ItemBarriers to early diagnosis and management of diabetes in Asian Americans(2023-08-09) Torre, Marielle DelaType 2 diabetes mellitus is endemic to the United States and poses a serious threat to its citizens. Diabetes affects approximately 10% of the Asian American population despite their lower body weight, with most cases being type 2 diabetes mellitus (Hung et al., 2013). Early detection of diabetes is imperative to prevent serious lifelong complications such as neuropathy, Coronary Artery Disease, and nephropathy. However, there is a disparity in the time it takes for America’s Asian population to be diagnosed with diabetes for a multitude of reasons. For example, Asian Americans typically present with a lower or normal BMI and with a younger onset of disease (Hsu et al., 2011). Further, the rate of undiagnosed diabetes amongst Asian Americans is nearly three times as high as in non-Hispanic whites, which suggests that diabetes screening among this population is insufficient (Tung et al., 2016). An integrative review was conducted to try to explain the cause of the time lag in diagnosis of diabetes for Asian Americans and attempt to find new parameters to implement in the diagnosis process so that earlier diagnoses can be made, allowing for more effective diabetes management and lessening the long term complications. ItemBottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Texas Coastal Bend: Population abundance estimation using photo-identification(2023-05-15) Wilkins, AllisonCommon bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the only species of marine mammal residing in the inshore Texas Coastal Bend (TCB). There has not been published research on their population abundance in several decades despite their exposure to a variety of natural and anthropogenic threats. The population abundances of dolphins inhabiting Corpus Christi Bay (CCB), Aransas/Redfish Bay (AB), and Laguna Madre (LM) were calculated. Vessel-based photo-identification surveys were conducted each quarter of the year in 2018 through 2022 using a closed population model to sample and resample dolphins (n = 72 surveys). Individual dolphins were distinguished by unique markings on their dorsal fins captured in photographs. Photographs were quality control checked, matched, and cataloged with metadata for population modeling. The Cormack-Jolly-Seber mark-recapture model estimated a population abundance of 1,280 dolphins in CCB, 1,105 dolphins in AB, and 1,356 dolphins in both areas. The population size estimate for LM was 408 individuals. The population of dolphins in TCB appears to have grown compared to reports from the 1980’s and 1990’s, although different survey approaches were used. Baseline population abundance data provide insights into the size and stability of the stocks of dolphins inhabiting the TCB of utility for future research and conservation efforts. ItemThe Price of Negligence(2023-05-14) Owens, BrianHaving seen multiple socio-informational trends appear and disappear since 2000, there have been incredible changes in data transmission and media. Particularly, the frequency of data distribution and reception on social media has skyrocketed. According to Dr. Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, an economist at the University of Oxford, the total number of Facebook users has risen from 100 million in 2008, to 2.26 billion in 2018 (Ortiz-Ospina, 2019). The same can be said for other platforms, such as YouTube. Due to this change, citizens across the world have the power to voice their opinions and express themselves. Although this expansion of free speech connects people and nations, the covert impact of social media algorithms grows everyday. But, what are algorithms? And, what are they responsible for? Algorithms are “the building blocks for programming, and they allow things like computers, smartphones, and websites to function and make decisions” (GCF Global, 2022). Algorithms are responsible for Google search results, You-Tube suggestions, and Tik-Tok For-You pages. They manage the data most-people consume daily, which is why algorithmic awareness and equity is gradually becoming a greater issue. Safiya Umoja Noble, a scholar of critical internet inquiry and the author of Algorithms of Oppression, supports this claim. According to Safiya, “on the Internet and in our everyday uses of technology, discrimination is…embedded in computer code and, increasingly, in artificial intelligence technologies that we are reliant on” (Noble, 2018). Now, more than ever, it is important to question algorithmic bias. ItemPhaeodactylum tricornutum as a Food Source for Texas Oysters(2023-05-12) Barrada, ElenaOver the course of approximately two months, the algae Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a diatom that is more resilient in colder weather, was used in the determination of its viability as an adequate form of nutrition for seed oysters of the species Crassostrea virginica, that inhabit water sheds along the Texas coastal bend. The two water sheds of interest are the hypersaline Laguna Madre in which the “southern Oysters” of this experiment originate and the Copano Bay area, where the “northern Oysters” originate. In this study there will be 5 tanks (Tank 1 - Tank 5), each of which containing 100 southern seed oysters and 20 northern seed oysters of the same size, respectively, filled to 25.4 centimeters with water from the Laguna Madre. Each tank is provided calculated amounts of algae based on size as described by the Food and Agriculture Organization manual (Helm et al., 2004). When comparing the recorded size data in correlation to each of the treatments (Treatments A - B), it was found that for treatment B there was a significance in percent change in size (northern oysters: P-value of 1.01E-05, and in the southern oysters: P-value of 3.64E-08) with the incorporation of P. tricornutum as 25% of the diet composition in combination with Chaetocerous muelleri as 37.5% of diet the composition, and Tetraselmis chui as 35.7% of diet the composition. This information is important in that it could provide a more cost effective and less labor-intensive solution for nutrition sources in cooler weather, in turn leading to a potentially more productive year for oyster farming. ItemA look into the diversity of culturable bacterial root endophytes in Batis maritima(2023-05-05) Rush, GracePlants are known to associate and interact with diverse microbes, including those that colonize and live within their root tissues (endophytes), that perform key functional roles for the plants, such as salinity and drought tolerance. A variety of biotic (e.g., plant host abundance) and abiotic factors (e.g., soil pH) can influence to a varying degree, the rates and patterns of endophyte colonization on roots of plants; however, current knowledge is still limited, especially for coastal marsh plants. We investigated the relative influences of biotic and abiotic factors that shape the fine-scale diversity patterns of bacterial root endophyte colonization communities associated with the coastal marsh succulent plant Batis maritima (saltwort) using a culture-based approach. We set up five experimental blocks, each containing four plots: 90% B. maritima, 50% B. maritima with woody plants, i.e., mangrove, 50% B. maritima without woody plants, and 10% B. maritima dominated. For each plot, we collected three plant samples and measured environmental factors such as pH, salinity, and light availability. For each sample, we cultured bacterial endophytes, then extracted, amplified, and sequenced their DNA for identification. We expect that salinity and host plant abundance will influence the diversity of bacterial root endophyte communities. Additionally, the presence of woody plants and plant communities with a higher diversity will harbor a high endophytic diversity. In contrast to our expectations, our preliminary results indicate that the plots without woody plants yield the highest number of culturable bacterial growth (72.67%). Plots with low B. maritima abundance (10%) has the smallest number of growing bacterial cultures (53.33%). Our project gives insight into what host plant diversity, abundance, and local environmental processes influence plant-microbe colonization and distribution in coastal marshes. ItemImpact of ocean acidification on Montipora capitata(2023-05-05) Tenbrink, EleanorIn Kāne‘ohe Bay Hawai‘i, the second most dominant coral species, Montipora capitata is an ecologically important reef-building coral that has shown resilience to environmental changes. However, ocean acidification (OA) may compromise the structural integrity of the coral's skeleton, threatening the species’ resiliency. Therefore, this project analyzed multiple biological response variables of M. capitata under ocean acidification conditions. OA is a change in ocean water chemistry due to an increase in the absorption of atmospheric carbon, which decreases seawater pH and aragonite saturation state. This also increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water, which will impact the total alkalinity, or the ability of the water to neutralize ions. Previous research has stated that a lower concentration of carbonate impacts the coral’s ability to calcify under OA conditions. Contrarily, the Proton Flux Hypothesis states that the increase in hydrogen ions limits coral calcification under OA. To better understand coral growth under OA conditions, corals were exposed to a control and three experimental treatments varying in pH and total alkalinity levels, over a month-long experiment. Following experimentation, biological response variables from each coral were measured. These variables include the density and chlorophyll concentrations of the symbiotic algae and changes in skeletal density. It is hypothesized that the combination of low pH and total alkalinity will have a synergistic effect on the coral's skeletal density. The result of this work aims to further our understanding of OA and its impacts on coral calcification. ItemAnalysis of Seasonal Changes in Community Composition of Seagrass Epiphytes in Aransas Pass, Texas(2023-05-04) Maupin, SamanthaGenerally, the type, and number of epiphytes found on seagrasses varies based on the time of year and the nutrient load of water, including man-made nutrient sources such as wastewater effluent. This study will examine the changes in community composition of epiphytes found on T. testudinum as a function of porewater nutrients and other environmental factors. Epiphytes will be removed from seagrasses collected seasonally from the ICW RV Park in Aransas