Masters Theses

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    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Farmer, Katelynn ; Ding, Keying ; Friedli, Andrienne ; Wang, Chengshan
    The formation of carbon–carbon bonds using commercially available building blocks is an important transformation for the toolbox of organic synthesis. The methylation of alcohols is of great importance since many bioactive and pharmaceutical alcohols contain methyl groups. The use of methanol as a carbon building block allows for a mechanistically simple methylation reaction but presents challenges due to methanol’s relatively high energy of dehydrogenation. In this study, the first cobalt-catalyzed β-methylation of secondary and primary alcohols using methanol as a carbon source is presented. The cobalt catalyst incorporates a pincer type phosphine ligand and has been well-studied. The reaction operates with moderate catalytic loadings but requires an excess of KOtBu under long reaction times. Literature-sourced mechanistic investigations report a borrowing hydrogen or hydrogen autotransfer mechanism involving a bimetallic K-[Metal] active catalyst. The borrowing hydrogen mechanism allows for an atom efficient and economical reaction with only H2O as the byproduct. This novel transformation provides a straightforward and environmentally friendly strategy for selective methylation with potential applications in medicinal chemistry and biofuels.
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    Testing the Predictive Validity of Working Memory Capacity for Job Performance
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Armfield, Brenna ; Hein, Michael ; Van Hein, Judith ; Houston, James
    This study tests whether working memory, short-term memory, and attentional control predict job performance and compares these measures to traditional intelligence and general mental ability (g) testing used for selection purposes. Researchers sought to present a viable alternative to tests of intelligence and g, which are often used for selection purposes despite evidence for differential validity and mean score differences in racial subgroups. The current paper seeks to address these issues by exploring viable alternatives to g: working memory, short-term memory, and attentional control. Results indicated that general mental ability, working memory, and attentional control were not predictive of performance, but short-term memory was found to have a significant relationship with structured interview performance. Short-term memory also contained no significant subgroup score differences between White and Non-White applicants, suggesting it may be a more culture-fair method of cognitive ability assessment than traditional measures of g.
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    Polyp Predicament: 2b-RAD reveals hidden dissimilarity in genus Zoanthus (Anthozoa: Hexacorallia)
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Smith, Jeremy Edward ; Easson, Cole G ; Leblond, Jeff ; Bergemann, Sarah ; Seipelt-Thiemann, Rebecca L
    Zoanthids (order Zoantharia, Gray 1832) are found in shallow reef systems throughout tropical oceans. These corals are also common in-home aquariums where their vibrant colors make them highly sought after. Over years of study these organisms have been grouped in a myriad of ways due to the complexity of identifying them morphologically. More recently, molecular techniques have been employed in zoanthid identification. Over the past twenty years researchers have produced many gene trees and used phylogenies to resolve zoanthid species relationships, but often produced contradictory results. In this study, we investigated 15 zoanthids that are popular within the aquarium trade, and one collected in the Florida Keys. Our aim was to identify potential linkages between morphology and genetics and determine how to best resolve species delimitations in the genus Zoanthus. 2b-RAD improved the ability to resolve species boundaries within the genus Zoanthus and a lack of consensus revealed a disconnect between molecular markers and morphology.
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    The Impact of Reward Sensitivity on the Relationship between Hedonic Hunger and Loss of Control Over Eating
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Eisenberg-Godsey, Samantha ; Loveless, James ; Ujcich Ward, Kimberly ; Fuller, Dana
    The current study investigates whether individual differences in reward sensitivity impact the well-established relationship between hedonic hunger and loss of control over eating (LOC) to better understand factors that influence eating behavior in the current obesogenic environment. One-hundred and twelve participants were administered surveys measuring select demographic information, hedonic hunger, reward responsivity (RR), and LOC. Exploratory analyses also were conducted to determine whether patterns of responding were impacted by sex differences. Results indicated that there was a positive correlation between hedonic hunger and LOC as well as between hedonic hunger and RR. No correlation was found between RR and LOC, and, in the tested mediation model, RR did not mediate the relationship between hedonic hunger and LOC as hypothesized. These results offer evidence that dispositional motivation toward reward does not necessarily mediate the relationship between hedonic hunger and loss of control over eating. Implications and future directions are discussed.
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    The Moderating Influence of Anxiety Status on the Relationship between Social Media Use and Sleep Quality among College Student Women
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Diaz Bonilla, Mariela Michelle ; Loveless, James P ; Ward, Kimberly U ; Jackson, Alexander T
    Previous research has found that poor sleep quality and mental health outcomes, like anxiety, are often linked to social media use, with women seemingly being affected more than men. Given the dearth of studies related to such featuring college student samples, the present project explored the relationship among these variables. A recently collected archival dataset which featured cross-sectional data from 162 college student women was analyzed. The dataset contained self-report measures of sleep quality, anxiety, and social media use. Results revealed significant differences in sleep quality as a function of anxiety grouping. Null findings were observed related to social media use; however, given the very poor internal consistency observed among the social media use data, no meaningful interpretation of these findings can be made. Limitations and future directions are discussed.