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

Main Content


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

Brandon A. Griffin – Dissertation for Ph.D. in Business Administration
Title: The impact of servant leadership on social loafing in the workplace: Examining mechanisms and boundary conditions
Major Professor: Steven Karau
Committee Member: Peter Mykytyn
Committee Member: Ye Dai
Committee Member: Gregory DeYoung
Committee Member: Omid Kamran Disfani
Defense Date: March 1, 2024

This dissertation explores the complicated relationship between servant leadership and social loafing within organizational settings. Drawing upon the collective effort model, social exchange theory, and trait activation theory, this research explores how servant leadership impacts social loafing. Employing a two-wave online survey methodology with full-time workers in the USA, this study examines the direct effects of servant leadership on social loafing and investigates the mediating roles of perceived insider status, civility, and psychological empowerment. Furthermore, it assesses how individual differences—such as honesty-humility, psychological entitlement, and exchange ideology—moderate these relationships.
Initial findings reveal a complex relationship between servant leadership and social loafing, with certain components of servant leadership directly influencing social loafing in both positive and negative directions. Specifically, emotional healing and ethical behavior factors of servant leadership were found to reduce social loafing, whereas prioritizing subordinates appears to unexpectedly increase social loafing. In addition, with the inclusion of social desirability, task interdependence, and task visibility as control variables, we see a marked decrease in the direct relationship between servant leadership and social loafing. Importantly, servant leadership does act as an indirect negative influence on social loafing through the mediating mechanisms of psychological empowerment, perceived insider status, and perceived leader civility. However, there were no detectable moderation effects from our interaction variables of psychological entitlement, honesty/humility, and exchange ideology. The research contributes to the broader literature on leadership and motivation by highlighting the conditional effects of servant leadership on individual motivation within groups, offering valuable insights for organizational leaders aiming to foster a culture of high engagement and minimal social loafing. Through a comprehensive analysis, this dissertation provides a deeper understanding of how servant leadership can be effectively leveraged to combat social loafing, emphasizing the importance of aligning leadership approaches with individual employee characteristics and group dynamics.

Christiane Baigent - Dissertation for Ph.D. in Anthropology
Title: The effect of altitude on decomposition: Toward an understanding the postmortem interval in the rocky mountain region
Major Professor: Gretchen R. Dabbs
Committee Member: David Sutton
Committee Member: Melissa Connor
Committee Member: Tamira Brennan
Committee Member: Paul Welch
Defense Date: February 27, 2024

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

Dakota Discepolo – Dissertation for PhD in Agricultural Sciences
Major Professor: Erin Perry
Defense Date: March 8 , 2024
Location: Agriculture Building
Time: 10:00 AM

Danielle Lorentz – Research Paper for MA in Communication Studies
Title: Bridging Perspectives through Dialogic Exchanges: Intercultural Communication in Disability Support Services
Major Professor: Sandy Pensoneau-Conway
Committee Member: Nilanjana Bardhan
January 24, 2024
COMM 2005
11 AM on Wednesday

This research report delves into the complexities of the disabled student body accessing accommodations and seeking needs to be met specifically pertaining to disability support services (DSS) as a campus resource. It employs fictional dialogues and composite characters to vividly illustrate the interactions between students, parents, and DSS staff, highlighting the challenges in communication and accommodation. An intercultural communication perspective is used to pave the way to think about difference, specifically how it pertains to disability as an identity categorization. The paper contrasts the social and medical models of disability, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of these perspectives. It underlines the importance of empathy, intercultural communication skills, and the balance between procedural adherence and individual needs in DSS. The narrative approach is used to shed light on the diverse experiences and needs within the DSS framework, advocating for more personalized and understanding approaches in educational settings.

Francesca Burkett – Thesis for MS in Geology
Title: A Journey to the Center of the Asthenosphere: A Numerical Exploration of Magma Production Beneath Mid Ocean Ridge and Subduction Zone Systems
Major Professor: James Conder
Defense Date: March 29, 2024
Location: Parkinson 110
Time: 2:00 pm

Gwen Lambert Kelling – Art Exhibition for M.A. in Art- Sculpture
Title: Operating Assumptions
Major Professor: Alex Lopez
Committee Members: Angela Reinoehl, Pattie Chalmers
Date: March 26th
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Surplus Gallery, the Glove Factory, 432 S Washington St
Exhibition Dates: March 25th to 29th , 2024
Exhibition Hours: Monday, 2:00pm – 6:00pm
     Tuesday, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
     Wednesday, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
     Thursday, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Reception: March 29th , 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Haley Saylor – Thesis Play for MFA in Theater, Costume Design
Title: She Loves Me
Major Professor: Wendi Zea
Committee Member: Jacob Juntunen
Committee Member: MK Hughes
February 29 - March 3
McLeod Theater, Communications Building
7:30 PM; 2:00 PM on Sunday

