Browsing Bachelor's Essays (Embargoed) by Issue Date "2018-05"
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- Item“Pura Vida” Breakdown: A Triple Bottom Line Analysis of the Ecotourism Industry in Monteverde, Costa RicaAstor, Alexandra E.; Scott, Blake C.; Maldonado Bird, Beatriz$As ecotourism continues to gain international attention as a potential form of sustainable development, important questions arise about the impact of ecotourism industries on local communities and environments. Can ecotourism be a viable means to achieve economic prosperity that exists alongside a high quality of life for local residents and a healthy natural environment? If so, what conditions must be met for ecotourism to be a form of truly sustainable development? Using a multipronged process of primary and secondary source analysis, this research attempts to answer these questions by assessing the ecotourism industry in Monteverde, Costa Rica through a triple bottom line analysis (TBL); a sustainability assessment framework that is rarely used in development assessment. Through a TBL approach, an analysis of the economic bottom line, social bottom line, and environmental bottom line of this specific case study location, often deemed a “poster child” of ecotourism development, will provide insights on the successes of the ecotourism industry in Monteverde while also demonstrating fundamental challenges of the industry that must be addressed. Successes of Monteverde’s ecotourism industry, including local inclusion and the presence of organizations to monitor ecotourism’s impacts, can be reproduced in future development projects to increase the success of ecotourism projects. Likewise, documented challenges, such as lack of basic infrastructure and dependency on an industry that is intrinsically linked to a threatened environment, can allow for a reconsideration of ecotourism as a viable means of sustainable development. Overall, this research provides a new approach to sustainable development assessment that not only serves as a guide for future development projects but also encourages a more individualized, place-based approach to analyzing global sustainable development goals.
- ItemA Comparison of the Projection to the Nucleus Accumbens from the Ventral Subiculum Versus the Dorsal Subiculum Using EVOS Cell ImagingHynd, Erin S; Geslain , Renaud; Griffin , William $Excessive alcohol consumption is a major economic, societal and health burden in the United States and globally but the neurobiological pathways involved in the disease are not well understood. This study hypothesized that both the ventral hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens play a role in excessive drinking behavior. Additionally, the study aimed to compare the projections from the dorsal subiculum and the ventral subiculum to the accumbens. The mice in this study underwent a stereotaxic surgery to have a viral DREADD placed and then a microinjection of a CTB tracer. An EVOS Cell Imaging system was used to capture images of the tissue during the study. Several events that occurred during the study prevented significant results from being obtained. However, there is still hope that, with some modifications, this protocol can be used to answer the research question in the future.
- ItemA Multimodal Approach to Identifying Stormwater Pollutant Hotspots in Coastal Urban WatershedsKirker, Ashleigh N; Vulava, Vijay MStormwater runoff is a primary concern for water quality in the Southeastern US and beyond. Surface water near the Charleston Harbor in SC is impaired by their low dissolved oxygen concentrations, and by urban contaminants flushed off of impervious surfaces of the nearby Charleston peninsula. The goal of this study is to create a methodology to determine the areas of highest concern for contaminating stormwater in Charleston. It was expected that landuse, antecedent rainfall, and traffic flow would be related to variations in contaminant concentrations, and allow us to pinpoint hotspots. We sampled stormwater over a sixteen month period to locate these contaminant hotspots. Enterococci, a fecal indicator bacteria, was measured with a nutrient indicator system. Common urban trace metals were determined with ICP-MS, and nutrients were quantified and tracked. Enterococci consistently exceeded USEPA guidelines by two orders of magnitude. The most important relationship involving enterococci in stormwater was not a spatial one, but involved antecedent rainfall; there is significantly more enterococci in stormwater when the three days before sampling had been relatively dry. Most stormwater samples contained some of the nine trace metals, which were related to one another and to antecedent rainfall and traffic flow. Like enterococci, antecedent rainfall appears to relate to a decrease in metal concentrations, possibly because of a 'flushing out' effect. Cu, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn occur in high concentrations in areas of heavy traffic. A relationship was noted between residential landuse and nutrient concentration in runoff. Hotspots for stormwater contamination in Charleston are heavily trafficked roads (for Cu, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn) and dense residential areas for nutrients. Reduced contaminant concentrations are observed when there is significant antecedent rainfall. Sampling urban stormwater is an effective means of finding hotspots of primary concern for surface water quality. From a management perspective, this means that targeted practices can reduce contamination in runoff. Furthermore, this method allows the sources and hotspots of nominally nonpoint source pollutants to be determined.
