Graduate Research

2020

The Influence of Written Composition on Audience Perceptions of Social Media Posts Surrounding the Wild Horse and Burro Controversy

Author: Jamie DeConcini • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The central research question that guided this study was: how does the composition of written educational content on Facebook influence public perception of information regarding the management of wild horses and burros? This research was conducted using content analysis to examine the Facebook posts of six organizations communicating about the wild horse and burro controversy and 8,295 comments made by individuals to the organization’s posts. There were five major themes that emerged from the data: organization’s posts, audience discussion of the issue, organization-audience interactions, commenter demographics, and misinformation concerns. These themes provide insight into how organizations and individuals are communicating about the wild horse and burro controversy using social media and illuminate opportunities for further research into social media communications. Recommendations for practice include: supplying necessary information to social media instead of relying on the audience to click links, keeping the perceived-cost and investment of requested audience participation low to encourage activism, and strategic planning regarding the frequency and types of post to maximize audience engagement.
 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis

Framing the Gap: An Examination of the Self-Efficacy, Public Outreach, and the Professional Development Needs of Wildlife Professionals

Author: Taylor Foerster • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

Management and prevention of human-wildlife conflicts constitutes a substantial challenge for wildlife agencies. There has been vast amounts of research relating to risk perception, attitudes, beliefs, educational programs, and communication campaigns in regard to human-wildlife conflict. However, research focused on the public education and communication skills and techniques of wildlife professionals themselves is scant. The need for such skills and knowledge is critical, as wildlife professionals are often charged with the dissemination of important information pertaining to wildlife-human conflict prevention and management. The purpose of the study is twofold. The first goal is to develop new insights into the professional development needs of wildlife professionals specific to communicating with the public about human-wildlife conflict. The second goal is to use these insights to generate recommendations for future professional development initiatives and resources specific to public education and communication that are directly responsive to the perspectives and needs of wildlife professionals. This research focused on wildlife professionals in Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO), New Mexico (NM), and Utah (UT) that conduct work relating to public education and communication within the context of human-wildlife conflict. Self-efficacy, which refers to the relationship between expected personal abilities and behavior (e.g., avoiding areas in which perceived ability is low), is the theoretical framework that guided the study (Bandura, 1977). A questionnaire based on the Borich (1980) needs assessment model was developed and disseminated to wildlife professionals across the four states (N = 27). Based on the self-efficacy patterns and themes specific to public education and communication revealed through the analysis of the resulting data, recommendations for professional development and future research are provided.

 

Published in Human Dimensions of Wildlife in 2021. 

Taylor A. Foerster, Matthew M. Mars, Robert M. Torres & Patricia M. Sias (2021) Human-wildlife conflict mitigation and the self-efficacy of wildlife professionals in non-formal education and outreach, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, DOI: 10.1080/10871209.2021.1910881;

 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis        Journal Article

The Influence of 4-H Instructor Beliefs on Their Teaching of Animal Food Production to Youth Populations

