K-State Electronic Theses, Dissertations, and Reports: 2004 -

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This is the collection for doctoral dissertations and masters theses and reports submitted electronically by K-State students. Electronic submission of doctoral dissertations was required beginning Fall semester 2006. Electronic submission for masters theses and reports was required beginning Fall 2007. The collection also contains some dissertations, theses, and reports from the years 2004 and 2005 that were submitted during a pilot test project. Some items before 2004 have been digitized and are available in K-State Electronic Theses, Dissertations, and Reports: pre-2004. Check the Library catalog for dissertations, theses, and reports not found in these collections.

All items included in this collection have been approved by the K-State Graduate School. More information can be found on the ETDR Information Page. Items within this collection are protected by U.S. Copyright. Copyright on each item is held by the individual author.


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 8206
  • ItemOpen Access
    Investigations in the food-energy-water nexus: The effects of mixed wettability on soil evaporation and the feasibility of using nuclear microreactor process heat for concurrent bioconversion and agricultural practices
    (2024) Pakkebier, Jack
    Food, energy, and water are inherently connected. The Ogallala Aquifer, a primary irrigation water source in the High Plains region of the U.S., is declining, thereby necessitating new water conservation strategies1. Meanwhile, there is also a global goal to achieve a 43% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, relative to the levels recorded in 20192. These problems are separate yet still interconnected. The work of this thesis poses solutions in which these problems may be alleviated. First, this thesis investigates the impacts of mixed wettability on the evaporation dynamics of a 10-µL sessile water droplet placed within simulated soil pores comprised of hydrophobic Teflon beads (CA ~ 108°) and hydrophilic glass (CA ~ 41°) beads with 2.38-mm diameters, where homogeneous and heterogeneous (i.e., mixed hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity) wettability configurations were investigated. Mixed wettability was of particular interest due to the possibility of reaping the lengthened evaporation times of hydrophobic materials3 while also having the advantages of decreased runoff and enhanced infiltration attributed to hydrophilic materials4,5. Experiments were performed in an environmental chamber where the relative humidity and temperature were 60%±0.1% RH and 20°C±0.4°C, respectively. Wettability influenced evaporation times, with homogeneous hydrophobic pores (i.e., three Teflon beads) and heterogeneous one glass, two Teflon pores having the longest average evaporation times of 40 and 39 minutes, respectively. Homogeneous hydrophilic pores (i.e., three glass beads) and heterogeneous two glass, one Teflon pores exhibited evaporation times of 34 minutes. Evaporation times for heterogeneous combinations trended based on the predominant wettability. Contact angles and the projected length of contact were analyzed from videos to capture pinning and depinning during evaporation. For many measurements on hydrophobic beads, contact angles were less than 90o, and in some configurations, water would be pinned on a Teflon bead while depinning (i.e., moving) on a glass bead. Stick-slip evaporation was observed, where the evaporating droplet switched between constant contact radius (CCR) and constant contact area (CCA) evaporative modes to minimize droplet surface energy. The results suggest wettability alterations in agricultural settings may reduce evaporation. For the next portion of the thesis, the feasibility of using nuclear microreactor process heat for bioconversion and agricultural processes is investigated. Nuclear microreactors, a subset of small modular reactors, offer promise in addressing climate challenges due to their compact size, ease of deployment, and potential for carbon-neutral power generation. Operational conditions and requirements of bioconversion and agricultural methods (e.g., gasification, pyrolysis, hydrothermal carbonization, hydrothermal liquefaction, hydrothermal gasification, ethanol production, anaerobic digestion, and pasteurization) are obtained from a brief literature review. Next, a Brayton cycle model with a regenerator and air as the working fluid, based on the eVinci microreactor design6, was developed to assess the feasibility of powering these processes using nuclear microreactor heat. Exergetic efficiency values were calculated to match process heat values with operational temperatures, where high-temperature processes such as gasification and pyrolysis demonstrated efficiencies of 72-100% and lower-temperature processes such as pasteurization and anaerobic digestion ranged from 2-53%, depending on the microreactor design. There were tradeoffs between producing net power and utilizing process heat, particularly for high-temperature processes; three different heat exchanger locations were considered. Results show that high-temperature processes [e.g., gasification (600℃ at minimum)] require too high of temperatures to be feasible based on the model. Some processes (e.g., ethanol production, hydrothermal carbonization, and hydrothermal liquefaction) are more suited to a heat exchanger located between the turbine and regenerator, but can also be run before the turbine. Lower temperature processes, like pasteurization and anaerobic digestion, can utilize waste heat after the regenerator and, therefore, do not impact power production.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploration of professional identity development of PK-12 educational leaders in a public school system
    (2024) Rector, Shanna
    Educational leaders in a public school system contribute to the success of students and impact the learning environment. Discovering ways to support these important professionals is a worthwhile endeavor. An educational leader's professional identity is significant to their performance and serves as a compass to guide decisions and actions. Supporting the professional identity development of educational leaders is a crucial way to contribute to the journey and effect of the leader during their career. This basic qualitative study explored how educational leaders develop their professional identity and the relationship of professional standards to their professional identity. The study design included interviewing administrators from a public school system that experienced at least one career move within the same district to a leadership role, recognizing them as an educational leader. Employment of a pilot study was included to strengthen the design of the exploratory study data collection methodology. In conjunction with the semi-structured interview data collection, additional data was collected in the form of participant created concept maps. The conceptual framework served as a guide during the data collection and analysis process to orient the influencing constructs and descriptions of educational standard intersections to the development of professional identity. Five themes were identified: 1) capacity creating opportunities; 2) drivers toward the mission; 3) establishing desired culture; 4) influencing socializing agents; and 5) living aspired dispositions. The study results served to enhance the ability to inform practices of support for educational leaders focused on: supporting and growing current leaders through dialogue and access, infusing the repository of professional standards as a resource to enhance expertise, and harnessing the power of leaders within the system as developers of the professional identity of the next generation of educational leaders.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teaching through performance: Taking second-year band students to concert performance assessment (CPA)
