Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Acoustic cues used by learners of English

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-03
Abstract: 

Second language learners must acquire the ability to use word boundary cues to segment continuous speech into meaningful words. Previous studies have used two types of s+stop clusters to test second language English speakers on their ability to segment fluent English speech: cross-boundary clusters (this table) where allophonic aspiration is present and word-initial clusters (this stable) where allophonic aspiration is absent. These studies suggested that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation. The goal of this study was to test real-time processing of these cluster types by second language learners from one language where cue adaptation was possible (Mandarin Chinese) and one where a new cue would have to be learned (French). Results did not support the idea that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation, but found that both language groups had high accuracy of identification despite showing uncertainty in real-time processing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ashley Farris-Trimble
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Identifying operation-specific ski run classes and their acceptability for skiing from avalanche risk management decisions in mechanized skiing

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-05
Abstract: 

While mountain guides in mechanized skiing operations use a well-established terrain selection process to manage the physical risk from avalanches, the relationship between the acceptability of ski runs for guest skiing and the terrain character is complex. First, this thesis presents a new approach for deriving ski run types from daily terrain assessment records of two operations in British Columbia, Canada. It uses a combination of self-organizing maps and hierarchical clustering to identify groups of runs that have been assessed similarly in the past and organizes them into operation-specific run hierarchies. The thesis then uses this foundation and applies a general linear mixed effects model to explore the relationship between acceptable skiing terrain (i.e., status open) and avalanche hazard conditions. Expressing this relationship numerically provides an important step towards the development of meaningful decision aids, which can assist commercial operations to manage their avalanche risk more effectively and efficiently.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Pascal Haegeli
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.R.M.

An infinite family of Kochen-Specker sets in four-dimensional real spaces

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-13
Abstract: 

Contextuality is a feature differentiating between classical and quantum physics. It is anticipated that it may become an important resource for quantum computing and quantum information processing. Contextuality was asserted by the Kochen-Specker (KS) theorem. We study parity proofs of the KS theorem. Although many parity proofs exist, only finitely many of them have been discovered in any real or complex space of fixed dimension. We study a special family of chordal ring graphs. We construct orthonormal representations of their line graphs in four-dimensional real spaces. Our construction takes advantage of the high degree of symmetry present in the special class of chordal rings that we use. In this way we find, for the first time, an infinite family of KS sets in a fixed dimension.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Petr Lisonek
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

A conserved interdomain linker of CCT mediates allosteric communication between regulatory and catalytic domains

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-03
Abstract: 

Folding landscapes of linkers between ligand-binding and functional domains evolved to facilitate transmission of inter-domain signals. I investigated the structure/function of a conserved linker between the catalytic and membrane-binding (M) domains of CCT, which regulates phosphatidylcholine synthesis and activates upon membrane binding. The activity of CCT is very sensitive to mutations in the linker. Recent molecular dynamics simulations revealed that upon removal of auto-inhibitory contacts between the M domain and the active site, the αE helix adjacent to the linker bends toward the active site, bringing the catalytic domain close to the membrane surface. Tryptophan fluorescence quenching revealed that the linker lies superficially on the membrane surface. FRET between engineered tryptophans and vesicles containing Dansyl-Phosphatidylethanolamine support a bent αE helix conformation that is dependent on the native linker sequence. The data suggests that the linker may communicate membrane binding signals to enhance CCT activity by directly stabilizing a bent αE.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rosemary Cornell
Department: 
Science: Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Social inclusion in impact assessment: A case study in the mining context of Cusco, Peru

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-26
Abstract: 

Mining projects can have significant social, economic and environmental impacts on local communities. The increasing number and scale of mining projects has resulted in increasing social resistance by local communities, who demand more meaningful involvement in the decision-making process, equitable benefits and greater protection from negative impacts. This research studies the intersection of impact assessment and sustainable community development within resource development contexts. This paper develops a new framework, the Integrated Inclusive Impact Framework, in order to co-create, with communities, a more holistic and inclusive system to identify and measure the impacts of resource development projects on community well-being, as well as test the effectiveness and appropriateness of participatory engagement methods, specifically for rural contexts in developing countries. This research employs a qualitative study design, conducting case studies in the Department of Cusco, Peru, in two Campesino communities, and collects data through household surveys, semi-structures and informal interviews and focus groups. This research finds that the by conducting impact assessment in a more inclusive and integrated way, it reveals more complex and dynamic interactions between community actors, as well as varied priorities. The proposed framework was successful in identifying and visualizing the community as a heterogeneous actor and was able to capture that there are groups, opinions and values that are not typically integrated in impact assessment. The findings demonstrate that through flexible participatory engagement methods, the co-creation of indicators, and recognizing and integrating local, traditional and experiential knowledge, diverse community perspectives for impact assessment can be more adequately and accurately integrated. This paper concludes by recommending engaging with and beyond official leaders, building trust and practicing reciprocity with communities in order to facilitate more meaningful and inclusive engagement processes and robust impact assessments.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

What's the harm? Examining the stereotyping of Indigenous Peoples in health systems

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-03
Abstract: 