Author: Shauni Jarvis • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

Agricultural literacy education initiatives are more essential than ever to tackle emergent local, national, and global challenges related to agriculture and food production (Trexler, 2000). Current societal issues, both in and beyond agriculture, require individuals to develop a complex understanding of the agri-food system and the skills necessary to engage in critical conversations (Trexler, 2000). Despite the need for agriculturally literate youth, recent studies indicate that their knowledge of the agriculture industry is limited and underdeveloped (Hess & Trexler, 2011a; Kovar & Ball, 2013). The purpose of this study is to explore how the personal beliefs of 4-H instructors influence their teaching of animal food production to 4-H youth populations in the non-formal teaching setting within a specific southwestern state. The conceptual framework used to guide this study was derived from the work of Martin and Enns (2017) on agricultural ideologies. Martin and Enns (2017) highlight two specific ideologies within the agriculture industry that can be used to identify general beliefs about agriculture- agrarian populist and neo-agrarian. The theoretical framework that guided this study was derived from the work of Jones and Carter (2007) who developed the sociocultural model of embedded belief systems to explain how the belief systems of science teachers impacted their teaching of the subject. The previous agriculture ideologies from Martin and Enns (2017) can be used in conjunction with the sociocultural model of embedded belief systems to explain how the personal beliefs of 4-H instructors influences their teaching of animal food production to youth populations. I used in-depth, semi-structured participant interviews as the data source for my study. Interviews were chosen to allow participants to communicate their own lived experiences and to elicit the internal construct of beliefs (Moustakas, 1994). Five main themes emerged from the data that served as the basis for my findings including: (1) agricultural beliefs of 4-H instructors largely align with agrarian populist ideology, (2) lack of 4-H curriculum to teach animal food production, (3) beliefs of 4-H instructors served as a central driver in how content was taught and assessed, (4) context of the community impacted 4-H instructors strategies for teaching animal food production, and (5) animal food production ultimately taught as raising animals for fair projects. These five themes were closely related and interact with each other, ultimately guiding instructional decisions of 4-H instructors in the study. The underlying essence of the phenomenon was the fear and anxiety present in all aspects of teaching animal food production and the perceived consequences of how the content was being taught on the agricultural literacy of youth. Fear was driven by factors related to beliefs whether it was the participants own beliefs or other individuals’ beliefs that impacted instruction.

 

 Full Thesis

Western State FFA State Officer Selection Process: A Case Study Analysis

Author: Joshua Troub • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

Leadership selection within Western State FFA was qualitatively researched through individual interviews and focus groups with state FFA nominating committees from 2017, 2018, and 2019. A document analysis of nominating committee documents was also completed. The main question addressed was how do Western State FFA nominating committees determine quality youth leadership? Secondary research questions included: (1) What attributes do Western State FFA nominating committees’ value for quality youth leadership? and (2) How do Western State FFA nominating committees determine if state officer candidates possess these attributes? The information gleaned from this study may potentially be used by future nominating committees, leaders, and state FFA staff to inform decisions related to the leadership selection of state officers. The findings from the document analysis, interviews, and focus groups were divided into the three following categories: Nominating Committees’ Overarching Priorities for Candidate Selection, Objectivity and Subjectivity of the Nominating Committee Process, and Nominating Committees’ Skepticism towards the Selection Process. The attributes sought by the nominating committees under study did not always align with the attributes listed in state officer selection documents and loosely matched current youth leadership models. Suggestions for changing the current nominating committee process to align with the findings of this study and youth leadership research are therefore also discussed.

 

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Assessment of Arizona Agricultural Educators and Applications of Agricultural Mechanics

Author: Maya Wallace • Advisor: Dr. Franklin

Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to determine how Arizona secondary agricultural educators value agricultural mechanics examining their perceived importance of teaching the competencies from current agricultural mechanics courses offered at the University of Arizona. This study was conducted as a census of the 111 active Arizona secondary agricultural educators and collected descriptive individual data to determine the perceived importance of the competencies. An online questionnaire was developed and distributed to the study population via Qualtrics Survey Software. At the close of the questionnaire response period, the questionnaire yielded a final response rate of 78.4% (n=87). Of the 87 responses, with one response being a respondent who opted out, 43 responses (50.0%) came from female Arizona secondary agricultural educators and 43 responses (50.0%) from male Arizona secondary agricultural educators. Arizona secondary agricultural educators found the Laboratory and Woodworking and Project Construction as the most important constructs and Mechanized Power Technology as the least important construct.

