This collection houses theses and culminating Master's projects for graduate programs in Biology, Lake Management, Cooperstown Graduate Program (Museum Studies), Nutrition and Dietetics, Educational Technology, Literacy Education, School Counseling, and Special Education.


SUNY Oneonta graduate students seeking to submit to SOAR should visit the Electronic Theses and Master's Projects guide here.

Recent Submissions

  • Perspectives of Teachers Working in a Virtual School Environment in Upstate New York

    Waters, Valerie (2023)
    The COVID-19 pandemic caused many changes for schools and students. Many schools had to make temporary accommodations to continue instruction virtually during periods of quarantine. Despite the return to in-person learning for many schools, options for virtual learning are becoming more popular. However, there is a lack of professional training for virtual teaching. In addition, there is very little literature on virtual schools, which is needed as virtual K-12 schools become more popular. The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives of teachers working at the New York Public Virtual Learning Academy (PVLA). This study utilized open-ended questionnaires and interviews of 16 teachers working at the PVLA. Data was organized via reduction into codes and themes. This study found that while many participants described virtual teaching as a positive experience, yet there are a few areas in need of more preparation. This study suggests that with the right support and preparation, virtual teaching can be a viable option for many teachers.
  • Assessing The Effectiveness of a Self-Efficacy and Dissonance-Based Intervention on the Nutrition Knowledge and Acceptance of Nutrition Misconceptions of 8th Grade Students

    Boudreau, Allie (SUNY Oneonta, 2023)
    Background: Disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, nutrition-related knowledge deficits, and high acceptance rates of nutrition related misinformation concerning harmful weight control behaviors and attitudes are extremely prevalent among adolescents. Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a self-efficacy and dissonance-based intervention that incorporates the principles of intuitive eating in improving nutrition related knowledge and skills, and in reducing the acceptance of nutrition misinformation related to harmful disordered eating and weight control attitudes. Methods: A quasi-experimental design study and pre/post-intervention assessments were used to measure the effectiveness of a 3-session self-efficacy and dissonance- based intervention program in improving the nutrition related knowledge and skills, and in reducing the acceptance of nutrition misconceptions related to harmful weight control behaviors and attitudes of 8th grade physical education (PE) students (n=4) voluntarily participating in the fitness unit. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to assess for significant changes in nutrition-related knowledge/skills and the acceptance of nutrition related misconceptions. Results: The intervention did not yield statistically significant improvements innutrition- related knowledge/skills or significant reductions in the acceptance of nutrition misconceptions related to harmful disordered eating and weight control attitudes. Conclusion: The discrepancies between the findings of the current study and prior studies regarding of the effectiveness of the intervention’s theoretical framework in eliciting improvements in nutrition knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to disordered eating, may suggest that the current study’s exposure times were insufficient, and the sample size was too small to determine statistical significance.
  • Evaluating Effectiveness of an Intervention Designed to Improve Nutrition Knowledge in Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program Participants

    Ormsby, Shayla R. (SUNY Oneonta, 2023)
    Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of individualized nutrition education handouts specific to participants’ chronic condition(s) on increasing knowledge. Design: Quasi-experimental Methods: Pre-intervention and post-intervention data assessing nutrition knowledge was compared and analyzed using a paired t-test(p < 0.05) and chi square test. Setting: The intervention took place at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County in Watertown, New York. Intervention: The intervention consisted of customizing nutrition/dietary handouts to three chronic condition diet orders that participants were diagnosed with prior to the study for the purpose of increasing nutrition knowledge. The diets were diabetic, low-fat/low-cholesterol, and sodium. Results: The intervention did not generate statistically significant results for the quantitative data, however, improvements in knowledge were demonstrated through qualitative data. Change in knowledge and understanding about following dietary restrictions recommended for a chronic condition, participant’s confidence in their ability to identify appropriate recipes, ability to alter a recipe with healthy substitutions, and prepare meals suitable their diagnoses, and grocery shopping behavior did not have significant results after the intervention. Conclusions & Implications: Nutrition/dietary informational handouts are not a statistically significant intervention for the set study duration. A larger sample size and longer intervention period is needed to determine the effectiveness of the planned intervention.
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Balanced Plate Intervention