    (2024) Jerrell, Brittany
    The purpose of this project was to reinforce the transition from beginning band pedagogy to advanced ensemble rehearsal techniques and performance skills with second-year band students by separating them from third year-band students and implementing conceptual teaching methods to the process of preparation and performance for Concert Performance Assessment (CPA.) Over several years of observation in my middle school band program, I hypothesized that second-year band students would develop a greater depth of individual musical understanding as well as have a more relevant and impactful experience in the Concert Performance Assessment process if they were formally adjudicated at their current ability level, rather than combined with third-year students. By separating the second and third-year students, the CPA preparation and performance process proved to be better pedagogically aligned to the second-year students’ abilities and level of understanding, which increased students’ interest, investment, and enjoyment. This project incorporated the use of rehearsal techniques, approach to score-study and literature selection, research on conceptual teaching, discussions on the relevance of large instrumental ensembles in music education, and literature on teaching through performance which were acquired through my master’s studies. As a result, my second-year students not only exhibited substantial growth in their advanced ensemble rehearsal techniques and performance skills, but they also displayed an enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the application of growth mindset which culminated in an overwhelmingly positive student experience and performance outcome. Over the course of my master’s degree, I expanded my knowledge and depth of understanding of teaching techniques and methodologies in instrumental music education, specifically band. As a middle school band director there is a responsibility to be fluid and competent in both beginning band pedagogy and traditional band pedagogy or rehearsal techniques. However, prior to this degree I found it difficult to pinpoint or articulate how to transition students and my teaching from one to the other, which resulted in inefficiency and gaps in students’ knowledge and experiences. Through my studies in this program, I redefined my approach to these responsibilities in two significant ways. The first is in the application of the ideologies and methods outlined by the Teaching through performance (1997) series in combination with the application of intentional score-study and literature analysis. By redefining the purpose of the literature that both myself and my students study, the depth at which it is studied, and the techniques used in rehearsal, I have strengthened the quality of my instructional content and created an intentional infrastructure to sequence future curriculum. The second significant impact is in the evolution of my teaching philosophy through the discourse on the relevance of large instrumental music ensembles in modern music education in addition to a deeper understanding of the intertwined history of music education and wind band. The perspective presented through the master’s coursework has strengthened my belief that large instrumental ensembles and their musical experiences offer the opportunity for comprehensive music education that can be accessible to all students when led by discerning and consciously reflective and introspective music educators.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Leveraging advanced deep learning models for disaster response
    (2024) Taghian Dinani, Soudabeh
    At the beginning of natural disasters, obtaining timely and accurate information is of great importance for effective response and recovery efforts. Social media platforms like Twitter play a critical role in providing real-time updates, eyewitness accounts, and requests for assistance. Rapidly assessing this information, including identifying informative tweets and their categories, is vital for directing resources and prioritizing rescue operations. Deep learning (DL) methods have proven effective in disaster classification tasks involving both text and image data. Building upon this foundation, my research aims to further leverage advanced deep learning models to enhance the classification of disaster-related posts on X (formerly known as Twitter). Given the challenges associated with labeling datasets in the immediate aftermath of a disaster—when data needs to be analyzed in real-time for urgent damage and situational awareness information, and manual annotation by experts is time-consuming—I have investigated methods suitable for handling smaller labeled datasets. These methods were evaluated in both in-domain and cross-domain settings to assess their effectiveness across datasets with similar and different characteristics. Additionally, the performance of the models was explored in few-shot and zero- shot settings, acknowledging the scarcity of labeled data as a disaster unfolds. In particular, the potential of Large Language Models (LLMs), due to their generalization capabilities from extensive pretraining and scale, was explored for zero-shot and few-shot settings. Results showed that LLMs are invaluable for quick response efforts in disaster situations at the beginning of a crisis. These advancements aim to improve situational awareness and optimize resource allocation during disaster events, ultimately contributing to the reduction of human and economic tolls.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Utilizing collaboration within elementary schools to build advocacy for the elementary music classroom
    (2024) Bentley, Rose
