Announcements of Graduate Student Final Defenses, Artistic Exhibitions, and Music Recitals

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Alydia Downs – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Metalsmithing
Title: Entomoethnography
Major Professor: Sun Kyoung Kim
Co-Chair: Richard Smith
Committee Members: Mont Allen and Carolina Alarcon
Defense Date: April 12, 2024
Location: Plant Biology Greenhouse and Conservatory
Time: 9:30 am

Benjamin Kaita – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Painting
Title: Fixed Points of Heritage
Major Professor: Xuhong Shang
Committee Members: Erin Palmer and Najjar Abdul-Musawwir
Defense Date: April 4, 2024
Location: Sharp Museum, International and Study Galleries
Time: 3:00 pm

Christopher Hughes – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Drawing
Title: Visions
Major Professor: Mark Pease
Committee Members: Najjar Abdul-Musawwir and Erin Palmer
Defense Date: April 10, 2024
Location: Surplus Gallery, The Glove Factory
Time: 2:00 pm

Max Blessman - Thesis for the M.S. in Geography & Environmental Resources
Title: Identifying the Geographical Relationship of Climate Change Perceptions in Middle and High School Students Within the United States
Major Professor: Kristin Hurst
Committee Members: Leslie Duram, Justin Schoof
Date: May 16, 2024
Location: Faner Hall 2533
Time: 12:00 pm

Muyiwa Adeyanju – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Painting
Title: Beyond Borders
Major Professor: Erin Palmer
Committee Members: Xuhong Shang and Haley Farthing
Defense Date: April 4, 2024
Location: Surplus Gallery, The Glove Factory
Time: 9:00 am

Nathaniel Ogden – Art Exhibition for MFA in Media Arts
Title: Ambiguous Morality
Major Professor: Pirooz Kalayeh
Committee Members: HD Motyl, Karla Berry and Heather O’Brian.
Exhibition Date: April 6, 2024
Location: Communications Building 1251
Time: 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Oral Defense:10am-12pm, April 12th, 2024 in Communications Building 1251

The show will be a table read of a screenplay I wrote. In 1935, Nevada, Jane “Luna Wayne” teams up with her reluctant sheriff father, Clint, to find her mother’s murder before a cheating gambler cashes in on the reward.

Olivia Warro – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art - Sculpture
Title: Similitudes
Major Professor: Alex Lopez
Committee Members: Angela Reinoehl
Defense Date: April 10, 2024
Location: Surplus Gallery, The Glove Factory
Time: 1:00 pm

Pierce Haley – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art - Ceramics
Title: Sequence by Design
Major Professor: Pattie Chalmers
Committee Members: Alex Lopez and Harris Deller
Defense Date: April 3, 2024
Location: Surplus Gallery, The Glove Factory
Time: 11:00 am

Saad Ashraf - Dissertation for the Ph.D. in Business Administration - Management
Title: Investigating the Antecedents and Consequences of Workplace Gaslighting: Interdependence Theory and Affective Events Theory Perspectives
Major Professor: Ye Dai
Committee Members: Steve Karau, Omid Kamran Disfani, Xiaoyan (May) Bao, Taeho Yoh
Date: June 13, 2024
Location: Virtual https://zoom.us/j/96854739337
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Sarah-Anne Winchester – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Ceramics
Title: To the Core
Major Professor: Pattie Chalmers
Committee Members: Carolina Alarcon and Angela Reinoehl
Defense Date: April 1, 2024
Location: Sharp Museum North Hall, 1000 Faner Drive, Carbondale Campus
Time: 4:00 pm
Open: April 2 - 6
Hours: Tues. - Fri. 12-4 PM & Sat. 1-4 PM
Reception: April 5, 4:30 - 7:00 PM

Zachary Carter - Thesis for the M.S. in Geography & Environmental Resources
Title: Practical Application of Moral Foundations Theory in the Adoption of Mixed Species Grazing in Oklahoma Ranches
Major Professor: Kristin Hurst
Committee Members: Zachary Hurst, Leslie Duram
Date: May 23, 2024
Location: Faner Hall 2533
Time: 10:30 am

