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Exploring the Role of Student Religiosity in the Biology Classroom

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In response to a national call within STEM to increase diversity within the sciences, there has been a growth in science education research aimed at increasing participation of underrepresented groups in science, such as women and ethnic/racial minorities. However, an

In response to a national call within STEM to increase diversity within the sciences, there has been a growth in science education research aimed at increasing participation of underrepresented groups in science, such as women and ethnic/racial minorities. However, an underexplored underrepresented group in science are religious students. Though 82% of the United States population is religiously affiliated, only 52% of scientists are religious (Pew, 2009). Even further, only 32% of biologists are religious, with 25% identifying as Christian (Pew, 2009; Ecklund, 2007). One reason as to why Christian individuals are underrepresented in biology is because faculty may express biases that affect students' ability to persist in the field of biology. In this study, we explored how revealing a Christian student's religious identity on science graduate application would impact faculty's perception of the student during the biology graduate application process. We found that faculty were significantly more likely to perceive the student who revealed their religious identity to be less competent, hirable, likeable, and faculty would be less likely to mentor the student. Our study informs upon possible reasons as to why there is an underrepresentation of Christians in science. This further suggests that bias against Christians must be addressed in order to avoid real-world, negative treatment of Christians in science.

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2018-05

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The Effects of Nitrogen Fertilization of Wheatgrass on the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata)

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Locusts are a major crop pest in many parts of the world and different species are endemic to different countries. In Latin America, the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata) is the predominant species found mostly in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay,

Locusts are a major crop pest in many parts of the world and different species are endemic to different countries. In Latin America, the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata) is the predominant species found mostly in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil with Argentina being the most affected. Several control and management practices, including biological control, have been implemented in these countries in the past to control the locusts and reduce their impact on crop and vegetation, however, effective long-term control and management practices will require a detail understanding of how the predominant locust species in this region responds to resource variation. Research has shown that there is strong evidence that locusts, and many other organisms, will actively balance dietary macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and lipids) to optimize growth, survival, and/or reproduction. A study by Cease et. al, 2017, on the dietary preferences of the Mongolian locust (Oedaleus asiaticus) showed that it prefers diets that are high in carbohydrates over diets that are high in protein, in this case locusts self-selected a 1:2 ratio of protein:carbohydrate. This and many other studies provide vital insight into the nutritional and feeding preferences of these locust species but the effects that this difference in protein: carbohydrate preferences has on growth, egg production, flight potential, and survival has yet to be fully explored, hence, this study investigates the effects that nitrogen fertilization of wheatgrass will have on the growth, egg production, survival, and flight muscle mass of the South American locust in a controlled, laboratory environment.

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2018-05

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Operation Toothbrush: Understanding Pediatric Dentistry in Low Income Communities

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Operation Toothbrush is an initiative established to combat the oral healthcare disparity within young children who reside in Arizona. By working with elementary and preschool children, the project educated them and their families about the importance of oral hygiene in

Operation Toothbrush is an initiative established to combat the oral healthcare disparity within young children who reside in Arizona. By working with elementary and preschool children, the project educated them and their families about the importance of oral hygiene in informative and intuitive manner. The project incorporated the help of Pre-Dental volunteers, dental practices, and the Woodside Grant to obtain the supplies, information, and assistance necessary to conduct the initiative.

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2017-05

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An Analysis of Arizona's Political Influence on K-12 STEM Education and Its Impact on Latino Undergraduates in STEM Majors

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The aim of this study is to analyze the impact Arizona legislation has had on STEM education access, specifically for Latino students. Using socio-ecological systems theory, this study explores the relation between the macro and exo-systemic context of education legislation

The aim of this study is to analyze the impact Arizona legislation has had on STEM education access, specifically for Latino students. Using socio-ecological systems theory, this study explores the relation between the macro and exo-systemic context of education legislation and the micro-systemic context of being a STEM undergraduate at a state university. In order to understand how STEM education is affected, legislation was analyzed through the Arizona Legislative Database. Additionally, current STEM undergraduates were interviewed in order to discover the factors that made them successful in their majors. Data from the interviews would demonstrate the influence of the Arizona legislation macro and exo-systems on the microsystemic portion of Latinos and their access to STEM education. A total of 24 students were interviewed as part of this study. Their responses shed light on the complexities of STEM education access and the importance of mentorship for success in STEM. The overall conclusion is that more efforts need to be made before STEM education is readily available to many, but the most effective way to achieve this is through mentorship.