 

 Full Thesis

2019

Recidivism and the Wild Horse Inmate Program: A Case Study on the Inmates at the Florence, Arizona State Correctional Center

Author: Katherine Bernal • Advisor: Dr. Torres

Abstract: 

In 2012, the Florence Correction Center began an equine-facilitated Prison Animal Program (PAP) called the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP). This PAP sought to address both the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) problem of wild horse overpopulation and the prison system's problem of high rates of recidivism. To do this, the program utilized inmates to gentle and train wild horses for adoption. Few studies have been conducted to determine the relationship between equine-facilitated PAPs such as this one and inmate recidivism. This study sought to determine whether there is a relationship between participation in WHIP and reduced rates of recidivism. By creating a comparison group matched subject-to-subject on race, age at time of release, education level, and severity of felony convictions, WHIP participants were compared to like inmates who did not participate in WHIP. Results indicate that there is a strong correlation between participation in WHIP and reduced rates of recidivism. Although the sample size was small, results are strong enough to suggest that the programs are worth continued funding and expansion. Further research is needed to determine the optimal amount of time spent in WHIP and whether programs utilizing other species of animals can be just as effective.

 

Full Thesis

The Influence of the CASE Curriculum on Agriculture Teachers' Use of Inquiry-Based Learning through Science Integration

Author: Taylor Bird • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The central research question that guided this study was: how does completion of the Southwestern Land Grant University CASE AFNR professional development institute influence behavior patterns of agriculture teachers for incorporating inquiry-based learning through science integration in high school classrooms? This research was conducted utilizing a multi-case study design where each teacher who participated served as an individual case. Nine currently certified CASE teachers were interviewed, observed, and had lesson plan documents analyzed to capture how they were utilizing the CASE curriculum and integrating inquiry-based methods into the classroom. There were five major themes that emerged from the data including: 1) barriers to CASE implementation that impacted teacher behavior, 2) experience in industry professions leads to increased teacher efficacy for inquiry-based strategies, 3) traditionally certified teachers more likely to fall back on didactic teaching orientations, 4) disconnect between student capacity and CASE expectations of inquiry-based methods, and 5) in state training and networking support system played a vital role in teachers’ perceptions of CASE institute. The major themes that emerged from this study highlighted various opportunities for further research and practice. For further research, there is a need for rigorous qualitative and quantitative research on how teachers are implementing this curriculum within their classroom with broader scopes to provide insight on how lead teachers, regions, or curriculum pathways can affect implementation of inquiry-based learning. Recommendations for practice include: increased collaboration among CASE certified teachers in each state, development of a state-wide online platform for all teachers, and increased opportunities for financial and resource support for currently certified CASE teachers and teachers who are interested in achieving CASE certification.

 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis        Journal ARticle

Retention and Attrition Patterns of Students Pursuing a Degree in Nutritional Sciences: A Critical Feminist Perspective

Author: Austin Derma • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

Women’s college enrollment rates have increased dramatically in the last century, with more recent gains in the applied agricultural sciences. While statistical enrollment information exists, there have been few qualitative studies to explore this phenomenon. Using Acker’s (2012) theory of gendered organizations as the framework, the central research question that guided this study was: what experiences influence the retention and attrition of men and women students pursuing a degree in Nutritional Sciences within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona? This research was conducted using one-on-one semi-structured interviews with a total of seventeen participants. Eleven participants were currently majoring in the Nutritional Science degree program, while six of the participants had transferred from the NSC program to another major. Four major themes emerged from the data: gendered identities and power dynamics; the connection between NSC major and body image; positive relationships with advisors and professors and the desire for representative role models; and the culture of the student environment- competition, togetherness, and feminine energy. These themes support future research into gendered organizations and gender inequality in a woman dominated major.