Haley Saylor will be designing costumes for the SIU School of Theater and Dance production of She Loves Me, as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Fine Arts in Theater.
Set in a 1930s European perfumery, we meet shop clerks, Amalia and Georg, who, more often than not, don't see eye to eye. After both respond to a "lonely hearts advertisement" in the newspaper, they now live for the love letters that they exchange, but the identity of their admirers remains unknown. Join Amalia and Georg to discover the identity of their true loves... and all the twists and turns along the way! Music by the composers of Fiddler on the Roof, and the book by the author of Cabaret.
The play will be produced in the McLeod Theater, opening February 29 and running one weekend.

Jacob Bowers – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: An Empirical Study of an Innovative Clustering Approach Towards Efficient Big Data Analysis
Major Professor: Dunren Che
Committee Members: Zhong Chen and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 28, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, Wing A, Room 309C
Time: 10:00 am

The dramatic growth of big data presents formidable challenges for traditional clustering methodologies, which often prove unwieldy and computationally expensive when processing vast quantities of data. This study explores a novel clustering approach exemplified by Sow & Grow, a density-based clustering algorithm akin to DBSCAN developed to address the issues inherent to big data by enabling end-users to strategically allocate computational resources toward regions of noted interest. Achieved through a unique procedure of seeding points and subsequently fostering their growth into coherent clusters, this method significantly reduces computational waste by ignoring insignificant segments of the dataset and provides information relevant to the end user. The implementation of this algorithm developed as part of this research showcases promising results in various experimental settings, exhibiting notable speedup over conventional clustering methods. Additionally, the incorporation of dynamic load balancing further enhances the algorithm's performance, ensuring optimal resource utilization across parallel processing threads when handling superclusters or unbalanced data distributions. Through a detailed study of the theoretical underpinnings of this innovative clustering approach and the limitations of traditional clustering techniques, this research demonstrates the practical utility of the Sow & Grow algorithm in expediting the clustering processes while providing results pertinent to end users.

Kelly M. Alongi - Capstone Report for EdD in Educational Administration
Title: Retention in Research Administration
Major Professor: Brad Colwell
Committee Members: Gary Kelly, James Garvey, David Skocy
Date: March 20th, 2024
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Wham 223

The current study was conducted to gain insight into what factors are most important to research administrators when they are deciding whether to remain at or leave their current organization. Research administration, like many other professions, experiences a high rate of turnover. This is problematic because the time to train research administrators can be very lengthy and expensive. This exploratory study utilized a quantitative survey to find the most highly rated factors by research administrators when deciding whether to stay at or leave their position.

Kris Powell - Art Exhibition for M.A in Art-Glass
Title: Tangible Subversion
Major Professor: Jiyong Lee
Committee Members: Pattie Chalmers, Jay Needham
Date: March 18th
Time: 1:15 PM
Exhibition Dates: March 18th – 22nd , 2024
Location: Surplus Gallery, the Glove Factory, 432 S Washington St
Exhibition Hours: Monday, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
     Tuesday, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
     Wednesday, 2:00pm - 4:30pm
     Thursday, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Reception: March 22nd, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Kwun Wong – Art Exhibition for MFA in Art – Glass
Title: In Between
Major Professor: Jiyong Lee
Committee Members: Carolina Alarcon and Antonio Martinez
Defense Date: March 25, 2024
Location: Gallery 1101, Communications Building
Time: 10:00 am

Laura Schammel – Thesis for MS in Forestry
Title: Stand Dynamics in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest Twenty Years After Tornado Disturbance and Salvage Logging
Major Professor: Eric Holzmueller
Committee Members: John Groninger and Charles Ruffner
Defense Date: March 28, 2024
Location: Agriculture Building, Room 209
Time: 1:00 pm

