Capstones and Directed Research

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    Comparison of FEMA and Non-FEMA Disaster Response to Prior Hazardous Events in the City of Houston, Texas
    (2023-08) Deans, Faith Erin; Blanchard-Boehm, Denise; Boehm, Richard
    No abstract prepared.
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    Art for the Smart: The Evolution of American Modern Dance over Time and through Higher Education
    (2023-12) Crain, Grace; Nance, Michelle; Baer, Ana
    This multi-disciplinary study examines the integration of modern dance into areas of higher education through a historical disquisition of modern dance pioneers and educators, various personal accounts of participants in the field of modern dance education, and finally a visual representation of my discoveries in the form of a screen dance. At the inception of my research, I asked myself these questions: “How has the art of dance evolved into higher education? Who made this possible, and why is it important?” In the first discipline of the study, a historical account, I present the quintessential trailblazers of modern dance in America in chronological order, piecing together their interlacing biographies from the early 1900s to the 2000s. The second section of my study is comprised of the findings of interviews I conducted with modern dance educators of the present and my personal relationship with modern dance. Finally, in the third aspect of this project, I display all of the discoveries I made through my research into an artistic screen dance. The purpose of this study is to present the totality of American modern dance education in a concise, chronological, visual exhibit which produces a foundation for future studies of the evolution of modern dance and its journey in academia, and to solidify the notion that the art of dance as a profession is feasible, purposeful, and legitimate.
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    Old Folks
    (2023-05) Christian, Carter; Morille, Jordan
    When an LGBTQ+-based retirement home goes through financial turmoil, the folks decide to put on a talent show in order to save the Old Folk's Folks Home. By bridging the gap between the older and younger generations of queer people, they discover that their home is much more than the house they're trying to save. This second complete draft of OLD FOLKS further encompasses the major theme of inter-generational tension within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as provides a demo of all of the songs on the current soundtrack.
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    (2023-05) Barton, Elizabeth; Morille, Jordan
    I’ve always been drawn to the horror genre, but this is my first time writing it. The idea for Omni only came after watching The Conjuring franchise. The question of “is this Christian propaganda?” came to mind every single time I watched it. The “demonic” horror genre overall has these Christian undertones, actually relying on the idea of a monotheistic “God” in order to propel their story forward without advertising the film as a “religious” film. In response, Omni is an attempt to use these tropes to subvert the genre. The characters in the film are loosely based on the relationship between me and my childhood best friend. I was interested in the idea that we began in the same place, literally next door to each other, and diverged when it came to our adult life paths. I ended up a total religious skeptic and she ended up fully invested in religion. She once told me that God is “omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent”. To her, this idea was comforting. To me, it was horrifying. I wanted to play on this idea that God is everywhere by also making God… everything! So, spoilers, the childhood best friend of the protagonist is God. This kind of ever-present power manipulates the world around the protagonist in order to get her to pursue God. The majority of the film recreates a “demonic” film where a malevolent presence is stalking her. In the end it’s revealed that “God” has simply recreated these conditions in order to make the protagonist seek absolution and actively pursue God rather than run away from him. Overall, there have been films in the past who’ve attempted to subvert the religious horror genre, but I’ve yet to see one who takes the idea of “God” as truth and makes whatever that presence is the malevolent force all along! The effect of this is simple: I don’t want to critique people’s religion or faith. I only want to point out the flaws in the production of religious horror as a norm for consumption of a nation that does not have a national religion.
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    The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Eating Disorders in Female College Athletes
    (2023-05) Heiser, Courtney; Cabano-Peterman, Emily
    The number of female athletes participating in college sports has drastically expanded since the incorporation of Title IX in 1972, with an increase of about 628%. As the number of female athletes participating in college athletics continues to rise, the health concerns of women athletes also rise. The main health concerns identified include disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis, forming what has been dubbed the female athlete triad . Disordered eating is more common in female athletes than non-athletes, and more common in sports in which aesthetics and weight are considered important. While the psychology behind what causes an eating disorder is not yet well researched, perfectionism potentially plays an important role. Athletes with eating disorders report significantly lower levels of emotional well-being, mental health, vitality, and general health. Furthermore, disordered eating can lead to a negative effect on physical fitness and sports performance, despite the fact that many eating disorders develop as a perceived solution to those very issues. Preventative measures are being taught to coaches and athletic trainers to try to deter patterns of disordered eating. As eating disorders are more difficult to treat the longer they progress, early intervention is necessary in order to ensure adequate treatment and outcome. In this paper, I examine the factors that potentially underlie the development of eating disorders, their physiological and psychological effects, and what steps can be taken to better prevent them.
