Summit Institutional Repository @ PSU

Summit Institutional Repository @ Plymouth State University is a digital repository for gathering, indexing, preserving, and making available a treasury of research and scholarly work generated by PSU faculty, students and staff. Based on the principle of Open Access, one of Summit's key missions is to ensure that these scholarly and creative endeavors are accessible to the widest possible audience.

These collections are freely available, organized, made accessible by PSU's Lamson Library. They demonstrate the summit of academic production at the University and its commitment to encourage transformational teaching and connected learning, to advance the Plymouth State University motto - Ut prosim (That I may serve). The content is available to be used responsibly under fair use US copyright law for personal and educational purposes or with the permission of the authors and/or copyright holders. For more information about submitting your work to Summit, please contact us at

Recent Submissions

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    (2024-05) Morin, David
    ABSTRACT VERTICALLY INTEGRATED LIQUID AND THUNDERSTORM BEHAVIOR WITHIN THE PLYMOUTH, NH, REGION by David E. S. Morin Plymouth State University, May, 2024 This thesis aimed to answer the question, “Can a storm’s cell based vertically integrated liquid (VIL) value at a certain location in relation to Plymouth, NH, act as a predictor of its behavior as it approaches town?” Previous work tried to connect storm cell behavior in the Plymouth region to stability indices, the height of the lifted condensation level (LCL), and the synoptic setup. VIL was chosen as the stratification variable for this thesis because of its connection with storm intensity and precipitation, leading to increased downdraft strength, which has been connected to the storm-splitting process in some studies. The goal of this thesis was to determine if an approaching storm’s VIL value can predict 1) whether or not it will hit Plymouth, 2) its behavior before reaching Plymouth, and 3) if it does hit, its behavior after Plymouth. Cells moving towards Plymouth within the 48 km radius domain were tracked. Their cell based VILs were recorded at each range ring within the domain, and the values were separated and compared (bulk statistics and box plots) for each region around Plymouth based on their behaviors. Based on the results of the majority of regions, higher VIL cells were more likely to hit Plymouth, while lower VIL cells generally had opposite results. In terms of behavior, higher VIL cells were most likely to split. Lower VIL cells xvi were most likely to dissipate, and medium VIL cells were most likely not to change behavior. Two case studies were examined to show the inconsistencies between the Storm Structure Product (SSP) (used for identifying cells and obtaining VIL) and manual interpretation of reflectivity.
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    The Impact of Mindfulness on Stress Levels of Teachers and Students
    (2023-12) Zhu, Peihan
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Peihan Zhu for the degree of Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community Presented on July 26, 2023 Title: The Impact of Mindfulness on Stress Levels of Teachers and Students Abstract approved: ________________________________________________ Christie Sweeney, Ed.D. Dissertation Committee Chair The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of mindfulness practices on the stress levels of teachers and students when those practices are integrated into the classroom in a systematic and purposeful manner. This study utilized qualitative case study methodology to investigate a mindfulness program’s impact on teachers and students. Data were collected using surveys, interviews, and school resources about the mindfulness program. Direct participants in this study were teaching/academic staff, administrative staff, and school administrators. Students were indirectly involved in this study. In this study, surveys were attempted by 46 teaching/academic staff and administrative staff. A total of three school administrators completed the surveys. Interviews were completed with five teaching/academic staff, one administrative staff, and two school administrators. The researcher also reviewed 21 student surveys designed, conducted, and provided by a wellness and social science educator at the school. The findings from this study have indicated that when mindfulness practices are implemented in a systematic and purposeful manner, as exemplified at the research site, THE IMPACT OF MINDFULNESS ON TEACHERS AND STUDENTS iii the program and the corresponding implementation of mindfulness practices demonstrated positive impacts on the stress reduction of teachers and students, while extending these impacts to administrators and the broader school community. Some examples of these positive impacts: teachers stated that practicing mindfulness transformed their teaching experiences, they felt less stressed, became more caring, and experienced improved relations with students; students stated practicing mindfulness helped them be calm, recenter, manage stress, and allowed them to resort to love and confidence; participating faculty/staff observed school administrators used mindfulness skills to connect the community as a whole; many participants described the mindfulness program at the school, along with the variety of mindfulness practices, helped foster a community of mutual understanding and connection.
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    (2024-05) Vernon, Natalie