    Snow, Cassandra (2023-04)
    Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of 3 educational sessions on nutrition knowledge and behavior in a virtual Facebook group run by a Registered Dietitian. Design: Quasi-experimental design Methods: Three educational sessions were created based on the needs of the Nourished with Emily Facebook group members. Pre and post-tests were used to determine a difference in knowledge before and after the intervention. Behavior change was also evaluated in participants. Setting: Virtual; Zoom Participants: Women who are between the ages of 25-55, live across the United States, and are employed who are members of the Nourished with Emily Facebook group. Intervention: A pre-test was sent out to those that signed up before the intervention. A zoom link was sent to all participants who signed up. The 3educational sessions were based off the areas on the needs assessment survey that were answered incorrectly by most participants. A post-test was sent to participants after the final educational session as well as another post-test one week later. Results: There was no significant difference between the mean total scores of the pre and post-tests. There was also no significance difference in the qualitative data found on the pre and post-tests. However, it was seen that the participants reported that they did apply the information they learned from the intervention on post-test that was sent out 1 week after the last session. Conclusions and Implications: The 3 educational sessions were not effective in significantly increasing nutrition knowledge in this virtual population. These findings reject the authors’ hypothesis that the educational sessions would increase knowledge of the participants.
  • Modern Cabinet of Curiosities: The Continued Human Interest in the Macabre and How Museums Can Respond

    Dragan, Kathryn E. (SUNY Oneonta, 2020)
    In the Victorian era, the act of collecting objects that were representative of foreign cultures became a common practice for those with the wherewithal to travel. This practice evolved over time to involve objects that were macabre or different, leading the way for the modern freak show style of circus. In the modern age, this has been removed, except for in a museum setting. This research uses surveys to gauge the reactions of ninety-nine college-age subjects to the display of human remains in museums, as well as possible suggestions for more ethical display. The research reveals a general neutral feeling about the display of remains in various forms. Respondent suggestions involve the addition of consent from living relatives and information about the deceased. The research raises questions about possible bias and prior knowledge among the subjects. Further research is needed to create a more comprehensive view of the reactions of museum visitors to the display of human remains.
  • Genetic Diversity of Rhyacophila fuscula in the upper Susquehanna River drainage basin

    Kletzel, Mackenzie (2023)
    Macroinvertebrates play an important role in freshwater streams (Luell 2020). Different macroinvertebrates have different tolerances to pollution. There are three main groups that these macroinvertebrates can be categorized into whether they have no tolerance for pollution, moderate pollution tolerance and tolerance to pollution (Luell 2020). These different tolerances allow us to use macroinvertebrates as bioindicators to infer the quality of the stream (Luell 2020; Ab Hamid and Md Rawi 2017). Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) are three orders of macroinvertebrates that are commonly used to assess stream quality (Moskova 2008). This work will focus on members of the order Trichoptera, or caddisflies. Rhyacophila is a genus in the family Rhyacophilidae. The genus can be found in North America, Asia, and Europe (Prather et al. 2001). Across North America there are 126 known species (Prather et al. 2001), 34 of which are present in eastern North America and approximately 19 can be found in New York (Prather et al. 2001). In the larval stage, they are aquatic and become terrestrial as adults. Larvae are found in cold freshwater streams with high levels of dissolved oxygen (Prather et al. 2001). Prather et al. (2001) stated that Rhyacophila are univoltine, meaning that they have one generation per year, although some species are known to have multiple cohorts in the stream at any one time (Manuel and Folsom 1982). In the Susquehanna River basin, Rhyacophila have been found, and are commonly encountered, by SUNY Oneonta classes. Manolo Benitez sampled Cripple Creek for a stream ecology course and morphologically identified the Rhyacophila collected as R. fuscula. The overall goal of this thesis research was to identify the most commonly encountered Rhyacophila species found in the upper Susquehanna River drainage basin and examine the population structure amongst 12 different populations.
  • The Red-Backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is an Effective Model Organism for a Variety of Biological Concepts

