Recent Submissions

  • Creating, Implementing, and Assessing Equitable Environmental Education Among Students who Identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)

    Kara, Jillian (2022-12-12)
    This thesis investigates interventions to increase environmental literacy among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students and examines the systemic racism that has been embedded throughout the field of natural resources and environmental education (EE). I took a case study approach to research environmental literacy among northern New York and Vermont high school students who qualify as coming from “modest income households” and whose parents did not obtain a four-year degree. I conducted qualitative analysis on student observations and pre- and post-survey data to understand student’s levels of environmental stewardship, connectedness to nature, and environmental career aspirations. The results are organized into four chapters: an introduction chapter, two manuscripts intended for stand-alone publication (Chapters 2-3), and a conclusion chapter. Chapter 2 reports on the current state of the field of natural resources and the development of an equitable survey tool which indicated that students across similar socio-economic backgrounds have similar levels of environmental interest yet career paths shift in BIPOC youth. Chapter 3 discusses strategies for increasing stewardship, connectedness to nature, and environmental career aspirations among students. Finally, Chapter 4 synthesizes the findings from Chapters 2-3. These results provide useful information about the current state of environmental education and provides recommendations on how environmental education can be more inclusive.
  • Enabling Behaviors, Stigmatization, and Attitudes towards Substance Abuse and Bulimia

    Dunham, Katherine; Mattice, Melissa (2018)
    Enabling behaviors may impair the recovery of individuals with substance use and eating disorders. Participants read one of six vignettes portraying a character with either a substance use disorder or bulimia and were asked how they would react. The effects of several factors, such as gender, knowledge of disorder, disorder type, and enabling behaviors, on the likelihood of specific responses were examined for the most common responses. Some notable results included that females were more likely to intend to provide support. Participants who had higher enabling scores were less likely to tell a professional and were more likely to do nothing. Higher stigma scores were observed for those in the other category, which encompassed several less definitive responses. Responses did not vary by character gender, knowledge of disorder, or disorder type. The results point to the need for education and stigma reduction efforts for substance use and eating disorders.
  • Is There a Relationship Between Art and Theory of Mind? A Review of Findings

    Phillips, Dale; Brucker, Christina (2017)
    Art interpretation, or perception of art, reflects the intrapersonal relationship to emotions, thoughts, and seductions that a person experiences while viewing artwork (Barret, 2002). Alongside the importance of artwork interpretation, Theory of Mind (ToM) can be defined as the capacity to imagine or form opinions about the cognitive states of others (Pam, 2016). Together, art interpretation and the measure of one's Theory of Mind could provide further insight into those with weaker ToM abilities. The purpose of this research is to discover whether a relationship between Theory of Mind and art interpretation exists for future directions such as art therapy or ToM interventions.
  • Recognition of and Attitudes Toward Autism Spectrum Disorder in College Students

    Dunham, Katherine; O'Connell, Morgan (2017)
    The present study explored the intended reactions to a hypothetical character with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the effect of several variables on those intended reactions, using a convenience sample of 172 introductory psychology college students. Preliminary analyses of the results were concerning regarding the low recognition of this disorder, and a high endorsement of myths, stigma, and social distance. We predicted that those who correctly identified ASD would state an intention to provide more supportive responses than those who failed to correctly identify the disorder as autism. Frequency counts, chi-squared analyses, and an independent t-test were used to summarize the participants' intended responses to the character, assess the relation between categorical variables, and compare the means of continuous variables by each of the behaviors endorsed. Significantly more participants who correctly identified autism in the vignette said they would offer support to the character than if they did not correctly identify it as autism. Those who said they would provide general support had less personal stigma about the character and lower scores on the Autism Quotient. Participants who said they would do nothing in response had higher preferred social distance scores. No significant effects of participant gender and character gender were found. This research is important for the purposes of education of the public on autism spectrum disorders and how best to support such individuals, especially when transitioning to post-secondary education.
  • Experimental Functional Analysis of Problem Behavior for Participants of a Social Skills Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Egan, Patricia; Rothwell, Matthew (2017)
    Brief functional analysis for students exhibiting problem behavior with ASD. Goal of study involved determining the function of behavior, in order to provide information for future interventions.
  • Use of PBIS Methods to Reinforce Sportsmanship in a Recreational Setting for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Egan, Patricia; Brucker, Julie (2017)
    Demonstrate and evaluate the use of a PBIS intervention, "PLAY." Four rules were modeled and a group contingency was used to decrease problem behaviors in a recreational setting. Results showed positive outcomes through the use of PBIS, reinforcing rules, and use of group rewards.
  • Teaching Children with Autism to Join In