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    Women Refugee Students: United Nations' Visual Representation
    (2023-05) Bailey, Cassidy Noelle; Summers, Emily; Crawford, Allie
    This study investigated educational continuity accommodations for women experiencing (re)location in contemporary refugee crises through the lens of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) website. The researcher used visual analysis of digital media in the UNHCR’s ‘Her Turn’ multimedia report, which highlights girls’ education and the UNHCR’s accommodation efforts in refugee camps, to investigate representation of refugee women with focus on women who are continuing as secondary and postsecondary students post-(re)location. Visual analysis revealed a disproportionate number of young girls in primary classrooms represented, compared to the number of older women represented in secondary and postsecondary student roles.
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    "Empowered Women Empower Women": The Creation and Analysis of the Women's Political Leadership Summit at Texas State University
    (2023-05) De Leon, Serenity D.; Bagnulo, Ashleen
    “Women are underrepresented in political office at every level of the government in the United States” (Rombough and Keithly 2010, 173). The Women Political Leadership Summit will connect, engage, and empower women interested in running for office and serving as public administrators. In the heart of Women's History Month, this nonpartisan, interactive training, students learn from some of Texas's top political professionals about the essential knowledge and skills needed for immediate entry into a career in politics and public administration. In addition, the conference will feature networking, engagement sessions, and two panels with local and state elected officials and public administration representatives. Lastly, the conference will empower students by being surrounded by influential women with the same passion for change.
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    "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity! Let's Go Back To What We Had Before!" Analyzing Number Placement Within The Paint Scheme Design Layout of NASCAR
    (2023-05) Gomez, Trey M.; Kaufman, Charles
    At the beginning of the 2022 season, NASCAR mandated all Cup Series teams to move the door number forward on their cars. This came after the Race Team Alliance, a union-like organization of all the teams, negotiated with the sanctioning body of NASCAR to take ownership of the previously used contingency sponsor space and increase the area for primary sponsors. The aim of this study is to determine why this was done, whether the design change is both functionally and aesthetically better for the sport, and to conceptualize an ideal layout for the future. My research methodology includes interviewing key personnel about the history of the number placement and contingency sponsor system while understanding what led to such a change. In addition, I will be analyzing graphics and statistics concerning the results of the design change as well as pulling insight from paint scheme designers within the NASCAR space. I will then create a mock-up revised design layout that illustrates a postmodernist approach to the number placement. My findings will indicate how the teams’ misuse of the business-to-business advertising model of the old contingency sponsor system led to the eventual layout change and how the new layout is not as beneficial as publicly perceived. As NASCAR steadily climbs back into the mainstream spotlight, it is more important than ever to present iconic and appealing cars to its growing audience, the millions at tracks and many more millions on television and the internet, while maintaining financial feasibility for the teams to be as competitive as possible.
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    The Biden-Harris Administration's Contributions to Climate Change: A Quantitative Analysis Surveying Recent U.S. Policy
    (2023-05) Gibson, Emily D.; Edwards, Michelle L.
    The United States has an inconsistent history with environmental policy, most recently shown through cutbacks in environmental standards under the Trump administration. However, the current presidential administration under Joesph Biden has taken a stand in favor of the planet, with persistent vows to create an energy revolution and more clean jobs. This research investigates active environmental policies drafted by the Biden administration. Quantifying their laws into categories based on their overt and underlying themes gives insight into an overall understanding of how the Biden administration plans to encourage environmental change, what kind of change, and in what areas. It is understood that much environmental degradation is the fault of large corporations and developed nations, and individual efforts alone will not stop nor reverse the global damage to our planet. Investigation into what the current administration is offering both the United States and the world in terms of positive environmental change is determined by how well they follow facts and science. This quantitative data finds that environmental sustainability and rectifying climate change is not the only area Biden’s administration targets with laws addressing the environment. Economics, domestic politics, and international relations play a large role in the direction of environmental law. Understanding the reasons behind and results of these new laws can shed light on what areas the United States environmental laws are lacking in, and what should be targeted next to further the important agenda of avoiding climate disaster and irreparable damage to the earth. Targeting what is truly responsible for climate change and aligning efforts with science are needed to make real positive changes for our planet.
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    Police and Their Relationship with Personal Mental Health
    (2023-05) Hall, Sabrina M.; Williams, Howard E.