    Shaw, Bethany K. (2023-05)
    The red-backed salamander (RBS, Plethodon cinereus) is increasingly recognized as a model organism for a variety of biological subdisciplines, in part due to its ubiquity and abundance throughout northeastern North America (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). These salamanders can be used for both field- and lab-based work as they are human-tolerant (Arenas et al. 2015). Some of the biological fields using RBS as a model organism include terrestrial ecology, amphibian ecology, evolutionary biology, regeneration, ecotoxicology, and animal behavior (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). These salamanders are ecologically influential in forest ecosystems, where their biomass in some locations exceeds that of birds during peak breeding season and may be equal to that of all small mammals combined (Burton & Likens 1975). Of the eight most studied salamanders RBS is the only Plethodontid salamander; RBS is an important inclusion considering that more than half of all salamander species are part of the family Plethodontidae and many of the species are declining (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). Because RBS are highly philopatric and abundant, studies of its population genetics have been used to ask biogeographic questions at a variety of spatial and temporal scale (Fisher-Reid et al. 2013, Cameron et al. 2017). In ecotoxicology, RBS have been used to study how military waste products and pesticides enter and affect terrestrial food webs (Johnson et al. 2004, 2007, 2010; Bazar et al. 2008, 2009, 2010). In animal behavior, RBS has been used to describe changes in territorial behavior based on food availability (Jaeger et al. 2016). Considering that amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate class due anthropogenic changes to their habitat, it is important that more amphibian model organisms are included in research so that we may understand them better with the aim to conserve them. This master’s research and thesis focuses on two ways in which we can use RBS as a model organism. Chapter 1 assesses the efficacy of marking RBS with Visual Implant Elastomer (VIE) for mark-recapture surveys. Understanding and implementing best practices for marking RBS or other small, terrestrial animals, can allow researchers to ask and more effectively test ecological questions which require accurate tracking of individuals over time. Chapter 2 describes how RBS tail regeneration can be impacted by different proportions of their tail being autotomized and the implications for a lengthy wound healing process.
  • Audio Tour: African American Monument at Little Falls Church Street Cemetery

    Reyes, Natalie (2021)
    "African American Monument at Little Falls Church Street Cemetery" written by Natalie Reyes and narrated by Robert Katz. Part of the Little Falls Historical Society Museum's self-guided audio tours, created by the SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Graduate Program of Museum Studies.
  • The Effects of Explore Learning’s Math and Science Simulations on Student Engagement in a Rural High School

    Pannizzo, Brittny (2022)
    Students across the nation struggle to build a conceptual understanding of scientific phenomena. The complexity of scientific concepts is difficult for students to understand, and students struggle to visualize the processes that are taught in science. New approaches that incorporate digital simulations can be used to enhance student learning of biological processes. However, more research is needed to understand how digital simulations can be used in the classroom to improve student engagement, and ultimately improve student learning. This qualitative study invited secondary teachers at rural high school who use Explore Learning’s digital simulations to teach math and science concepts. The teacher participants completed an online questionnaire which asked them to share their perspectives and opinions of Explore Learning’s simulations and how it effects student engagement. Findings suggest that Explore Learning Math and Science Gizmos increases student engagement. Based on these findings, the student researcher suggests that further research be conducted to test the effect Explore Learning's digital simulations on students' engagement when learning in math and science.
  • The Evil Corporation Trope: An Analysis of Popular Science-Fiction Films

