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  1. Study Abroad Promotional Tactics: Program Providers in Critical Language Host Countries [Download]

    Title: Study Abroad Promotional Tactics: Program Providers in Critical Language Host Countries
    Author: Kardos, Lauren
    Description: As rationales of United States (U.S.) national security interests are cited as reasons to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad, it is useful to understand how providers of study abroad programs are reacting to perceived demand. U.S. agencies including the Department of Defense and the Department of State emphasize increasing the number of speakers of critical languages in the country through funding study abroad initiatives. This thesis seeks to understand how study abroad providers define a target student audience and conduct outreach campaigns to attain enrollment for critical language programs. Specifically, providers of programs to countries that speak Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are examined through online survey, website review, and phone interviews. Findings suggest that providers target high-achieving students from particular academic concentrations and conduct an array of outreach activities in conjunction with university partnership-building. These targeting and outreach practices are in response to real and perceived challenges in the market for critical language study abroad programs. A secondary aim for this study was to catalog marketing processes used by providers and share these resources as best practices in the field.
    Keywords: study abroad, promotion, providers, critical languages, higher education, international education
    Date Uploaded: 06/29/2017
  2. Predictive Collaborative Robots via Deep Reinforcement Learning [Download]

    Title: Predictive Collaborative Robots via Deep Reinforcement Learning
    Author: Barnes, Scott
    Description: In recent years, advances in the field of collaborative robotics have enabled people and robots to work in a shared environment. However, the complexity of modeling human-robot interaction and difficulty of automating many tasks has restricted the application range of collaborative robots. This research introduces a model free reinforcement learning-based framework capable of learning to perform new tasks, as well as learning the human behaviors associated with those tasks, enabling a robotic system to work directly with people to complete a shared objective. By utilizing data captured from a camera mounted above the workspace, this framework acts as an adaptive control system that enables a collaborative robot to adjust to changes in its environment in real time. First, a classification neural network is trained to model the probability distribution of human behaviors associated with a specific task based on data collected on that task being performed. Then, a Deep Q Network is trained in simulation, converging to an optimal decision policy based on the rewards it receives for the outcomes of actions it selects. In contrast to traditional approaches to programming robots, this system 'learns' generalizable policies that allow it to adapt to dynamic environments, enabling high levels of performance in scenarios it has never encountered before. This system was implemented on a collaborative assembly task both in simulation and in physical space, in which the objective was to assemble a series of parts in a specific order in collaboration with a person. This resulted in an average efficiency increase 21.6% over the person working alone while maintaining a high standard of safety. This novel approach to addressing human-robot interaction enables collaborative robots to become predictive rather than reactive, resulting in safer and more efficient collaboration.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Collaborative robotics, Deep reinforcement learning, Human-Robot interaction
    Date Uploaded: 05/18/2017
  3. Contradection - Detecting Contradictions in Text [Download]

    Title: Contradection - Detecting Contradictions in Text
    Author: Houssami, Rami
    Description: Language structures may come in a variety of forms, but are always received sequentially as meaning unfolds to the interpreter. Large bodies of text can create a myriad of relationships and concepts, often making it difficult to detect contradictions between elements that are far apart. This work explores the combination of deterministic and non-deterministic solutions for detecting relationships within syntactic structures, mapping those relationships, and determining if a negation in those relationships is 'decidable'. Using word vectors, one goal is to optimally map object-attribute relationships such that we may apply the Kullback-Leibler divergence to an attribute plane in the vector space. A proper divergence will allow give value to a cosine similarity function of object-attribute pairs whereby negative cosine will suggest a possible contradiction. Different parsing methods are expected to affect mapping and evaluation outcomes. The work aims to compare deterministic parsing, such as based on lexical and grammar structures, along with multinomial logistic regression in language modeling and stochastic semantic analysis for deriving relationship values; and to furthermore experiment using logical deductions to create predicate logic, through which the system may re-deduce to determine a logical coherence level. High coherence levels may be used to isolate confident relationships between objects and attributes to be compared with qualities inferred on those objects throughout the input text.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Detecting contradiction, NLP, NLU, Natural language understanding, Word vectors, Contradiction, Vector space
    Date Uploaded: 05/02/2017
  4. Reinforcement Sensitivity Moderates the Relationship Between Stressor Exposure and Anxiety [Download]