Catastrophic wind events can play an important role in the stand structure and composition of Bottomland Hardwood Forests. Regeneration and stand structure following these events depend on a variety of factors, including disturbance severity, past land use, and post-disturbance management. This study revisits a 2004 survey conducted at Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area in Southern Illinois following a tornado and subsequent salvage logging operation. We established 164 plots on four different disturbance types as mapped by the original survey: Undisturbed, Transition, Wind Damaged Only (Wind), and Wind Damaged Salvaged (Salvaged). The objective of this study was to see how the area responded to the tornado and investigate if there was any difference in response between areas that were salvage logged those that were not. Data collected included density, basal area, and Shannon’s H, as well as visual evidence of remaining soil rutting resulting from the salvage logging operation, tree height as a metric for productivity, and invasive percent cover. There were slight significant differences in the densities, basal area, and diversity among disturbance types, although diameter distributions revealed similar age distributions, and there was no impact of the salvage logging on productivity. Evidence of soil rutting was still present, adding to microsite diversity that contributed to the significantly higher species diversity in Salvaged areas. The proportion of Quercus spp. in both Wind and Salvaged areas was lower than in Undisturbed and Transition areas, while the proportion of other species, including Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and key bottomland species Salix spp., Taxodium distichum, and Nyssa aquatica, were higher. Invasive non-native species cover was higher in Salvaged and Wind areas than in Transition and Undisturbed but was not extensive, contained to edges and along old roads and skid trails, and did not differ between Salvaged and Wind areas. The results indicate that twenty years after the disturbance, forest structure is still recovering in tornado-damaged areas and has shifted in composition away from Quercus toward stands dominated by Acer spp., Ulmus spp., Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Liquidambar styraciflua species in both Wind and Salvaged areas. The salvage logging operation does not appear to have any negative impacts on forest recovery and may have provided possible benefits by further diversifying overstory community composition, making it a viable management option in response to catastrophic wind events in bottomland hardwoods. Active management should be considered in both Wind and Salvaged areas to prevent the spread of non-native species and ensure the persistence of Quercus and other key bottomland species.

LaxmaReddy Kandula – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: Enhancing Delivery Logistics through Blockchain and Machine Learning / Smart Delivery Quest
Major Professor: Henry Hexmoor
Committee Members: Bidyut Gupta and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 27, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, A Wing, Room 309C
Time: 3:30 pm

In the rapidly evolving landscape of delivery logistics, the integration of cutting-edge technologies such as Blockchain, Machine Learning (ML), and Swarm Robotics stands at the forefront of innovation, promising to revolutionize the way businesses manage and execute deliveries. This thesis explores the synergistic potential of these technologies to optimize delivery logistics, ensuring efficiency, security, and reliability in the supply chain. At the heart of our investigation is Machine Learning, which facilitates advanced demand forecasting and dynamic route optimization. Through the analysis of vast datasets encompassing sales, weather, and traffic conditions, ML algorithms predict delivery demands with unprecedented accuracy, enabling logistics companies to allocate resources effectively and navigate complex urban environments optimally.
Blockchain technology introduces a layer of transparency and security, particularly in transaction management and data integrity. By leveraging smart contracts, the delivery process is automated, from payment processing to real-time delivery confirmations, fostering trust among all stakeholders and significantly reducing the potential for disputes and fraud. Swarm Robotics, inspired by the collective behavior of natural systems, offers a scalable and flexible solution for the physical execution of deliveries. Through decentralized control and simple local rules, a fleet of autonomous drones or robots collaborates to perform delivery tasks efficiently, adapting to dynamic environmental conditions without central oversight. The combination of these technologies heralds a new era in delivery logistics, where Machine Learning's predictive power, Blockchain's security, and Swarm Robotics' operational efficiency converge to create a robust, adaptable, and future-proof delivery ecosystem. Through theoretical exploration, system design, and empirical analysis, this thesis proposes a comprehensive framework that not only addresses current logistical challenges but also anticipates future developments in the field. This research contributes to the academic and practical understanding of how Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Swarm Robotics can collectively enhance delivery logistics. It offers valuable insights for logistics companies seeking to innovate their operations, policymakers aiming to regulate emerging technologies, and researchers exploring the intersection of technology and supply chain management. Ultimately, this thesis lays the groundwork for a smarter, more connected, and efficient delivery system, paving the way for the seamless integration of technology into the fabric of global commerce.

Leah Sutton – Art Exhibition for MFA in Media Arts
Title: Of Light and Shadow
Major Professor: Robert Spahr
Committee Members: Jay Needham, Sarah Lewison and Walter Metz
Performance Date: March 22, 2024
Location: SIUC Communications Building Northlight Studio (Room 1251)
Time: 7:00-9:00pm (performance at 7:30pm)

The work exhibited in Of Light and Shadow is fragmented. The fragments of the work will display an understanding of materiality, immateriality, fragility, temporality, scale, and preservation while seeking to fragment photography as a traditional medium. This work has become less about the image and more about the art object itself and how it exists in the space. I am interested in the connections between art and science where a museum, herbarium, or glasshouse acts as a juxtaposition between art and science. In Of Light and Shadow, the chosen materials question their own materiality. Each specimen pin, shadow, or rough edge, is a symbol of the reality they represent. Each fragment is just that—a representation. I am interested in the ephemerality of objects and the fragility of their existence. I use light and shadow as a duality that connects the natural and artificial. With this duality and materials manufactured and handmade, I create environments that beckon the viewer to consider other dualities such as light and dark, inside and outside, past and present, and private and public. They are the in between. Miniaturized fragments contrast larger than life fragments that challenge the viewers’ senses, perception of reality, and scale to create an experience of stepping back and getting close enough to use a magnifying glass. This work seeks to fragment photography as a material and immaterial mode of traditional storytelling where it constantly battles the question of “will it disappear” and “if so, when?”