    The lessons demonstrated within this report focus on building a collaborative learning community amongst other professional educators while integrating strategies and techniques inspired by Carl Orff and Zoltán Kodály in the elementary music classroom. I integrated strategies and techniques from the Kodály Method in the lessons as students utilized sequential learning when composing rhythmic phrases that included compound words taught by the Second-Grade team and solfege when reading onomatopoeias within a well-known children’s storybook. I integrated strategies and techniques from the Orff Schulwerk approach in the lessons as students performed on kazoo-harmonicas that they created in their Art and STEM classes and improvised on xylophones. The lessons not only helped build advocacy for music education among the collaborative communities that were created, but they also helped students grow in their abilities to create music both inside and outside of the music classroom. Throughout my time in the Master’s Program at Kansas State University, I was exposed to various methods of teaching elementary music in the Symposium and Seminar courses. Within these courses, I learned about the Orff, Kodály, Gordon, and Dalcroze methodologies. After creating my own lesson plans and participating in peer lessons that support each methodology throughout these courses, I was able to integrate new ideas and strategies from each methodology into my classroom to further support my instruction. By having a better understanding of each methodology and how they function within the elementary music classroom, I can apply strategies and techniques in my classroom that are more appropriate for my students and their needs. Another course that was influential to my growth and development as a music educator was the Improvisation and Composition in Elementary Music course. This course challenged me as an educator to ensure that I am not limiting my students and their ability to freely create music. By integrating improvisation and composition into my lessons, both my students and I have been challenged to think creatively about the music making process. Even though there were many challenges when integrating improvisation and composition into the classroom, we have also grown in our comfortability and ability to create music. Overall, the courses have helped me prepare lessons that enhance student-centered learning and allow musical creativity to blossom.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Incorporating small ensembles in the middle school band rehearsal to improve individual musical responsibility
    (2024) Church, Byron
    In my 7th grade band rehearsals, I found that my students were not covering parts as confidently as they are capable of, and sometimes hiding within their respective sections. By assigning each student a small ensemble and rehearsing them in a group setting, my project helped students develop their individual musicianship and raised confidence in their playing. To begin, I assigned each student in the band to a small ensemble, utilizing three different pieces from an ensemble methods book. Pieces were first rehearsed as larger ensembles, with the four groups on each different piece rehearsing simultaneously. As we progressed, parts were broken down for more detailed rehearsal, and ensembles were divided in half (two of the four at a time). Finally, the ensembles were separated, and students were on their own to start and play together. Over the course of my master’s program at Kansas State, I have shifted to a more peer-led and peer-centered approach to music education. I visualize this concept as horizontal versus vertical. In my beginning band (6th grade classes), I have continued to keep teaching from a teacher-centered (vertical) standpoint, ensuring that students are given proper instruction regarding technique, articulation, posture, etc. As my students move into 7th grade, instruction has turned more towards full-ensemble instruction to include blend, balance, intonation, etc. This remains as vertical teaching. During my master’s program, I have learned that this second year of band is a great time to have students do more horizontal learning and teaching as it gives them the chance to review their own playing while helping their fellow student. Another development in my teaching stems from some historically philosophical approaches to music education, namely diversifying students on different instruments and into different genres of music (and consequently music education). I have implemented both 7th and 8th grade jazz band into the school schedule. Like peer led (horizontal) teaching, the jazz program has offered students the opportunity to use their primary musical skills in another setting, be it on a secondary instrument, or through improvisation in the jazz ensembles. It also adds more opportunity for horizontal instruction; students on primary instruments in jazz helping students on secondary instruments in jazz. Before my time at Kansas State, I was more reserved in the idea of these young players adding a secondary instrument as they were just scratching the surface on their primary instruments. I have seen, through the addition of the jazz program, that though elements of the learning curve can initially be steep, students who seek a secondary instrument or at minimum a secondary genre have the potential to thrive on both. Building musical skills in one area also builds them in the other.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Incorporating music theory in the 7th and 8th grade band class
    (2024) Dilley, Emma
    In my 7th and 8th grade band classes, knowledge and understanding of basic music theory concepts was lacking. The purpose of my project is to fill this need. To measure the gap of knowledge my students had, I administered a pre-test that covered topics such as identifying basic music notation and symbols as well as labeling key signatures. During our in class warm-ups, I dedicated a section of that time to music theory concepts. The lessons included building scales, learning songs by scale degrees, and learning the order of sharps and flats. The goal of these lessons was for students to gain a better understanding of musical terminology and for them to be able to apply those terms and concepts to the pieces they play. As a result of these lessons, students could communicate with me and each other more efficiently, and more peer teaching occurred in the classroom. During my master's degree, I have been introduced to many different approaches to conducting rehearsals and giving students more opportunities to learn. As a new teacher, I am always searching for ways to improve my teaching and ways to give students a well-rounded music education. In my Rehearsal Techniques class, we extensively discussed different approaches that can be used in class and how fundamental warm-ups are to a productive rehearsal. These discussions allowed me to better understand how to structure my rehearsal and how to make warm-ups beneficial instead of them being seen as a chore to be marked off the list. While working through the units, I found myself utilizing different teaching strategies. Many of the strategies, such as Project Based Learning and peer learning, I learned about in Research class. By having more tactics to use in class, I was able to help students learn in ways that worked better for them. The knowledge I have gained from this program has changed how I run my classroom and has made me more confident in my teaching, which in turn has made my students more confident.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Student collaborative arrangements in high school jazz band
    (2024) Blankenship, Hunter