Mckenna Bennett – Thesis for M.A. in Criminology & Criminal Justice
Title: Obtaining Employment with a Criminal Conviction
Major Professor: Breanne Pleggenkuhle
Committee Members: Raymund Narag, Kylie Reale
Date: June 27, 2024
Location: Faner 4321 and virtual on Zoom
Time: 8:00 am
Previous research has indicated that employment search experiences can vary greatly among individuals based on their backgrounds and previous experiences, particularly for those with a criminal history. However, there is limited understanding of the specific skills that program participants with a criminal background bring to the employment search and what they are missing. This research study asks the questions (1) What skills do employment program participants bring to the employment search and what are they missing? (2) What are the stigmatic experiences they are having during the employment search? (3) What did the individuals gain from the schooling experience? What do they find most important/valuable? (4) What are the differences between the individuals who are justice involved versus those who have no criminal record? Using secondary data from a previous research project, this study conducts a qualitative analysis using interviews to investigate the employment navigation process. The findings highlight the role of stigma and strain in shaping employment experiences and suggest that holistic programs are most beneficial for participants.

Mukesh Bhattarai – Dissertation for Ph.D. in Environmental Resources & Policy
Title: The Impact of Community Forestry on the General and Specified Resilience of Communities and Households in Nepal
Major Professor: Kofi Akamani
Committee Members: Logan Park, Leslie Duram, John Groninger, Clay Nielsen
Date: June 11, 2024
Location: Faner 4523
Time: 8:00 - 9:00 am
Community forestry is one form of community-based forest management which is considered as a promising forest management model for achieving ecological sustainability and community well-being. Although extensive literature exists that covers various aspects of community forestry, studies on the performance of community forestry programs in the face of change and uncertainty are limited. In Nepal, for instance, community forestry programs have been implemented since late 1970s and flourished after the adoption of the Forest Act of 1993. However, the impacts of these programs on the resilience of communities and households have not received enough attention. To address these gaps, this dissertation employed a mixed methods approach in analyzing the impact of Nepal’s community forestry program on the general resilience of forest-dependent communities, as well as their specified resilience to the 2015 earthquake. Data for the qualitative component of the study were generated through the review of documents, as well as interviews with 27 purposively sampled key informants from two rural communities in the Gorkha district of Nepal, whereas quantitative data were generated through the administration of a survey questionnaire among 237 households who were selected using a systematic random sampling technique. The results of this dissertation showed that community and household participation in the community forestry program resulted in mostly positive impact on all forms of capital assets (social capital, economic capital, natural capital, physical capital and human capital) which were used to measure general resilience outcomes; household participation in the community forestry program also had a significant positive effect on some of the key indicators of earthquake resilience. In all, the results of this dissertation highlight the importance of local institutions in community resilience and adaptation processes. The results also highlight the need for forest policy to prioritize local institutional capacity-building. As global climate change policy has shifted towards community-based adaptation in recent decades, this study shows the potential for community forestry to serve as an entry point for global climate change policy through its contributions to community capacity for adaptation to various drivers of change.