    Egan, Patricia; Titherington, Sarah (2016)
    In order to develop and maintain interpersonal relationships, one must possess certain social skills. Because children with an autism spectrum disorder have significant difficulty with social skills, it is imperative to implement training programs to remediate these deficits. The current study was designed to teach children with an autism spectrum disorder how to join in a conversation or play situation that is already in progress. Video models were used to show participants a five step (S.O.D.A.) strategy in a recreational program for children with autism spectrum disorders. The results show that two participants immediately acquired the skill, but their performance did not maintain when the intervention components were faded, even when a reminder was given to follow the SODA steps.
  • Texting Hotlines: A Pilot Study

    Phillips, Dale; Fournier, Kristen (2016)
    Texting has been integrated into virtually all aspects of society, including medical and mental health interventions. Researchers examined the use of crisis hotline among college students and their willingness to consider text-based forms of counseling. A surprising number of undergraduate students expressed willingness to seek counseling support through a text-based hotline. In a one-year study, researchers' text-based hotline was texted more often by women survivors of sexual assault than their traditional hotline alternative. These results should be taken into consideration by college campuses and mental health providers when expanding their mental health interventions to include text messaging services.
  • The Effects of Check-In-Check-Out in Reducing Externalizing Behaviors in Young Children

    Laci Charette; Kwan, Man Ling (2016)
    Targeted interventions, or Tier II interventions, are implemented within a comprehensive three-tiered system of support (Response to Intervention Model) consisting of Tier I interventions (for all students), Tier II interventions (for students exhibiting mild behavioral difficulties), and Tier III interventions (for students requiring individualized support). Check-in-check-out (CICO) is a targeted group. Tier II intervention designed to reduce frequency of disruptive/problem behavior and increase prosocial behaviors, mainly in the school setting. The current study evaluated effects of a school's implementation of CICO with five kindergarten level students in reducing their problem behaviors.
  • Evaluating Predicting Factors of Entering Kindergarten with an Individualized Education Program

    Phillips, Dale; Branch, Stephanie (2016)
    The purpose of the current study was to examine what factors best predict the entrance into kindergarten with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Cognitive ability, language skills, social skills and adaptive skills were all used as independent variables. The presence of an IEP upon kindergarten entry was used as the dependent variable. The Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI-2) served as the primary source of quantitative data. The Preschool Language Scales-4, Preschool Language Scales-5, and Developmental Assessment of Young Children-Second Addition also served as a source of quantitative data. The sample consisted of 50 children who had been evaluated at local preschool in upstate New York and have a clear IEP or no IEP status upon kindergarten entry. The scores of the tests were compiled and statistically analyzed using a Logistic Regression to determine which factors have the highest predictive ability of whether or not a student enters kindergarten with an IEP. The sensitivity and specificity were also calculated and analyzed to determine the accuracy of each model. Results of the analysis indicate that none one predictive variable is significant when all entered in the model together; however, the full model has excellent sensitivity and specificity. Additionally, social skills and adaptive skills emerged to be significant when entered alone. All predictive variables have excellent sensitivity and specificity
  • Eagle Buddies: An Evaluation of a Peer Mentoring Program

    Charette, Laci; Rainis, Dana (2016)
    The present study evaluated a peer mentoring program (Eagle Buddies) in a rural K-12 school to assess its effects on the academic achievement of student participants. Several types of data were collected: standardized ELA and Math scores were obtained over time, the students were interviewed about their experiences, and teachers were surveyed for suggestions of ways to improve the program. Results showed that academic scores significantly increased over time and the overall opinion of the program from both students and teachers was positive. Several limitations of the design of this program evaluation will be discussed.
  • Assessing teachers mobile device skills and the integration of technology into their lives