    This purpose of this project is to fill the gap in student knowledge of the structure and organization of a big band jazz chart and to give them an opportunity to experience using their aural skills to create their own arrangement. Students compared and contrasted elements of the arrangements of a small group “combo” jazz ensemble to that of a large “big band” jazz ensemble. They then transcribed/harmonized a jazz blues melody, learned to improvise stylistically over the chord changes, and collaborated with their sections to compose rhythmic background figures to accompany the soloists, all without using standard notation. This process resulted in a completed big band jazz arrangement that was arranged solely by the students, which they then performed on their spring concert. This Masters’ program introduced me to new perspectives and approaches to jazz education, particularly regarding improvisation. The Research in Music Education Class opened my eyes to the current research in improvisation, especially the psychological element of building confidence in beginners. The research proposal project in this class allowed me to create warm-up material for my high school beginning jazz ensemble and learn which of those warm- ups are most effective in building confidence with my beginners. Establishing this warm-up process helped to develop the culture of improvisation of this ensemble, which encouraged me to go one step further and develop the lesson plans for this Masters Report. Similarly, during the Introduction to Graduate Studies class, I was able to discover new materials and methods for teaching improvisation in a large ensemble setting. A common challenge of teaching high school jazz band is that with the quick turnaround time that is expected of the ensemble in rehearsing for adjudication festivals, school concerts, and other community events, there is seldomly enough time to devote to the seemingly daunting task of improvisation. Additionally, the individual attention necessary for proper improvisation instruction is not exactly practical in an ensemble of 20+ students. Books such as David Berger’s (2018) High School Jazz: A Director’s Guide to a Better Band and David Baker’s (1988) Jazz Pedagogy: A Comprehensive Method of Jazz Education for Teachers and Students have been invaluable resources for getting ideas to incorporate bite-sized elements of improvisation instruction into the large jazz ensemble setting without sacrificing significant rehearsal time. These resources and experiences throughout my time in the Masters’ program have given me the knowledge and tools to craft a unique experience for my high school jazz band that is authentic to the jazz idiom.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teaching vibrato in the middle school classroom
    (2024) Humbert, Ashton
    The purpose of my project is to teach vibrato to a middle school orchestra class. I chose teaching vibrato as my project because I did not have a full in-depth unit to teach vibrato to my middle school students. Vibrato is an important concept that can be developed before students go to high school, but it is one that is often overlooked in middle school. Teaching vibrato in this manner also gives the students experience with shifting and playing out of first position, which is another needed skill for advancing musicians. Another reason for vibrato is that not many of my students are able to take private lessons. A lot of the study of vibrato is done within private lessons, so I wanted to provide the opportunity for students to learn vibrato in the classroom without having to take lessons. When first developing a plan for the process, I started with the end goal in mind: to have my students implement vibrato in their playing by the time they leave middle school. I wanted there to be a cohesive method to teach basic exercises and developing vibrato for all students on all instruments in my classroom at the same time. The beginning of the process started with the violin and viola players completing exercises that were specific to their instrument while the cello and bass players did exercises that were exclusive to theirs. Once these exercises were implemented, students were performing the exercises for their instrument at the same time. The students then developed the vibrato motion for the second finger and the third finger in third position. This process continued with the first and fourth fingers, and finally playing four note patterns with adding vibrato. Students then moved to first position and performed the same four note patterns to fully develop the vibrato motion and technique. Finally, we added vibrato to a scale that matches our concert repertoire and into our concert repertoire. This process helped my students to advance as musicians and they have another year of middle school to fully develop and become proficient at vibrato before going on to high school. My development as a teacher has come from the coursework I have done during my time at K-State. Through the upper strings and lower strings methods classes, I learned different techniques of teaching vibrato and I was able to improve my own vibrato skills on each instrument. This has helped me to better understand how to develop lessons that will be efficient and effective for my students. Another strong aspect of my learning at K-State is the work done on my teaching philosophy. As I was reading different music education philosophies and developing my own, I learned more about how my personal philosophy plays a part in how I teach and what type of teacher I am. Finalizing my teaching principals has also played a part in developing my project because I believe that middle school is the best time to learn advanced techniques such as vibrato. My education at K-State has also helped to mold my teaching and develop my confidence as an educator. The feedback that I received from my professors and classmates has encouraged me to think outside of the box with lesson planning, teaching methodologies, and conducting.
  • ItemEmbargo
    A study on liquid sourdough fermentation as affected by strain and mill fraction composition
    (2024) Dorsch, Andrew
    In the past few years, sourdough has seen a surge in popularity in the United States baking culture. Sourdough utilizes lactic acid producing bacteria, acetic acid producing bacteria, and yeasts to provide pH change, flavor development, and CO2 production. The objective of this study was to determine the impact different LAB strains have on the fermentation characteristics of experimental milled wheat fractions. Hard red winter wheat was milled to create nine fractions with differing composition. To assess the compositional characteristics of the various fractions, testing was done on moisture, ash, mineral content, starch content, and damaged starch for each fraction. The fractions were then fermented using three purified strains of lactic acid producing bacteria, or LAB. The strains, distinguished as La1, La2, and La3, utilize different metabolic pathways during fermentation, which is hypothesized to result in unique fermentation characteristics. Vmax, Tmax, time to pH 4.0, minimum pH, and maximum TTA were collected by monitoring the pH and total titratable acidity during the 48-hour fermentation. The metabolites accumulated in the fermented sourdough were also quantified. The data was analyzed to determine how the various strain and fraction combinations performed, as well as how the fermentation characteristics are correlated to the fraction composition. It was determined that each of the nine fractions had unique compositions, morphology, and functional characterizations. In general, the La2 strain, which is homofermentative, was able to achieve a pH of 4.0 earlier than the other strains. La2 also had the lowest minimum pH and the highest maximum TTA. Specifically, La2 performed best when fermenting those fractions with higher amounts of endosperm. La1 and La3 are both heterofermentative bacteria and performed best when fermenting fractions with higher mineral content. Overall, the shorts fraction resulted in faster acidification and higher final acid production for all strains. It was found that the selection of both substrate and strain has a clear impact on the fermentation characteristics and sourdough characteristics when the process is held constant. These differences can help industry determine what strain or wheat fraction can be utilized to achieve a desired fermentation and sourdough characteristics outcome.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Toward more precise microwave ablation systems