Manikumar Siddireddy – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: A Lightweight End to End Encryption Algorithm for IOT Data Integration: Blockchain Framework
Major Professor: Henry Hexmoor
Committee Members: Bidyut Gupta and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 27, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, A Wing, Room 309C
Time: 2:30 pm

This thesis proposes a novel lightweight end-to-end encryption algorithm tailored for securing Internet of Things (IoT) data within a blockchain framework. With the proliferation of IoT devices generating vast amounts of sensitive data, ensuring its confidentiality and integrity during transmission and storage becomes paramount. Traditional encryption techniques may impose significant overhead on resource constrained IoT devices, hindering their efficiency and scalability. To address this challenge, this proposed algorithm strikes a balance between robust security and computational efficiency, leveraging the inherent characteristics of blockchain technology for data integrity and immutability. Through extensive experimentation and analysis, this thesis demonstrates the efficacy and feasibility of this encryption scheme in safeguarding IoT data while maintaining compatibility with blockchain frameworks. This research contributes to the advancement of secure and efficient data integration in IoT applications within distributed blockchain environments.

Manoj Aluri – Thesis for M.S. in Computer Science
Title: Porosity Prediction and Estimation in Metal Additive Manufactured Parts: A Deep Learning Approach
Major Professor: Khaled R. Ahmed
Committee Member: Bidyut Gupta
Committee Member: Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 21, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, Wing A, Room 309C
Time: 2:00 PM

Over the past few decades, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing (3DP) technologies witnessed revolutionary growth in the manufacturing sector. Parts produced with metal AM techniques, especially Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), are often prone to porosity issues. The presence of pores leads to harmful effects such as crack formation and, eventually, premature failure of the component. Consequently, research in defect detection and pore prediction at different scales attracted substantial attention. Utilizing image-based porosity detection in preexisting systems is a simple, effective, and cost-efficient approach for final part inspection. This thesis investigates the possibility of predicting porosity using U-Net and its novel network architectures named RU-Net and RAU-Net, on an X-ray computed tomography (XCT) image dataset. Later, the performance of these models is analyzed and compared using precision, recall, F1 score, mAP, IoU metrics, and their hybrid losses combining BCG and Dice loss. RAU-Net outperforms RU-Net and U-Net in all these metrics by detecting more than 90% of actual pores
while retaining 95% precision. While RU-Net and U-Net required additional training, RAU-Net achieved high performance in only 50 epochs, demonstrating its data efficiency and convergence. Due to its shorter training period, also leading to lower computational overhead, RAU-Net is suited for practical high throughput and low latency applications. Particularly in time-sensitive applications, RAU-Net can enable more widespread adoption of dense prediction networks. A custom script is developed for estimating the porosity percentage level in 3D printed metal components precisely, further enhancing final product inspection procedures. As a result, the entire quality control process is simplified, which allows for the quicker inspection of final components to deliver, by ensuring they meet required quality and reliability standards.

Manoj Aluri Thesis  Porosity Prediction and Estimation in Metal Additive Manufactured Parts: A Deep Learning Approach

Matthew Junker – Dissertation for PhD in Psychology
Title: An attentionless account of the attentional blink.
Major Professor: Reza Habib
Committee Members: Eric Jacobs, Michael Hylin, Camilo Hurtado-Parrado, Zachary Pilot
Date: March 22nd , 2024
Time: 1 PM
Location: Life Science II, Room 285D

Theories of the attentional blink (AB) – a deficit in responding to the second of two temporally proximal stimuli (within 500 ms; Raymond et al., 1992) – generally explain the deficit as resulting from either the dynamics in top-down and bottom-up attentional process, or limitations in the capacity of the hypothesized attentional process. Extensive basic research has been conducted on the neural correlates of top-down and bottom-up attention as well as on the capacity limitations of attention; however, rather than leading to a single definition, the variety and complexity of results has led several taxonomies which differ systematically with the experimental procedures supposed to evidence them. This lack of consensus is a problem for research attempting to explain specific phenomena such as the AB in terms of the proposed attentional process. This dissertation critically reviews the methods and conclusions of research on attention. In Chapter 2, two prominent conceptualizations of attention are discussed within their historical context and some definitional issues are highlighted. In Chapter 3, research on and theories of the AB are discussed in terms of existing taxonomies of attention. An argument is developed that dynamics in attention, as commonly conceptualized, is not necessarily the mechanism eliciting the AB and data from a series of pilot experiments are interpreted within this hypothesis. In Chapters 4 and 5, two cognitive behavioral experiments are discussed which test whether the AB arises due to localized competition within visual processing areas of the brain. Results from experiment 1 demonstrated a different patter of errors during the AB when the second target appeared in the same stimulus stream as the first target than when they switched streams, suggesting that the mechanisms of the AB are different for this condition. Results from experiment 2 demonstrated the typical AB effect and pattern of errors when target letters were defined by the color of a compound stimulus presented behind the letter stream, but a floor effect when the shape of that compound stimulus defined the targets. Although not definitive, these data might be best interpreted within a localized inhibition account of the AB and are less consistent with the prevailing idea of a late-stage attentional bottleneck.

