaluated using both traditional music analysis techniques and quantitative fractal analysis. Further, the output is compared to that of a smaller, simpler model trained on the same data set to test the margin of improvement.
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    Organizational Resilience: Three Science Museums’ Responses to COVID-19
    (2023-05-22) Thomason, Gabrielle; Walter, Charles; Business Fellows.
    When faced with unexpected challenges, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate organizational resilience, which refers to an organization’s ability to respond and adapt to disruptive change while maintaining its identity and functionality. While the study of nonprofit resiliency tactics and their effectiveness is increasingly popular, there is a gap in the literature about the ways museums specifically react in times of crisis. Using the nonprofit framework given by Searing et al., this study aims to identify the resiliency tactics used by three science museums during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that museums should exercise careful financial and strategic planning, develop cohesive teams through communication and transparent conversations, and embrace innovation and collaboration.
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    Burnout Across a Female Physician’s Career: Manifestations of Burnout, Appraisal of Current Interventions, and Future Directions
    (2023-05-22) Thapar, Ruhi; Andersson, Matthew; University Scholars.; Honors College - Honors Program
    Women in medicine hold a unique role both in their professions and society at large. Recently, there have been great strides in the representation of women in the medical profession. However, regardless of the rise in women entering the field, the socio-cultural phenomenon of burnout unfortunately disproportionately impacts these female physicians. In order to retain female physicians in the workforce and thus guarantee a bright future for the medical profession, it is essential to explore how burnout manifests across a female physician's career, as well as the nature of interventions that address this burnout. As compared to their male colleagues, female physicians are more vulnerable to certain factors which perpetuate burnout, such as lack of leadership opportunities, administrative burden, challenges with work-life integration, and loss of autonomy. This thesis will depict burnout as a cumulative process, manifesting in different ways throughout the stages of a female physician's career, from undergraduate education to their experience in the workforce. Furthermore, this thesis depicts interventions which address burnout at these stages, paired with a thoughtful appraisal of these interventions in an effort to identify strengths, as well as gaps where future research and implementation is necessary.
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    Complex Plasmas: A Computational Investigation of Self-Organizing Systems
    (2023-05-22) Terrell, Abbie; Matthews, Lorin; Science Research Fellows.; Baylor University.; Honors College - Honors Program
    Complex, or dusty, plasmas are ionized gases in which nanometer-to-micrometer sized microparticles are suspended. When dust particles are introduced in the plasma environment, they become negatively charged and interact with each other and the plasma background, self-organizing into stable structures. These far-from-equilibrium systems serve as a useful model system to study processes of self-organization in other complex systems. This thesis focuses on the numerical modeling of the Plasma Kristall-4 (PK-4) experiment, currently on board the International Space Station, through an N-body Molecular Dynamics simulation called DRIAD (Dynamic Response of Ions and Dust). It is shown that the dust cloud undergoes a phase transition that is studied quantitatively in multiple dimensions. The dust phase transition exemplifies the presence of analogous systems in physics, leading to a discussion of the relevance of studying physical phenomena though model systems.
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    Hope as a Healer: The Role of Hope and Suffering in Physician and Patient Relationship
    (2023-05-22) Tan, Michelle; Moore, Scott; University Scholars.; Honors College-Honors Program
    In order to explore the role of hope and suffering in physician and patient relationships and to shed light on new aspects of the patient's human nature that are absent in traditional science education, an analysis of classical literature and a comparison of texts were completed. Through an effort to gain understanding of suffering and its causes, followed by the patient’s reaction to such, it was found that hope has a crucial role in a patient’s healing and willingness to live. The physician is responsible for maintaining hope while being attentive to the patient’s physical needs. For physicians to uphold this duty, emphasis should be placed on a patient’s mental and spiritual wellbeing as well as his physical wellbeing. The knowledge presented in these texts holds valuable information on understanding human nature and suffering that can be applied to medicine. By embracing these works, society can begin to take essential steps to transform healthcare into its greatest potential.
