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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    Examining Student Departure: A qualitative program evaluation of the Ascent program at Plymouth State University
    (2023-05-12) Grant, Rebecca
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Rebecca A. Grant for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning and Community Presented on March 29, 2023 Title: Examining Student Departure: A Qualitative Program Evaluation of the Ascent Program at Plymouth State University Abstract approved: __________________________________________ Roxana Wright, Ph.D., Dissertation Committee Chair The purpose of this qualitative evaluation was to understand how the Ascent program, a bridge initiative at Plymouth State University, programmatically addressed institutional concerns regarding student retention and persistence during its three-year pilot phase, according to the perceptions of past participants, faculty, and administrators. The evaluation was designed to provide an opportunity for direct stakeholders to articulate their authentic perceptions of the efficacy of the Ascent program as an initiative developed to mitigate student departure. To gain this insight, a focus group was conducted with prior Ascent students who are now in mentorship roles in the program, and semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with Ascent instructors and administrators. Many student participants articulated that their participation in the program aided in their transition to college, provided valuable social support, and increased self-confidence. Additionally, it was found that student mentorship, increased academic advising and advocacy, and exposure to campus resources were successful aspects of the programmatic structure. While the Ascent program was not found to have mitigated student departure, the successful aspects of the program that should be considered for implementation in future departure mitigation efforts include increasing student support through building positive relationships with faculty and peers, implementing rigorous advising practices, and providing opportunities for foundational academic skill building. The findings from this study may inform future retention and persistence initiatives at Plymouth State University and may provide insight for other institutions of higher education that are working to address student attrition.
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    Microbursts and Null Events Near Cape Canaveral, FL
    (2023-05) White, Danielle
    Abstract MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED METEOROLOGY By Danielle White Plymouth State University, May, 2023 Microbursts are thunderstorm downdrafts that produce localized damaging wind, no larger than 4 km in diameter (Bringi et al. 1996). These storms, which typically contain hail in the early stages of development may not produce rain and can occur in any geographic region (Amiot et al. 2019). In Florida, wet microbursts commonly pose a major risk to operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. To improve forecasting microbursts, six variables were derived from sounding data provided by the University of Wyoming, valid no more than 4 hours before thunderstorm formation, and including CAPE, KI, TT, ∆𝜃! , mid-level relative humidity, and sub-cloud humidity. Peak wind speeds provided by Kennedy Space Center were recorded where the reflectivity is at least 45 dBZ occurring above the freezing level. Comparisons of null and microburst events with this data were used in analysis to determine how well each of the six variables do in microburst detection. The relative humidity variables proved to be the best indicators. Ideal humidity values may vary based on location but should be low enough for hail to melt and evaporate to induce negative buoyancy, but not so low that the thunderstorm begins to lose moisture and structure. A similar explanation can be applied to the ∆𝜃! , which was also found to be helpful in forecasting microbursts. New thresholds for each variable were determined to maximize the performance of forecasting guidance.
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    The Heart of Giving: The Relationship Between Alumni Engagement and Philanthropy
    (2023-05-12) Rosa, Veronica
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Veronica L. Rosa for the degree of Doctor of Learning, Leadership, and Community presented on March 10, 2023. Title: The Heart of Giving: The Relationship Between Alumni Engagement and Philanthropy Abstract approved: Roxana Wright 2/17/2023 Dr. Roxana Wright Dissertation Committee Chair This study examines alumni motivations for engagement and philanthropic contributions at one small, public, liberal arts college struggling with low alumni participation. In an electronic survey, three categories of alumni (donors, inconsistent donors, and non- donors) responded to 28 multiple choice questions and two open-ended questions. The groups were developed using Blackbaud’s Raisers Edge database. The criteria included fiscal years 2018 through 2022 and excluded alumni who graduated after 2012. Rates of response were donors at 23%, inconsistent donors at 8%, and non-donors at 3%. The research revealed alumni engagement opportunities and their relationship to donations and institutional priorities. The incentive and involvement theories were selected to support research of both engagement and motivations of giving. The results of the survey indicate that alumni are most interested in donating to funding priorities that directly benefit students, i.e., scholarships, internships, and experiential learning. The survey results showed the engagement tools that yielded the highest return on investment included the alumni magazine, digital newsletter, and events. Results suggest that this survey instrument and approach are transferable to other institutions.