Pass, Texas. Sites within the study area were chosen based on their proximity to the release point of wastewater effluent from the Aransas Pass Wastewater Treatment Plant. Comparative analysis of fluorescence was done using four wavelengths: 415nm and 680nm were used to determine the amount of green pigments in the sample associated with green algae and 530nm and 576nm were used to determine the amount of red pigments in the sample associated with red algae. These measurements were then compared to determine the ratio of red to green pigments within the samples. Samples will also be run through a full pigment analysis. This will be done using acetone to extract the color from the samples and then analyzing the solution produced in a spectrophotometer. Preliminary results show that both summer and winter samples had higher levels of red algae than green algae when comparing fluorescence analysis. However, individual sites differ, with some showing decreases in red pigment domination and others showing increases from summer to winter. However, further analysis and sampling needs to be done before any final patterns can be suggested. This project will allow for a better picture of the seasonal changes in epiphyte composition on T. testudinum and provide some comparisons between sites with differing nutrient inputs, especially those influenced by wastewater effluent. ItemCritical Windows in the Development of the Innate Immune System of the Medaka Fish(2023-05-04) Harder-Neely, DesireaThe Marine Medaka Oryzias melastigma is increasingly becoming the model of choice for the study of immunotoxicology, especially in regard to pathogen-induced abnormalities in the immune system that may manifest from challenges occurring during the critical stages of immune development. This study aimed to further outline the innate immune system of the Marine Medaka fish by finding the ideal bacterial challenger. The pathogens needed to produce a measurable immune response, without inducing morbidity, during the critical windows outlined by other papers. This research has implications for further studying the critical windows of the innate immune system and how pathogens may affect it. ItemDocumentary Activism Updated: How awareness is made in media today(2023-05-04) Salazar, EmilyThis study investigates how activism has changed in documentary film, particularly in environmental activism. This allows for an updated look into documentary activism as explained by media scholar Daniel Marcus in 2016, who showed that raising awareness for important issues went beyond explaining them through the course of a documentary film but by creating opportunities for the audience to interact with the subject matter after they watched the film. What different models of documentary activism have evolved in documentary film? What emerging practices are being used specifically for environmental awareness? Documentary films 2040, I am Greta, The Story of Plastic, and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch are investigated as recent, relevant examples of environmental activist documentaries. This study finds that interactivity that started as a fleeting link to websites with additional resources in the end credits of a documentary has turned into dynamic online communities who advocate across media. Understanding the actions of environmental activists today will allow for a better understanding of other kinds of activism in the media. ItemIncentivizing Self-Care Activities with Students in the TAMU-CC Nursing Program to Impact Self-Care Habits: A Quality Improvement Project(2023-05-04) McKeen, MeaganNurses and other medical professionals have historically faced many challenges to their physical and mental health. With the fast-paced and demanding nature of the medical field, it can be incredibly difficult for nurses to implement self-care tools that would help them deal with the challenges of their jobs (Green & Kinchen, 2021; Lin et al., 2019; Sarazine et al., 2021). Despite a relationship between fatigue and safety being recognized by The American Nurses Association (ANA) and The Joint Commission, there is still a disconnect between the research and policies, workplace cultures, and nurse preferences (Brown et al., 2020). Nursing is a caring profession which is taxing and requires that the patient remain the priority. However, after the shift, the nurse needs to ensure that their own health needs are met. After experiencing the intense and serious nature of the medical field, the nurse will often find themselves drained and overwhelmed. This concept is called burnout and it is a serious issue that is the result of overwork, stress, and generally the sapping of energy from the nurse (Green & Kinchen, 2021). The World Health Organization (WHO) classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon that is the result of unmanaged chronic workplace stress (2019). The WHO continues to expand upon burnout as feelings of exhaustion, increased feelings of negativism or mental detachment from one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. Burnout can lead to a multitude of poor outcomes for the nurse and their work like reduced job satisfaction, performance, quality of patient care, and increase things like sickness rates and nurse turnover (Ameli et al., 