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    The Effects of Nutrient Loading on Microcystis Harmful Algal Blooms in a Eutrophic Lake
    (2023-05-22) Suhl Borbón, Benjamin; Scott, J. Thad; University Scholars.; Baylor University.; University Scholars; Honors Program
    Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a growing problem, and nitrogen and phosphorus are the key nutrients that control their growth. Human activities, such as agricultural runoff and climate change, contribute to HABs. High-nutrient lakes favor cyanobacteria--the root cause of HABs; in this study, we investigate the growth of Microcystis, a cyanobacterium species responsible for creating HABs in Lake Fayetteville. The study aims to examine the effects of nutrient loading on Microcystis growth and microcystin concentrations, with a hypothesis that internal nutrient loading plays an important role in addition to external nutrient loading. The results may aid in developing effective management strategies for controlling cyanobacteria growth and mitigating public health risks.
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    Defining Death: A Christian Perspective on the Limitations and Implications of Brain Death
    (2023-05-22) Stull, Micah; Buras, Todd; University Scholars.; Baylor University.
    The redefinition of death in the 1960s from the cardiopulmonary definition to the whole brain definition is cause for careful ethical analysis by Christian philosophers. Brain death is a modern byproduct of the invention of the ventilator that allows patients who have irreversible loss of total brain functioning to be declared “dead” and to donate their vital organs regardless of whether their heartbeat has ceased. In this thesis, I defend the cardiopulmonary definition of death while evaluating the efficacy of the brain death definition of death. I do this by examining how different cases, such as the Jahi McMath case, fit into the pre-established necessary and sufficient conditions for death. As Christians hold humans to be integrated beings comprised of the body and the soul, I argue that one cannot conclude from brain death that the soul has departed from the body.
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    The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Marketing Practices: Shaping Policy and Public Understanding
    (2023-05-22) Stromberg, Eliana; King, Julie; University Scholars.; Honors College - Honors Program; University Scholar
    Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, scientific research and major ecological events highlighted the necessity for innovative environmental policy to protect human health and the environment. Growing research in this field established the process known as the greenhouse effect, which leads to marked climatic change. More frequent observations indicating the anthropogenic nature of climate change led to considerations of policies and regulations that address fossil fuel combustion due to its relationship to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Since the identification of this relationship, the fossil fuel industry has led efforts to spread doubt and uncertainty in climate science. Among these efforts are widespread “greenwashing” campaigns. More recently, these disinformation campaigns have shifted to those of “climate delay,” or efforts that aim to downplay the urgency to address anthropogenic climate change. Such campaigns have a known impact on consumers and may be subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission for their unfair and deceptive nature. The breadth of these efforts reveals the extensive influence of the fossil fuel industry on political institutions, the economy, and most importantly, the public.
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    Civis and Civitas: Roman Citizenship in the Late Republic and Early Empire
    (2023-05-22) Stephens, Josiah; Hanchey, Daniel; University Scholars.; Baylor University.
    This thesis concerns Roman citizenship in the late Republic and early Empire, examining how the Roman definition of citizenship evolved and expanded as a reaction to internal and external tensions, citing heavily the Gracchi, the Social War, and Cicero. It applies the patron-client framework to the municipal aristocracy system, noting how Rome used this framework within Julio-Claudian grand strategy to make the grant of citizenship into a highly effective political tool.
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    Broadening the Path to Self-Actualization through Systematic Changes to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    (2023-05-22) Stephen, Julia; Carron, Paul; Neuroscience.
    In the field of humanistic psychology, self-actualization is the highest component of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs because it involves the realization of one’s potentialities. The feeling of contentment that stems from fulfilling this need is unparalleled to any other accomplishment throughout one’s life. However, the structure of Maslow’s limiting hierarchy does not allow many individuals to attain this state of bliss. In this thesis, I propose a new structure that appropriately prioritizes self-esteem and provides the framework for developing healthy relationships. Aristotle’s theory of friendship and self-love in Nicomachean Ethics supports my claims against Maslow’s limiting hierarchy. Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory also corroborate the critique by providing more information on the development of self-esteem. The goal of my new structure is to realign the hierarchy with the purpose of humanistic psychology and make self-actualization more feasible by providing flexibility within the system.