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Stories from immigrant workers in the Valley of the Sun: status, wage theft, recourse, and resilience

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Wage theft is a national epidemic that only recently became the focus of increasing research, critical public questioning, and activism. Given the socio- political climate in Maricopa County, Arizona and the heightened national attention on the state, this study answers

Wage theft is a national epidemic that only recently became the focus of increasing research, critical public questioning, and activism. Given the socio- political climate in Maricopa County, Arizona and the heightened national attention on the state, this study answers important questions about the work experiences of immigrant workers in the region. Through an analysis of interviews with 14 low-wage Mexican workers from a local worker rights center, I explore workers' access to traditional recourse, the effects of wage theft on workers and families, and the survival strategies they utilize to mitigate the effects of sudden income loss. By providing an historical overview of immigration and employment law, I show how a dehumanized and racialized labor force has been structurally maintained and exploited. Furthermore, I describe the implications of two simultaneous cultures on the state of labor: the culture of fear among immigrants to assert their rights and utilize recourse, and the culture of criminality and impunity among employers who face virtually no sanctions when they are non-compliant with labor law. The results indicate that unless the rights of immigrant workers are equally enforced and recourse is made equally accessible, not only will the standards for pay and working conditions continue to collapse, but the health of Latino communities will also deteriorate. I assert that in addition to structural change, a shift in national public discourse and ideology is critical to substantive socio-political transformation.

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2011

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Tricks of the shade: heat-related coping strategies of urban homeless persons in Phoenix, Arizona

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This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in Phoenix, Arizona during the summer of 2010. The findings demonstrate that homeless people have a variety of coping strategies and the urban environment setting unjustly impacts those strategies. The results suggest a need for further studies that focus spatial environmental effects on homeless people and other vulnerable populations.

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2011

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Like water for justice: a critical analysis of the United Nations and the inadequate recognition of environmental refugees

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As global warming increases, sea levels continue to rise and world populations continue to grow; the Earth is nearing its tipping point. Human action, such as deforestation, mining, and industrialization, has had a profound effect on environments destroying wetlands, and

As global warming increases, sea levels continue to rise and world populations continue to grow; the Earth is nearing its tipping point. Human action, such as deforestation, mining, and industrialization, has had a profound effect on environments destroying wetlands, and the natural infrastructure needed to absorb rainfall and maintain vegetation. Due to extreme changes in climate and temperature, people all over the world are increasingly affected by natural disaster. Unable to sustain their livelihoods, these individuals, become environmental refugees and are forced to flee their land and homes to obtain security in another region or country. Currently, there are approximately 25 million environmental refugees worldwide. Despite the soaring numbers, environmental refugees are not legally recognized or protected by the United Nations, and thus do not receive the same rights or assistance as a traditional refugee. This thesis analyzes definitions and interpretations of Environmental Refugees (ERs) through the frameworks of environmental justice and human rights law and identifies possible avenues of discourse available. Furthermore, this thesis examines the current United Nations definition of refugee and identifies the pros and cons to expanding the current definition to include those affected by natural disaster. Through the case study of New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), it is demonstrated how ERs are not only an issue facing developing countries, but also exist within developed nations. Hurricane Katrina in NOLA is an ethnographic example that demonstrates how during a time of natural disaster, a variety of past and present structural factors may contribute to the violation of human rights. This thesis then concludes with a discussion of possible categorizations of ERs and the concrete benefits of each category, and how lessons from NOLA can and should be applied to other ER situations in order to avoid human rights violations.

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2010

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Operationalizing neighborhood resiliency: a grass-roots approach

Description

This research addresses the ability for neighborhoods to assess resiliency as it applies to their respective local areas. Two demographically and economically contrasting neighborhoods in Glendale, Arizona were studied to understand what residents' value and how those values link to

This research addresses the ability for neighborhoods to assess resiliency as it applies to their respective local areas. Two demographically and economically contrasting neighborhoods in Glendale, Arizona were studied to understand what residents' value and how those values link to key principles of resiliency. Through this exploratory research, a community-focused process was created to use these values in order to link them to key principles of resiliency and potential measureable indicators. A literature review was conducted to first assess definitions and key principles of resiliency. Second, it explored cases of neighborhoods or communities that faced a pressure or disaster and responded resiliently based on these general principles. Each case study demonstrated that resiliency at the neighborhood level was important to its ability to survive its respective pressure and emerge stronger. The Heart of Glendale and Thunderbird Palms were the two neighborhoods chosen to test the ability to operationalize neighborhood resiliency in the form of indicators. First, an in-depth interview was conducted with a neighborhood expert to understand each area's strengths and weaknesses and get a context for the neighborhood and how it has developed. Second, a visioning session was conducted with each neighborhood consisting of seven participants to discuss its values and how they relate to key principles of resiliency. The values were analyzed and used to shape locally relevant indicators. The results of this study found that the process of identifying participants' values and linking them to key principles of resiliency is a viable methodology for measuring neighborhood resiliency. It also found that indicators and values differed between the Heart of Glendale, a more economically vulnerable yet ethnically diverse area, than Thunderbird Palms, a more racially homogenous, middle income neighborhood. The Heart of Glendale valued the development of social capital more than Thunderbird Palms which placed a higher value on the condition of the built environment as a vehicle for stimulating vibrancy and resiliency in the neighborhood. However, both neighborhoods highly valued public education and providing opportunities for children to be future leaders in their local communities.

