My Thesis: English Learners' Participation in Mathematical Discourse
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Due to the increasing diversity of mathematics classrooms today, teachers need guidance on how to support English Learners (ELs) in mathematics classes in a way that situates language learning within mathematical activity. Unfortunately, neither mathematics education research nor EL education research is sure how to navigate the complexity of teaching ELs mathematics while supporting both their language development and their mathematical development through their participation in mathematical activity. This study examined ELs’ participation in mathematical Discourse, investigating both the mathematical purposes ELs accomplished by using multiple symbol systems, and the way ELs used non-English language (NEL) symbol systems to support their spoken English. The participants were college-aged ELs beginning their studies at the English Learning Center at an American university. The students all had fluency with basic conversational English, and had many different levels of mathematical experience. I identified five categories of purposes in which ELs engaged during mathematical Discourse. I also developed the Replace Augment Learn (RAL) framework that describes how ELs used NEL symbol systems to make up for their decreased English literacy and facilitate their participation in mathematical Discourse. Analysis of the data suggests ELs’ use of NEL symbol systems (1) played a significant role in achieving many of the purposes associated with mathematical Discourse, and (2) opened up a space for effective language acquisition. These findings indicate that authentic mathematical activity can be a productive site for language development, and that ELs with basic conversational English and literacy with a variety of symbol systems can participate meaningfully in mathematical Discourse.
Bryan's Thesis: Advancing Phage Genomics and Honeybee Health Through Discovery and Characterization of Paenibacillaceae Bacteriophages
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The Paenibacillaceae family of bacteria includes two species known to infect the hives of
honeybees, Paenibacillus larvae and Brevibacillus laterosporus. P. larvae, the causative agent of
American Foulbrood (AFB) causes a lethal infection of honeybee larvae, while B. laterosporus is
a secondary invader following European Foulbrood (EFB) infection. Increasing antibiotic
resistance of P. larvae bacteria has prompted a search for alternative treatment methods for this
disease. Bacteriophages are the most diverse life forms on earth and can provide important
insights about the bacterial hosts they infect. However, few Paenibacillaceae phages have been
isolated or characterized. In this study, the first B. laterosporus phages are characterized with
respect to host range, structural morphology, and sequence similarity. The isolation and
characterization of many P. larvae field isolates together with 38 novel P. larvae phages made
possible the first broad phage typing study of P. larvae. Phage typing data indicated that P.
larvae strains tested could be categorized into one of two groups. Comparative genomics of
bacteriophages was made easier by modifying Phamerator to make it broadly accessible and
usable to phage researchers throughout the world. Additionally, raw sequencing data can now be
used to identify phage DNA packaging strategies that are indicative of a phage’s physical ends.
Using these data, phage genomes can be published in an orientation and complementarity that
reflects the physical structure of the phage chromosome, providing order and consistency that
will benefit all future phage researchers.
These have been sitting on our shelf for close to a month now. It's a little surreal. Somehow 161 pages (or 162 in Bryan's case) is a really strange temporal representation of what we've dedicated the past years of our lives to.
Well, that, and this: