Honors College Theses
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The capstone experience of the Honors College curriculum is the thesis, conducted across two consecutive semesters. This unique opportunity allows students to conduct scholarly research or a creative project under the direct guidance of faculty mentors.
A thesis project is required of every student who graduates from the University Honors College. The purpose of the thesis or project is to prepare the student for graduate or professional school, to provide an opportunity for the student to complete a scholarly or creative project of significant proportions, and to gain a new perspective on knowledge by becoming a contributor to the recognized knowledge in a particular field of study. This experience provides invaluable preparation and a competitive edge to students applying to graduate or professional schools.
Honors College Thesis Archives Collection is now preserved online through Walker Library’s institutional repository called JEWLScholar and are indexed in the library’s catalog. The thesis archives prior to 2015, are printed copies maintained in Special Collections (4th floor) of the James E. Walker Library and are also indexed in the library catalog.
Use the search box or "browse by" filters on the right side of this page to navigate the Honors Thesis Collection.
To see other Honors College publications, please visit http://jewlscholar.mtsu.edu/handle/mtsu/4362
ItemUndergraduate Biology Students' Climate Change Communication and Training Experiences(University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University, 2022-05)Although climate change is a major threat to humanity, scientists have had trouble effectively communicating about it. Undergraduate science students represent the next generation of science communicators and can be boundary spanners within their communities but there is little research about how undergraduate students communicate about controversial biology topics like climate change and how they are being prepared to do so. We wanted to explore a potential need for undergraduate student training on climate change communication. We surveyed 191 biology students at 38 universities about their communication frequency and preparedness. To understand student experiences in more depth, we interviewed 39 of the survey participants. We asked students to describe their experiences communicating, when they feel confident or not, and to describe their experiences and needs when learning about climate change communication in their classes. Descriptive statistics of survey data showed 25% of students communicated about climate change on a weekly basis. Students felt moderately confident discussing the causes (54%) and effects (60%) of climate change, but not the solutions (36%) to climate change. Qualitative coding of 32 interviews (Cohen’s κ = .90) showed that while students are communicating about climate change, it tends to be only to those who already accept climate change. Students did not feel prepared to communicate about climate change to non-scientists or those who disagree with them about climate change, so most students avoided interacting with them. Participants described a lack of scientific communication training, even though students had a desire to be taught effective communication skills. These results indicate that students are already science communicators but tend to “preach to the choir”. While the undergraduate biology students we interviewed wanted to be taught effective communication skills, they were not getting it in their science curriculum. Further, our interviews indicate that if these students felt more prepared to communicate to non-scientists it may make them more willing to discuss climate change with people of differing views than their own.
ItemThe effects of viral infection and lysis by cyanophage LPP-1 on the lipid composition of the cyanobacterium Plectonema boryanum(University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University, 2022-05)The role of host lipids during viral infection is an area of study only recently examined within the last two decades, and existing literature is limited. The few studies that exist have been limited to observations in eukaryotes and heterotrophic prokaryotes. Since cyanophages have been considered as a means for biotic control of cyanobacterial harmful agal blooms, understanding the replication of cyanophages and their effect on host cells is critical to optimizing their utilization. This research focused on establishing the galactolipid profile of cyanobacterium Plectonema boryanum, and on the effects of cyanophage LPP-1 on the galactolipid composition of Plectonema boryanum. Nine major galactolipids were found and identified as either mono- or digalactosyldiacylglycerol (MDGD or DGDG, respectively) with the dominant regiochemisty exhibited being the C18/C16 form. A difference in the relative abundance of 18:3/16:1 MGDG between infected and uninfected cultures of Plectonema boryanum was observed; however, further research must be conducted to confirm the significance this observation.
ItemChanges in Social Motivation Following Oxytocin Receptor Inhibition(University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University, 2022-05)The purpose of our study was to adapt a social behavior arena for mice and to test the correlation between oxytocin receptor activation/inhibition and social motivation since no current measurement for social motivation exists. The long-term impact of this research was to identify a standardized way of measuring social motivation so that social disorders like autism can be better characterized. Our research was conducted with 90 mice across both sexes. The levels of social motivation were pharmacologically manipulated with oxytocin, atosiban, or saline. We were able to successfully validate a social reward chamber. A sex by drug interaction indicated a differential effect exists between atosiban and oxytocin depending on sex. We found that atosiban treated males and oxytocin treated females were more socially motivated than other groups. The understanding of these factors will aid us in better developing treatment targets and pharmacological improvements for disorders with social symptoms like autism.
ItemAn Art-Based Critique of the Media's False Images of Racial Protests(University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University, 2022-05)We live in a very visual culture, surrounded by images everywhere we turn. These images, especially in news and advertising, influence our ideals, thoughts, and actions. With my interactive thesis art exhibition, I challenged my audiences’ notions of race representation and what makes them think the way they do about race representation and racial protests. By framing the 1992 Los Angeles uprisings in two different perspectives, I opened the conversation up to how media coverage influences the way we perceive events, including the recent coverage of George Floyd's death and subsequent protests in 2020. My creative project emphasized the importance of reading for the dominant forces that influence a visual form (visual rhetoric), and how visual rhetoric functions persuasively.
ItemRadioactive(University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University, 2022-05)This creative project serves as a pre-production for a large-scale animated series based upon characters invented by my brother and me during childhood. The long-term goal of this project is to create the world with which I grew up, and perhaps show that siblings in modern entertainment do not have to hate each other to be relatable. I want to create a beloved story that I know many people never knew they needed. I will depict how the inspiration for this story came about, along with the process of creating the project.