 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis

Exploring the University Support Networks of First-Generation Undergraduate Students

Author: Ericka Encinas • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The central research questions that guided this study were: how does the mentor/mentee relationship between academic advisors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course; how does the mentor/mentee relationship between peer mentors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course?This research was conducted utilizing a case-study approach with a single academic success course for students on academic probation serving as the case. Three academic advisors teaching the course, four peer mentors meeting with students outside of class, and three students taking the course were interviewed. The case was selected to explore in depth the complex system of support first generation college students receive at the university level. The two overarching themes that emerged from the data were: the process of developing an emotional connection to create a relationship and utilizing a holistic approach to support students. More specifically, finding common ground, being relatable to students, showing that you care for students as individuals, and fostering openness and informality in relationships were the components identified by participants to foster emotional connection. The data also revealed that peer mentors and advisors were initiating accountability with their students, making intentional referrals for students to other campus resources, and the underlying motivation to serve in these two roles came from an intrinsic desire to give back. Recommendations included directors of advising and student retention administrations defining the roles of advisors in regard to student emotional support, compensating them for their work, and increase training for all university staff and faculty on how to create these impactful relationships with students.

 

Full Thesis

South Western Agriculture Teachers' Mathematical Content Knowledge

Author: Sarah McNall • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to determine South Western agriculture teacher’s mathematical content knowledge. Mathematics and science are both essential to the field of agriculture; however, while science curriculum is currently integrated in many high school agricultural education classrooms, mathematics coverage is limited (Stubbs & Myers, 2015). The opportunity for students to engage in real world applications of mathematical content through school-based agricultural education programs exists, but if teachers do not possess the content knowledge necessary to teach mathematics, students are then left at a disadvantage. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to describe agriculture teachers perceived mathematical content knowledge, actual mathematical content knowledge, and the relationship between perceived and actual mathematical content knowledge for South Western agriculture teachers. The Content Knowledge Framework was utilized in determining agriculture teacher’s content knowledge for the subject area of mathematics (Even, 1990). A quantitative analysis revealed South Western agriculture teachers perceived their average mathematical ability as being at a moderate level, while their average actual mathematical ability was 44%. The analysis also revealed a negative correlation to teachers’ perceived ability and years spent teaching and a positive correlation between teachers’ actual ability and years teaching. It is recommended that mathematics requirements at the agricultural teacher preparation level be reexamined. Additionally, professional development for South Western agriculture teachers in various mathematics content is encouraged.

 

Published in the Journal of Agricultural Education in 2020. 

McNall, S., & Rice, A. H. (2020). Arizona agriculture TEACHERS’ mathematical content knowledge. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(4), 109–126. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.04109 

 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis        Journal ARticle

A Case Study Analysis of Problem-Based Learning via Fabrication Laboratory Applications in a Southwestern Secondary School

Author: Taylor Merrick • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to explore how teachers at a southwestern secondary private school utilize the on-campus fabrication lab to promote the implementation of problem-based learning (PBL). Guided by the theory of constructivism, I qualitatively explored the processes teachers engage in when implementing a PBL lesson using a multi-case study design. Five teachers and two fabrication lab directors from various content areas were interviewed and observed. Five overall themes emerged: the differing emphasis on PBL framework components; conflicts, limitations, and constraints perceived with PBL; teachers use of PBL for cognitive development, the role of the environment in PBL; and the role of reflection in the PBL framework. Research recommendations include further exploration into the factors that contribute to a positive environment conducive to PBL, in-depth investigation into the role of each step in the PBL framework, and additional observation periods to elicit the impacts of PBL over time. Recommendations for practice include purposeful teacher reflection, scaffolded planning, strengthening connections between PBL and real-world applications, and strategies for increased student support and encouragement in the classroom.

