June 11, 2020

Dissertation Award Fellows, 2020 – 2021

It is our pleasure to announce the TNDY Dissertation Award Fellows for 2020 – 2021. Please join us in congratulating the following students whose work stands out in its academic rigor, sophistication, innovation, and contribution to transdisciplinary scholarship.

Sarah Alismail, CISAT/SCGH

“A Tailored Sleep Behavior Change Support System to Promote the Use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy: Theorizing the Solution”

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep breathing disorder in the U.S. with 30 million adults suffering from it, which is the second most in the world. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most effective treatment for OSA. However, up to 50% of patients who accept using CPAP therapy fail to adhere to it. An explanatory, randomized, mixed method, crossover study will be adopted to examine the efficacy of a tailored sleep behavior change support system and its effect on fostering the use of CPAP therapy among non-compliant OSA patients.

Skylar Hanson, SCGH

“How California is Becoming ACEs Aware: A Case Study on Early Effects and Implementation”

With the launch of the ACEs Aware campaign, California becomes the first state to address childhood adversity and toxic stress by offering training to healthcare providers and allocating Medi-Cal funds to reimburse providers that screen patients for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Prolonged exposure to trauma as a child can have detrimental effects on an individual’s development and overall well-being. Through stakeholder interviews, a case study of this statewide trauma-informed approach will be utilized to explain implementation issues, concerns, challenges, and improvements that will arise as a result of this new policy.

Laura Bauer, SAH – English

“The Essence of Narrativity: Evolution and Female Pleasure in Narrative Desire”

Bauer’s dissertation work outlines a new way to read narrative in relation to gender and pleasure that is applicable across the mediums of literature, film, and video games. By incorporating evolutionary biology into narrative studies, she suggests there may be other ways in which plots move or ways in which theorists can interpret meaning from narrative patterns such as resolution, cyclicality, communality, and temporality. Her theoretical model integrates contextual and formalist approaches while dismantling the historical understanding that narrative is irrevocably heteronormative, thereby presenting a comprehensive narrative poetics that enables fresh readings of gender and plot for contemporary scholarship.

Eugenia Weiss, SES

“Post-9/11 Student Veterans’ Optimal Functioning as a Predictor for Positive Academic Performance”

A transdisciplinary study of education and positive psychology will examine how post-9/11 student veterans’ positive optimal functioning predicts their academic performance. A convenient student veteran sample from a private 4-year university in the southwestern part of the U.S. will be used. The following hypotheses will be tested: 1). The student veterans that report higher levels of optimal functioning will also report higher levels of overall academic performance. 2). The student veterans that report a greater positive university environment will report greater levels of academic performance. 3). The student veterans who report more combat experiences will report lower levels of optimal functioning.

Lauren Hartle, SAH – English

“The Last Frontier; or, Going Critical; or, Denying Reality in Las Vegas”

My dissertation reconsiders Las Vegas as a nuclear site by focusing on fictional and non-fictional representations of the city from the town’s founding in 1905 through the end of the earliest phases of the cold war in 1979. These early narratives dislocate Las Vegas from time and place and are critical to the city’s development as a military-industrial—and later, nuclear—playground. My work traces the effect that this nuclear association has on subsequent stories told about Las Vegas and how these storylines resonate with broader patterns of nuclear denial in the United States.