    Society expects police officers to go into the world and help everyone while recognizing mental health issues in others. However, often they cannot recognize those issues within themselves. There are many reasons police officers do not get help from mental health services. One reason police officers do not seek help is the fear of repercussions from their peers or superiors, ostracization, denial of promotions, being stuck at desk duty, or losing their jobs. A major factor is the paramilitarization of law enforcement, which stems from the service’s being a male-dominated field. Male gender roles and socialization are some of the informal social norms in law enforcement. There are many severe consequences of these police officers not receiving help including. suicide, mental disorders, substance abuse, addiction, and family violence. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these severe issues. Police departments should not fire someone who is receiving help, and, if the person is not fit for duty, it should be the department's job to help the officer find another job, regardless of whether that job is in the criminal justice field. Police superiors should require their officers to consult a psychologist after a traumatic event as a precaution against negative consequences. Law enforcement needs to put more emphasis on and devote more resources to officers' mental health. Society expects police officers consistently to be level-headed while witnessing the worst days in peoples’ lives walk away without trauma or adverse mental health effects.
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    Living History Alive: The Actors Behind the Figures and Their Relationships With The Histories They Tell
    (2023-05) Baker, Ava Jane; Morille, Jordan; Goldstone, Dwonna
    My thesis examines Living History and Historical Interpretation as it functions as a theatrical and educational medium. It also examines the nuance required by actors and historians to dutifully bring to life. The responsibility to historical integrity taken on by actors at living history museums is significant. It takes a village to make a museum an immersive environment, but what goes into bringing a historical figure to life on an individual level? Where does someone begin their journey as a teacher, researcher, mediator, dramaturg, actor, and writer? What crowd work techniques make an interpreter the most effective? What are the practical and emotional challenges of playing a historical figure? What security measures are in place for these actors enacting polarizing concepts over such large acreages? This essay explores the answers to these questions through discussion of firsthand testimony from employees of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, historical journal explorations of the way living history museums function, historical journal examinations the use of historical imagination in educational environments, published resources featuring behind the scenes looks at character building from several living history museums including Colonial Williamsburg, and more. Through this discussion I hope to make known the theatrical and educational value of immersive living history, the areas in which interpreter safety (physical and mental) must be prioritized, and the incredible amount of skill, research, and imagination that goes into every character.
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    Frontline Learning: The Impact of Online Video Games on Second Language Acquisition and Player Motivation
    (2023-05) Gaston, Christian Eldred; Siwak, Ewa; Beale-Rosano-Rivaya, Yasmine
    Video games are a form of media-driven entertainment as well as a platform with a potential for intercultural exchange. Particularly online games make it likely for players to encounter speakers of a language other than their own. This qualitative study researches the impact of gaming on second language (or L2) acquisition as well as on players’ motivation to learn a second language. Much of the existing literature focuses on links between video games and vocabulary gains. Other scholars have attempted to establish which genre of games are more conducive to language acquisition. Based on studies to date, video games, and particularly online multiplayer games, expand students’ vocabulary and provide positive reinforcement that encourages further learning (Peterson, 2010; Zheng, et al., 2015). Our study takes the further step of correlating confidence in particular skills to the player’s preferred mode of communication within a game. I hypothesize that communication through text boxes improves confidence in reading and spelling. Conversely, an improvement in speaking and listening skills will occur for players who rely on voice chat. The broader question at the center of my study is motivation: I hypothesize video games will increase learners’ motivation to learn the language. Commonly, studies in the field survey students learning English as an L2 (Ebrahimzadeh & Alavi, 2017; Wattana & Reinders, 2011). However, my research will include native English speakers learning a different L2. To compile qualitative data, I will survey speakers of various languages. The variety will help gauge whether the efficacy of language learning through gaming decreases for languages vastly different from the learner’s native language. Through this study I hope to further our understanding of activities conducive to language acquisition to assist language instructors and language learners alike.