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2011

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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Quantifying the matrix of domination

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This paper is seeking to use exploratory factor analysis to construct a numeric representation of Hill Collin's matrix of domination. According to Hill Collins, the Current American matrix of domination, or the interlocking systems of oppression, includes race, gender, class,

This paper is seeking to use exploratory factor analysis to construct a numeric representation of Hill Collin's matrix of domination. According to Hill Collins, the Current American matrix of domination, or the interlocking systems of oppression, includes race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, disability, and age. The study uses exploratory factor analysis to construct a matrix of domination scale. The study launched an on-line survey (n=448) that was circulated through the social network Facebook to collect data. Factor analysis revealed that the constructed matrix of domination represents an accurate description of the current social hierarchy in the United States. Also, the constructed matrix of domination was an accurate predictor of the probability of experiencing domestic abuse according to the current available statistics.

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Date Created
2011

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Electron Microscopy Study of the Phase Transformation and Metal Functionalization of Titanium Oxide Nanotubes

Description

Titanium oxide (TiO2), an abundant material with high photocatalytic activity and chemical stability is an important candidate for photocatalytic applications. The photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 varies with its phase. In the current project, phase and morphology changes in TiO2

Titanium oxide (TiO2), an abundant material with high photocatalytic activity and chemical stability is an important candidate for photocatalytic applications. The photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 varies with its phase. In the current project, phase and morphology changes in TiO2 nanotubes were studied using ex-situ and in-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy studies were also performed to understand the phase and morphology of the nanotubes. As prepared TiO2 nanotubes supported on Ti metal substrate were amorphous, during the heat treatment in the ex-situ furnace nanotubes transform to anatase at 450 oC and transformed to rutile when heated to 800 oC. TiO2 nanotubes that were heat treated in an in-situ environmental TEM, transformed to anatase at 400 oC and remain anatase even up to 800 oC. In both ex-situ an in-situ case, the morphology of the nanotubes drastically changed from a continuous tubular structure to aggregates of individual nanoparticles. The difference between the ex-situ an in-situ treatments and their effect on the phase transformation is discussed. Metal doping is one of the effective ways to improve the photocatalytic performance. Several approaches were performed to get metal loading on to the TiO2 nanotubes. Mono-dispersed platinum nanoparticles were deposited on the TiO2 nanopowder and nanotubes using photoreduction method. Photo reduction for Ag and Pt bimetallic nanoparticles were also performed on the TiO2 powders.

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2014

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Understanding plasticity and fracture in aluminum alloys and their composites by 3D X-ray synchrotron tomography and microdiffraction

Description

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in these materials is critical in assessing their fatigue resistance. Two distinct experimental studies were performed to further the understanding of fatigue damage mechanisms in aluminum alloys and their composites, specifically fracture and plasticity. Fatigue resistance of metal matrix composites (MMCs) depends on many aspects of composite microstructure. Fatigue crack growth behavior is particularly dependent on the reinforcement characteristics and matrix microstructure. The goal of this work was to obtain a fundamental understanding of fatigue crack growth behavior in SiC particle-reinforced 2080 Al alloy composites. In situ X-ray synchrotron tomography was performed on two samples at low (R=0.1) and at high (R=0.6) R-ratios. The resulting reconstructed images were used to obtain three-dimensional (3D) rendering of the particles and fatigue crack. Behaviors of the particles and crack, as well as their interaction, were analyzed and quantified. Four-dimensional (4D) visual representations were constructed to aid in the overall understanding of damage evolution. During fatigue crack growth in ductile materials, a plastic zone is created in the region surrounding the crack tip. Knowledge of the plastic zone is important for the understanding of fatigue crack formation as well as subsequent growth behavior. The goal of this work was to quantify the 3D size and shape of the plastic zone in 7075 Al alloys. X-ray synchrotron tomography and Laue microdiffraction were used to non-destructively characterize the volume surrounding a fatigue crack tip. The precise 3D crack profile was segmented from the reconstructed tomography data. Depth-resolved Laue patterns were obtained using differential-aperture X-ray structural microscopy (DAXM), from which peak-broadening characteristics were quantified. Plasticity, as determined by the broadening of diffracted peaks, was mapped in 3D. Two-dimensional (2D) maps of plasticity were directly compared to the corresponding tomography slices. A 3D representation of the plastic zone surrounding the fatigue crack was generated by superimposing the mapped plasticity on the 3D crack profile.