Mert Dinc – Thesis for MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Title: Exploring Perspectives, Practices, And Professional Development: Collegiate Level ESL/EFL Teachers’ Utilization of Technology In Language Education
Major Professor: Brianna Janssen Sánchez
Committee Members: Shannon McCrocklin, Michael Olsen and Rachel Miller Olsen
Defense Date: March 18, 2024
Location: Faner 3059
Time: 11:00 AM

A breadth of research has revealed that English as a second language (ESL) and English as foreign language (EFL) teachers are positive towards technology integration into their classrooms (Sun & Mei, 2022) and are willing to develop their knowledge on ways to utilize technology (Nguyen, 2022). Nonetheless, there is limited information in terms of the impact of teachers past experiences and learning opportunities on how they implement technology in their teaching practices. Therefore, this research aims to expand on teachers’ perspectives, uses of technology and their professional development regarding technology. The research questions of this study are: 1) What are the perspectives of ESL/EFL teachers of technology integration in the ESL/EFL classroom? 2) How do ESL/EFL teachers utilize technology? 3) In what manner do ESL/EFL teachers enhance their knowledge of technology enhanced teaching practices and engage in professional development? To address these research questions, this qualitative study employed online survey and online interviews as the data collection instruments. Also, this research utilized thematic analysis to analyze the data from ten collegiate level ESL/EFL teachers. The participants of this study teach in two different countries: Turkey and the United States (U.S.), which increased the context-specific diversity of the data. Findings of this paper suggest that teachers have positive perspectives on technology integration to their classes and their practices of technology implementation vary depending on their teaching context and experiences. The findings also reveal that hands-on experiences and teacher collaboration have positive effects on teacher professional development with respect to technology. Along with the positive perspectives and various uses of technology, this study touches on drawbacks of technology such as student distraction, cheating/plagiarism, and other logistical difficulties. The research concludes with implications and recommendations for future research.

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.

Nick Karpinski – Art Exhibition for MFA in Theater
Title: Thesis Film
Major Professor: Pirooz Kalayeh
Committee Members: Jay Needham , Sarah Lewison and HD Motyl
Date: March 6
Location: Student Center Auditorium
Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Oral Defense: Time 10am- noon on March 22 in room 1052, Dean’s Conference Room (Communications Building)

Thesis Film is a hybrid film that blends fiction and nonfiction and tells the story of the film’s making of. It consists of a blend of different media art materials — narrative film footage, documentary film footage, archival film footage, photography, and animation. The narrative center of the piece is a talking head whereby Nick Karpinski addresses a single camera and narrates the film’s making of, while interweaving the stated media art materials.

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

Promise Tewogbola – Dissertation for PhD in Psychology
Title: A behavioral economic analysis of HIV vaccine acceptance in the United States.
Major Professor: Eric Jacobs
Committee Members: Yueh-Ting Lee, Ryan Redner , Jebaraj Asirvatham , Justin McDaniel
Date: March 21st , 2024
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Life Science II, Room 295

Although the rate of new HIV infections in the US has declined from its peak in the mid-1980s, HIV remains a serious public health challenge in the US (CDC, 2021). A safe and effective HIV vaccine will be particularly vital in reducing the incidence of HIV infections locally in the US and globally. Vaccines have been the most efficient mode for preventing and even eradicating infectious diseases . As exemplified with smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, typhoid, rabies, measles, polio, and more recently, COVID-19, the development of a preventive HIV vaccine can provide long-lasting protection and community immunity for a wide range of people, while also eliminating many of the problems currently associated with HIV treatment including high costs, delayed onset of treatment, drug resistance, adverse side effects, poor adherence, and stigma . However, as we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine efficacy is not the only constraint on vaccine acceptance behavior. Personal, interpersonal, contextual, and vaccine-dependent factors can also impact people’s valuations of a vaccine, as well as their intentions to accept them. To better understand how these factors can influence and interact with each other to affect vaccine acceptance, my research project aims at using simulated markets to safely model and rapidly evaluate demand for HIV vaccines among at-risk population groups in the US. By exploring the factors facilitating or hindering HIV vaccine acceptance in the US, the proposed research endeavor has the potential to inform public health interventions and public policies on HIV vaccines when they eventually become widely available in the US. Additionally, the findings of this research project can inform the clinical trial process, such that recruitment efforts are focused on individuals who are more likely to participate in a HIV vaccine trial. 

