2019-2020 Senior Honors Theses

Permanent URI for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10657/6786

This collection contains theses produced by Class of 2020 Honors students


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    Hermite-Gauss Quadrature with Generalized Hermite Weight Functions and Small Sample Sets for Sparse Polynomials
    (2020-04) Vu, Brian-Tinh D.
    This thesis derives a Gaussian quadrature rule from a complete set of orthogonal lacunary polynomials. The resulting quadrature formula is exact for polynomials whose even part skips powers, with a set of sample values that is much smaller than the degree. The weight for these quadratures is a generalized Gaussian, whose negative logarithm is an even monomial; the powers of this monomial make up the even part of the polynomial to be integrated. We first present Rodrigues formulas for generalized Hermite polynomials (GHPs) that are complete and orthogonal with respect to the generalized Gaussian. From the Rodrigues formula for even GHPs we establish a three-term recursion relation and find the normalization constants. We present a slight modification to the Christoffel-Darboux identity and the Lagrange interpolation polynomials, and proceed to derive the roots, weights, and estimate of the error for the generalized Hermite-Gauss quadrature rule applied to sufficiently smooth functions. We illustrate the quadrature rule by applying it to two examples. Finally, we apply a major result from compressive sensing relating a matrix's coherence and sparse recovery guarantees to the quadrature setting.
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    Finding Home in the Sunbelt: A Study Of Salvadoran Activism In Houston 1980-1999.
    (2020-05) Martinez Alvarenga, Manuel
    The decade of the 1980s witnessed an unprecedented migration wave from Central America to the United States. Migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala made their way north, seeking to escape the worsening living conditions in their war-torn countries and settled in cities like Houston creating far-reaching demographic changes. This Honors Thesis centers the activism of the Salvadoran migrant community in Houston during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s to explore the deep connection shared between Houston based religious groups and Central American migrant activists. By analyzing Oral histories from Salvadoran migrants that lived in Houston in the 1980s, media portrayals of migrant groups and organizations in Houston, and archived documents from the Rothko Chapel, I highlight the narratives surrounding the unlikely cooperation between Houston based religious organizations and Dominque de Menil with Central American aid groups and individuals that were connected to leftist guerrillas in El Salvador. In so doing, this work presents a new perspective regarding Houston’s history of migrant communal and political activism, along with the formation of the sanctuary movement and the larger Central American diaspora in the United States.
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    (2020-05) Wheat, Keagan
    My poetry works to increase representation of FTM men in poetry, a minimally represented identity, and make meaningful contributions to the way this identity is discussed or analyzed. My poetry focuses on critically thinking about the experience of a transgender man’s identity and his family’s interactions with that identity. The manuscript will challenge Jay Prosser’s idea that the initial self ceases to exist or dies when a transgender person transitions. If transition metaphorically kills the previous self, every transitioning transgender person innately comes with tragedy. Prosser’s idea also leads to a strain in parent-child relationships when a child comes out as transgender, insofar as the parent begins to mourn the child in the presence of the child. To retain the initial self through transition, the poetry will recreate aspects of childhood with which the transman still identifies. My poetry does not always adhere to the chronological order of transition to disrupt the idea of moving from wrong body to right body as sole transition/transgender narrative. I create small narratives of experiences within the transman’s identity that refuse to disidentify with the pre-transition self, instead of strict narrativization. The poetry creates the trans experience for the reader through common interactions relating to FTM identity. The subject shifts, not due to changing self, but due to the changing outward interactions. By critiquing the importance of the narrativization, the manuscript opens the trans identity to people who identify with their past self.
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    Home Address
    (2020-05) Mayden, Melinda
    This manuscript aims to do exactly what it claims to in the title—to address home. Home is a word that gets used without thought and often multiple times per day. “Let’s go home” and “I’m on my way home” are thrown out over dinner parties or phone calls. Advertisements that plaster the side of apartment complexes tell the passerby, “If you lived here, you would be home by now.” Home Address contains five short stories, each of which strive to contextually define and redefine “home.” This collection explores aspects of the stories’ characters’ homes, or lack thereof, and the effect that can have in warping, creating, or breaking down personal identities. Home is not a place, or a relationship, or a blood relation, or a material thing. It is none of those things. It is also all those things. I hope that those who read Home Address and who feel as if they have no real home can be encouraged by these stories which show the ways home is a concept, not a concrete reality, and that it can continue to be shaped throughout any individual life.
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    The Anti-Civilizational Queer: Reconceiving the Subject-Subject Consciousness of the Radical Faeries
    (2020-04) Foreman, Jacob
    The first section of this thesis is a consideration of Harry Hay’s writings about “subject-SUBJECT” consciousness and Sanford’s critiques thereof. A refutation of Hay’s writings on the topic, which is not a central component of Sanford’s dissertation, is where Sanford’s work ends. I find it important to present the conversation between these two Faeries, Hay and Sanford, as a backdrop for my own exploration of the topic. My consideration of subject-subject consciousness is noticeably different in form than either of theirs, however. Hay’s writing on the term is epigraphic and bombastic; Sanford’s writing, while mixed with affect and narrative in other areas, is purely theoretical on this point. My writing on subject-subject consciousness dispenses with Hay’s melodrama and moves nearer to Sanford’s narrative academic style while prioritizing my own experience and operating within a crudely phenomenological framework. Because of the nature of this academic work, my thesis here is inseparable from my involvement with myself and the Faeries. The work of myself that I am doing here thus begins as I reconceive subject-subject consciousness by interweaving my experience of Faerie community and texts that have