    Poerio, Michael A. (2022)
    Popular culture in general, and movies in particular, are one of the major influences on the public’s perception of science, and therefore on the level of trust audiences feel inclined to put in science. The science communication community has made great progress in achieving that the portrayal of scientists in movies does better justice to the diverse reality of scientific research, moving away from the stereotype of the old white male scientist. This has been achieved through constructive collaborations like the National Academy of Science’s Science and Entertainment Exchange. However, a prevalent trope, which we call “The Evil Corporation Trope”, has been repeatedly used in science-fiction films. Following David Kirby’s framework of cinema as a “virtual witnessing technology” that allows publics to immerse themselves in possible futures or inaccessible realities and experience what their perceptions and reactions would be, we present an analysis of this trope in several major science-fiction films, spanning nearly forty-years of cinema. If the reality that audiences virtually witness in these blockbuster movies systematically portrays science or tech companies as the antagonist and the source of all evil – is it surprising that trust in science is heavily undermined when it is such big corporations who, for example, develop and distribute the covid vaccines, or vaccines in general? My analysis includes the identification of patterns found within films using this trope, including corporations in these movies with ties to the military, and abuses of artificial intelligence.
  • A Retrospective Chart Review to Determine the Prevalence of Malnutrition in the Elderly and the Effects of Nutrition Interventions

    Isaacs, Cheyenne (2022)
    Background: The prevalence of malnutrition in elderly patients continues to increase with an aging population. Patients with malnutrition are at risk for longer hospital stays, increased risk of frailty, at higher risk for having a poor quality of health, poor health outcomes and increased mortality. Objectives: Evaluate the effectiveness of new nutritional interventions to help correct malnutrition diagnosis criteria. Setting: Presbyterian Home and Services an Acute Rehab and Long Term Care Nursing Facility Participants: 27 elderly patients initially met the malnutrition criteria, at the time of the interventions there were only 20 patients Study Design: Retrospective Study to evaluate the effectiveness of nutritional interventions. That data was utilized to help develop new nutritional interventions. Methods: The newly developed interventions were implemented and the data was collected over a 3 week span. data was collected on weight change, Pre and Post-BMI. The data was analyzed utilizing SPSS Software. Intervention: A high calorie diet was implemented for patients that met the criteria for malnutrition, patients with BMI of 23 were screened to prevent BMI <22, whole milk was programmed in house diet in place of 2% milk Results:100% of the patients had a beneficial wt gain of .10 to 1.25#. This was clinically relevant as evidenced by the score of the paired T-test. During the time frame of the interventions none of the patients had their malnutrition criteria diagnosis corrected. Conclusions: Early screening and implementing nutritional interventions can help prevent malnutrition. Once a patient is diagnosed with malnutrition it is difficult to correct.
  • Effectiveness of Education on Knowledge and Participation in Community Programs

    Riddle, Emily; Patricelli, Isabella; Griffin, Matthew; Corgel, Isabelle (2022)
    Introduction: A Quasi-experimental study was performed to determine if education in the form of handouts would increase participant use in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP Ed) programs. Methods: Participants were recruited for this study the day of the intervention. The effectiveness of this study was based on changes in pre- and post- questionnaire responses. Participants completed a pre- questionnaire prior to the intervention, and a post questionnaire 3 weeks later. Results: There was a significant change in the number of participants who stated they received education/information on LIHEAP, and SNAP Ed (p = 0.023). All other results were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Further studies should be completed to evaluate the effectiveness of education on increasing knowledge, and participation in community programs. While this study provided insight to the benefit that education may have on community program participation, there was limited significance in results and further studies should be altered.
  • Mental Health-Focused Nutrition Education Intervention in Secondary School

    Riddle, Emily; Kelley, Lindsey G.; Parker, Jacqueline (2022)
    Many high schools in the US have insufficient nutrition education programs to inspire behavior change, resulting in a nutrition knowledge deficit in adolescents. School-based nutrition education programs typically do not cover the association between nutrition and mental health. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to evaluate the change in nutrition knowledge and behaviors of secondary school students following a nutrition education intervention. Students enrolled in their required health course received a two 80-minute session nutrition education intervention. Student nutrition knowledge and behavior changes were assessed in the intervention group (n=56) and a previous needs assessment control group (n=8) using a nutrition knowledge survey and food frequency questionnaire. Compared to the needs assessment group, the intervention group had improved nutrition knowledge test scores (28% vs. 68%, p=0.000). Nutrition knowledge test scores among the intervention group was correlated with confidence in reading food labels (r=.351, p<0.001) and choosing healthy foods (r=.453, p<0.001), but was not correlated with confidence in macronutrient (r=.183, p>0.05) or micronutrient knowledge (r=.167, p>0.05). The intervention group reported low intake of breakfast, vegetables, fruit, and simple carbohydrates. This study did support the effectiveness of inclusion of mental health in a nutrition education intervention to improve nutrition knowledge and behaviors.
  • Effectiveness of a Nutrition Intervention in Older Adults Aged 55+