    Phillips, Dale; Speirs, Micael (2016)
    The role of technology in education is growing increasingly significant. It has implications for classroom teaching practices, assessment and systems level decision making. The success of technology programs in schools greatly depends on the attitudes and skills of teachers. This study evaluated the validity of two newly developed survey instruments for assessing an individual's skills and attitude towards mobile technology. It also looked at the relationship between those two constructs and group differences. There was a significant correlation between an individual's skills with mobile technology and their willingness to integrate the technology into their daily lives. Regression analysis revealed that an individual's skills with their device was the only significant predictor of their level of integration. Finally, skills were rated higher for individuals who used both smartphones and tablet computers versus individuals who only used smartphones. These results strengthen the validity of the two survey instruments and add to the research base for integrating mobile technology into education
  • Knowledge and Perceptions of Response to Intervention Among Graduate Students Enrolled in Education-Related Programs

    Charette, Laci; Bucci, Giovanina (2015)
    The purpose of this study is to illuminate the knowledge and perceptions of Response to Intervention (RtI) among graduate students enrolled in SUNY Plattsburgh education-related programs. RtI, a tiered system designed to provide universal support and interventions to students based on a spectrum of needs, was first introduced in 2004. The system continues to evolve within schools as stakeholders (i.e. administrators, educators and specialists) navigate their roles, expectations, and understanding of the realm and structure of RtI. Programs represented in this study following the collection of surveys include: Adolescent Education, Childhood/Special Education, Special Education, and School Psychology. An overview of how subscription to and training within a particular program correlates to knowledge and perceptions of RtI is used as grounds for discussing the implications for the systemsâ success.
  • A Review of the Effectiveness of Social Stories Among Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Egan, Patricia; Foster, Jordan (2015)
    This paper explores Gray's Social Stories when used with children and adolescence with Autism Spectrum Disorders when considering different components in the Social Story (TM) package. Social Stories (TM) have been utilized in many settings over the years to help individuals learn desired behavior when encountering new or difficult situations. In particular, this behavioral intervention is frequently used within the ASD population to address their difficulty with Theory of Mind or understanding and interpretation of situations, or others thoughts, feelings, or emotions. The literature pertaining to these peer-reviewed published articles is reviewed. Overall findings of effectiveness, contributions of different Social Story (TM) components, directions for future research, and considerations for future implementation are discussed.
  • A Measure of Mobile Technology Familiarity

    Phillips, Dale; Kelley, Steven (2015)
    Utilizing personal computer technology in the classrooms has been shown to have a positive impact on student classroom achievement (Butzin, 2001). Despite known gains, incorporation of technology into the classrooms is a slow process that not all educators perform. This reluctance to utilize technology in the classroom tends to stem from a lack of acceptance of these devices, due typically to a lack of information about what benefits can be offered (Ifenthaler & Schweinbenz, 2013). The current study is designed to assess how familiar school personnel are with handheld technology applications that can be useful in the classroom setting, and whether awareness of practical applications for technology increase with access to handheld devices.
  • Microaggression Prevalence in a Mid Sized College

    Phillips, Dale; Gaston, Venessa (2015)
    Microaggressions are defined as everyday verbal or nonverbal exchanges that convey contemptuous and derogatory messages that may be interpreted as acts of non-physical aggression. They can also be described as subtle acts of discrimination directed at marginalized groups that unfortunately occur on a daily basis. Psychological research has shown that there are many detrimental effects to those who experience these microaggressions, and specific to this research, can impact individuals in the school environment. The purpose of my study is to determine whether students attending the State University of New York at Plattsburgh are experiencing these subtle acts of discrimination.
  • A Computerized Measure of Idea Density in Two Genres of Written Language

    Hungerford, Suzanne; Moser, Katie (2015-05)
    This study investigates a linguistic measure known as idea density (ID) calculated from two different genres of written language samples. ID has been previously used in research pertaining to language and aging and has been shown to have predictive validity for cognitive decline and severity of Alzheimer’s neuropathy (e.g. Snowden et al., 1996); however, little is known about ID, including how it may differ between different types of language genres and how it correlates with vocabulary and level of education. This study compares ID of narrative and expository texts generated by young adults to provide preliminary information regarding the relationship between genre type and ID. It also explores the relationship between ID and various measures of academic achievement and vocabulary. In this study, ID was calculated by the Computerized Propositional Density Rater version 5.1 (CPIDR 5.1) (Brown et al., 2012) software. The results of this study found mean ID for personal narrative texts to be significantly greater than mean ID for expository texts; however, results suggest little correlation between ID and education level or vocabulary skill. These results suggest that, as research utilizing ID continues to expand, researchers should consider the potential presence of a genre effect when determining methods for elicitation of a language sample for ID analysis. Results are in line with other literature suggesting that ID is measuring aspects of linguistic functioning separate from those used to attain academic success. A discussion of ID in relation to genre effects, cognitive reserve hypothesis, and implications for future research is included.
  • The Effects of Working Memory and Attention Impairments on Language Symptoms in Aphasia