    (2024) Zeinali, Nooshin
    Thermal ablation procedures aim to eradicate targeted tissue by heating to temperatures exceeding 55-60 °C, where cell death occurs through coagulative necrosis. In the context of tumor ablation, the goal of the procedure is to have the ablation zone encompass the pathological lesion and a surrounding 5-10 mm margin of normal tissue. Microwave ablation (MWA) is an image-guided, energy-based technology, typically operating at 915 MHz or 2.45 GHz, that is widely used for treating various solid tumors, including those in the liver, kidney, and lung. During an MWA treatment, monitoring the temperature and estimating the attributed to resultant thermal damage can provide valuable insights for clinicians. The absence of a widely available, reliable, low-cost, real-time imaging system is a recognized unmet clinical need, posing a barrier to wider clinical adoption of microwave thermal ablation procedures. This dissertation presents an electromagnetic transmission coefficient-based method for monitoring MWA procedures where the intended target is bracketed by two or more applicators. The electromagnetic transmission signal between the applicators depends on the geometry between the applicators and the medium between them. During ablation, the latter changes, and since the tissue dielectric properties change, this signal varies accordingly. A custom experimental ablation platform was developed to facilitate periodic switching between "heating mode," during which power from the generator was coupled to the applicators, and "monitoring mode," during which the applicators were connected to a network analyzer for broadband transmission coefficient (s21) measurements. The initial aim was to assess the feasibility of monitoring the transient spread of thermal ablation zones using the microwave transmission coefficient-based technique in ex vivo tissue. MWA was performed on ex vivo bovine liver using a pair of custom 2.45 GHz directional applicators. Experiments were conducted with applied powers ranging from 30 to 50 W per applicator for durations ranging between 53 and 1219 s. The transient s21 spectra collected throughout the ablations were analyzed to evaluate the feasibility of predicting the extent of ablation zones, and predictions were then compared against ground truth assessments derived from images of sectioned tissue. A linear regression-based mapping between the processed transmission data and the ground truth measurements was derived to predict the extent of ablation. The normalized average transmission coefficient initially decreased rapidly and then increased before asymptotically approaching a steady state. The transition time ranged from 53 s at 45 W to 109 s at 30 W. Analysis of the ground truth ablation zone images indicated that the time to complete ablation ranged from 230 to 350 s. The relative prediction error for the time to complete ablation, derived from the s21 data, was between 1.6% and 2.3% compared to the ground truth. Next, an experimental study was designed to determine the feasibility of distinguishing between contiguous and discontiguous ablation zones using broadband transmission signals from a pair of omnidirectional-directional MWA applicators in an in vivo large animal model. Custom-built hardware facilitated the measurement of transmission signals during dual-applicator MWA at predetermined 46 s intervals. A multimodal ground truth was established using contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) of ablation zones, cross-sectional and transversal gross pathologic assessments, and histopathologic evaluations of thermal injury. The study included 15 experiments on the livers of four domestic swine, with ablation durations of either 200 s or 600 s. Statistical analysis, correlation assessments, and exploratory data analysis were employed to assess the system’s capability to distinguish between contiguous and discontiguous ablation zones. Results showed clearly distinctive transmission signal datasets describing contiguous and discontiguous ablation zones. Spatiotemporal spread of ablation appears to be strongly correlated with measured and processed transmission signals (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.87, p < 0.0001). Based on processed transmission signal, a threshold value of 53% was determined as optimal for indicating ablation evolution through ROC analysis (AUC 0.84, p =0.02, permutation test, 100,000 permutations). To summarize, the feasibility of monitoring the spatiotemporal spread of thermal ablation zones using broadband microwave transmission coefficient measurements in ex vivo tissue, as well as effectively distinguishing between contiguous and discontiguous ablation zones in MWA procedures in in vivo tissue, were demonstrated. The presented technique holds potential to address the clinical need for a reliable method to monitor the spread of thermal ablation zones in real-time, potentially improving the precision and effectiveness of ablation therapies.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Structure-function analysis of staphylococcal inhibitors of neutrophil granule enzymes
    (2024) Mishra, Nitin Bhalchandra
    Neutrophils are the most numerous leukocytes in humans and serve as the first responders to bacterial infection. They combat pathogens through phagocytosis, degranulation, and release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Upon phagocytosis of bacteria, neutrophils mobilize their granule-resident defense systems which include the antibacterial enzymes myeloperoxidase (MPO) and the neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) neutrophil elastase (NE), proteinase-3 (PR3) and cathepsin-G (CG). Whereas MPO uses H2O2 as a precursor for production of cytotoxic hypohalous acids, neutrophil serine proteases exhibit broad substrate specificity, enabling them to cleave multiple bacterial proteins. The presence of these antibacterial defense systems allows neutrophils to serve as an effective defender against pathogens. However, due to extensive selective pressure, certain pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus have evolved the molecular means to evade neutrophil antibacterial defenses. In this dissertation, we explored the structure and function of two different families of staphylococcal proteins that inhibit neutrophil antibacterial enzymes. Staphylococcal Peroxidase Inhibitor (SPIN) is an ~8 kDa immune evasion protein that binds MPO with high affinity, inhibiting its activity. Structure-function investigations