    ABSTRACT Cold air damming is a mesoscale phenomenon that occurs when a cold dome is created along the lee side of mountain ranges. Cold air becomes trapped in part because of low-level synoptic flow towards the lee side of mountains, preventing the cold dome from escaping. When this condition occurs, temperatures are cooler on the inside of the cold dome than those outside of the dome. Despite being a common weather phenomenon, cold air damming has eluded accurate detection and prediction by most numerical models. Common difficulties the models include: the timing of the event, the degree to which the trapped air is colder than the surrounding air, the precise location of the damming, and even failure of the model to detect cold air damming at all. Among the explanations for these model difficulties is that the grid spacing of the model may not be fine enough to resolve the phenomenon. Given the recognized limitations of past models, the goal of this research is to determine if more recent versions of commonly used weather models, such as the Global Forecast System (GFS) and the North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM), can more accurately forecast cold air damming. Twelve cold air damming events occurred over the winter of 2022 to 2023. The observations from these events were compared to the associated model runs by looking at the timing at the initiation of the damming, dissipation of the damming, and temperature difference. The NAM was superior at predicting cold air at KCON than the other stations compared to the GFS. On the other hand, the GFS had temperatures closer to the observed temperatures than the NAM. However, just because the models were able to predict cold air does not mean they were able to predict cold air damming occurring. xii Both models struggled to forecast cold air damming in the Northeast, having the colder air over the mountains or not in the area. In the end, findings indicate that these current models will need more refinement to substantially improve prediction of cold air damming in the Northeast.
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    (2024-05) VOLLMER, HANNAH
    ABSTRACT Alpine zones in the White Mountains of New Hampshire are small, isolated ecosystems that are considered relicts of the widespread tundra following the last ice age. The diminutive flowering plant Potentilla robbinsiana (dwarf cinquefoil) is endemic to a hectare of alpine habitat in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and is hundreds of kilometers from its closest kin, the common circumpolar P. hyparctica. After a century of unchecked botanical collection and recreational impacts, P. robbinsiana approached extinction, but habitat closure, transplanting, and hiker education helped make this plant an Endangered Species Act success story. Odd-number polyploidy, cytological and pollination studies, and isozymes support the assumption that P. robbinsiana is apomictic and genetically uniform. We set out to determine how much genetic diversity, if any, is present among P. robbinsiana plants (both extant and preserved as herbarium specimens) and to determine whether this species is genetically distinct from P. hyparctica. We conducted ddRADseq (double digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing) on 144 freshly collected P. robbinsiana samples, along with historic herbarium samples of P. robbinsiana (n=32), P. hyparctica (n=32), and two Potentilla outgroup species, mapping 2.1% of our reads to Fragaria vesca nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial genomes. We found evidence of diversity in P. robbinsiana with 306 allelic sites across 57 loci. Observed heterozygosity in the nuclear genome was low suggesting subpopulations have deviated from Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium. Nuclear and organellar diversity estimates show that the largest population and one of the two transplant populations have highest diversity. This transplant population is most representative of the species’ diversity as a whole as shown by F-statistics. Some alleles found in historic herbarium plants were not present in extant plants, but the number of unique alleles found in a transplant population far exceeded these. Our current data do not support P. robbinsiana and P. hyparctica as distinct, monophyletic species, but our study species is more genetically diverse than previously thought and we recommend that future conservation plans should reflect this. Further phylogenetic work should attempt to refine relationships between P. robbinsiana and P. hyparctica. Transplantation attempts should use seed sourced from multiple locations so as to better represent the species’ genetic variation.
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    Identifying Effective Professional Development to Meet Teachers’ Needs When Instructing English Learner Students
    (2024-05) Brazee, Erika
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Erika Brazee for the degree of Doctor of Education Presented on February 19, 2024 Title: Identifying Effective Professional Development to Meet Teachers’ Needs When Instructing English Learner Students. Abstract approved: _______________________________________________________________ Scott Mantie, Ph.D., Dissertation Committee Chair This phenomenological study explored elementary educators' identified needs for effective professional development, focused on the instruction and assessment of English Learners (EL) in schools with low EL incidence. Addressing teacher preparation through effective professional development was guided by Bruner’s (1960) constructivist theory and Knowles andragogy theory, specifically adult learning theory. The purposeful sampling for the individual semi-structured interviews included eight elementary Kindergarten through fifth-grade educators who had previously had an EL student. The teachers participated in a 45-minute Zoom interview. The responses were coded using descriptive focused analysis and In Vivo coding while anchoring. Three common themes were identified from an in-depth analysis of the transcribed interviews after multiple readings from anchor one and five from anchor two. Anchor one addresses the design and delivery of an effective PD, and anchor two reports on teachers’ identified needs for instructing and assessing EL students. Anchor one included the presentation of material: workshop, in-person, visuals, is of sustained duration, two half days, two times a year; Role of the learner: active learner; Role of the facilitator: supports collaboration, offers feedback and coaching, and use of models of effective practice and identified resources. Anchor two included math instruction, reading comprehension instruction, assessments, using technology, and understanding EL proficiency levels to provide evidence-based instruction. The researcher then developed a PD template using the data from this study and research on effective PD and best practices for instructing and assessing EL students in low-EL incidence areas.

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