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2014

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Community-based development: scaling up the correct use of misoprostol at home births in Afghanistan

Description

Globally, more than 350 000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth (UNFPA, 2011). Nearly 99% of these, according to World Health Organization (WHO) trends (2010) occur in the developing world outside of a hospital setting with limited

Globally, more than 350 000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth (UNFPA, 2011). Nearly 99% of these, according to World Health Organization (WHO) trends (2010) occur in the developing world outside of a hospital setting with limited resources including emergency care (WHO, 2012; UNFPA, 2011). The most prevalent cause of death is postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), accounting for 25% of deaths according to WHO statistics (2012). Conditions in Afghanistan are reflective of the scope and magnitude of the problem. In Afghanistan, maternal mortality is thought to be among the highest in the world. The Afghan Mortality Survey (AMS) data implies that one Afghan woman dies about every 2 hours from pregnancy-related causes (AMS, 2010). Lack of empowerment, education and access to health care resources increase a woman's risk of dying during pregnancy (AMS, 2010). This project aims to investigate the prospects of scaling-up the correct use of misoprostol, a prostaglandin E1 analogue, to treat PPH in developing countries where skilled assistance and resources are scant. As there has been little published on the lessons learned from programs already in place, this study is experience-driven, based on the knowledge of industry experts. This study employs a concurrent triangulation approach to synthesize quantitative data obtained from previous studies with qualitative information gathered through the testimonies of key personnel who participated in pilot programs involving misoprostol. There are many obstacles to scaling-up training initiatives in Afghanistan and other low-resource areas. The analysis concludes that the most crucial factors for scaling-up community-based programs include: more studies analyzing lessons learns from community driven approaches; stronger partnerships with community health care workers; overcoming barriers like association with abortion, misuse and product issues; and a heightened global and community awareness of the severity of PPH without treatment. These results have implications for those who actively work in Afghanistan to promote maternal health and other countries that may use Afghanistan's work as a blueprint for reducing maternal mortality through community-based approaches. Keywords: Afghanistan, community-based interventions, community-driven, maternal mortality, MDG5, misoprostol, postpartum hemorrhage, reproduction, scale-up

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2013

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Synthesis and electrochemical characterization of silicon clathrates as anode materials for lithium ion batteries

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Novel materials for Li-ion batteries is one of the principle thrust areas for current research in energy storage, more so than most, considering its widespread use in portable electronic gadgets and plug-in electric and hybrid cars. One of the major

Novel materials for Li-ion batteries is one of the principle thrust areas for current research in energy storage, more so than most, considering its widespread use in portable electronic gadgets and plug-in electric and hybrid cars. One of the major limiting factors in a Li-ion battery's energy density is the low specific capacities of the active materials in the electrodes. In the search for high-performance anode materials for Li-ion batteries, many alternatives to carbonaceous materials have been studied. Both cubic and amorphous silicon can reversibly alloy with lithium and have a theoretical capacity of 3500 mAh/g, making silicon a potential high density anode material. However, a large volume expansion of 300% occurs due to changes in the structure during lithium insertion, often leading to pulverization of the silicon. To this end, a class of silicon based cage compounds called clathrates are studied for electrochemical reactivity with lithium. Silicon-clathrates consist of silicon covalently bonded in cage structures comprised of face sharing Si20, Si24 and/or Si28 clusters with guest ions occupying the interstitial positions in the polyhedra. Prior to this, silicon clathrates have been studied primarily for their superconducting and thermoelectric properties. In this work, the synthesis and electrochemical characterization of two categories of silicon clathrates - Type-I silicon clathrate with aluminum framework substitution and barium guest ions (Ba8AlxSi46-x) and Type-II silicon clathrate with sodium guest ions (Nax Si136), are explored. The Type-I clathrate, Ba8AlxSi46-x consists of an open framework of aluminium and silicon, with barium (guest) atoms occupying the interstitial positions. X-ray diffraction studies have shown that a crystalline phase of clathrate is obtained from synthesis, which is powdered to a fine particle size to be used as the anode material in a Li-ion battery. Electrochemical measurements of these type of clathrates have shown that capacities comparable to graphite can be obtained for up to 10 cycles and lower capacities can be obtained for up to 20 cycles. Unlike bulk silicon, the clathrate structure does not undergo excessive volume change upon lithium intercalation, and therefore, the crystal structure is morphologically stable over many cycles. X-ray diffraction of the clathrate after cycling showed that crystallinity is intact, indicating that the clathrate does not collapse during reversible intercalation with lithium ions. Electrochemical potential spectroscopy obtained from the cycling data showed that there is an absence of formation of lithium-silicide, which is the product of lithium alloying with diamond cubic silicon. Type II silicon clathrate, NaxSi136, consists of silicon making up the framework structure and sodium (guest) atoms occupying the interstitial spaces. These clathrates showed very high capacities during their first intercalation cycle, in the range of 3,500 mAh/g, but then deteriorated during subsequent cycles. X-ray diffraction after one cycle showed the absence of clathrate phase and the presence of lithium-silicide, indicating the disintegration of clathrate structure. This could explain the silicon-like cycling behavior of Type II clathrates.

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2013