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Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

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Building Coleus Academy, Janessa Unseld Jan 2023

Building Coleus Academy, Janessa Unseld

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Coleus Academy, a nonprofit e-learning platform, has been created to address the deficits left by the de-emphasis and, at times, outright omission of practical skill-centric education in American curriculums. There exists a gap between the degree of knowledge necessary to engage with adult life and the extent of that knowledge that is actually possessed by emerging adults. Prominent legislations are among the numerous efforts to address this issue. However, there is a deeply fractured market where resources are proving too expensive, too sparse, or hyper-specific to the point of limited usability. Compounded with disparities in when, where, and to whom …


Encouraging Little People’S Big Questions: An Elementary School Teacher’S Guide To Encouraging Philosophical Inquiry In Decision Making, Morgan Flanagan Jan 2022

Encouraging Little People’S Big Questions: An Elementary School Teacher’S Guide To Encouraging Philosophical Inquiry In Decision Making, Morgan Flanagan

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Children serve as natural philosophers. Their innate sense of questioning, in a classroom setting, with the right instruction, can be beneficial to understanding many abstract concepts. This project is a user-friendly elementary school teachers’ guide to encouraging philosophical questions and thoughts in young students. Teachers should be able to utilize the guide as a skeleton in forming their own lesson plans. The guide is not a completed lesson plan, rather an array of activities and literature that can be incorporated into pre-existing units or be used as a tool in creating new ones. Outlines include literature synopsis, overall philosophical themes, …


Simplification Of Robotics Through Autonomous Navigation, Grant Turner Jan 2021

Simplification Of Robotics Through Autonomous Navigation, Grant Turner

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

With self-driving vehicles, college campus food delivery, or even automated home vacuuming systems, robotics is undoubtedly becoming more prevalent in everyday society and it can be expected to continue with time. While many people are owners, users, or even just spectators of theses robotic products or services, there seems to be a negative perception of robotics that poses an intimidation factor regarding the attempt to understand the ideas driving technology. This perception tends to view robotics as machines that require rich education to understand the complexity and interworkings of, thus attempts understand the field are neglected.

To combat this line …


Public Perceptions Of Language Education In Taiwan: English In A Multilingual Context, Isabel Eliassen Jan 2021

Public Perceptions Of Language Education In Taiwan: English In A Multilingual Context, Isabel Eliassen

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Language policy in Taiwan has been a focus of the government since the days of the Kuomintang (KMT) dictatorship, when languages other than Mandarin were ruthlessly suppressed. After democratization, local languages were allowed again, but soon English became Taiwan’s top language education priority. However, not all Taiwanese agree with the decision to prioritize English. Despite claims that English is important for economic and diplomatic reasons, my survey found that most Taiwanese did not support English education when it threatened local Taiwanese languages. The survey also found that despite a significant amount of debate in academic literature about the role of …


Effective Community Engagement Programs In Contemporary Concert Dance Companies, Emily Caldwell Jan 2021

Effective Community Engagement Programs In Contemporary Concert Dance Companies, Emily Caldwell

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Arts education is extremely important yet underrated and underfunded in our country today. Some professional dance companies provide educational opportunities in dance and other areas of the arts for youth and others within the community as a means to combat this problem. This project is a compilation and synthesis of my research on how to most effectively create and implement children’s outreach programs in contemporary modern concert dance companies. The purpose of this research is to study how professional dance companies give back to their communities through engagement with children via classes, performances, workshops, etc. and to determine the most …


Investigating Special Education Services For Elementary English Language Learners Within The South-Central U.S.: A Survey Of General Education, Special Education, And Esl Teachers, Kylie Bray Jan 2021

Investigating Special Education Services For Elementary English Language Learners Within The South-Central U.S.: A Survey Of General Education, Special Education, And Esl Teachers, Kylie Bray

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

This paper explores solutions to the issue of overrepresentation in special education among the English Language Learner (ELL) population. Reasons for overrepresentation of this population can be summarized into three main categories: diagnostic problems, TESOL shortages, and improper assessment tools. By educating future and current teachers on proper ways and techniques to teach, academic failure among ELL students is prevented. Assessment forms need to be revised and accountability needs to exist to ensure that poor teaching and learning environments are not being diagnosed as a disability. An attempt to find how effectively these solutions have been implemented into schools, overrepresentation …


Autism And The Foster Care System In Kentucky, Caroline Clark Jan 2021

Autism And The Foster Care System In Kentucky, Caroline Clark

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

According to the CDC, one in 59 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Centers for Diseases and Prevention, 2020). More than 10% of those in the foster care system also have an autism diagnosis. The purpose of this project was to understand the general public’s knowledge and beliefs about both subjects. I conducted this study to identify any misconceptions, assumed facts, and opinions about both foster care and autism. I collected these data through anonymous surveys. The data were then analyzed and examined to create an app to benefit current and future foster parents who foster individuals with autism.