have revealed that SPIN acts as a molecular plug, blocking solute exchange with the MPO active site and thereby inhibiting production of hypohalous acids (e.g. HOCl, HOBr, etc.). The triple-helical C-terminus of SPIN mediates MPO binding, while its N-terminus is required for MPO inhibition. The SPIN/MPO co-crystal structure shows the SPIN N-terminus adopts a β-hairpin conformation in the presence of MPO. However, the lack of intrinsic stabilizing features within the SPIN N-terminus suggests it adopts a disordered state before binding to MPO. To investigate this further, we introduced a disulfide to trap the SPIN N-terminus in the MPO-bound conformation, resulting in a variant named SPIN-cys. We used a combination of 2D and 3D solution NMR experiments to confirm the presence of the disulfide bond and investigate the solution structure features. Our analysis revealed that while SPIN-cys adopts the characteristic triple helical structure at its C-terminus, the N-terminus remains disordered in the solution. Further examination of backbone dynamics through HETnoe and NMR relaxation experiments showed that the incorporation of a disulfide bond to the N-terminus of the protein increased its stability compared to the wild-type SPIN. SPR analysis showed that SPIN-cys has a higher affinity for MPO than its wild-type counterpart, resulting in enhanced inhibition of MPO. It appears that the disulfide bond limits the range of conformations in the N-terminus of SPIN, which is responsible for the increase in affinity and apparent enhancement of inhibition. The multidomain extracellular adherence protein (Eap) and its single-domain homologs (EapH1 and EapH2) are potent inhibitors of NSPs. While EapH1 employs a globally similar binding mode to inhibit CG and NE, understanding NSP inhibition by EapH2 has been challenging due to the absence of NSP/EapH2 cocrystal structures. To address this gap, we utilized NMR chemical shift perturbation (CSP) and crystallography techniques to investigate EapH2 and its interactions with CG and NE. We discovered that while overlapping regions of EapH1 and EapH2 were involved in CG binding, distinct regions of EapH1 and EapH2 experienced changes upon NE binding. This suggested that EapH2 may be capable of simultaneously binding and inhibiting CG and NE. We confirmed this unexpected finding by solving crystal structures of the CG/EapH2/NE complex and validating their functional relevance through enzyme inhibition assays. Thereafter, we investigated NSP binding and inhibition by both the individual domains that comprise Eap as well as full-length Eap itself. Crystallography analysis showed that individual Eap domains inhibit CG and NE simultaneously, similarly to EapH2. Since full length Eap exists as a multidomain protein in its natural state, we explored the simultaneous occupancies by NSPs at its respective sites using SAXS. These results revealed that Eap can simultaneously bind four CG molecules or four NE molecules in solution. Furthermore, Eap34, a multi-domain variant, demonstrated the ability to occupy all binding sites simultaneously, and formed higher-order structures in the presence of NSPs. These observations strongly suggest that the full-length Eap protein is a polyvalent and bifunctional inhibitor of neutrophil serine proteases.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Integrated improvisation instruction into the daily jazz band rehearsal
    (2024) Partin, Ryan
    The purpose of this master’s project was to develop and implement daily improvisation instruction in the high school jazz ensemble rehearsal. I consider myself a competent jazz musician, but up until this school year, I did not have any structured improvisation lessons in place. This newly developed curriculum presents the topic of jazz improvisation in a logical and clearly sequenced design that starts with the most basic principles of listening and melody construction, giving the students the foundation upon which to build their knowledge and facility as improvisors. The primary focus is on utilizing articulations and rhythmic ideas that exemplify the style, with a secondary focus on note selection. To further develop their sense of time and style, students listened and responded to various famous jazz solos in several styles, echoed rhythms that were demonstrated by the instructor, and composed several short musical ideas, or licks. At the conclusion of the project, each student performed one chorus of an improvised solo and critiqued their classmate’s improvisation based on the provided rubric. Over the course of my Master’s Program at Kansas State University, I further honed my ability to develop a curriculum that is organized in a natural sequence of learning and is well thought out for the entire year. I utilized the backward design process of starting with desired outcomes first, a process I learned while taking the course Curriculum Development and Learning Assessment at KSU last summer. I also learned to create adequate assessment tools that inform my decisions on further curriculum refinement. The process of developing program goals, course goals, and assessment tools has further refined my understanding of effective course design and will only increase my impact as an educator. Though my master’s project was focused on one aspect of jazz ensemble rehearsal, I plan to use what I have learned about curriculum development to further refine all aspects of my teaching. Another area of growth that I experienced during my time at KSU is my ability to confidently access and interpret research in music education. I now have a plethora of resources at my disposal, and I can identify and implement new practices in my classroom that are backed by empirical evidence. Based on my newfound knowledge in educational research, I created an action research project that examined the relationship between singing tonal rhythm patterns and its effect on intonation of middle school band students. I enjoyed the process of creating the research project and I will most certainly create more action research projects throughout my career. My time at Kansas State University has made me a more effective music educator and has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to provide an excellent music education for my students.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evaluation of Streambank Stabilization Structures on Upstream and Downstream Bank Erosion
    (2024) Monzon, Corben