    Riddle, Emily; Williams, Emily R.; McGee, Patty (2022)
    Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve behaviors, knowledge, and self-efficacy around chronic disease management in older adults. Design: Quasi-experimental design with one intervention group of older adults Methods: Participants were recruited for this study via an email from facility director, Joan Scotti and other marketing tactics. Effectiveness of the study was evaluated based on changes in pre and post survey questionnaires Setting: Slingerlands, NY Participants: 18 participants completed the study Intervention: The intervention included two days of instruction. Topics discussed included adequate intake to combat malnutrition and easy ways to prepare nutritious foods. The second day included a cooking demonstration. The intervention was conducted over two days one week apart. Participants completed pre and post survey questionnaires which included questions related to general nutrition knowledge, confidence reading nutrition fact labels, and preparing fruits and vegetables to assess the effectiveness of the intervention Results: Quantitative data was analyzed using Mann-Whitney U tests in SPSS. Participant confidence in using and interpreting food labels, confidence including fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks, and familiarity with different methods of cooking fruits and vegetables significantly increased (p<0.05). Conclusions and Implications: A hands-on nutrition intervention and cooking demonstration can be effective at increasing nutrition-related knowledge and self-efficacy in older adults living at an independent senior living center.
  • Community Marketing and Recipe Distribution Project to Improve Food Security and Food Choices

    Riddle, Emily; VanAmburg, Katherine; Perl, Sandra (2022)
    Introduction: This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a two-part community intervention on fresh and frozen produce access and self-perceived diet quality among participants of a local food pantry through a Quasi-experiment design. The study took place at The Living Well Mission in Penn Yan, New York which consisted of 10 selected participants. Social media marketing efforts took place to advocate for fresh and frozen produce donations over the course of four weeks. Three recipes per week, totaling 12 recipes, were also provided with the required ingredients and tips for substitutions. Methods: A two-part intervention consisting of marketing efforts and recipe distribution was examined through a pre and post-survey to examine the changes in pantry food donations as well as nutrition intake and self-perceived efficacy of meal preparation and diet quality. Results: Four participants did not partake in the post-survey intervention. Low level marketing efforts had no impact on food donations. The weekly grocery supplies and recipes did not significantly improve intake of fresh or frozen despite no waste being reported by post-survey participants. The intervention did prevent hunger during the last week of the month for one participant. Conclusion: The intervention did not reveal significant results. Low level marketing efforts were ineffective towards changing food donations and recipe and ingredient distribution did not improve self-efficacy and diet quality despite similar studies finding significant results. Recipe sampling or more nutrition education may be necessary in future studies.
  • The Effectiveness of Nutrition Education in Seniors Over the Age of 65 in Leading a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

    Riddle, Emily; Ziomek, MaKayla M. (2022)
    The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a nutrition educational program on increasing individual knowledge in leading a heart healthy lifestyle among seniors aged 65 years and older. The design of the study was Quasi-experimental and was completed at the Amherst Senior Center, Amherst, Massachusetts. Participants were recruited through paper flyers as well as verbal recruitment during an exercise program at the senior center. Participant knowledge was assessed utilizing a pre-and post-test which included a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Duplicate tests were given prior to an educational session and two weeks post-education. Participant performance was evaluated by comparing test grades and results from the FFQ. Five men and women over the age of 65 years were included in the study. Data analysis was completed using IBM SPSS Statistics 26. Results showed participation in the educational session increased test scores by 24.6% (p<0.005) on average. There were no significant results between pre-and post-test FFQ between educational sessions. This indicated no significant difference in dietary changes. This limitation may be related to the number of education sessions that were conducted. Ideally, nutrition education sessions can be tailored to individual, or group needs, with the idea that these programs can be repeated for future use leading to positive health results.
  • Overcoming Barriers to Mindful Eating in Adult Women