- ItemA Study of Dance Therapy’s Inhibitory Effects on the Symptoms of DementiaRiley, Jessie Griffin; McLaine, Gretchen
- ItemAn Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap Amongst Congressional Staff MembersMontgomery, Meg M; Calcagno, Peter; Mothorpe, Christopher $; Maldonado, Beatriz $For decades Congress has released legislation targeting the gender wage gap, however, in 2016 full time working women were only receiving about 79 cents to the dollar compared to men. This paper seeks to answer the question, is the gender wage gap in the institution creating these legislation exhibiting more equal pay between genders than the national average. Using the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition this paper examines the determinants of the gender wag gap among congressional staff members. Our sample includes all staff members working in the House of Representative or Senate offices from 2000 - 2016, regressing log wage on office and demographic characteristics. Variations of this model include split populations by political party, and House and Senate. We find that the wage gap in congress' staff is no better than the national average. We also examine the determinants contributing to the explained and unexplained portions of the wage gap.
- ItemAn Empirical Study of the Application of Lean Tools in U.S. IndustryBarton, Maitland Elizabeth; Gonzalez, Marvin; Quesada, Gioconda$Lean manufacturing involves implementing a variety of tools and practices for the purpose of reducing waste and increasing an organization’s overall productivity. The movement towards lean thinking that has gained incredible popularity in recent decades has changed the way businesses operate, and such tools have become essential for maintaining a competitive edge, both regionally and internationally. This paper examines the application of lean tools in various U.S. industries to further clarify the impact lean processes may have on an American business’s production and efficiency. To gather the necessary information and experiences of U.S. organizations, we executed a thorough literature review to secure topics and concerns that must be addressed in a survey. The survey derived from our findings from the relevant literature was distributed to U.S. industries spanning the nation, whose feedback provides us with a holistic view of lean process applications throughout the country. The analysis of the information collected from the survey demonstrates how lean tools have influenced American industries and allows us to see which Lean practices contribute the greatest to overall company performance, as well as observe patterns in how company characteristics (i.e. ownership, size, industry) may affect the successful implementation of Lean processes.
- ItemDirty LaundryBurke, Gloria R; Perrault, EliseThe apparel industry is generally viewed as one of the most polluting industries in the world while also one of the biggest offenders of human rights. Composed of an eclectic mix of firms scattered around the globe, the irregularity of sustainability measures used for reporting and assessing performance of firms in the apparel industry is an important problem since it remains difficult to compare firms within the industry and across other sectors when pushing for more transparency and better performance. In this study, we examine the factors that affect the sustainability reporting practices of 178 firms in the apparel industry in the United States. In addition, we develop a methodology to analyze the quality of these firms’ sustainability reports and analyze the correlation between firms’ quality of reporting with their environmental and social performance.
- ItemInfluencing Sustainable Behaviors on a College CampusKelly, Caroline B; Ruth-McSwain, Amanda; Foster, Caroline$; Ferguson, Doug$In recent years the term sustainability has gained increasing popularity as the environmental, social, and economic consequences of today's consumer oriented society are becoming harder to ignore. This research hopes to provide the necessary tools for universities stewards of sustainability to produce highly successful entrepreneurial employees who become upwardly mobile citizens who can effectively create change throughout their careers. Specifically this study will focus on the following research questions: what behavioral influences (attitudes, objective norms, perceived behavioral control) impact students' environmental sustainability intentions and ultimate actions, what types of value appeals, communications strategies (intrinsic versus extrinsic values) would be most effective in influencing students' environmental sustainability intentions and actions.