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2017-05

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Increased interactions in active learning biology classrooms: Exploring the impact of instructors using student names and student academic self-concept

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Learning student names has been promoted as an inclusive classroom practice, but it is unknown whether students value having their names known by an instructor. We explored this question in the context of a high-enrollment active-learning undergraduate biology course. Using

Learning student names has been promoted as an inclusive classroom practice, but it is unknown whether students value having their names known by an instructor. We explored this question in the context of a high-enrollment active-learning undergraduate biology course. Using surveys and semistructured interviews, we investigated whether students perceived that instructors know their names, the importance of instructors knowing their names, and how instructors learned their names. We found that, while only 20% of students perceived their names were known in previous high-enrollment biology classes, 78% of students perceived that an instructor of this course knew their names. However, instructors only knew 53% of names, indicating that instructors do not have to know student names in order for students to perceive that their names are known. Using grounded theory, we identified nine reasons why students feel that having their names known is important. When we asked students how they perceived instructors learned their names, the most common response was instructor use of name tents during in-class discussion. These findings suggest that students can benefit from perceiving that instructors know their names and name tents could be a relatively easy way for students to think that instructors know their names. Academic self-concept is one's perception of his or her ability in an academic domain compared to other students. As college biology classrooms transition from lecturing to active learning, students interact more with each other and are likely comparing themselves more to students in the class. Student characteristics, such as gender and race/ethnicity, can impact the level of academic self-concept, however this has been unexplored in the context of undergraduate biology. In this study, we explored whether student characteristics can affect academic self-concept in the context of a college physiology course. Using a survey, students self-reported how smart they perceived themselves in the context of physiology compared to the whole class and compared to the student they worked most closely with in class. Using logistic regression, we found that males and native English speakers had significantly higher academic self-concept compared to the whole class compared with females and non-native English speakers, respectively. We also found that males and non-transfer students had significantly higher academic self-concept compared to the student they worked most closely with in class compared with females and transfer students, respectively. Using grounded theory, we identified ten distinct factors that influenced how students determined whether they are more or less smart than their groupmate. Finally, we found that students were more likely to report participating less than their groupmate if they had a lower academic self-concept. These findings suggest that student characteristics can influence students' academic self-concept, which in turn may influence their participation in small group discussion.

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2017-05

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A Supporting Model for Teaching Fundamental Ecological Principles to Third Through Fifth Grade Students

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In today's world, critical thinking and using a systems approach to problem solving are skills that are far too rare. In the age of information, the truth has become muddled by "fake news" and a constant barrage of exaggerations or

In today's world, critical thinking and using a systems approach to problem solving are skills that are far too rare. In the age of information, the truth has become muddled by "fake news" and a constant barrage of exaggerations or blatant falsehoods. Without critical thinking skills, "many members of our society do not command the scientific literacy necessary to address important societal issues and concerns" (NCES 2012, p.11). Additionally, far too many people are incapable of thinking long term and understanding how their actions affect others. Because of this shortsightedness our world is facing one of its biggest ecological crises \u2014 global warming confounded by overpopulation and overconsumption. Now, more than ever, it is critical "for our young people to have a basic understanding of the relevant scientific ideas, technologies and ethical issues and powers of reasoning, to be prepared to face these issues" (Harlen et al., 2015). I believe that investigating innovative ways to teach ecology could be an important step to accomplishing this. Learning to think like a scientist forces people to rely on facts, follow similar protocols to deduce these facts, and be able to think critically about misleading events. More specifically, ecology education will allow people to develop those skills while also learning about team work, open-mindedness, and their environment. Ecology is defined as "the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings" (Dictionary.com, 2018). It is clear that this subcategory of science could act as a powerful introduction to the scientific world and how we relate to it. Its introduction at a young age has the potential to create a generation of conscientious and curious lifelong learners. In an attempt to support effective ways to teach ecology, I developed an educational unit and applied it in different educational contexts. My target audience was elementary aged students and I tested this unit with children in Phoenix Metropolitan Area afterschool programs. I taught core concepts of ecology \u2014 the water cycle, the sun's energy, plants and photosynthesis, and food webs \u2014in a sequence of lesson plans that build upon each other. Finally, I determined the appropriate age group and setting for these lesson plans through research and in-class observations. In this document, I explain the process I went through in developing my lesson plans, why I felt compelled to make them, and my experiences in implementing them.

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2018-05

Integrating Science and Sustainability: Creating Sustainability Educational Material for K-12 Teachers

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This paper analyzes the Flint, Michigan water crisis through research of water treatment in the United States. Pertinent scientific information is provided to serve as a background from which the reader can draw from to best understand the situation. The

This paper analyzes the Flint, Michigan water crisis through research of water treatment in the United States. Pertinent scientific information is provided to serve as a background from which the reader can draw from to best understand the situation. The significance of water treatment in the context of sustainability is demonstrated through this descriptive case study of Flint. In ongoing efforts to supply safe drinking water to all communities, the comprehension of how the national framework works and why water is treated is paramount. Through the lens of society, this paper examines the science of water pollution, water treatment, treatment issues, and ensuing consequences. Water is a critical finite resource, and understanding how to most effectively use this limited resource is a major goal of the sustainable agenda.