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    A Statistical Analysis of Radar and MRMS QPE in the Northern Plains and Mid-Atlantic
    (2023-05) Steen, Matthew
    ABSTRACT A Statistical Analysis of Radar and MRMS QPE in the Northern Plains and Mid-Atlantic by Matthew C. Steen Plymouth State University, May, 2023 Over the last 40 years weather radar has provided an immense amount of data across the United States. Radar precipitation estimates provide a much higher spatial and temporal density of observations than ground-based measurements. In recent years, dual- polarization capabilities introduced to NEXRAD WSR-88Ds provided improvements to precipitation estimations allowing for more accurate forecasts and warnings. Also, the Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor System (MRMS) has developed a set of hydrometeorological based algorithms which take in data from radars, satellites, surface and upper air observations, models, and lightning detection systems to create a wide array of products that assist in decision-making and provide improved weather forecasting tools. The MRMS and Dual-pol radar Quantitative Precipitation Estimations (QPEs) are being used more by analysts in place of the previous radar precipitation estimation algorithm, the Precipitation Processing System (PPS). The goal of this research is to compare the Sioux Falls, SD (KFSD) and Dover, DE (KDOX) WSR-88Ds dual-polarized radar rainfall estimates and MRMS radar-only rainfall product estimates to rain gauge measurements for precipitation events in these regions. KFSD was selected because there have been few radar QPE studies in the Northern Plains. KDOX was selected for similar reasons (few studies in the mid-Atlantic) along with providing a perspective from a different climatic xi regime within the United States. Hourly rain-gauge precipitation estimates within 100 km of KFSD for events with at least one hour of observed rainfall greater than or equal to five millimeters were analyzed. These observed values were compared with high and low resolution dual-polarization QPE and MRMS radar-only estimates. Results demonstrate that the MRMS radar-only product produced better precipitation estimates than both high and low resolution dual-polarized estimates at both KFSD and KDOX. The mean absolute error (MAE) for MRMS was lower than both radar products at KFSD while the high-resolution radar product produced a similar MAE at KDOX. The differences in MAE between the low resolution dual-pol QPE and the MRMS and the high resolution dual-pol QPEs were determined to be statistically significant at both stations. The average bias of the MRMS was lower than both radar products for both radars, with a larger difference between the MRMS and low resolution dual-pol QPE than high resolution estimates. Like MAE, the difference between the low resolution dual-pol QPE and the MRMS and the high resolution dual-pol QPEs were determined to be statistically significant at both stations. Based on the results of this study, forecasters may be more inclined to favor the estimations of MRMS-based products for the forecasting of rainfall and issuing of rainfall related watches and warnings.
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    Factors that Influence College Completion for Students Living With Autism Spectrum Disorders
    (2023-03-03) Parsons, Sarah
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF:Sarah F. Parsons for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning, and CommunityPresented on March 3, 2023Title: Factors that Influence College Completion for Students Living With Autism Spectrum DisordersAbstract Approved: Gail Mears, Psy.D., Dissertation Committee ChairThe purpose of this study was to understand the factors which are influencing the low number of students living with autism spectrum disorders who graduate from four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities within six years of enrollment. This instrumental case study investigated the higher education experience for 13 students who self-identified as autistic. The students’ responses to eight semi-structuredinterview questions served as the primary data source. The data were analyzed and interpreted through the lens of college readiness and disability theory. The students’ findings were validated with interview data from the disability resource personnel (DRP) at the colleges where the students were enrolled, and a 44-item survey completed by the students which was used to establish the students’ college readiness. The student data found that with significant support from the DRPs, the students are academically capable of doing college-level work but that the attributes of autism often createdsignificant barriers to success. Most of these barriers are the by-productof the mismatch between the autistic students’ attributes and the expectations of the college environment. The findings point to the use of an interactionist model of disability rather than a functional limitation model to make the accommodations needed by autistic students more effective in facilitating college success.

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