    Title: Reinforcement Sensitivity Moderates the Relationship Between Stressor Exposure and Anxiety
    Author: Adom, Kelvin
    Description: According to the American College Health Association (2014), anxiety disorders affect 21.8% of college students, surpassing depressive disorders as the most widespread mental health concern in this population. Exposure to stressful life events (SLE) can greatly exacerbate the chances for the development of anxiety symptoms. However, this is not a pathognomonic association, and much more likely constitutes a diathesis-stress response. The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality (RST) provides one potential diathesis-stress explanation for understanding the underlying mechanisms of anxiety disorders. In RST, individual's' response to threatening or aversive stimuli are facilitated by the Fight-Flight-Freeze System (FFFS). Based on the RST theory, it was hypothesized that FFFS and SLE scores would positively predict symptoms of anxiety.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory, Anxiety, Stressful Life Events
    Date Uploaded: 04/28/2017
  5. Out-of-Flatness Plate Tolerances for Steel Tub Highway Bridges [Download]

    Title: Out-of-Flatness Plate Tolerances for Steel Tub Highway Bridges
    Author: Asadnia, Mahdi
    Description: Steel tub (box) girders are widely used for highway bridges. The slender plate components of these structures are subject to local buckling. This compressive limit state is particularly consequential in webs, midspan top flanges, and continuous-over-support bottom flanges during construction. There have been multiple incidents of bridge collapse failures in the past due to thin plate instability. In the United States, there are currently no out-of-flatness tolerances for bottom flanges of steel tub girders in governing codes. This study uses Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to better understand the effect of initial out-of-flatness on girder yield-strength. This extends previous studies to include co-existing imperfections in webs and bottom flanges as well as both 50 ksi and 100 ksi yield steel plate. Code adoption of bf/200 is recommended for the bottom flange out-of flatness tolerance, where bf represents the bottom flange width, based on this research and previous studies.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Box girder, Tub girder, Steel, Out of flatness, Imperfection, Tolerance
    Date Uploaded: 04/28/2017
  6. Increased Internal Risk-Taking and Competitiveness in Biotechnology Organizations [Download]

    Title: Increased Internal Risk-Taking and Competitiveness in Biotechnology Organizations
    Author: Baxter, Hannah
    Description: This paper examines differences in risk-taking and competitiveness among biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms. It has been argued that biotechnology firms, in contrast to pharmaceutical firms, face higher levels of competitiveness and must pursue higher levels of risk-taking as a result. Using a sample of 40 biotechnology firms and 40 pharmaceutical firms, we analyze financial data, particularly research and development (R&D) expenditures, to assess the impact of levels of competitiveness and risk-taking. We discuss our results and implications for the literature on the management of R&D.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Risk-taking, Competitiveness, Startup
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  7. Characterizing the role of Ecdysone induced protein 74EF in the length of sperm in males and seminal receptacle in females of D. [Download]

    Title: Characterizing the role of Ecdysone induced protein 74EF in the length of sperm in males and seminal receptacle in females of D.
    Author: Chebbo, Sharif
    Description: Sperm of D. melanogaster are among the longest known and are evolving in concert with the female's long, coiled sperm storage organ, the seminal receptacle (SR). During sperm competition, long sperm outcompete short sperm but primarily in long SRs, providing a post-copulatory analog to male trait-female preference coevolution, commonly modeled in pre-copulatory sexual selection. Sperm and SRs are also likely coevolving via Fisherian runaway sexual selection, as evidenced by a recently discovered genetic correlation between these two traits. We previously identified a number of candidate genes influencing sperm length using a RAD QTL sequencing approach and have prioritized Ecdysone induced protein 74EF (Eip74EF) due to its role in autophagy during development, post-meiotic expression during spermatogenesis (when spermatid elongation occurs), the presence of multiple SNP markers within the gene, and signatures of rapid evolution under positive selection among the 12 Drosophila genomes. We have found that knockout mutant males have shorter sperm, suggesting that Eip74EF acts on the positive regulation of sperm length. We are also investigating female mutants to determine if a similar pattern exists for SR length. If so, Eip74EF may have pleiotropic effects on both sperm length and SR length and may therefore be a key to the molecular mechanism of Fisherian runaway sexual selection. Both male and female mutants also have decreased fertility relative to control flies, and males have reduced sperm competitive success, consistent with the expectation that shorter sperm are weaker competitors.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Drosophila, Reproductive traits, Phototropic effects, Sperm, Seminal recepticle
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  8. Conservation of Developmental Diapause in Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora, Ancylostoma Caninum, and Caenorhabditis Elegans [Download]