 

One Page Summary        Full Thesis

The Influence of Social Media Interactions on Perceptions of and Attitudes Toward Mexican Gray Wolves

Author: Kaycie Waters • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

Many socio-political issues arise when predators are reintroduced into areas that are concurrently used by ranchers. This is especially true for the endangered Mexican gray wolf in eastern Arizona. While the socio-political issues are well documented, there is a gap in understanding of what influences the formation of ranchers’ perceptions of and attitudes toward Mexican gray wolves and their reintroduction. My study explores how social media and interactive communication influence ranchers’ perceptions of and attitudes toward this topic. I theoretically frame the study with the three value-types of online communities identified by Seraj (2012). These value types are: intellectual value, social value, and cultural value. A qualitative, ethnographic design is used to discover how ranchers’ perceptions and attitudes are formed in relation to the wolf reintroduction. Seraj’s value-types provide insights to how interactive communication among ranchers influences their views of predator reintroductions. Analysis of data collected through interviews, online community observations, and documents, reveals political value as a fourth value type that contributes to interactive communication. Ranchers’ experiences with government agencies heavily influences their views on government projects. Cultural value, however, tends to have the most influence on how information is received via online communities. This creates a cultural vacuum, where the expression of outside views leads to defensive discussion that maintains and strengthens the culture of the community rather than foster its refinement and evolution. The use social media as a way to communicate information is rendered ineffective if the information shared is not in line with the online community culture. Instead, wildlife managers can more effectively communicate with this important stakeholder group by engaging in personal, individual communication with members of this group. Wildlife managers can turn to online communities to prepare for this in-person communication.

 

Published in Human Dimensions of Wildlife in 2020.

Kaycie M. Waters & Matthew M. Mars (2021) Rancher perceptions of and attitudes toward Mexican gray wolves: An exploration of community dialogue, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 26:1, 48-64, DOI: 10.1080/10871209.2020.1793034

 

Full Thesis      Journal Article

2018

Preservice Agriculture Teachers Development of Knowledge of Content and Students During Their Student Teaching Experience

Author: AJ Argueta • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The central research question that guided this study was: how does PCK develop in the area of KCS within the unit of plant growth and development among Arizona agriculture preservice teachers? This research was conducted using a multi-case study design where each preservice teacher served as an individual case. Five preservice teachers were interviewed, observed teaching a lesson and had lesson plans analyzed throughout the student teaching experience. There were 6 major themes that emerged from the data: evolving beliefs of agricultural education, underutilization of lesson plans, emphasis on hands-on “learning”, student motivation is primarily external, instruction shifts from teacher preferences to student needs, and college classes as the dominate source of content knowledge. These themes support future research on KCS development over the course of a teachers’ career including experienced teacher KCS development. Additionally, further exploration into the influence of hands-on education in agricultural education is needed. Recommendations for practice include: increased focus on knowledge of students in preservice education, clear instruction on how to break down content for high school students, and deep, consistent reflections to encourage belief development over the student teaching experience.

 

Full Thesis

Arizona Agriculture Teachers’ Perceived Self-Efficacy to Teach Science Content

Author: Hannah Parker • Advisor: Dr. Rice

Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between sources of science content knowledge and the perceived self-efficacy to teach science content among practicing Arizona agriculture teachers. Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacy was the theoretical framework that guided this study. Sources of science content knowledge were derived from Rice and Kitchel’s (2015) conceptual framework. On average, agriculture teachers were somewhat confident to teach science. A moderate bivariate correlation was found between teachers’ high school agriculture program experience as a youth, current teaching experience, experiences with agriculture jobs and internships, and their self-efficacy to teach science content. A simultaneous multiple regression was implemented; explaining 29% of agriculture teachers’ self-efficacy to teach science content from six of the seven sources of content knowledge. Teaching experience, SBAE, internet and other media, professional development, agriculture related jobs and internships, and years spent teaching contribute to R2. Further research recommendations include applying qualitative methods to explore unexplained variance and identify additional sources of knowledge. Recommendations for practice include exploring content specific professional development opportunities, such as CASE, and encouraging teacher preparation programs to re-evaluate curricula to include science specific PCK to enhance the preparation of preservice teachers.

 

Full Thesis

2017

21st Century Change Agents? A Description of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Proclivities of Arizona Extension Educators

Author: Ashley Jeffers-Sample • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

The current knowledge-based economy demands a workforce equipped with the skills to advance innovation through entrepreneurial strategies (Powell & Snellman, 2004). Currently, Extension educators contribute to social and economic development in the sectors of agriculture, natural resource, consumer education, and youth development. Extension educators provide community members with the knowledge and skills needed to obtain a higher quality of life. The strategies of entrepreneurial leadership are relevant to the contemporary work of Extension educators and would provide the opportunity to increase Cooperative Extension’s program planning and implementation success. For the purpose of this study entrepreneurial leadership proclivity is measured through two constructs, innovation and entrepreneurial strategy, in those identified as Cooperative Extension Educators throughout Arizona. The data collected in this study illustrated the lack of entrepreneurial leadership in Extension educators in Arizona, as well as recommends educational possibilities to increase the presence of entrepreneurial leadership.

Published in the Journal of Extension in 2018.

Jeffers-Sample, A., Mars, M. M., Rice, A. H., & Torres, R. M. (2018). Examining the Entrepreneurial Leadership Propensities of Extension Educators. Journal of Extension, 56(6). Retrieved from https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol56/iss6/25 

 

 Full Thesis      Journal Article

How Do College Students Learn About Food Systems?: A Descriptive Analysis

Author: Cassandra Phillips • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

Research specific to the agriculture literacy of adult learners and, more specifically, college students, is warranted (Kovar & Ball, 2013). In the current study, I analyze the sources of knowledge that are dispersed across formal, non-formal, and informal learning settings that college students rely on to understand the various components of food systems. More specifically, I ask here, "How do college students learn about food systems?" Data were collected using a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a large research-intensive university who responded to an authentic questionnaire developed specifically for this study. Findings indicate that there is little variation between the three learning settings with respect to food system knowledge. This indicates that education with respect to food system knowledge is lacking. Implications of the study include recommendations for the development and refinement of formal and non-formal food systems curricula specific to the needs, backgrounds, and experiences of undergraduate college students.

 

 Full Thesis

The Agriculture Taste Regime and College Student Interpretations of Agricultural Production Information

Author: Lindsey Rizer • Advisor: Dr. Torres

Abstract: 

The introduction of taste regimes into the agriculture literacy and communications literature is explored and discussed in this study. I analyze how college students interpret taste regime indicators (interpretations, personal view alignment, personal action) influence their perceptions of agriculture food production information. More specifically, I look at how media information effects college students’ interpretations of these taste regime indicators. Data were collected from a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a large research-intensive university who responded to an electronic questionnaire developed specifically for this study. Findings indicate that the college students involved in this study have little to no defined opinion between large-scale and alternative agriculture. This indicates that the agriculture taste regime is not taking the general populations beliefs and preferences into consideration when developing campaigns. Recommendations for large-scale and alternative campaigns are to develop more objective campaigns and for the general population become change agents forcing the agriculture taste regime to take their beliefs and preferences into consideration.

 

 Full Thesis

The Influence of Peace Corps Service on the Entrepreneurial Leadership Proclivities of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Author: Sean Stone • Advisor: Dr. Torres

Abstract: 

Peace Corps Volunteers spend 27 months working in developing countries around the world. They orchestrate and implement a myriad of projects in various fields, often entirely on their own. This paper aims to provide insights into how Peace Corps service affects volunteers' entrepreneurial leadership proclivities. To accomplish this a pre / post-test was administered to 74 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers participating in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program at the University of Arizona. Respondents were surveyed to determine their proclivity toward using entrepreneurial strategies and their proclivity to be innovative. Service in the Peace Corps increased the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' ability to hone their entrepreneurial strategies and innovate. The results showed an increase in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' entrepreneurial leadership proclivities after they had completed their service.