2020; Anderson, 2020; Blackburn et al., 2020; Brown, 2020; Ghawadra et al., 2019, 2020; Green & Kinchen, 2021; Kelly et al., 2021; Lin et al., 2019; Monroe et al., 2021; Sarazine et al., 2021; Tolouian et al., 2022; Yilmazer et al., 2020). However, implementation of concepts to increase well-being and reduce stressors that lead to burnout has been shown to be closely associated with greater patient outcomes and reduced nurse turnover (Bogue, 2019; Parchment, 2022). Nurses have an ever-expanding need for physical and mental support that should be addressed to prevent burnout.The ethics of self-care and the discussion about how it relates to nurses has stretched far through the history of nurses. The ANA made a notable addition to the Nursing Code of Ethics with the addition of Provision 5 that states, “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth” (2015, Provision 5). The ANA related this provision to the COVID-19 pandemic because it highlighted how important it is to take care of those that are providing care during such an unprecedented event (2020). Fowler (2018) explored the discussion of ethics in nursing that stretched through literature from the 1880’s up to the 2010’s. It was found that even in the 1880’s, nursing was thought to be encompassed by three core tenants of duty, being to the nurse themself, the physician they work under, and the patient. Zolinerek (2022) continued this discussion through an expert tip that punctuates the importance of self-care being a key aspect of the responsibility of the nurse. An evidence table (see Appendix A), using current research and expert’s observations, was constructed to address the PICO question: In nursing students from the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) nursing program, will the implementation of incentivized self-care activities have an impact on the frequency of self-care over the course of four weeks? The data from the table were analyzed and synthesized, then the findings were used to inform the proposed quality improvement project. ItemVisualizing Morality: Does the Method of Presenting the Trolley Problem Affect our Decisions?(2023-05-04) Dean, BaileyVirtual reality as an experimental medium has been used to test morality, but has often shown conflicting results (Francis et al., 2017b; Francis et al., 2016, Navarrete et al., 2012). Typically when testing morality in virtual reality a trolley problem is used, because it provides ample opportunity for participants to decide between a utilitarian option versus a non utilitarian option (McDonald et al., 2017; Navarrete et al., 2012). In this study the conversation of morality in virtual reality is continued and whether or not the method of presenting said trolley problem has any effect on whether or not participants pull the lever, making a utilitarian decision. Participants were given a version trolley problem, however each participant received a different method of presentation. Methods included; reading, auditory, auditory visualization, virtual reality, or virtual reality visualization. This research has allowed us to continue the conversation of the use of different methods of presentation for moral dilemmas. Thus continuing the conversation as to which method of presentation would provide the most “realistic” results as possible while maintaining a minimal level of risk. ItemDetermining If 'Orientation Against the Current' Is a Dolphin Foraging Tactic(2023-05-04) Cano, EmilyCommon bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off Port Aransas, Texas, have been observed engaging in an unusual behavior termed “orienting against the current” (OAC). OAC, last described in 1990, consists of dolphins swimming in the opposite direction of the current, remaining relatively stationary in spatial positioning. To test the hypothesis that OAC is a foraging tactic, environmental conditions were assessed when dolphins engaged in OAC compared to traditional foraging off Port Aransas. Data were collected using a survey’s theodolite positioned at the convergence of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Lydia Ann Channel, and Aransas Channel. Dolphins were tracked from June 2021 to October 2022. Season, time of day, current speed, group size, and OAC occurrence were recorded. OAC occurred most frequently between fall (September – December) and spring (March – June) with the highest peak during winter, in the morning (7am – 11 am) and evening (5:01pm – 8pm), in fast current speeds (2.01 – 3 knots), and in large group sizes (11+ individuals). Previous studies found that dolphin foraging off Port Aransas was most prevalent during fall to spring, in the morning and evening, in fast current speeds, and in small group sizes, both supporting and contradicting the OAC foraging tactic hypothesis. Video footage of dolphins engaged in OAC showed behaviors typical of foraging such as tossing fish, tight circling, and high arching dives as well as dolphins actively catching fish. Identification of environmental conditions when OAC occurs most prevalently may aid efforts to find dolphins engaged in this foraging tactic at other locations and augment understandings of the dynamics of dolphins within their ecosystems. ItemCOVID-19 Pandemic Effect on Nursing Students: How the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected nursing students' perception of the nursing profession(2023-05-03) Gibbs, Emma MarieThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed the working environment for nurses, making the environment new graduates are entering different than the one they thought they would be entering into when they began nursing school. Besides the change in the working environment for nurses there has also been a change in the image of nursing, how the profession is viewed. This image of nursing has been one of the many areas of everyday life that received intense media attention throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the media attention has created positive responses from the public such as appreciation, gratitude, and love. Despite the increase in media attention for the nursing profession during the pandemic, the same historical outdated image of nursing remains. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to remain relevant and impactful in everyday life more and more studies are coming out on how the image of nursing has been affected for different populations, including nurses and nursing students. Though little research has been done on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nursing students’ perception of the image of nursing. The purpose of this project is to find out what perception nursing students have of the profession and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed it. ItemAutonomous GPS Ground Vehicle Navigation(2023-05-03) Mathew, MohitAutomation is a major part of today’s world, automation can potentially save both time and resources in this fast paced world. It took a while for automation to become a mainstream part of everyday life, and there were many small steps made towards this goal. Incremental step that we have made towards automating small tasks is a GPS guided unmanned ground vehicle that can eventually be the groundwork for automating many small monotonous tasks. Small ground vehicles can be an extremely dynamic tool in terms of automation. They can assist in hauling, gardening, gathering information, and etc.. There is a nearly limitless amount of tasks that a ground based drone can perform. There are a few setbacks though, how accurate the location system is, what algorithm it uses to move, and battery life. This study will test the accuracy of the drone as well as which algorithm works the best for a real drone. The goal of this paper is to find which algorithm works the best and how accurate is possible within these hardware limitations. The secondary goal is to be employed in farms as a small field hand noting occurrences in the fields. Eventually being outfitted with machine learning and a possible limb to allow for manipulation of its surroundings to allow for the drone to do tasks. ItemLet's Talk About Sexes: Is There a Difference in Emotional Intelligence Between Men and Women?(2023-05-03) Erikson, AlexisEmotional intelligence (EI) has shown promising results when used to impact the health of one’s interpersonal relationships. Establishing research has focused primarily on the validity and effectiveness of emotional intelligence assessments. As the field of psychology expands its knowledge of EI operations, it also expands its scope. One of the branches of research expansion is investigating the relationship between EI and biological sex. The varying outcomes of this preliminary research have shown a need for further exploration. For this project, we looked at differences in EI between men and women on campus. We used the Emotional Skills Assessment Process (ESAP) to collect EI data from adult participants. Our goal for this study is to identify any trends between sexes. We hope that our data will serve as an addition to the current body of literature, so that we may develop more definitive and personalized mental healthcare interventions. ItemAnalyzing the Disparity Between Those that Show Need for Mental Health Services and Those that Utilize Mental Health Services in Nueces County(2023-04-26) Burks, CherishIn 2020, the Texas Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council revealed its vision to ensure that Texas has a unified approach to the delivery of behavioral health services that highlighted access to appropriate care at the right time and place. In the same year, Nueces County received the results of a comprehensive behavioral health community needs assessment. The information collected provided a strong foundation on how to address service needs from a stakeholder perspective but lacked the view from the possible user of services. In this project, we propose to complete a descriptive cross-sectional survey of the residents of Nueces County, Corpus Christi and gather information on the community’s understanding and utilization of behavioral health services. Further, we aim to identify if social determinants of health impact understanding and/or utilization of behavioral health services. The goal of the project is to obtain information that can be utilized by stakeholders engaged in behavioral health for improving access and utilization of services. Similar research has been done, most of it focusing on students or student athletes, but not many studies have focused on the general public. A survey tool was utilized to assess the community