- ItemInteractive Effects of Nitrogen and Vitamin B12 limitation on DMSP lyase Activity in the Marine Coccolithophorid,<i> Emiliania huxleyi</i> 373McIntosh, Kirk; DiTullio, Giacomo; Lee, Peter$Laboratory experiments were performed on the marine coccolithophore <i>Emiliania huxleyi</i> CCMP 373 (<i>E. hux</i>) to determine the effects of vitamin B12 and nitrate limitation on intracellular dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations and DMSP-lyase activities (DLA). DLA is an enzyme that is found in certain species of marine algae and bacteria and is responsible for the cleavage of DMSP to dimethylsulfide (DMS). DMS is a volatile organic compound that plays a critical role in the global sulfur cycle due to its ability to form cloud condensation nuclei. </i>E. hux</i> was semi-continuously cultured under four experimental conditions: (1) control treatment with excess nutrients, (2) low nitrate, (3) low vitamin B12, and (4) combined low nitrate/B12. DMSP levels and DLA were measured using a head space analysis technique and a mass spectrometer. Data were normalized using chlorophyll <i>a</i> and cell count measurements. Results revealed no statistical differences in intracellular DMSP or DLA between the experimental groups and the control group, suggesting that DMSP and DLA in <i>E. hux</i> 373 were not directly related to vitamin B12 or nitrate limitation in this experiment. Alternatively, it is possible that intracellular nutrient pools may have accumulated during the nutrient-replete log growth period before the experiment started. Hence, nutrient pooling may have prevented growth limiting conditions in the experimental treatments during the course of the experiment.
- ItemSequence and Structure in Small Opioid PeptidesSchwartz, Alexandra Corinne; Giuliano, Michael WMany neuropeptides lack robust structures in the protein databank, and this is sometimes attributed to assumptions regarding their flexibility. We suspect that most of these peptides do indeed have conformational preferences in aqueous solution and that these preferences likely change as the peptide approaches the membrane environment of its receptor. Additionally, we suspect that peptide structure is impacted by the addition of sidechains or residues at the C-terminus. The focus of this study are the opioid peptides: endogenous ligands of the opioid receptors, which are important drug targets for analgesics. We sought to compare the secondary structures of the endogenous opioids to that of their common N-terminal binding sequence known as the “message” sequence using computational and experimental methods. While the structural characterization of opioid peptides is ongoing, we have employed 2D 1H-1H NMR and diffusion experiments to examine the environment’s conformational influence on endomorphin-1 under both aqueous and membrane-mimetic conditions.
- ItemShattering the Glass Ceiling: An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in the Finance IndustryBenton, Ariel Ivy; Pyles, Mark KWe examine the relationship between the political affiliation of a state and the depth of the gender pay gap in executives across financial firms headquartered in those states, over the period 1992-2018. Although past literature has established the presence of a gender gap across executives in a range of corporations, as well as the financial services industry in particular in recent years, the literature has not attempted, to our knowledge, to find a relationship between state-level political stance and the gender gap in firms headquartered in those states. There is significant evidence in the literature of a growing "partisan schism" in the U.S. on issues concerning gender equality, with further evidence of the tendency for women to identify with the Democratic Party. Women have consistently supported the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate in the last ten presidential elections. Most recently in 2016, 54% of women voted for the Democratic candidate, while 42% voted for the Republican. Thus, an analysis of the gender gap within the financial industry from a political stance presents a new and relevant angle to the discussion. We find that, as expected, males have higher total compensation - but these results are not consistent when political leanings are analyzed. Specifically, the salary gap is only identified in blue states, and is driven by the bonus received. Females seem to fare better in red states when compared to blue and mixed states.