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2018-05

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Teaching Sustainability with Goats in Grenada: Informal Education and the Formal Classroom

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Although sustainability as a concept and a science has been around for quite some time, it has only recently come into the common vernacular of citizens around the world. While there are a number of arguments that have been and

Although sustainability as a concept and a science has been around for quite some time, it has only recently come into the common vernacular of citizens around the world. While there are a number of arguments that have been and can be made about the role of sustainability in developing countries, it can be said with certainty that sustainability education, especially at the pre-university level, is commonly neglected even in countries that have sustainability initiatives elsewhere in their systems. Education is an important part of development in any country, and sustainability education is critical to raising generations who are more aware of the connections in the world around them. Informal education, or education that takes place outside of a formal classroom, can provide an especially important platform for sustainability ideas. These factors take on unique characteristics within the environment of a small island with noble sustainability goals but limited resources and an economy that includes a significant domestic goat population. After providing basic background on sustainability and the nature of the educational process within the environment of the small island-nation of Grenada, I discuss the importance of informal education and follow my path with a local non-profit in Grenada leading to the development of a locally-relevant sustainability curriculum for implementation in a K-6 school.

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2015-05

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How Collaboration is Operationalized and Successfully Implemented in Language Learning Classrooms.

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Education plays a key role throughout many different fields of study. My question has to do with not what we are learning, but how we are learning it, therefore focusing more on the teaching and instructional design aspect of the

Education plays a key role throughout many different fields of study. My question has to do with not what we are learning, but how we are learning it, therefore focusing more on the teaching and instructional design aspect of the learning process. Specifically, the goal of my thesis is to theoretically define collaborative learning and develop a framework that demonstrates how collaboration and interactivity can be successfully implemented in a language learning classroom. Language learning is essential in schools because it enables students to be culturally aware. According to the Modern Language Teachers' Association of South Australia, language learning plays a significant role in 21st Century learning. It assists students in being more community engaged as well as culturally diverse. They state that "knowing additional languages and cultures involves connecting, engaging, and interacting with others and negotiating boundaries based on diverse ways of understanding the world." (MLTASA) Collaboration can be very beneficial in the human learning process. According to Webb, students that collaborate with each other engage in challenging conversations and produce joint solutions whereas students that don't collaborate engage in conversation about practical rather than abstract matters (Webb, 2009). The success of collaboration is defined by the content of the dialog, groups won't necessarily engage in beneficial dialogue without help and facilitation by the teacher. It's important for teachers to keep groups on task and monitor their progress throughout the lesson. Through collaborative learning the student is able to take more from the lesson and view each concept from an alternate perspective. With teacher facilitated group discussions, students preform knowledge construction and challenge individual thoughts in order to come up with a joint solution that's takes everyone's point of view into perspective (Nastasi, 1999). Many researchers have concluded that collaborative learning, is a very beneficial learning method when it comes to challenging thoughts and concepts between students. Because each individual has a different thought process and ideas, each student brings a different concept that can be challenged and discussed among the group. Many researchers have previously studied the benefits of collaborative learning as well as the teacher's role in correctly facilitating and implementing it. Webb, highlights the importance of teachers actively pushing students to collaborate and challenge ideas. She states "In classrooms in which teachers pushed students to make explicit the steps in their mental processes (whether students' answers and strategies were correct or incorrect), collaborative groups engaged in frequent explaining and provided explanations that were correct and complete" (Webb, 2009, pg.18). Similarly, researchers such as Rijkje Dekker and Marianne Elshout-Mohr argue that collaboration in classrooms is especially important in terms of the type of work that is assigned. Assignments that require collaboration generally go more in depth and are considered more challenging than those given in individual assignments "Collaborative learning tasks are in general designed as complex, challenging and authentic problems. Such problems motivate students to attempt different strategies and co-construct and justify solutions" (Elshout-Mohr and Dekker, 2000, pg.40). Collaboration in language learning classrooms is beneficial and quite easy to implement (Elshout-Mohr and Dekker, 2000).

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2016-05

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Austin City Limits: An Ethnographic Analysis of the Modern Music Festival

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This ethnographic study explores the music festival phenomenon in the context of the Austin City Limits music festival, held in Austin, Texas with a total attendance of over 450,000 people annually. Using Glaser and Strauss' grounded theory method (1967), central

This ethnographic study explores the music festival phenomenon in the context of the Austin City Limits music festival, held in Austin, Texas with a total attendance of over 450,000 people annually. Using Glaser and Strauss' grounded theory method (1967), central questions concerning structure, community identity, sustainable consumption, and waste were generated from the ethnography. These topics were analyzed with supporting theory in cultural anthropology, sociology, and sustainability. The findings are the basis for our "local-washing" theory, suggesting that localness is utilized to create a sense of authenticity. It is our shared conclusion that local-washing is a prevalent phenomenon at the modern music festival and presents the impact of commercialization on the public sphere. The research conducted includes collecting ethnographic fieldnotes pertaining to festival-goers behaviors that we observed at the festival as well as an investigation of the waste at the festival. By attending the Austin City Limits music festival and utilizing the ethnographic research method, we gained a deeper understanding of what motivates and bonds people in the unique context of the music festival. Through this we found basis for an analysis of the sustainable consumption of food and beverages at the festival as well as waste behaviors and theories behind them including the idea of waste having an absent presence in society.

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2016-05