in relation to understanding and utilization. The survey was offered in high-traffic areas including, but limited to health fairs, churches, community events, and on-campus events at TAMUCC and Del Mar. The results of the survey were categorized by gender, age, race/ethnicity, annual income, whether the participant has health insurance, and other aspects. The data collected by this service will offer an unbiased perspective into the accessibility of mental health services in Nueces County to the stakeholders of the county that can implement the changes necessary to fight this known disparity. The data showed that it was more a lack of information that caused the need/usage disparity. With that in mind, the best course of action to reducing the need/usage disparity is making the local services offered in Nueces County more well-known and better available. ItemNursing Program Fall 2021 Cohort Mental and Physical Health Analyzation(2023-04-26) McKinnon, KaitlynnThis project’s goal is to uncover the cause of mental health decline, weight gain, or abrupt weight loss in Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Nursing Program Cohort Fall 2021 students. Nursing students constantly dedicate their time working toward grade success, and that behavior can lead to the neglect of their overall health. I analyzed anonymous data collected from my Fall 2021 Cohort regarding their mental and physical health status from their entry into the Nursing Program, compared to their final semester. They shared the change in their weight and mental health, and opened up about the factors that attributed to those changes. These are our future nurses, and mental health is essential to prevent burnout, and weight gain/abrupt loss can cause impaired immune function, increased anxiety, lethargy, etc. Therefore, it is crucial that the results be analyzed and shared appropriately to implement changes that can help our future nurses first care for themselves before they go into their careers of providing continuous care to others. ItemSouth Texas Transgender Photovoice Project(2023-04-27) Trimble, AbbyLittle research has been done on transgender/non-binary individuals' experiences with healthcare in conservative, rural, and religious areas such as South Texas. This study investigates these experiences to close the literature gap and enhance the scholarly conversation about the issue. Using a type of community-based participatory research called photovoice, participants could use photographs to explain their experiences with healthcare in South Texas as a transgender/non-binary individual. We found many themes throughout the interviews such as deadnaming, misgendering, and avoiding the doctor’s office. ItemResponses of mangrove in Corpus Christi Bay after the Feb. 2021 hard freezes and implications for broader ecological theory(2023-04-26) Rivera, Phillip JulianSince the last freeze in 1989, populations of black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) have rapidly increased throughout coastal Texas. Some sites are dense shrub thickets that reduce light penetration, lowering salt marsh abundance; causing large-scale ecological regime shifts along segments of the Texas coast. Two consecutive nights of below-freezing temperatures in Feb. 2021 provided an opportunity to study the effects of a catastrophic disturbance on the regime shift in Corpus Christi Bay. We are using observational data to test the hypothesis: that recovery of mangroves will be faster on Mustang Island than on Ward Island because Mustang is nearer the Gulf of Mexico which may provide for more mangrove propagule colonizers from locations outside the bay and also may have been a little warmer due to thermal buffering by the Gulf. We established paired 3x3 m plots on each Island near the seaward edge of the intertidal vegetation and 5-11 m further inland. We quantified shrub mortality, survivor resprouting, seedling recruitment, and marsh cover by species. ItemImpacts of dredging sediment derived on Caribbean corals Montastraea Cavernosa and Stephanocoenia Intersepta(2022-12) White, Daphne ElissaCaribbean reef-building corals provide many vital ecosystem services and can be resilient to changing environmental conditions (Brandt, 2009; Smith et. al, 2013). But human population growth in Florida has led to increased dredging activity, elevating suspended sediment, and leading to increased turbidity levels. Therefore, biological response variables that can indicate the health of these key species are measured after being exposed to various levels of suspended sediments to inform the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for management. The biological response variables (symbiont chlorophyll concentration, symbiont density, and protein analysis of coral tissue) indicate the overall coral and algae symbiont health in response to various turbidity treatments conducted by the EPA. Results showed that turbidity amount and length of sediment exposure period significantly impacted all responses in Montastrea cavernosa. The turbidity amount and sediment exposure period only impacted the symbiont density for Stephanocoenia intersepta. Information collected from this project provided to the EPA will allow for coastal management to change and improve the management of development near corals.