Riley Marshall – Dissertation for PhD in Psychology
Title: Influences of temperament, parents and friends on prosocial behaviors and conduct problems in a middle childhood- A behavioral genetic analysis.
Major Professor: Reza Habib
Committee Members: Lisabeth DiLalla, Michelle Kibby, Youjung Choi , Stacy Thompson, Tamara Kang
Date: March 25th , 2024
Time: 9 AM
Location: Morris Library, Room 752/754

Prosocial behaviors and a lack of conduct problems are critical components of social competence in middle childhood. A host of biological factors (e.g., temperament) and social relationships (e.g., relationships with parents and friends) are predictive of both prosocial behaviors and conduct problems during this period. However, the genetic and environmental underpinnings of these associations are not known. Additionally, temperament may interact with parent and friend influences to predict prosocial behaviors and conduct problems such that temperament traits make children susceptible to both positive and negative relationship experiences. The purpose of the current study was to examine effects of temperament, perceived parenting, and perceived best friend characteristics on prosocial behaviors and conduct problems in middle childhood. The three aims were to 1) examine temperamental, perceived parenting, and perceived best friend behavioral predictors of prosocial behaviors and conduct problems, 2) examine the genetic and environmental underpinnings of those associations, and 3) examine interactions between the genetic likelihood for temperamental reactivity and social relationships as predictors of prosocial behaviors and conduct problems. The sample included 111 twin pairs (n = 221) who completed measures of prosocial behaviors and conduct problems as well as their perceptions of the parenting that they received and their perceptions of the behaviors of one best friend. One parent also completed questionnaires about the twins’ prosocial behaviors, conduct problems, and temperaments. Broadly, results showed that temperament, perceived parenting, and best friend behaviors were related to child behaviors through both genetic and environmental mechanisms. Additionally, two gene-environment interactions were found. Specifically, the interaction between the genetic likelihood for temperamental surgency/extraversion and parental psychological control predicted self-reported conduct problems, and the interaction between the genetic likelihood for temperamental negative affectivity and best friends’ prosocial behaviors predicted self-reported prosocial behaviors. These results suggest that the etiologies of prosocial behaviors and conduct problems are complex and involve biological and social factors, as well as interactions between them.

Saika Zaman – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: Towards Communication Efficient Federated Learning
Major Professor: Sajedul Talukder
Committee Members: Abdur Rahman Bin Shahid and Bidyut Gupta
Defense Date: March 27, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, Wing A, Room 309C
Time: 3:15 pm

The widespread popularity of Federated Learning (FL) has led researchers to delve into its various facets, primarily focusing on personalization, fair resource allocation, privacy, and global optimization, with less attention puts towards the crucial aspect of ensuring efficient and cost-optimized communication between the FL server and its agents. A major challenge in achieving successful model training and inference on distributed edge devices lies in optimizing communication costs amid resource constraints, such as limited bandwidth, and selecting efficient agents. In resource-limited FL scenarios, where agents often rely on unstable networks, the transmission of large model weights can substantially degrade model accuracy and increase communication latency between the FL server and agents. Addressing this challenge, we propose a novel strategy that integrates a knowledge distillation technique with a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO)-based FL method. This approach focuses on transmitting model scores instead of weights, significantly reducing communication overhead and enhancing model accuracy in unstable environments. Our method, with potential applications in smart city services and industrial IoT, marks a significant step forward in reducing network communication costs and mitigating accuracy loss, thereby optimizing the communication efficiency between the FL server and its agents.