    Title: Conservation of Developmental Diapause in Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora, Ancylostoma Caninum, and Caenorhabditis Elegans
    Author: Mounts, Kristin
    Description: Developmental arrest is an important and common feature of nematode development. Many parasitic and non-parasitic nematodes have arrested third stage larvae (L3), or dauers, that may be either obligate or facultative stages in the life cycle. In addition, the non-parasitic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans facultatively undergo a dormant first larval (L1) stage in response to starvation. Similarly, the free-living stages of the hookworm life cycle occur in the environment, and could conceivably be subject to adverse conditions such as starvation. In contrast, entomopathogenic nematodes [EPN], except for the non-feeding dauer juvenile dispersal stage, complete their entire life cycle in a food-rich environment within the host. Given the abundant availability of nutrients, an L1 arrest stage may no longer be necessary in this nematode. To determine if L1 arrest is conserved in the EPN Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and the hookworm Ancylostoma caninum, we plated eggs in the presence or absence of a bacterial food source. Worms were measured every 6 hours over a period of 5 days. In both nematode species, starved worms failed to develop past the L1 stage, whereas fed worms grew in length and molted. Furthermore, the starved L1 of both species that were later fed resumed development and molted. To investigate why L1 diapause is conserved in H. bacteriophora, we examined the effects of diapause on reproduction by recording the developmental stage and number of offspring produced by 48-hour starved and re-fed hermaphrodites. H. bacteriophora which entered L1 diapause laid fewer eggs than continuously fed worms. However, the eggs laid by starved worms had a higher hatch rate than the eggs of fed worms. Additionally, starved worms were more likely to undergo endotakia matricida, a process in which larval worms hatch inside the mother and consume her internal tissues. These results indicate that despite significant differences in life history and environmental conditions, both A. caninum and H. bacteriophora undergo starvation-induced developmental arrest at the L1 stage, suggesting conservation of this characteristic in nematodes. Additionally, L1 arrest may provide a reproductive advantage in the form of more viable offspring production during stress periods.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Hookworm, Biology, Tropical Medicine, Nematodes, Parasitology, Immunology
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  9. Does Higher Education Impact the Regional Unemployment Rate in Spain? [Download]

    Title: Does Higher Education Impact the Regional Unemployment Rate in Spain?
    Author: Adelman, Madeline
    Description: This paper examines seventeen Spanish regions from 2001 to 2011 and how the differences in male versus female educational attainment explains Spain's regional unemployment rate. Using a panel regression, results indicate there is a lower unemployment rate across northern regions compared to southern regions in Spain. The results further provide evidence that women who complete tertiary education have a larger impact on regional unemployment rates than men. Overall this study concludes both men and women who complete tertiary education positively increase the regional unemployment rate. Lastly, this paper looks at the effects of the 2008 financial crisis which conclusively increased regional unemployment rates in Spain. Through the positive effects of men and women who complete tertiary education and the 2008 financial crisis, this study concludes that the labor market in Spain may be saturated. A growing labor force illustrates the availability of jobs for educated laborers may be low.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Education, Spain, Unemployment, Gender
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  10. Predicting Bioconcentration Factor Using a Metabolism-Based Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship Model [Download]

    Title: Predicting Bioconcentration Factor Using a Metabolism-Based Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship Model
    Author: Magliozzo, Julia
    Description: The prediction of bioconcentration factor is important for the determination of potential environmental toxicity of new and existing chemical substances. To this end, various in silico models for estimating bioconcentration factor have been developed to replace or assist in vivo testing, including linear and nonlinear Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship Models (QSARs). This work is exceptional among these models because it is the first to consider metabolic effects relating to Cytochrome P450 in fish a priori to model development, as opposed to establishing metabolic explanations for model behavior a posteriori. The model developed here is based on a subset of data from previous work by Dimitrov et al (Dimitrov, Dimitrova et al. 2005). The final model presented will be a two-step process. First, structures are classified into a potential metabolism category using SMARTS patterns encompassing known functional domains for reactivity or metabolism by Cytochrome P450. Then a linear QSAR model utilizing calculated chemical descriptors specific to the established potential metabolism category is applied to the compound to estimate bioconcentration factors. It is expected that this metabolism-based QSAR model will find applications in regulatory settings and will be used as a basis for expansion to other chemical classes outside of those considered here.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Bioconcentration, Metabolism, QSAR, Fish
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017