 

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2016

Agritourism, Value Co-Creation, & Marketing Innovation in the Sonoita-Elgin Wine Industry

Author: Sonora Cubillas • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

Customers play an essential role in the growth and success of any business. Wineries and other agricultural-based enterprises that actively engage and/or involve customers in production and other central processes do so for reasons that transcend simple marketing strategies. This qualitative study explores the strategic potential of customer inclusion in the operations of locally and/or regionally-based agricultural enterprises vis-à-vis on-site tourist models. This exploration relies on the theoretical principles of value co-creation to identify and illustrate how agritourism enterprises can more purposefully and strategically engage and embed consumers within their business operations. Atmosphere, compromise, and investment of consumers within the value creation process leads to the transition of such consumers; taking them passive recipients to active participants.

 

 Full Thesis

Wild greens knowledge and consumption: a qualitative exploration of human agency in the Southern Arizona food system

Author: Teresa De Koker • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

This qualitative, single case study explores the influence of the dominant food system (DFS) on the knowledge and consumption of three wild greens (amaranth, lambquarters, purslane) by 24 Latinxs living in Tucson, Arizona (AZ), USA. The three greens are each considered to be traditional Latinx foods. In addition to the natural occurrence of the wild greens, Tucson was selected as the study site due to its rich and diverse food tradition and deep agricultural history. A pattern of decline in the knowledge and consumption of the wild greens is observed according to three overlapping themes: generational awareness, consumer demand and scarcity, and accessibility. The bureaucratic controls that bring calculability, efficiency, and predictability to the DFS are found to be influential in the decline in wild green knowledge and consumption by the study participants. The downward knowledge and consumption pattern is further considered in the context of participant agency within the DFS. Implications for practice include strategies for more purposefully leveraging community settings and alternative marketplaces to revitalize the knowledge and consumption of wild greens and other traditional foods. Recommendations are also provided for future research on the effects of rationalization within the DFS on human agency and traditional food consumption.

 

Published in Food, Culture & Society in 2018

De Koker, T., Mars, M. M., Torres, R. M., & Quist, T. M. (2018). Wild greens knowledge and consumption: a qualitative exploration of human agency in the Southern Arizona food system. Food, Culture & Society, 21(3), 331–349. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2018.1451040

 

 Full Thesis      Journal Article

Arizona Agriculture Educator's Perceived Effectiveness of Recruitment Topics Targeting Urban Students

Author: McKinley Reed • Advisor: Dr. Torres

Abstract: 

This descriptive survey research aimed to describe what agriculture educators found to be the most effective recruitment topics in urban programs in Arizona, as well as describe demographic data to provide educators with a baseline of information to evaluate their recruitment efforts. All urban agriculture teachers were given a web-based questionnaire and instructed to select the topics used during recruitment activities, then rank their effectiveness using a five-point Likert scale. Results indicate that a wide range of topics are utilized during recruitment and that McClelland's Acquired Needs serves as a strong framework for recruitment with all topics being ranked at moderately effective or higher. Achievement is perceived as more effective than power or affiliation. It is recommended that agriculture educators continue to use topics under all three needs, but be sure to emphasize achievement based topics.

 

 

 Full Thesis

Who am I versus who can I become? Exploring women’s science identities in STEM Ph.D. programs

Author: Katalin Szelényi • Advisor: Dr. Mars

Abstract: 

This article explores the science identities of 21 women STEM Ph.D. students at three research universities in the United States. Following a narrative approach, the findings depict five salient science identities, including those of a) academic, b) entrepreneurial, c) industrial, and d) policy scientist and e) scientist as community educator. Our study links the five science identities to epistemological approaches in knowledge creation and application and describes the ways in which women STEM doctoral students verified their identities in reaction to various social structures. Conclusions relate the concepts of identity confirmation, suppression, and flexibility to implications for policy and practice.

 

Published in The Review of Higher Education in 2016.

Szelényi, K., Bresonis, K., & Mars, M. M. (2016). Who Am I versus Who Can I Become?: Exploring Women’s Science Identities in STEM Ph.D. Programs. The Review of Higher Education, 40(1), 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2016.0036

 

 Journal Article