Scholarly Works @ SHSU

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A Phenomenological Study: Experiences of Black Women Leading as Assistant Principals During the Racial Turmoil of 2020
(2024-05) Robinson, Olivia Grace; Combs, Julie P; Martinez-Garcia, Cynthia; Resilla, Clare A
During Spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic collided with the murder of George Floyd which created a racial divide throughout the United States. This point in time brought feelings of fear, frustration, and exhaustion throughout the country. Though the United States had experienced riots and protest in past decades, 2020 was different. Due to the emotional, physical, and psychological effects related to the pandemic as well as the continued murdering of Black and Brown people, school leaders were faced with an array of challenges that impacted the communities they served. The purpose of this dissertation was to understand the lived experiences of Black women who served as assistant principals during the racial turmoil of 2020. A phenomenological method of research facilitated the collection of the lived experiences of five Black women serving as assistant principals in several school districts in Southeast Texas to describe the common meaning of their experiences following the racial turmoil of 2020. One-on-one interviews were used throughout the entire duration of the study to collect data from participants who had experienced the phenomenon and then a composite description of the experiences of the individuals was developed. The results of this study of Black women leading schools during the racial turmoil of 2020 included an identification of five themes: “being on edge,” “there really wasn’t a plan,” “it was more about COVID,” “look, I’m just trying to make it through,” and “being the representation at the table.” Each theme was created using the participants words. The women who participated in this study vocalized their initial emotions surrounding the murder of George Floyd were that of sadness, shock, and confusion. The year 2020 brought a lot of challenges for the women in this study but they were able to use their resilience to move through this difficult time. This study revealed that Black women mostly struggled with the balancing of emotions, balancing of work and life, and supporting their staff. Furthermore, this study revealed recommendations that stakeholders should consider when supporting and retaining Black school leaders during crisis or turmoil such as addressing racial concerns, providing resources, and including Black leaders in decision making.
(2024-05) Sibrian-Aleman, Norma Beatriz; Holzweiss, Peggy P; Silvestre, Gabriela J; Silvestre, Gabriela J; Cole, Corinna O
In this phenomenological study, the researcher examined the experiences of USborn Long-Term Emergent Bilingual (LTEB) students of Hispanic origin who tend to remain with EB designation after six or more years receiving services in an English as a second language program in high school. This study aimed to identify factors that can help reduce the achievement gap of US-born LTEBs of Hispanic origin. The context for this study was three Title I high schools in an urban school district in Texas. The data were collected using in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews. Participants comprised three language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC) administrators, two Emergent Bilingual (EB) specialists, and two teachers who worked with LTEBs. Four major themes emerged: students’ well-being, programming and funding, professional development, and additive practices. All participants concurred that addressing well-being was vital to help students remain engaged in school and reiterated the critical role intentional district and campus-level support structures play in meeting the needs of EB students and LTEBs. Recommendations included EB-focused professional development for all content-area teachers as well as family and EB students' empowerment initiatives that promote self-advocacy. The researcher discusses research gaps, practice recommendations, and implications for future research.
(2024-05) Simon, Dea'Vanca; Price, Debra P; Holzweiss, Peggy P; Silvestre, Gabriela J; Price, Debra P
Earning a bachelor’s degree or work certificate can close social equity gaps and increase social mobility and economic stability in American society. Barriers exist to upward mobility for underrepresented groups (first-generation, low socioeconomic, African American, and Hispanic). Underrepresented students are falling below their peers in graduation and completion rates, particularly from term to term. This qualitative case study explored reasons why seven first-year underrepresented students at a selected community college in Southeast Texas matriculated to the second semester. Data were collected through individual, semistructured interviews with the participants to address the primary research question: What are the experiences of underrepresented first-year community college students at a selected institution that influence their persistence from their first semester to the second semester? Analysis of the data provided insight into the various factors that led to the persistence of underrepresented students from semester to semester. Three major themes emerged: (a) collegial relationships, (b) campus resources, and (c) motivation. Findings from this study revealed that underrepresented students enrolled in the subsequent semester due to the community college experiences they encountered during their first term. Opportunities for future research should include conducting research among underrepresented students at other community colleges across the United States, including a larger audience of this population to gather a more in-depth understanding of their needs.
How Negative Emotional States are Associated with the Dual Substance Use of E-cigarettes and Cannabis
(2024-05) Tayebi, Shayon; Langley, Hillary A; Henderson, Craig E; Ratcliff, Chelsea G
E-cigarettes and cannabis are two of the most used substances among young adult Americans, and use is continuing to increase (Boakye et al., 2022; Clendennen et al., 2021). Moreover, dual use of these substances is common among college students (Buckner, Morris, et al., 2021). Research has found significant linkages between negative emotional states (depression, anxiety, and stress), impulsivity, and e-cigarette and cannabis use individually; however, only one previous study has examined the relationship between this dual substance use and negative emotional states. This research suggests that dual substance use is associated with increased mental health symptomology (Buckner, Morris, et al., 2021), but it does not elucidate directionality of this relationship. The aim of this study was to assess whether negative emotional states and impulsivity are associated with individual and dual substance use of e-cigarettes and cannabis. A secondary data analysis examined college students’ (overall n = 585) negative emotional states, impulsivity, e-cigarette use (n = 112), cannabis use (n = 210), and dual substance use (n = 82). This study found higher anxiety and impulsivity scores significantly predicted higher cannabis use while higher stress scores significantly predicted lower cannabis use. Moreover, anxiety was found to significantly predict dual substance use, illustrating how anxiety plays a vital role in problematic cannabis use and high dual substance use. These findings suggest that anxiety treatments could lower dual substance use as a result. Thus, future research should examine how anxiety-targeted cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) impacts monthly cannabis use and dual substance use.
(2024-05) Trimm, Travis Ethan; Cook, Jerry L; Pascarella, John; Williams, Justin K
Melissodes is a genus of native bees found throughout east Texas. Their presence on plants found in the region is understudied and could reveal novel or important plant pollinator interactions. This study explores the dietary range of Melissodes species across east Texas and creates a list of plants utilized in pollen collection. To accomplish this, specimens of Melissodes were collected from areas across east Texas and taken from institute collections in order to extract pollen samples from their bodies. Pollens were then examined using a scanning electron microscope in order to be identified. Many of the Melissodes species examined exhibit generalist foraging tendencies as well as having a direct preference for pollen of the Asteraceae family.