Dissertation Defenses

Doctoral students who have an upcoming dissertation oral defense are posted here. So why not take this opportunity to learn about the research that our graduate students are doing!

Dissertation Defense for Rachel Ebner

Program: Mechanical Engineering: PHD

Department Contact Email: lauren.foxall@unh.edu

Defense Title: Influences of roughness on the inertial mechanism of turbulent boundary-layer scale separation

Defense Date and Time: 11/23/14 1:00 pm

Defense Location: Jere Chase, Rm 130 - Webcast from San Francisco

Defense Advisor: Professor Joe Klewicki

Defense Abstract: Measurements and scaling analyses are conducted to clarify the combined effects of roughness and Reynolds number on momentum transport in the rough-wall zero pressure gradient turbulent boundary layer. A series of multi-sensor hot-wire experiments are presented that cover nearly a decade in Reynolds number (+ = u\) and nearly three decades in ks+, the inner-normalized sand grain roughness.

This dissertation utilizes the difference between two velocity-vorticity correlations to represent the turbulent inertia (TI) term in the statement of the mean dynamics. Analyses focus on the correlation between the wall-normal velocity and the spanwise vorticity fluctuations because it is physically affiliated with change-of-scale effects (Tennekes & Lumley, 1972). Similarity analysis, streamwise correlations, and spectral methods are performed to elucidate the scaling behaviors of TI relative to the mean dynamics. The present results reveal complex behaviors in the long-time statistics of the velocity-vorticity correlation that exhibit both Reynolds number and roughness dependencies. The results broadly support the combined roughness-Reynolds number description provided by Mehdi et al. (2013).


Dissertation Defense for Jessica Carson

Program: Sociology: PHD

Department Contact Email: deena.peschke@unh.edu

Defense Title: The Complexities of Family Health: Effects of Women's Employment

Defense Date and Time: 11/24/14 9:00 am

Defense Location: McConnell 103

Defense Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Glauber

Defense Abstract: An extensive sociological literature links women's health, their children's health, and their disproportionate designation as unpaid caregivers to variation in women's labor supply and earnings. However, there is a dearth of research that simultaneously considers the health of multiple family members to explore how the distribution of chronic conditions within and across families may relate to women's work. Using data from the 2007 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (and its supplemental surveys, the Child Develoment Supplement and the Transition into Adulthood Study), this dissertation conceptualizes health as a family-level construct and explores how the distribution of chronic conditions in families relates to women's employment, hours, aqnd earnings, with particular attention to disparities by women's educational attainment. I note substantial variation in the distribution of illness across families, and find that the relationship between health and women's employment is complex, with relationships that are diagnostically specific, vary by employment outcome, and stratified by women's characteristics, with particular impacts for women who are nonwhite, less educated, or who have more illnesses in their families. This research emphasizes the importance of multidimensional examinations of health, and the utility in considering the broader family context in which women's employment outcomes unfold.


Dissertation Defense for Kai Ji

Program: Sociology: PHD

Department Contact Email: deena.peschke@unh.edu

Defense Title: Child Abuse and Neglect in China: A Meta-Analysis

Defense Date and Time: 12/03/14 8:00 am

Defense Location: McConnell 302

Defense Advisor: Dr. David Finkelhor

Defense Abstract: Chineese community epidemiological studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) have grown exponentially in the past two decades, but the prevalence of CAN in China is still unknown because of the paucity of official data and the absence of a national study of CAN. A meta-analysis can provide a closer approximation of the national prevalence by combining various samples and results from regional studies and comparing Chinese prevalence with international estimates. Based on results from the meta-analysis, this dissertation found that the problem of CAN was substantial in China. Although penetrative child sexual abuse was significantly lower in China, Chinese men reported a significantly higher rate of total sexual abuse than the national average. Furthermore, Chinese children were significantly more likely to be physically abused than their international counterparts. The prevalence of emotional abuse, and physical and emotional neglectm, was also higher in China, although the statistical significance cannot be confirmed due to large variations in rates and a limited number of studies available in each category. It was also found that mainland China had a significantly higher rate of child sexual and physical abuse than Hong Kong and Taiwan, where CAN advocacy and intervention are much more active. The concerning problem of CAN in China, especially in mainland China, calls for a child protection system which can monitor and investigate suspected CAN cases and enforce child protection laws.


Dissertation Defense for Meghan Mills

Program: Sociology: PHD

Department Contact Email: deena.peschke@unh.edu

Defense Title: The Impact of Socioeconomic Status and Goal-Striving Stress on Depression and Delinquency among Rural Youth

Defense Date and Time: 03/18/15 10:00 am

Defense Location: Carsey Institute, Huddleston Hall

Defense Advisor: Dr. Karen Van Gundy

Defense Abstract: According to the stress process framework,both socioeconomic status and goal-striving stress serve as critical chronic stressors; however, little to no research has examined the relationship between socioeconomic status, goal-striving stres, and well-being using this theoretical framework. Using longitudinal data from Waves I (2009) & II (2011) of the Rural Youth Study (RYS), my dissertation examines how goal-striving stress varies by socioeconomic status, and it investigates the impact of goal-striving stress on delinquent behaviors and depressive symptoms among rural youth over time, and net of crucial components of the stress process framework (i.e., stressful life events, family attachment, and personal resources). More specifically, my research examines the unique effects of educational, occupational, and community goal-striving stress as well as the effects of a combined measure of overall goal-striving stress.
Analyses reveal a significant negative relationship between socioeconomic status and depressive symptoms, but this relationship is mediated by family attachment. Controlling for prior depressive symptoms, only a significant positive relationship between community goal-striving stress and depressive symptoms remains. However, with regard to delinquent behaviors, educational, community, and overall goal-striving stress are significantly positively related to delinquent behaviors net of prior delinquency. Such findings remain even with statistical adjustments for socioeconomic status, stressful life events, family attachment, and personal resources.
The findings of my dissertation illustrate the importance of considering various types of goal-striving stress and considering their unique effects on different outcomes. My findings highlight the importance of a "new" type of goal-striving stress among rural youth, community goal-striving stress. Additionally, my findings indicate that goal-striving stress may be especially important for understanding the unequal social distribution of outcomes such as delinquency that are not as clearly or directly associated with socioeconomic status. Such findings highlight the important role of the stress process framework for understanding socioeconomic disparities in outcomes. In sum, goal-striving stress is a critical topic for future research using the stress process framework with important policy implications for improving the well-being of rural youth.


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