    Riddle, Emily; Kauffmann, Danielle A. (2022)
    Objective: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve the knowledge and behaviors related to mindful eating in study participants. Design: A quasi-experimental study design was used in this experiment. Methods: Participant knowledge was evaluated by using a pre and post Mindful Eating Questionnaire (28-item self-report validated instrument), the Hunger and Fullness Scale, and qualitative observations. Quantitative data from the Mindful Eating Questionnaire and Hunger and Fullness Scale were compared using a Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test using IBM SPSS Statistics 26. Setting: This study was conducted virtually. Participants: 11 adult women who are followers of Toni Marinucci participated in this study. Intervention: Participants attended one, 45-minute zoom (virtual) group coaching session each week for a total of 3 weeks. Results: The coaching calls did not significantly increase knowledge and behavior change. The coaching calls were well received and positive feedback was given. Participants noted that the barriers to implementing mindful eating included time, bad habits, and distraction. Conclusions and Implications: The three mindful eating group coaching calls were not effective in increasing knowledge and behavior change in regards to awareness, distraction, and overeating.
  • Changes in Knowledge, Beliefs, and Behaviors Following a Remote Diabetic Education Session Among Adults Living with Diabetes in a Rural Community

    Riddle, Emily; Sheerin, Mary A. (2022)
    Introduction: The incidence of Type 2 diabetes has been a rising concern for Americans since 1994. According to the CDC, in the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese. Health services are struggling with the morbidity, mortality, and cost associated with the complications of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services have been shown to have a positive impact. United Health Services (UHS) in New York State offers in-person diabetic teaching classes in the form of a DSMES service. To date, there is no official educational program for patients unable to attend in-person diabetic teaching classes within the UHS hospital system. The purpose of this study is to evaluate any changes in knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs of a rural population after have completed a remote diabetes education session to help identify if patients would benefit from a formal remote education class. Methods: This study was conducted remotely in February 2022 using patients from the UHS database. The total number of rural participants was 4. Participant knowledge was evaluated by comparing scores on a pre-test and post-test. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for all statistical analysis as neither of the data being assessed had normality. Qualitative data were thematically examined. Results: The most common theme for barriers related to exercise and dietary change were "work" and "physical limitation". Seven of the 14 questions included in the questionnaire were assessed for statistical significance and despite seeing some data shifts; the diabetes education intervention did not produce a statistically significant change in test scores (Z= -1.342, p = .180). BMI and HbA1c were also tested for statistical significance. Participants appeared to have lost weight between the time of the needs assessment and the intervention as the mean BMI measurement from 2022 is less than the mean BMI from 2021. Although this may seem favorable, there was no significant change in BMI from when the needs assessment was conducted in October, 2021 to the completion of the education intervention in February, 2022 (p = .854). Participants had a reduction in their HbA1c after starting this study as the minimum value for HbA1c is lower in 2022 when compared to data in 2021. Again, despite this observation, there was no significant difference in average blood sugar measurement between 2021 and 2022. Conclusion: This study showed that the diabetic education intervention conducted over the telephone did not elicit a statically significant change in test scores, weight, or HbA1c among the rural participants with type 2 diabetes. Despite observing some data shifts the sample size was simply too small to show any significant change. Although this study did not use sophisticated technology to conduct interviews and deliver education, it opened up the opportunity to possibly introduce a more enhanced way of communication, especially for those unable to attend in-person diabetes teaching classes.
  • Effectiveness of an Online Nutrition Course on Emotional Health and Energy Levels

    Riddle, Emily; Ward, Christine Nicole; Stote, Kim S. (2022)
    Mental health is an extremely important component of health that is not discussed enough. Emotional health, a component of mental health, plays an essential role in an individuals overall health status. Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between poor diet, obesity and the development of poor mental/emotional health. Therefore the aim of this present study that was to determine the effect an Online Nutrition Course that promoted healthy eating habits had on the Emotional Health and Energy Levels of SUNY Empire college Staff.

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