This research study examined how stereotyping of Indigenous Peoples impacts health service provider attitudes, actions and services to Indigenous Peoples. This was done by assessing incidents posted by health service provider participants in the BC Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) program. The data were coded and analyzed for the frequency of specific stereotypes, attitudes, type of harm, and sites of harm. Anonymous demographic identifiers selected by health service providers were also analyzed as secondary data to provide information regarding the standpoint and perspective of participants observing the harms in health services. These data provide a better understanding of stereotype harm and Indigenous-specific racism in Health Systems on both an organizational and individual level. This study may also assist system design and service delivery to become safer for Indigenous Peoples and to address unparalleled inequities between Settler Canadians and Indigenous Peoples. The intent was to assist Settler service providers to understand how unexamined stereotypes can seriously harm Indigenous Peoples. I conducted qualitative research followed up with quantifying the results. This method of study of the incidents provided by participants produced data to examine and better understand the frequency, impact, and context of Indigenous-specific stereotyping incidents.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Teaching about race and racism in the classroom: Managing the Indigenous elephant in the room

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-01
Abstract: 

In order to gain an understanding of the knowledge, self-awareness, and skills that educators require to successfully manage Indigenous-specific racism, I interviewed 10 educators and followed this with a focus group. I employed qualitative methods to determine what happens when anti-Indigenous racism is taken up by educators? What are the characteristics of anti-Indigenous racism that makes it challenging to manage in a classroom? And what are the strategies that seem to be successful as well as those that are not? The participants in the study self-identified as Indigenous (4), as White (3), and as racialized (3). Drawing on the findings, I conclude by outlining recommendations for educators addressing anti-Indigenous racism. This thesis is an exploration of the way in which anti-Indigenous racism manifests in adult education classrooms. The findings from this thesis support the literature that exposes the high level of violence related to anti-Indigenous racism in education environments. Findings revealed that taking up anti-Indigenous racism in ways that are effective requires high levels of knowledge, self-awareness, and the skills to address the accompanying violence and racist ideology that supports it. Other key themes from the findings include the challenges of addressing resistance, and the traumatic impact of anti-Indigenous violence on educators, particularly those who are Indigenous. The racial standpoint and identity of the educator emerged as a significant factor and can inform the ways in which anti-Indigenous racism is negotiated in the classroom. Educators also identified strategies they use to manage and confront anti-Indigenous attitudes and behaviour providing examples of those that were successful as well as those that were not. Anti-Indigenous racism is not new and what it is clear from this research is that in order to disrupt the unacceptable levels of anti-Indigenous attitudes and behaviours in the classroom, educators will need to equip themselves with an enhanced inventory of strategies in order to participate in meaningful change. This study will contribute to the growing body of work that critically addresses the pedagogy used to confront the way in which colonial history continues to manifest in the education system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dolores van der Wey
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

HIV subtype and Nef-mediated immune evasion function correlate with viral reservoir size in early-treated individuals

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-07
Abstract: 

The HIV accessory protein Nef is genetically diverse and modulates key immune evasion and pathogenic functions. Recent early HIV-specific adaptive immune responses were identified as correlates of HIV reservoir size. So, we hypothesized that viral factors facilitating evasion of such responses might also influence reservoir establishment and/or persistence. Plasma HIV RNA-derived nef clones were isolated from 30 acute/early-infected individuals and assessed for their CD4 and HLA-I downregulation function in vitro. We explored the relationships between baseline clinical, immunologic and virologic characteristics, and HIV reservoir size measured 48 weeks following initiation of suppressive cART. Nef-mediated HLA downregulation correlated positively with reservoir size. Furthermore, this function was retained in final multivariable models adjusting for established clinical and immunologic correlates of reservoir size. HIV subtype B infection also emerged as a significant correlate of reservoir size on cART. Results highlight potentially important role of viral factors in modulating viral reservoir establishment and persistence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Zabrina Brumme
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Graph immersions

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-27
Abstract: 

One of the first prominent theorems in structural graph theory is the Kuratowski-Wagner theorem which characterizes planar graphs as those with no K_{3,3} or K_5 minor. Numerous other classical theorems give precise descriptions of the class of graphs with no H-minor for numerous small graphs H. In particular, such classifications exist when H is W_4, W_5, Prism, K_{3,3}, K_5, Octahedron, and Cube. One of the most useful tools in establishing such results are splitter theorems which reduce a graph while preserving both connectivity and containment of a given minor. In this thesis we consider analogous problems for a different containment relation: immersion. Although immersion is a standard containment relation, prior to this thesis there were almost no precise structure theorems for forbidden immersions. The most prominent theorems in this direction give a rough description of graphs with no W_4 immersion and those with no K_{3,3} or K_5 immersion. Our main contributions include precise structure theorems for the class of graphs with no H-immersion when H is one of K_4, W_4, Prism, and K_{3,3}. To assist in this exploration, we have also established two splitter theorems for graph immersions, one for 2k-edge-connected graphs, and another for 3-edge-connected and internally 4-edge-connected graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Matt DeVos
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

HIV epidemic control among sex workers and their clients

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-06
Abstract: 

Controlling the spread of HIV among hidden, high-risk populations such as sex workers and their clients is becoming increasingly important in the fight to end AIDS. In this thesis, we identify a number of sociological and structural factors which render general control strategies ineffective among these key populations, and instead call for focused testing and interventions. A bipartite network model of sexual contacts between female sex workers and male clients is motivated using historical data from a South African mining community. HIV transmission and progression is modelled as a stochastic process on the network, and the effect of various intervention strategies on HIV prevalence in the population is determined through numerical simulations. We find that preventative interventions are highly cost effective when targeted at female sex workers. For aggressive reduction in HIV prevalence, however, the client population cannot be ignored and treatment of both populations is necessary.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ralf Wittenberg
Alexander Rutherford
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.