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    The Pandemic Saved My Life: How The Pandemic Affected Treatment For Eating Disorders
    (2023-05) Donovan, Livvy; Bell-Metereau, Rebecca
    The COVID pandemic affected the treatment of eating disorders, including education, going online for information about eating disorders, and determining who received and how treatment would be administered. The scope of this research is moderate, focusing primarily on data surrounding eating disorder treatment centers and their findings after the pandemic began. It is difficult to determine what is believed about my topic, considering how new the pandemic is to the world (historically). Nonetheless, it can be said that the pandemic made it easier for those in school and treatment to continue their educational career through the transfer to online. There is not a wide understanding of what goes into eating disorder treatment, so it makes it harder to answer the question: was the pandemic good for people with an eating disorder or bad? My approach to this topic is neutral and informative, focusing on analyzing the data collected from different treatment centers throughout the country. Evidence includes feedback from clients, data (specifically observations and improvements seen) from treatment centers, etc. From my findings after researching, it is clear the pandemic had several contrasting effects, and for some it was lifesaving (this was my case). However, it also had deadly effects, not just due to the COVID-19 virus itself, but also due to forced isolation. In a world post-COVID, how can we adopt the innovative measures taken during the pandemic to significantly improve treatment, and encourage more people suffering from an eating disorder to seek treatment?
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    A Japanese Wave: Examining Japanese Popular Music in the West and its Influence on Western Popular Music
    (2023-05) Hutcheson, Kyle; Schüler, Nico
    Beginning with the “British Invasion” in the 1960s and continuing throughout the 1990s, Western popular music from both the United Kingdom and the United States made its way to Japan and became immensely popular, essentially shaping the Japanese popular music industry into what it is today. However, several decades out from this phenomenon, with ample time for Japanese musicians to have developed their own styles and genres, and with the increasing globalization of the world in recent decades, is it possible that the reverse is occurring with Japanese popular music becoming increasingly popular in the West? In this thesis, I aim to describe the extent to which Japanese popular music has influenced Western musicians, especially within the past several years. With a focus on three genres that have their roots in Japan, namely chillhop (also known as lo-fi hip hop), city pop, and Japanese noise music, I examine both sonic and visual traits (specifically regarding things like album art and/or music videos) within these genres and connect them to similar traits that have emerged more recently within Western popular music. As this phenomenon of Japanese popular music influencing Western popular music is still in its infancy, the scale at which Western musicians have actually been influenced is still somewhat small, but there is also the possibility that as time goes on, further scholarly attention on this topic, especially focusing on different musical genres, may yield different or potentially greater results.
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    Cultural Crossovers: Exploring the Intersection of NBA 2K and Culture
    (2023-05) Lunn, Bryan; Forbes, Ali
    This study aims to address the intersection of NBA 2K and culture. This study will examine the popular sports video game NBA 2K by breaking down the theoretical perspective, the circuit of culture, and how it exists within this video game. Culture can be embedded within basketball, video games, gender, and race. Each moment represented will give detail to the video game and what it means for the intersection of 2K and culture. The study will explore the future of the NBA 2K’s multi-user domain by analyzing and exploring the individuals that play these games, developing pressures that video games have produced, how these avatars make individuals feel, and the community that has bridged humans and the virtual world.
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    Using the Language: A Proposed Project-Based Learning Curriculum for Secondary- and University-level Language Acquisition Classrooms
    (2023-05) Gruber, Trey; Valencia, Louie Dean
    This project focuses on how to better teach language acquisition in a classroom setting so students will feel more comfortable speaking and using the target language through Project-Based Learning (PBL). In analyzing PBL through a student-focused lens that provides choice in instruction, this project tries to make connections between the benefits of PBL and those of alternative forms of education such as Montessori and Summerhill schools that provide a hands-off and student-centered approach to learning which allows students more freedom and independence in their education. In addition to background information on PBL and connections to other forms of education, this project also considers the benefits and methods of implementing PBL. Finally, this project analyzes the implementation of PBL in a language acquisition classroom and how the completion of projects aligns with the communication standards of language teaching to get students using the language comfortably from the beginning stages of instruction, while providing readers and educators with unit plans and project ideas to implement PBL into their own high school- and university-level foreign language classrooms.
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    Hays County Inmates are not receiving timely trials
    (2023-05) Gage, Abby; Fox, Kym
    According to the most recent data from the Hays County Jail Dashboard, the majority of inmates are considered pretrial inmates, meaning they have yet to be convicted of a crime and are still awaiting trial. When an individual must wait for trial, they are given the option to bond out of jail or wait in jail for the entire period until a trial is held. Those of lower socioeconomic class are disproportionately affected by this, as they struggle to afford bail. On average in Hays County, pretrial inmates sit in jail for 110 days. Through my research, I have endeavored to answer the questions of why the pretrial process in Hays County is substantially lengthy, what implications high bonds have on members of the community– specifically members belonging to underrepresented groups– and which solutions are viable for lowering the duration inmates await trial. In order to draw conclusions about the state of pretrial detention in Hays County, I have taken a journalistic approach by analyzing data from the Hays County Jail dashboard and interviewing an array of criminal justice experts, criminal justice advocacy groups, and local public officials to gain insight into the data. From my data analysis and interview processes, I have concluded that the state of pretrial detention in Hays County, if not rectified, is nearing potential violations of human rights and the Sixth Amendment. In light of this, I have evaluated the potential solutions of mandating lower bonds, lowering penalties for specific non-violent crimes, and implementing pretrial diversion programs as viable options for achieving a more equitable justice system in Hays County. Furthermore, these solutions all pose broader recommendations for reforming the pretrial detention programs in other Texas counties.