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

Shalini Donthireddy – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: Enhancing Autonomous Food Delivery with IOTA Blockchain
Major Professor: Henry Hexmoor
Committee Members: Bidyut Gupta and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 25, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, Wing A, Room 309C
Time: 2:00 pm

The integration of autonomous vehicles into the food delivery sector represents a
significant leap forward in enhancing efficiency, reducing human labor, and potentially
lowering costs. However, their deployment faces significant challenges, including security and
data integrity, compounded by the limitations of traditional blockchain technologies such as
high energy demands and slow transaction processing that hinder scalability and real-time
operations. This paper proposes the integration of IOTA blockchain with autonomous delivery
vehicles to address these issues. IOTA's Tangle, a Directed Acyclic Graph, offers transaction
fee elimination, reduced energy consumption, and improved scalability with quicker
confirmations, aligning with the needs of the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous delivery
systems. The research indicates that IOTA's integration significantly boosts the operational
efficiency, security, and scalability of autonomous food delivery robots, supports seamless
micropayments, and upholds data integrity, facilitating a decentralized, self-sufficient delivery
ecosystem. These findings not only enhance current delivery services but also signal a shift
towards broader applications in various sectors, laying the groundwork for extensive IOTA
blockchain adoption in IoT, marking a step towards a new era of streamlined, secure, and
scalable delivery services.

Shiva Teja Ravula – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: Exchanging Resources within the Internet of Things Using Blockchain Technology
Major Professor: Henry Hexmoor
Committee Members: Bidyut Gupta and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 27, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, A Wing, Room 309C
Time: 2:00 pm

This research examines how blockchain technology might help in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem by facilitating resource exchange. It focuses on a case study of a remote health monitoring system. With the use of wearable technology, sensors, and communication technologies, the remote health monitoring system makes it possible to track patient health data in real time. The research explores the potential of blockchain technology to improve the safe and easy sharing of health information in this setting between patients and medical professionals. Access rights are managed to guarantee that only authorized users can engage by putting in place a permissioned blockchain network designed for remote health monitoring. Using hospitals as illustrative samples, this case study explores the application of blockchain technology in Internet of Things (IoT) frameworks within healthcare organizations. The study looks at how these organizations use blockchain to improve data security, patient care, and resource exchange. The study clarifies the efficacy of blockchain-enabled IoT systems in healthcare settings by thoroughly examining their adoption methods, installation procedures, and results. This paper clarifies the possible advantages, difficulties, and best practices related to combining blockchain and IoT technology by contrasting the experiences of various healthcare institutions. The results provide insightful information about how blockchain technology might transform healthcare delivery, enhance patient outcomes, and protect the privacy and integrity of medical data. In the conclusion, this case study adds to the expanding corpus of knowledge on blockchain-enabled Internet of Things applications and offers practical advice for healthcare institutions looking to successfully utilize these technologies.

Tanvi Dasaripally – Thesis for MS in Computer Science
Title: Revolutionizing Urban Traffic Management using Deep Reinforcement Learning
Major Professor: Henry Hexmoor
Committee Members: Bidyut Gupta and Koushik Sinha
Defense Date: March 27, 2024
Location: Engineering Building, A Wing, Room 309C
Time: 3:30 pm

This thesis explores the integration of Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) in urban traffic management, examining how these technologies can be adapted and their effectiveness in the context of growing intelligent city infrastructures. By thoroughly examining more than 30 advanced research studies, this work highlights the creative use of DRL and other related technologies, such as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, to improve traffic flow, alleviate congestion, and facilitate the smooth operation of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) in urban settings. This thorough review emphasizes the potential of DRL to surpass traditional traffic management systems, showcasing its ability to adapt to complex and dynamic traffic scenarios. Nevertheless, this thesis delves deeper into the analysis to pinpoint notable gaps and challenges that continue to exist in the current research landscape. These tasks involve integrating DRL-based systems with existing traffic management infrastructures, developing DRL models that can be applied to various urban environments, moving from simulated studies to real-world implementation, and considering the ethical considerations of using AI in public areas. Tackling these challenges is essential for unlocking the full potential of DRL in urban traffic management. As a response, the thesis presents a range of cutting-edge solutions designed to address these gaps. Our work includes the creation of adaptive hybrid control systems that combine DRL with traditional management methods, the transfer of cross-domain DRL models to improve model robustness, and the development of an open-source urban traffic simulation platform for global research collaboration. In addition, there are proposals for edge-computing-enabled traffic nodes and establishing an Ethical AI Traffic Management Consortium. These initiatives are aimed at addressing computational and ethical challenges, respectively. The proposed future directions aim to address the identified research gaps and envision a future where traffic management systems are more advanced, streamlined, and fair. This thesis asserts that by adopting these cutting-edge solutions, urban traffic management can make substantial progress, resulting in enhanced mobility, safety, and quality of life in urban centers across the globe. The effective execution of these proposals has the potential to revolutionize urban traffic management, creating a system that is more adaptable, environmentally friendly, and accessible. This will set the stage for the development of intelligent cities in the years to come.