    For many decades streambank stabilization techniques have been used to help reduce channel erosion and restore fluvial systems to a more natural state. The overarching goal of this research is to better understand how river systems respond to streambank stabilization (SBS). In this case study, the aim is to broaden the understanding of the effects of SBS projects from a localized scale to a reach, in hopes of answering the research question: Do SBS projects reduce the net amount of sediment that is carried by the river, or do they push the ‘erosion problem’ upstream or downstream? To evaluate this question, a before-after construction analysis was established to examine changes in channel geometry along two reaches of the Cottonwood River, located in east-central Kansas, USA. Each reach consists of three meanders, with the middle meander containing a SBS project of rock vanes, toe rock, and bank shaping. The remaining two meanders, located upstream and downstream of the SBS project, remained unmodified. Over the past six years, these study reaches have been surveyed five to six times, with the majority of the topographic surveys occurring prior to construction. To further the understanding of the measured changes in channel geometry, a collection of channel topographic data, along with USGS stream gage data, was used to simulate flows using HEC-RAS modeling. The results from these analyses indicate (1) streambank lateral retreat rates and stream power were reduced at the stabilized sites, (2) streambank erosion and stream power increased upstream and downstream of the stabilized sites, and (3) the reaches had a net streambed deposition following construction. Overall, more monitoring is necessary to determine the long-term impacts of SBS and whether the aforementioned results are attributed to a “break in” period or a new trend.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Applying safety management systems in general aviation
    (2024) Schreiber, Clarence
    Safety Management Systems within aviation are not required for Part 91 general aviation flight operations. However, the failure to establish industry best practices that voluntarily incorporate safety management within their respective flight operations is referenced in the National Transportation Safety Board post-accident findings and recommendations. Aviation Safety Management Systems are pointedly referenced as scalable to individual flight operations; however, the Federal Aviation Administration does not offer an example template at any levelfor aviation organizations or service providers to follow. This capstone project aims to demonstrate the necessity for flight organizations to voluntarily implement safety management and how a flight operation that does not require a safety management program can develop a program that meets established industry best practices scaled to their unique operations.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Using machine-learning approach to predict Big-five personality traits based on subconscious behaviors
    (2024) Lim, Juhwan
    Hiring the right people is the first step for hospitality organizations to enhance service quality and customer satisfaction by obtaining competitive advantages. To find the right people, numerous hospitality companies pay attention to job candidates’ personality traits to evaluate the fit between the companies and job candidates during job interviews. However, evaluations of personality traits can be biased and misunderstood as interviewees often disguise their personalities to create desired impressions. Previous studies in psychology have suggested that people’s unique characteristics can be inferred by their subconscious communication types, that is, verbal, para-verbal, and non-verbal behaviors. Nevertheless, it is yet to be tested how three subconscious behaviors are associated with personality traits, thus influencing hiring decisions made by interviewers. Thus, the primary purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between interviewees’ three communication types, Big-five personality traits, and interviewers’ hiring decisions in the job interview context. Moreover, Big-five personality traits are measured by three types of Big-five personality traits assessments: interviewer-reported, self-reported, and machine learning-inferred Big-five personality traits, to capture various aspects of personality traits assessment. To test the proposed hypotheses, 10 mock-up interviewers and 106 mock-up interviewees were recruited from Prolific and one of the universities in mid-west areas of US, using four screening conditions: (1) 18 years or older, (2) currently living in the United States, (3) seeking supervisory job opportunities in the hospitality industry, and (4) having LinkedIn personal page, for mock-up interviews. Four machine learning-based techniques were employed to measure interviewees’ verbal, para-verbal, and non-verbal behaviors. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to verify the validity and reliability of interviewer-reported and self-reported Big-five personality traits. Regression analyses were employed to test the proposed hypotheses. Regarding the relationships between three communication types, interviewer-reported Big-five personality traits, and hiring decisions, verbal behaviors had significant effects on extraversion (β = .364, p < .01), openness (β = .227, p < .01), and agreeableness (β = .169, p < .01) traits, while para-verbal behaviors were significantly associated with openness (β = .108, p < .01) and consciousness (β = .090, p < .01) traits. Non-verbal behaviors had significant impacts on openness (β = .079, p < .05), agreeableness (β = .083, p < .01), and conscientiousness (β = .104, p < .01) traits. Among five dimensions of interviewer-reported Big-five personality traits, neuroticism (β = -.406, p < .01), extraversion (β = .270, p < .01), agreeableness (β = .327, p < .01) were significantly associated with hiring decisions. In terms of the associations between three communication types, self-reported Big-five personality traits, and hiring decisions. both para-verbal behaviors (β = -.096, p < .01) and nonverbal behaviors (β = .045, p < .05) were significantly related to an openness trait. Extraversion (β = .288, p < .05) and conscientiousness (β = .486, p < .01) traits, among five dimensions of self-reported Big-five personality traits, were found to be significant in explaining hiring decisions. When it comes to the effects of three communication types on machine learning-inferred Big-five personality traits, verbal (β = .650, p < .05) and non-verbal (β = .322, p < .05) behaviors were significantly related to an extraversion trait. Among five dimensions of machine learning inferred Big-five personality traits, neuroticism (β = -.072, p < .05), extraversion (β = .063, p < .05), openness (β = .082, p < .05) traits had significant effects on interviewers’ hiring decisions. Finally, regarding the relationships between interviewees’ three communication types and hiring decisions, verbal (β = .304, p < .01) and non-verbal (β = .104, p < .05) were significantly associated with hiring decisions. Based on the results, this study’s theoretical and practical contributions, and limitations with recommendations for future research are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The interaction of precipitation and land use effect on biological and chemical soil health indicators across a Kansas precipitation gradient
    (2024) Poydras, Tiffany