Regression Analysis: Graduation Rate In Kentucky Public High Schools, Rebecca Price Jan 2021

Regression Analysis: Graduation Rate In Kentucky Public High Schools, Rebecca Price

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Kentucky’s Public High School graduation rates vary widely across the rural and urban regions in the state. In addition to their graduation rates, each of these schools have their own unique demographics, funding, teacher-student ratio, etc. that define said school’s identity. This research aims to analyze the aforementioned variables, as well as other variables listed on each school state report card, in order to create a model to predict any school’s graduation rate.

In order to create this model, data was taken on all public high schools in Kentucky from the Kentucky Department of Education’s School Report Card. Data were …


The Financial Reality Of A Career In Veterinary Medicine For Kentucky Residents, Shelby Ackermann Jan 2021

The Financial Reality Of A Career In Veterinary Medicine For Kentucky Residents, Shelby Ackermann

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

The financial burden of a veterinary medical education continues to increase with rising tuition prices. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average educational debt of a veterinary student graduating in 2020 was approximately $157,000 (Bain, 2020). Studies published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggest that suicide rates among veterinarians are higher than that of the general population and list debt as a primary contributing factor. The purpose of this project is to expose students to the financial reality of veterinary medicine, increase awareness of financial and career opportunities, and compile information gathered from interviews …


Parenting Stress And Child Disruptive Behaviors: The Mediating Role Of Parental Negative Talk, David Roehm Jan 2021

Parenting Stress And Child Disruptive Behaviors: The Mediating Role Of Parental Negative Talk, David Roehm

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

High parental stress and child disruptive behaviors tend to coexist. Furthermore, parental negative talk towards children cam impair child functioning later in life. In the present study, we sought to determine whether parental negative talk was a mediating variable between parenting stress and child disruptive behaviors. Fifty-two parent-child dyads from Eastern Kentucky participated in an analog Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) behavioral observation and parents were given self-report measures for parenting stress and child disruptive behaviors.

Bivariate and multiple regression analyses were used to predict variance in child disruptive behaviors based on parenting stress with parental negative talk as a mediating …


Qualitative Case Review Of A Male With Down Syndrome, Mary Josephine Hoyer Jan 2020

Qualitative Case Review Of A Male With Down Syndrome, Mary Josephine Hoyer

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition in the United States. In the United States, about one of every 700 babies is diagnosed with Down syndrome. The purpose of this study was to assess pre-existing data on a 13-year-old male with a diagnosis of Down syndrome to contribute to research on this chromosomal abnormality. The individual received speech and language related services at Western Kentucky University beginning in 2007. Through analysis of previously collected data, the researcher created a qualitative case review that identified the progress of an individual with Down syndrome and emphasized what attributed to his progress. …


A Study Of Kindergarten Language Screening Performance Across Schools With Variable Demographic Compositions, Baylee Lackey Jan 2020

A Study Of Kindergarten Language Screening Performance Across Schools With Variable Demographic Compositions, Baylee Lackey

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

The Quick Interactive Language Screener (QUILS) for language impairment was designed and normed for children of diverse backgrounds. This study examined the utility of the QUILS in a diverse school district by comparing failure rates across five elementary schools. Schools varied in racial composition (non-White range: 20.45 – 80%) and socioeconomic status (free/reduced lunch qualified range: 35.35 – 100%). Among 321 currently-enrolled kindergartners, 272 completed the QUILS. Using author recommendations for kindergarten-aged cutoff scores, the district-wide screening failure rate for primarily monolingual English speakers (n = 212; via parent questionnaire) was 16.51% (range: 7.69 – 34.29% per school). Failure rates …