- ItemSocial Media and Healthcare Credibility: Information Sensitivity on a Global PlatformBowers, Mary Katherine; Mack, Rhonda; Blose, Julie$The power of social media platforms is undeniable. Applications like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have taken over modern society, integrating themselves into every facet of human life. Some implications of those integrations have been obvious, like decreased in-person socialization of teenagers. Other implications, especially regarding the interplay between social media platforms and human health communications, have been slower to realize and more difficult to witness. Social media platforms’ power stems from their ability to reach instantaneously millions, if not billions, of users in a split second. This power can be used to start conversations, spark trends, share information, spread news updates, or even market brands and products. Jin and Phua (2014) specifically name Twitter for having “strong potential as an interactive advertising platform,” which can be accredited to the site’s purpose: sharing the voices of its users. Twitter has ignited the spread of electronic word-of-mouth, or eWOM, defined as “online information sharing (i.e. advice and recommendation) in the form of non-commercial messages expressed between consumers about their experiences in buying goods and services . . . altering human interaction among millions of people worldwide” (Suki, Suki, Mokhtar, Ahmad, 2016). The use of the Internet and power of social media has also encouraged adults to seek information and answers to health-related questions online, rather than to visit a doctor’s office. Surveying 1,066 adults, the 2010 Harris Poll found that 88% of the American adults connected to the Internet looked for health-related information for themselves or others online (Leykin, 2012). Popular Twitter accounts distributing health-related information include organizations like the World Health Organization with 4.28 million followers, or television medical personalities, like Dr. Sanjay Gupta who boasts 2.56 million followers (Twitter, 2018). Bowers3 Since Twitter’s creation in 2006, there has been extensive research on users’ perceived credibility of published Tweets, suggesting that authority, bandwagon, and source proximity cues have direct ties to a users’ interpreted credibility of a tweet (Lee and Sundar, 2013). However, little attention has been paid to what action follows after a user establishes a tweet to be credible or not, especially when the Tweet contains high involvement health information. At the conclusion of their research, Lee and Sundar recommend future research to track how health information tweets “are received and shared, in order to generate specific predictions about the effects of particular attributes of tweets on content credibility, as well as higher-order outcomes such as a sense of community via social media.”
- ItemStatistical analysis of localized temporal clustering of aerosol particlesMullis, Monica; Larsen, Michael L
- ItemThe Regional Determinants of Income Inequality Using the Gini CoefficientCarmichael, Caroline; Hefner, Frank; Calcagno, Peter$; Maldonado, Beatriz$
- ItemTo be or to Not Airbnb: A Case Study of Residential Attitudes toward Short-Term Rentals in Charleston, S.C.Sobel, Reagan Nicole; Litvin, Stephen WRecent trends in the tourism industry have led to growing literature regarding the effect that short-term rentals have both on hotels and on residents in the community. In addition, residential impact studies are becoming more common in order to ensure the sustainability of tourist destinations, especially those that are home to a historic district. Drawing on a previous study by Harrill and Potts (2003), this research was focused on residential attitudes toward short-term rentals, in particular Airbnb, in Charleston, South Carolina, during a time of heavy debate. Through a survey of Charleston residents, this research aimed to determine attitudes toward the issue and provide new insight for future tourism planning. It was found that residents overall are fairly neutral about short-term rentals and feel that they should be legal with some regulations in place as to ensure the city does not lose its cultural and residential feel. It was also found that those who are strongly opinionated in one direction about Airbnb also tended to be opinionated in a similar way regarding other debated tourism issues.
- ItemViolence in Political Theory: Towards a New ParadigmBarry-Hinton, Seth; Curtis, Claire P; Jos, Philip$
- ItemWhat’s Bothering Barnacles? Microplastics and Selective Feeding in BarnaclesClark, Emily Kathleen; Dustan, PhillipMicroplastics are widely dispersed and pervasive in marine environments. Barnacles are capitular planktivores, therefore it was hypothesized that they could be actively ingesting the plastics, whose size—less than 5mm in diameter—parallels the barnacle’s diet. Two barnacle species (Chthamalus fragilis and Amphibalanus eburneus) were collected and analyzed for microplastic contamination. To assess the potential eﬀects of microplastic on local barnacles, I examined the outer shell, mantle cavity, and body of 87 barnacles collected from three sampling sites—Brittlebank Park, Folly Beach, and the Harborwalk dock—for evidence of microplastics and their ingestion. I found that 77.1% of the barnacles had plastic particles present somewhere, ranging from one plastic particle to a maximum of 40 particles. However, no plastic particles had been directly consumed by the barnacles; since the vast majority of samples clearly came into contact with microplastics, it appears the barnacles are selectively feeding against plastics. The results of this study were disseminated into a work of children’s literature to provide accessibility and knowledge of the broader impacts of scientific research.