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    Thought for Food: An Analysis of Evolving Food Media
    (2023-05) Gasti, Rasika; Seed, Daniel
    Let’s say you watched a recipe of creamy seafood mac & cheese on Instagram reels. This tempted you go and buy a pack of macaroni and cheese on your next trip to H-E-B. Likewise, a lot of your decisions at the grocery store or in your kitchen might be heavily influenced by the food media you consume day in and day out. And these decisions are inherently affecting your health. Food media is not a new age phenomenon. Its traces can be found in the ancient Egyptian era through the painting and writings on the walls of historic temples, pyramids and burial chambers. Today’s food media looks completely different from what it was back then. It took years of evolution and technological advancement to take the form of today’s food content. Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have changed the entire paradigm by becoming a constant, on-the-go, never-ending, easy-to-access source of food content. Through my capstone thesis project, I am examining how food related content on social media is impacting our eating habits. Some of the subtopics I will be discussing through my research are how social media food trends impact our health and our culture, why is the food content on social media skewing unhealthier, what roles does food and fitness influencers play in our society and how do they adversely influence people with body image issues or eating disorders. Using the evidence from scientific studies and first-hand interviews of chefs, food influencers, vendors and consumers, I have created a few short vertical videos on Instagram (@thoughtforfood_23) where each video discusses a unique subtopic of my research. These videos are also available on I chose to create vertical videos because it is the fastest and easiest way to reach a larger audience that is primarily affected by my research topic. Moreover, vertical video is deemed to be the future of mass communication due to its growing influence and versatility. This publishing format aids me greatly in achieving my purpose of bringing awareness to average consumers through this project. I am hoping for my Instagram campaign to be a reminder for people to step back and carefully consider before making any decisions at a grocery store or in their own kitchen.
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    Leave Notes: A Christian Music Album
    (2023-05) Lee, Madeline; Mazak, Grant
    This thesis explores the making of a music album from home with the technology available to aspiring Texas State musicians. I will combine acoustic instruments with musical techniques available through technology, such as looping, electronic keyboards, and music editing software to create a music album of seven songs. This album will draw in equal measure from stories of biblical characters and my own personal friendship with Jesus. Biblical characters are both historic people who have walked with or rejected the Living God and examples of human imperfection in the midst of God’s grace and love. Most stories of biblical characters teach modern Christians important lessons about faith, living in a secular world, and the unwavering faithfulness of Jesus when humans fail. God calls all of us into deep friendship. I hope that some aspects of my friendship with Him will shine through in these songs. Sometimes biblical characters can feel remote from modern vernacular. I hope to bring a little of that modern language and perspective to stories which are familiar and often quite piercing in their beauty. I will detail the techniques and instruments I use, the struggles of recording, and the significance of each song on the album. Home music production and recording has been galvanized and transformed by online music editing software, affordable microphones, and electronic instrumentation.
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    Eat Your Rage
    (2023-05) Craig, Lauren; Morille, Jordan
    “Eat Your Rage” is comprised of four short stories that explore the motif of cannibalism, and how it is used as an expression of rage by affected communities. This work views the motif through a feminist perspective. During the pandemic, I began to see cannibalism as an expression of a person’s reclamation of control from an oppressive and dominating culture. I was reading things like Tender is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica and Earthlings by Sayaka Murata or watching popular television series like Yellowjackets. In this literature, cannibalism is a character response to the hostile environment. I theorize that literature turns to this violent social taboo because it is a dramatic display of dominance and control. Due to a marginalized position in society, the hero lacks a sense of control over their life, cannibalism is a response to that loss of control. The character demonstrates a desire to prove their authority, and the act of cannibalism alludes to achieving complete autonomy over themselves and control over their oppressors. They make a social and spiritual transition from the consumed, into the consumer. It serves as a very literal metaphor for the way in which marginalized communities are depleted, abused, and preyed on by a patriarchal and capitalist society. And how sometimes, the prey hunts back.