    As a concept and principal, soil health is intricately entwined with climate change. The health and stability of the soil is vital to reducing agricultural CO2 emissions and increasing sequestered carbon to combat climate change. To improve the effectiveness of soil health practices, it is essential that thorough investigations be made on the interactions between soil health principles in climate change as well as how responses can change with different land uses and increasing depth. Analysis of the effect of temperature, elevation, water content, and seasonal variability have been thoroughly explored, but the legacy that precipitation has on soil health in different land uses has been widely looked over. Conveniently, Kansas is the perfect place for this investigation because it has a rather consistent soil-type, land formation and a grassland ecosystem with a linear precipitation gradient. To test this relationship, three different land uses were sampled, representing three different levels of disturbance (Native Prairie, Restored Prairie, and AG) across 12 different locations, creating a linear gradient increasing from west to east from 400 mm to 1100 mm of mean annual precipitation. These sites were sampled to a depth of 120 cm and divided into five depth increments of 0-5 cm, 5-15 cm, 15-30cm, 30-75cm, and 75-120cm. Analysis of soil was conducted using soil health indicators, including soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, enzyme activity, PLFA, and CO2 respiration. Statistical analysis was performed in R using both univariate and multivariate statistical models to show the complex interaction between factors. Results show that disturbance impacted the relationship between soil health even after restoration, and sites with active agricultural use were decoupled from the effects of precipitation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Effects of late-summer prescribed fire on botanical composition, soil cover, and forage production in Caucasian bluestem-infested rangelands in the Kansas Smoky Hills
    (2024) Giefer, Helen
    The invasive old-world bluestem species, yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) and Caucasian bluestem (Bothriochloa bladhii), have been displacing native grasses and forbs in the Great Plains since they were first introduced to the United States for soil conservation and as a forage source in the early 20th century. Targeted removal of old-world bluestems has proven difficult. Traditional, spring-season prescribed fire appears to promote growth and proliferation of the invasive species to a greater extent than native species; moreover, treatment with glyphosate is expensive and non-selective. After reports of successful yellow bluestem removal using late-summer prescribed fire, a similar experiment targeting Caucasian bluestem was conducted in a heavily invaded, mixed-grass pasture in Ellsworth County, Kansas. Eighteen 4,047 square meters (i.e., 1 acre) plots were assigned randomly to one of three treatments: no burn (control), one burn (August 14, 2019), or two burns (August 14, 2019, and August 11, 2021). Beginning in 2019 and ending in 2023, annual measurements of soil cover, botanical composition, forage biomass, and Caucasian bluestem frequency were conducted in each plot. In plots burned once or twice, bare soil increased (P < 0.01) and Caucasian bluestem cover decreased (P < 0.01) the year following each fire, allowing for increases in forb cover (P = 0.03) and grass species richness (P = 0.01). While C4 tallgrass and shortgrass covers were not affected by fire (P ≥ 0.13), C4 midgrasses, of which Caucasian bluestem is a member, decreased (P = 0.04) in response to fire. These results were interpreted to suggest that late-summer prescribed fire may provide targeted Caucasian bluestem control without inflicting harm on native vegetation; however, it is believed that fire must be regularly applied to maintain control over time.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Computer simulation of simple and complex electrolyte solutions
    (2024) Khurshid, Farhat
    The computer simulation of simple and complex electrolyte solutions is a powerful tool for understanding the behavior of ions in various environments, ranging from fundamental studies to practical applications. In these simulations, computational models mimic the behavior of ions in solution by considering their interactions with solvent molecules and other ions. Classical molecular dynamics simulations are often used for simple electrolyte solutions. These simulations provide insights into ion solvation, pairing, etc. In contrast, simulating complex electrolyte solutions, such as seawater, requires more effort. By elucidating the microscopic details of electrolyte solutions, computer simulations can aid in the design of new materials, the optimization of industrial processes, and provide fundamental advances in fields as diverse as electrochemistry, geochemistry, and biophysics. This thesis is divided into two main parts. The first part involves the simulation of simple ionic solutions and the development of a classical force field for alkali metal nitrate and alkaline earth nitrate aqueous solutions. We adjust the charges on N and O atoms of the nitrate ion, along with Lennard-Jones parameters (σ and ϵ) to optimize the model. We then test the parameters by determining Kirkwood-Buff Integrals (KBIs) for a series of alkali and alkaline earth metal nitrates at various concentrations in water and comparing them to their experimental KBIs. Good agreement between the simulated and experimental KBIs was observed. The second part of the thesis deals with more complex electrolyte solutions. We simulate 2 M pure alkali chloride aqueous solutions, together with mixtures of two 1 M alkali chloride aqueous solutions, both placed between Au plates. The Au layers were either charged or uncharged. We could identify the preference of the different alkali metal ions for the charged Au plates that varies with the charge on the plates. The two main competing factors were the loss of the solvation shell and the effect of ion pair formation in the bulk solution. We also simulated a second set of complex electrolyte solutions. We compare and contrast the properties of regular seawater, red sea water, and dead sea water using a Kirkwood Buff theory approach. This was achieved by separating the KBIs into thermodynamic and charge neutralization contributions, which represents a new approach for the comparison of electrolyte solutions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ostmeyer Family Farms: Economic feasibility of replacing Summer fallow with Spring canola in Northwest Kansas
    (2024) Ostmeyer, Jay
    This thesis was completed to study the economic feasibility of replacing summer fallow with spring canola in Northwest Kansas, particularly Ostmeyer Family Farms. Ostmeyer Family Farms comprises irrigated and dryland farm grounds in Thomas and Sheridan County, Kansas. The farm has been in no-till production for the past 25 years. To help improve overall profitability and combat increased chemical-resistant weeds, Ostmeyer Family Farms needs to look for an alternative management approach. This thesis outlines one alternative to summer fallow. Research was completed regarding the ability to grow and market spring canola in northwest Kansas. This research showed that the climate was particularly suited to increasing spring canola in northwest Kansas. The spring canola market is an emerging market in northwest Kansas and is feasible to ship by truck. Analysis was completed on each of the following enterprises: i) wheat after fallow, ii) wheat after spring canola, iii) chemical fallow, iv) corn, and v) spring canola. Each enterprise budget established a rotation budget of fallow wheat corn and yellow-seeded canola-wheat corn. The fallow-wheat-corn rotational budget resulted in a net loss of $48.66 per acre, while the spring canola-wheat-corn rotation budget resulted in a net loss of $52.27.