    Coppens, Patrick; Melhuish, Michelle; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (2015-05)
    A growing body of evidence has corroborated the notion that aphasia is not a pure linguistic disturbance, but is one that is exacerbated or perhaps generated by underlying cognitive weaknesses. Varying degrees of dysexecutive syndrome, attention deficit, and working memory impairment are thought to interfere with semantic, syntactic, and phonological processing. As a result, symptoms of aphasia may be intensified. This thesis reviews evidence for the existence of a modular cognitive-linguistic system in terms of Baddeley and Hitch’s (1974) single resource model, and outlines how this interplay is manifest in persons with aphasia (PWA). An instantiation of two reciprocally interactive components implicating long-term linguistic representations and the mobilization of cognitive resources for linguistic processing is proposed in order to condense relevant literature on the matter, and to support McNeil and Pratt’s (2001) proposition for an operational definition of aphasia that universally includes a cognitive element. Due to persistent ambiguity surrounding the nature and separation of working memory, attention, and the central executive in PWA, the ability to draw clinical conclusions on the precise characterization of neuropsychological deficits manifest in various aphasia severities remains to be poorly defined, particularly in the acute and early subacute stages of aphasia recovery. This is due to the fact that authors tend to exclude participants with severe aphasia syndromes who are in the rapidly changing acute and early subacute stages of functional recovery. Consequently, the current study originally aimed to elucidate the roles of multiple cognitive facets across the severity continuum in persons within the acute and early subacute stages of aphasia recovery using procedures designed to bypass verbal responses. Specifically, this study explored the nature and exclusivity of verbal and nonverbal working memory subdivisions, as well as the influence of attentional control, for the purpose of elucidating certain cognitive-linguistic syndromes in persons with severe aphasia. A comprehensive cognitive battery was assembled to include the following: two n-back programs, one tapping phonological working memory, the other tapping semantic working memory (entitled “phonoback” and “semback,” respectively, both administered at the 1-back and 2-back levels), forward and backward block tapping tasks, and a nonverbal numeric Stroop task with measures of both inhibition and facilitation. The effect of response modality on simple and complex digit spans was also explored to elucidate the effect of verbal responses on certain cognitive tasks in PWA. Consequential to unexpected recruitment difficulties, persons in the acute and early subacute stages of aphasia recovery could not be included; therefore, findings apply to those with chronic aphasia. While participants presented with a range of severities, only 1 group could be formed, precluding a priori sample divisions. Results of this study alluded to the presence of processing deficits in all participants, although effects of inhibition and facilitation could not be precisely determined. All participants presented with phonological working memory deficits as measured by complex digit span, which was not influenced by response modality. Results on a measure of visuospatial working memory were mixed, but found to be inversely associated with aphasia severity. The role of semantic working memory in aphasia severity could not be determined; however, a relationship between visuospatial working memory and the semantic n-back was identified, suggesting intrusion of visual working memory that was, perhaps, compensatory in nature. This study also identified that pronounced cognitive deficits can exist in both younger and older adults with aphasia, thus diminishing the putative influence of natural cognitive decline on aphasia symptoms. While quantitatively limiting, this study was able to corroborate many research claims for the presence of distinct linguistic processing deficits in PWA, as well as the possibility of nonlinguistic processing deficits, through qualitative means. Results ultimately supported a need to further elucidate the nature of cognitive impairment in PWA across time, severity, and syndrome in order to derive standard therapeutic interventions that sufficiently remediate both cognitive and linguistic aspects of aphasia. Specifically, it is suggested that future studies explore whether or not working memory, attention, and executive control are relatively separable constructs in PWA, and whether cognitive processing deficits can be (a) localized within Baddeley’s and Hitch’s (1974) framework and (b) reduced to phonological, semantic, or syntactic domains.