Learning To Jump Like Corbin Bleu: The Physics Behind Jump Rope, Caroline Camfield Jan 2020

Learning To Jump Like Corbin Bleu: The Physics Behind Jump Rope, Caroline Camfield

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

This project seeks to determine how engineering can be applied to the sport of jump rope so that athletes may better understand the science behind the sport and apply it to improve their performance in “speed jumping.” This style of jump rope consists of a jumper alternating their feet, with the rope passing under them with each step. Several types of ropes, handles, rope lengths, and widths between a jumper’s handles were tested to determine correlations between each variable and different STEM concept. These findings were then transitioned into a lesson plan so that both the jumpers and coaches could …


Mentor And Mentee Ratings: Are They The Same Or Different?, Brooke Zarotny Jan 2020

Mentor And Mentee Ratings: Are They The Same Or Different?, Brooke Zarotny

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Mentoring is the pairing of two people where the mentor is meant to be a role model and companion for the mentee in the mentee’s area of struggle or deficit. These relationships are meant to be support systems that encourage positive outcomes in youth through frequent meetings between youth and older volunteers. Participants in this project were undergraduate students (i.e., mentors) and middle-school students (i.e., mentees) attending an alternative school in the east south-central region of the United States. The purpose of this school-based case study was to examine the experiences of five mentor and mentee pairs through weekly survey …


Bridging The Music Education Gap: Designing A Curriculum For Students With Autism To Be Taught By Pre-Service Teachers, Josie Schultz Jan 2020

Bridging The Music Education Gap: Designing A Curriculum For Students With Autism To Be Taught By Pre-Service Teachers, Josie Schultz

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

This paper contains 20 music lessons written and designed for the elementary students enrolled in the Kelly Autism Program at Western Kentucky University. The Kelly Autism Program serves local students diagnosed with autism and offering educational support and after school services. The program in previous years had music classes however, because the staff had no formal training in music, these lessons were forgotten about when staff members resigned, and new staff were hired. These lessons were also limited in content, the lessons in this thesis have been designed to be taught by teachers with little musical training. Each lesson has …


Creating A Social Communication Module For Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder, Erin Walton Jan 2020

Creating A Social Communication Module For Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder, Erin Walton

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Research (Hales, Carroll, Fryar, & Ogden, 2017) shows that those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience poorer physical health and fewer opportunities for social interactions than typically developing peers. As the prevalence of ASD increases, it is essential to consider effective interventions that target multiple skill areas for individuals seeking therapy. Youth ages 9 to 17 with ASD may experience physical health and social communication benefits from the implementation of a social communication curriculum module that could potentially be incorporated with Bingocize®, an online application that incorporates bingo with physical exercise, as well as educational content. Social communication educational …


Developing The Rapid Assessment Of Problem Solving For Kids (Raps-K), Emily Phillips Jan 2020

Developing The Rapid Assessment Of Problem Solving For Kids (Raps-K), Emily Phillips

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

The Rapid Assessment of Problem Solving (RAPS) was created by Dr. Robert Marshall in order to assess an individuals’ problem solving abilities. This assessment is set up like the popular twenty-questions game and is used to assess adults with cognitive impairments. An administrator chooses a picture from a board of thirty-two pictures and the subject must ask yes or no questions in order to guess the target picture in as few questions as possible. Analysis assesses integration planning scores, question asking efficiency scores, and question types to determine a level of problem solving abilities.

Smith and Jones (2018) used the …


Impact Of Remembering Vs. Knowing On Strength Of Belief In Neuromyths, Kailee Jackola Oct 2019

Impact Of Remembering Vs. Knowing On Strength Of Belief In Neuromyths, Kailee Jackola

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

As technology advances, misinformation can be spread easier than ever before. Many things the general public believe to be true are either completely false or contradict research findings. However, many people are not willing to give up their belief in false information, even if there is evidence to refute it. Neuromyths are a particular type of widespread misinformation involving incorrect beliefs about brain function (e.g., people can be either left-or right brained). Understanding the origins of neuromyths is important, because it may relate to the strength of individuals’ belief in these myths. Therefore, it is important to determine whether remembering …


An Experimental Test Of An Online Growth Mindset Intervention: Challenging College Students' Beliefs About Vak Learning Styles, Colten Collings Apr 2019