Kelly Crandall – Thesis for M.S. in Forestry
Title: Effects of Urban Borders on Synanthropic Mesopredator Movement and Risk of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection in the Protected Lands of Key Largo, Florida USA
Major Professor: Brent Pease
Committee Members: Clay Nielsen, Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau, Michael Cove
Date: May 10, 2024
Location: Agriculture Building 209 and virtual
Time: 9:00 am
Protected lands are an important source of food, shelter, and reproductive opportunities for wildlife, especially in urbanizing landscapes. When urban development abuts the edges of protected lands, synanthropic species can alter their foraging behaviors and movement to utilize human-supplemented resources throughout the urban-wild interface. Therefore, urban edges on protected lands can have pronounced effects on animal movement and ecosystem function. There is also increased risk of disease transmission where high densities of wild animals exist, or where domestic animals and wild species are interacting. In particular, members of the family Felidae, including domestic cats (Felis catus), can transmit the pathogenic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii (henceforth T. gondii) through their feces. Capable of infecting any warm-blooded host species, infection with T. gondii has been proven to cause increased risk-taking behaviors, stillbirths and congenital birth defects, and mortality in humans and a variety of wildlife species. Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor) and Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are urban adaptive species who often benefit from human-supplemented food sources such as unsecured garbage, and outdoor pet food, and may be exposed to T. gondii more frequently if they’re utilizing resources in close proximity to cats. To investigate how urban edges of protected lands affect the movement and infection risk for urban-adapted mesopredators, I captured and attached GPS collars to opossums and raccoons between April 2022 and October 2023 in northern Key Largo, FL, USA, a protected area with large contiguous patches of undisturbed land cover adjacent to two distinct urban areas with high outdoor cat densities and available human-supplemented food resources. Using GPS collar data, I estimated home ranges and third-order resource selection of 27 raccoons and 12 opossums collected between April 2022 and October 2023. The average home range of opossums were 20.51 ha (14.12 SE) which was significantly smaller than raccoons (137.01 ha, 10.74 SE, t37 = -2.70, p = 0.01). The proportion of urban development in an individual’s home range was the most influential factor associated with home range size, followed by species and sex. Individuals with greater proportions of residential neighborhoods and commercial areas in their home ranges were associated with smaller home ranges. Third-order resource selection functions identified both mesopredator species using residential and commercial land use areas significantly more than they were available on the landscape. To survey for T. gondii infections, I collected blood samples from all the captured raccoons and performed a direct modified agglutination test (MAT) to detect antibodies for T. gondii. To understand how human-supplemented foods could be affected exposure rates, I collected hair samples from all the raccoons and analyzed the stable carbon isotope ratios, so that higher ratios of carbon were equated to greater intake of non-natural, human-supplemented food resources. 67.7% (21/31; 95% CI: 51.3–84.2%) of the raccoons tested positive for T. gondii antibodies, and the proportion of urban development in an individual’s home range was the best predictor for infection. A multinomial regression analysis indicated that raccoons with higher levels of antibodies were also likely to have a majority “non-wild” diet based on δ13C values from a stable carbon isotope analysis. These results suggest the primary route of parasite transmission is contact with domestic cats, which may be exacerbated by the exploitation of human-supplemented food in urban areas. The Florida Keys are currently facing mammal population declines tied to Burmese pythons (Python bivitattus) and outdoor cat predations, and management policies that decrease the circulation of T. gondii oocysts in the environment are important to bolstering the fitness of these island-dwelling populations. Decreased reproductive success or behavioral changes that increase risk of predation could spell catastrophic for these mesopredator populations that are following in the footsteps of their Everglades counterparts, and at risk of extirpation on Key Largo. I recorded a systemic reduction of home range sizes on the urban edges of the protected areas of Key Largo, which often corresponds with higher densities of animals, which may increase probability of disease transmission, especially when the urban borders support populations of feral domestic species. As urbanization increases and the distance between wild lands and human disturbance decreases, it is increasingly important to study the mechanisms of how urban development on the edges of protected areas affect the ecology of wildlife species.

Charles Sanders – Research Paper for M.S. in Agribusiness Economics
Title: Weather and Technology Trends in U.S. Durum Wheat Yields
Major Professor: Ira Altman
Date: July 19, 2024
Location: 225 Agriculture Building
Time: 9:00 am

Di Wu – Dissertation for Ph.D. in Environmental Resources & Policy
Title: Improving Hydrologic Connectivity Delineation Based on High-Resolution DEMs and Geospatial Artificial Intelligence
Major Professor: Ruopu Li
Committee Members: Jonathan Remo, Guangxing Wang, Justin Schoof, Banafshedh Rekabadar
Date: June 17, 2024
Location: Virtual
Time: 10:00 am
Hydrological connectivity is crucial for understanding and managing water resources, ecological processes, and landscape dynamics. High-Resolution Digital Elevation Models (HRDEMs) derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data offer unprecedented detail and accuracy in representing terrain features, making them invaluable for mapping hydrological networks and analyzing landscape connectivity. However, challenges persist in accurately delineating flow networks, identifying flow barriers, and optimizing computational efficiency, particularly in large-scale applications and complex terrain conditions. This dissertation addresses these challenges through a comprehensive exploration of advanced techniques in deep learning, spatial analysis, and parallel computing. A common practice is to breach the elevation of roads near drainage crossing locations to remove flow barriers, which, however, are often unavailable or with variable quality. Thus, developing a reliable drainage crossing dataset is essential to improve the HRDEMs for hydrographic delineation. Deep learning models were developed for classifying images that contain the locations of flow barriers. Based on HRDEMs and aerial orthophotos, different Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models were trained and compared to assess their effectiveness in image classification in four different watersheds across the U.S. Midwest. The results show that most deep learning models can consistently achieve over 90% accuracies. The CNN model with a batch size of 16, a learning rate of 0.01, an epoch of 100, and the HRDEM as the sole input feature exhibits the best performance with 93% accuracy. The addition of aerial orthophotos and their derived spectral indices is insignificant to or even worsens the model’s accuracy. Transferability assessments across geographic regions show promising potential of best-fit model for broader applications, albeit with varying accuracies influenced by hydrography complexity. Based on identified drainage crossing locations, Drainage Barrier Processing (DBP), such as HRDEM excavation, is employed to remove the flow barriers. However, there's a gap in quantitatively assessing the impact of DBP on HRDEM-derived flowlines, especially at finer scales. HRDEM-derived flowlines generated with different flow direction algorithms were evaluated by developing a framework to measure the effects of flow barrier removal. The results show that the primary factor influencing flowline quality is the presence of flow accumulation artifacts. Quality issues also stem from differences between natural and artificial flow paths, unrealistic flowlines in flat areas, complex canal networks, and ephemeral drainageways. Notably, the improvement achieved by DBP is demonstrated to be more than 6%, showcasing its efficacy in reducing the impact of flow barriers on hydrologic connectivity. To overcome the computational intensity and speed up data processing, the efficiency of parallel computing techniques for GeoAI and hydrological modeling was evaluated. The performance of CPU parallel processing on High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems was compared with serial processing on desktop computers and GPU processing using Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). Results demonstrated substantial performance enhancements with GPU processing, particularly in accelerating computationally intensive tasks such as deep learning-based feature detection and hydrological modeling. However, efficiency trends exhibit nonlinear patterns influenced by factors such as communication overhead, task distribution, and resource contention. In summary, this dissertation presents a GeoAI-Hydro framework that significantly advances the quality of hydrological connectivity modeling. By integrating deep learning for accurate flow barrier identification, employing DBP to enhance flowline quality, and utilizing parallel computing to address computational demands, the framework offers a robust solution for high-qua