Taryn Bieri – Thesis for MS in Forestry
Title: Investigating Native Bamboo Practices for Reservoir Conservation and Habitat Restoration
Major Professor: Jim Zaczek
Committee Members: Charles Ruffner, Jon Schoonover
Date: March 20, 2024
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library

Reservoirs are an important resource for both humans and wildlife. They provide drinking water, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and more. A major issue land managers face on reservoirs is shoreline erosion leading to water quality impairments, sedimentation, and habitat loss. Traditionally, riprap has been used to mitigate this issue, but is costly and has limited ability to provide habitat. A promising measure to mitigate shoreline erosion and provide habitat is the establishment of giant cane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl], on shorelines. Giant cane, a bamboo species native to southern Illinois and the southeastern United States, forms monodominant stands called canebrakes. Where canebrakes exist soil stabilization occurs, water quality increases, and habitat is utilized by multiple faunal species. Research has been conducted on the successful propagation of giant cane, but little is known of the establishment and restoration on reservoir shorelines. And thus, this study examined factors that affect the survival and growth of giant cane propagules on shorelines of two southern Illinois reservoirs (Cedar Lake and Kinkaid Lake) to successfully establish canebrake habitat and mitigate shoreline erosion.
This study consisted of three replications of 30 transplants each at three different locations (sites) on each of the two reservoirs. Giant cane transplants were planted along two elevations at each site, the beach ~20 cm above the normal reservoir pool and upslope (US) about 1 meter above beach transplants. Initial growth (height of the tallest culm and number of culms) was collected prior to transplanting. Height of the tallest culm (cm), number of culms, amount of spread (cm) and survival were collected following each of the three growing seasons after planting. Canopy cover (%) was collected after the second growing season on Kinkaid Lake and soil properties (bulk density, texture, and nutrients) were measured on both reservoirs after the third growing season. Key takeaways were 1) significantly greater survival occurred among transplants in the US position, 2) elevations with lower bulk density and greater organic matter trended toward greater rates of height and culm density and 3) initial height of transplants had a positive influence on height and greater culm density resulted from transplants with greater initial numbers of culms after 3 growing seasons. For greater survival, transplants of giant cane should be planted up slope from the beach and the normal pool elevation. It is important to plant outside of the zone which may experience regular flooding and/or wave action from boat traffic or winds. Though giant cane has been shown to grow in various soil conditions, this study did see increased spread and number of culms where organic matter was greater and bulk density lower. Transplants with greater height and number of culms should be favored to aid in greater future growth and establishment. The findings of this study can help guide the efforts of land managers in the successful establishment of giant cane on reservoir shorelines.

Taylor Gerry – Research Paper for MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Title: They're Just Not Ready Yet - A Developmental Argument for Abolishing Juvenile Transfer
Major Professor: Matthew Giblin
Committee Members: Daryl Kroner, Breanne Pleggenkuhle
Date: March 26, 2024
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Virtual Event
Meeting Link:

Theresa Ogbeche – Thesis for MS in Geography and Environmental Resources
Title: Constructive Dialogs Around Sustainability and Low-Carbon Lifestyles Amongst SIU Students
Major Professor: Kristin Hurst
Defense Date: March 29, 2024
Location: Geography Conference Room
Time: 9:00 am

Walter Allen Henderson – Art Exhibition for M.A. in Art-Printmaking
Title: Eschatology in Genesis
Major Professor: Tavis Janssen
Committee Members: Carolina Alarcon, Najjar Abdul-Musawwir
Date: March 19th , 2024
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Surplus Gallery, the Glove Factory, 432 S Washington St
Exhibition Dates: March 18th to 22th , 2024
Exhibition Hours: Monday, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
     Tuesday, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
     Wednesday, 2:00pm - 4:30pm
     Thursday, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Reception: March 22nd, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Zoe Freedkin – Thesis for MA in Communication Studies
Major Professor: Rebecca Walker
Committee Members: Craig Gingrich-Philbrook and Sandy Pensoneau-Conway
Defense Date: March 26, 2024
Location: Comm 2005
Time: 9:00 AM

In this thesis, I explore how performance could be successfully used to explore dating application communication. More specifically, I discuss how computer-mediated communication (CMC) influences how users date in real life through the lens of performance. Elements of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) discussed include but are not limited to direct messaging, the option to create a profile, algorithmic patterns, etc. For many users, like me, online dating has changed how we portray ourselves and how this portrayal influences meeting face-to-face. While there are several theorists who have looked at CMC's effects on users, such as Joseph Walther and Sheizaf Rafaeli, in my research, I seek to fill a gap I find in the study of CMC in tandem with dating app culture and how this could be discussed in a performance setting. Using theorists from performance studies, communication studies, and social psychology, this thesis begins with a solo show I created titled Left on Read which sought to answer two questions: can the private life of users who engage on dating apps be successfully performed onstage, and do Carl Jung’s Archetypes of the Self work well to frame how users date online?

Announcement Archive