An Experimental Test Of An Online Growth Mindset Intervention: Challenging College Students' Beliefs About Vak Learning Styles, Colten Collings

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

At post-secondary institutions, student attrition and graduation rates are of great concern. One contributing factor could be a student’s belief in inaccurate information about the brain and human cognition (a neuromyth). Previous studies have shown among teachers, college graduates, and pre-service teachers the prevalence of neuromyth beliefs – the most rampant being the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK) learning styles myth. Though studies have hinted at some possible negative effects of holding the VAK learning styles myth, none have systematically investigated the matter. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed-methods experimental study was to expose college students’ misconceptions about learning, investigate …


Wku’S Brand Personality, Nicole E. Childress Apr 2019

Wku’S Brand Personality, Nicole E. Childress

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

The University Brand Personality Scale was introduced in the Journal of Business Research in 2016. It establishes six dimensions for evaluating a university’s personality: prestige, sincerity, appeal, lively, conscientious, and cosmopolitan. The scale also illustrates how these dimensions relate to brand love, positive word-of-mouth, and students’ intentions to support their university as alumni. The goal of this project was to evaluate Western Kentucky University’s brand personality on these six dimensions based on student surveys. Results showed that among the six dimensions, sincerity and appeal ranked the highest, followed by prestige, lively, and conscientious, then finally, cosmopolitan. However, on average, each …


Communication Goals Of American Universities: A Social Media Content Analysis, Travis Ryan Apr 2019

Communication Goals Of American Universities: A Social Media Content Analysis, Travis Ryan

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Social media is a key communication tool for American universities. This research project is an exploratory look at how universities communicate with stakeholders via social media. In particular, the primary purpose is to explore potential emphasis on academic programs relative to the promotion of athletics as a marketing tool to bolster identity and recruit students. 3000 tweets were collected from 130 NCAA Division 1 American universities. In total, roughly 500,000 tweets have been scraped and classified using an automated script to assess tweet content. Particular emphasis was given to the concept of university rebranding as a broader marketing strategy for …


Why Do You Want To Teach? Interpreting Stem Pre-Service Teachers' Motivations Through A Semantic Lens, Delaney Holt Apr 2019

Why Do You Want To Teach? Interpreting Stem Pre-Service Teachers' Motivations Through A Semantic Lens, Delaney Holt

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

This qualitative study sought to examine the relationship between the motivational profiles that pushed undergraduate STEM pre-service teachers (N = 181) to enter the teaching profession and the word choice used to articulate those motivations. Through the application of a semantically-analytical lens, this study aimed to uncover preliminary patterns that could predict STEM pre-service teachers’ overall commitment levels to the completion of the STEM education major and overall certification. Written responses to the question “Why did you want to become a teacher?” were gathered from a longitudinal survey administered from spring 2011 to fall 2016 as part of the Knowing …


Language Sampling Methods For Early Adolescents With Specific Language Impairment, Anna Mckay Apr 2019

Language Sampling Methods For Early Adolescents With Specific Language Impairment, Anna Mckay

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

One essential component of clinical practice in the field of speech-language pathology is eliciting language to assess an individual’s communication abilities. Language becomes more sophisticated during the adolescent stage of development, particularly in the areas of vocabulary and complexity of sentence structures used. The current protocols used to evaluate adolescents are limited in their ability to elicit and analyze language samples, resulting in decreased effectiveness of identifying adolescents with language disorders. Preliminary data was collected at Western Kentucky University in 2018 regarding a new language sampling technique, the Dixit Method (DM), to elicit more lexically diverse language than standard interview …


Motivated To Learn: Motivational Differences In High School And University-Level Foreign Language Classroom Experiences, Roy Williams Iv Apr 2019

Motivated To Learn: Motivational Differences In High School And University-Level Foreign Language Classroom Experiences, Roy Williams Iv

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Student motivation in the context of foreign language learning is a complex topic that influences many areas of language study. Dornyei’s L2 Motivational Self Model and the concept of future self guides give some insight into the underlying motivational orientations when used to analyze self-reported survey data regarding language learning and its perceived benefits (Dornyei & Ushioda, 2009, p. 456). This analysis brings to light some of the major differences between these two contexts, challenges the idea that they are identical or equivalent in learning outcomes, and suggests some practical application to the foreign language classroom at Western Kentucky University.