Diogo Seixas – Dissertation for Ph.D. in Business Administration
Title: Individual Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Career Culture: A Fit Theory Perspective
Major Professor: Steven Karau
Committee Members: Pete Mykytyn, John Goodale, Gregory DeYong, Craig Engstrom
Date: June 20, 2024
Location: Virtual
Time: 2:00 pm
Attracting and retaining talent has been one of the most critical elements for business success. As organizations have different cultures within themselves, the organizational career culture communicates the organizational beliefs and practices valued for career success through organizational signals about career priorities. Using a scenario-based study, we explore individual preferences regarding four career cultures built on two dimensions of career signals: assimilation versus differentiation and intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards. We choose group beliefs, desirability of control, competitiveness, and protean career orientation as important traits because they clearly relate to the career signals and fit nicely in the organization’s career cultures. We found that individuals with high group beliefs perceived significantly higher person-organization fit and attraction, and marginally significantly higher career culture fit in cultures with high assimilation and intrinsic rewards. Individuals high in the desirability of control perceived higher career culture fit in Prestige career cultures (high in both assimilation and extrinsic rewards). Highly competitive individuals perceived higher career culture fit in cultures high in extrinsic rewards. Lastly, individuals high in protean career orientation had no perceived preferences regarding the two dimensions. The findings are important for both companies and individuals. Companies can create a unique culture that communicates the critical organizational processes and strategic outcomes to gain a competitive advantage while improving the general organizational culture with motivated employees with a favorable view of the organization. The present research provides an essential foundation for the future, offering critical insights and motivating future investigations to enrich the literature on organizational career culture and personality research.

Abigail Spiers - Thesis for M.S. in Forestry
Title: Impacts of Intensifying a Corn-Soybean Rotation with Winter Wheat on Nutrient Leaching, Plant Available Nutrients, Crop Yields, and Nitrogen Dynamics in Southern Illinois
Major Professor: Karl Williard
Committee Members: Jon Schoonover, Amir Sadeghpour
Date: June 5, 2024
Location: Agriculture Building Room 209
Time: 1:00 pm

Hongnai Zhang - Dissertation for Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing)
Title: Bridging the Gap: Examining the Role of Physical Store Presence in Boosting Consumer's Online Purchase Intention in Hybrid Retail
Major Professor: Terry Clark
Committee Members: Taeho Yoh, Omid Kamran Disfani, Sevincgul Ulu, Chen Wu (Southeast Missouri State Univ)
Date: June 24, 2024
Location: Virtual
Time: 11:00 am

Bhaskar Upadhyaya Subedi - Dissertation for Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing)
Title: The Power of Labels: How Certification Labels Affect Consumers' Purchase Intentions and Willingness to Pay Higher Prices for Plant-Based Non-Food Products
Major Professor: Nwamaka Anaza
Committee Members: John Fraedrich, Mavis Adjei, Sevincgul Ulu, Delancy Bennett (Howard Univ)
Date: June 18, 2024
Location: Virtual
Time: 1:00 pm

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