The Hottest Color For The Fastest Ride: A Problem-Based Unit Of Instruction For The Elementary And Middle School Science Classroom, Madison Wells Apr 2019

The Hottest Color For The Fastest Ride: A Problem-Based Unit Of Instruction For The Elementary And Middle School Science Classroom, Madison Wells

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

There is a major gap in the availability of Next Generation Science Standard focused curriculum that effectively utilizes technology to solve real-world problems in an authentic way. “The Hottest Color for the Fastest Ride” will allow students to participate in the real-world application of reflection absorption of light and heat due to color through designing, building, and testing two dual-tone corvettes. This three-day unit of physics instruction designed for fourth- and fifth- grade science classrooms will be tied to a grand challenge that tasks the students with designing a dual-tone car that will stay cool during Kentucky’s hot summer weather …


From The Hill To The World: Increasing Diversity Abroad Through Intentional Outreach, Ar'meishia Burrow Jan 2019

From The Hill To The World: Increasing Diversity Abroad Through Intentional Outreach, Ar'meishia Burrow

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

This summer I had the honor of studying abroad in Spain for four weeks where I studied Spanish language and culture. As an African American female I experienced study abroad both as a scholar and as a minority. Through research and personal experience I have developed a thesis that aims to increase diversity and inclusion abroad, increasing representation of ethnic/minority U.S. students in education abroad. By sharing my journey through outreach I will educate students of color about financial opportunities to study abroad, in addition to resources regarding the minority experience abroad. This outreach series will help minority students better …


Family Literacy And Engagement: A Framework, Hannah Wells Oct 2018

Family Literacy And Engagement: A Framework, Hannah Wells

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

The purpose of this project was to construct a framework for a family literacy program that would inform parents of Native English Speakers and English Learners on literacy practices and allow time for families to practice literacy together. The family literacy program consists of three sessions, each comprised of a 20-minute presentation to parents and a 30-minute parent-child literacy activity. Each session covered a different topic: early literacy practices, technology and literacy, and advocating for student success. The program was implemented in an adult literacy center, where parents who attended classes at the center and parents in the …


The Dynamics Of Higher Education In Countries Experiencing Ethnic Conflict, Lillian Nellans May 2018

The Dynamics Of Higher Education In Countries Experiencing Ethnic Conflict, Lillian Nellans

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

My thesis investigates how higher education institutions influence and interact with students and professors, policymakers, the economy, and the general population following ethnic conflict. I use a mixed-method comparative analysis of universities in Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Turkey and an in-depth case study of Kosovo to analyze the dynamics of higher education in post-conflict environments. The majority of my research is drawn from personal interviews conducted between June 2017 and October 2017. I interviewed students, alumni, faculty, and administrators from Kosovo’s three most prominent universities: the University of Pristina, the University of Mitrovica, and the Rochester Institute of Technology …


The Role Of Traditional And Cyberbullying Victimization In Predicting Emotional Difficulties In Elementary Schools, Sarah Bleam May 2018

The Role Of Traditional And Cyberbullying Victimization In Predicting Emotional Difficulties In Elementary Schools, Sarah Bleam

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Bullying victimization is a pressing concern in schools across the United States. Victimization to bullying has been associated with various negative outcomes in a child’s life. Of concern, victims can experience emotional difficulties, such as anxiety and depression, that can have lifelong implications for a child. For this reason, identifying victimization as a contributing factor is imperative for successful intervention in schools. We measured traditional and cyberbullying victimization experiences and emotional difficulties in 214 fourth and fifth grade students in the Southeastern United States. A multiple linear regression and sequential regression analysis identified that traditional and cyber victimization contributed to …


Project-Based And Problem-Based Instruction: A Literature Review, Sarah Angelle Apr 2018

Project-Based And Problem-Based Instruction: A Literature Review, Sarah Angelle

Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has undergone great transformative reform during the last two decades with revised education standards calling for increased rigor to promote conceptual understanding of ideas and transferable 21st Century practices. Student-centered inquiry-based pedagogies like problem- and project-based instruction (PBI and PjBI) have begun to take root in K-12 STEM classrooms as an answer to the reform call. However, there is some disagreement of the specific characteristics of each pedagogy. There is also limited information regarding prevalence of these pedagogies in practice, their contextual patterns, degree to which they benefit all children, and the benefits/challenges …