helped me comprehend and embody Faerie relationality. The second section is an analysis of the term which I have, along with Sanford, come to most closely identify with the ethics of Faerie community: attention. I primarily define attention using the writings of Simone Weil, principally through an examination of attention’s counterpart, force. The clarity with which Weil explicates what she terms force allows me to discuss force’s antidote, attention. I more fully form my conception of attention by examining the closely Faerie-aligned novel The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, in which I locate a series of scenes of communal healing and mutual aid. [note on scenes] These scenes lead my discussion to the embodied nature of attention, which I again primarily conceive of through the negative. Attention at this point in my writing will be seen as the antidote of trauma, here understood in one facet as the corporealization of force. I rely here on the work of Marian Dunlea, which incisively explores how we can identify and counteract the embodiment of our trauma. Section three is then an approach toward Faerie ethics from the starting point of the subject’s relationship to themself. I draw primarily from Judith Butler’s writing about the subject’s partial self-opacity. I, however, move beyond the subject via the anti-civilizational critique of Baedan, a queer anarchist journal out of Seattle. I explore what Baedan terms domestication and the struggle against it within Faerie community, which can be seen as attempts to bring the subject in communion with themself. The alienation of the subject from the human – a reformulation of Butler’s subject’s partial self-opacity via a discussion of Agamben’s consideration of apparatuses, itself a building upon Foucault’s thought of the same term – is combatted as a means of realizing an ideal of ethical relationality that I view as aligned with the mandates of attention. I thus position Faerie ethics as aligned with the embrace of civilization’s decomposition elucidated by Baedan. Finally, I explore Faerie gender practices as a site of the refusal of civilization. I challenge Butler’s drive toward intelligibility in her conception of gender performativity by linking intelligibility to subjecthood and therefore civilization. I consider how Faerie gender practices instead emphasize our inherent unintelligibility, which exposes a drive within Faerie community toward what Butler terms precarity. I then link precarity to chaos and explore ways that an embrace of precarity and chaos has been exhibited to me in Faerie community. I further conceive of precarity and chaos, as conditions of our existence, to be necessary sites of embrace in the pursuit of ourselves. This leads me to what I perceive to be the call of Faerie ethical relationality.
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    Against the Machine
    (2020-05) Cadenhead, Erin P.
    With its preoccupation with misogyny and violence towards women, the Romance genre instructs its female readers how to react to what has become unavoidable in a patriarchal world. Unfortunately, the abuse perpetrated by the Hero towards the Heroine counters the educational intentions of the genre and sends the wrong message. The readers of the Romance who see themselves in the Heroine– particularly the modern day, independent Heroine of the Time Travel Romance– are taught that in order to achieve their desired ‘happy ending,’ they must forgive their abusive significant others. Through satire and feminist edits to Janice A. Radway’s Narrative Logic of the Romance, Against the Machine addresses the presence of domestic violence and misogyny in the Time Travel Romance, and offers an alternative way to write in the genre.
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    A comparison of speech patterns in children with cochlear implants and their peers with normal hearing
    (2020-05) Houston, Haley
    Purpose: The current study investigates the speech patterns of young children with cochlear implants and their peers with normal hearing by comparing group differences on typical and atypical phonological processes, phonological whole-word measures, and segmental accuracy. Method: Data were collected from 30 English-speaking 5- to 7-year-olds (15 children with normal hearing and 15 children with cochlear implants) using a single-word elicitation task. The independent variables were hearing status group (cochlear implant users versus children with normal hearing) and typicality of phonological processes. The dependent variables included 6 typical versus 6 atypical phonological processes, phonological whole-word measures, and segmental accuracy measures. Results: Cochlear implant users versus children with normal hearing displayed differences on phonological processes, and there was a main effect of typicality of phonological processes. A statistically significant interaction between hearing status and typicality of phonological processes was also found, indicating that CI users had disproportionally higher percentage of atypical phonological processes than their peers with normal hearing. All of phonological whole-word measures and segmental accuracy measures displayed differences based on hearing status. Conclusions: Hearing status does affect phonological outcomes, but the speech patterns of cochlear implant users display unique patterns that distinguish them from their peers with normal hearing. Specific patterns emerged indicating that cochlear implant users’ speech patterns differ both quantitatively and qualitatively from patterns attested in their peers with normal hearing, providing novel and relevant insights for researchers and clinicians alike.
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    Bathing in History - Damascus
    (2020-05) Alhakeem, Gada
    “England knows Egypt; Egypt is what England knows; England knows that Egypt cannot have self-government; England confirms that by occupying Egypt; for the Egyptians. Egypt is what England has occupied and now governs; foreign occupation therefore becomes “the very basis “ of contemporary Egyptian civilization.“ (Said 34) Knowledge in the hands of the powerful is a tool to shape the identity of the weak. Identity is shaped firstly through dominant environments and secondly through reason. Multiple overlapping imperial cultures (Aramean, Greek, Roman, Umayyad, Ayyubid, Ottoman, and French) in Damascus demonstrate the tie between knowledge, identity, crisis and the space of the city. Colonial planning and social elements of the city are molded and adjusted over time to fit the values of each empire. A surviving archetype- the bath- is the most dominant social evolutionary element in the city, although under a threat due to the development of modern Damascus, private residential baths, and the lack of Skin-ship values and traditions, especially between 1940s- 2004. Today’s civil war and the constant fear of death brought modern residents to value social traditions of the old city and gave rural and suburban refugees of Damascus a social and hygienic refuge . This thesis proposes revealing a contemporary Syrian identity by re-imagining the bathhouse.
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    Parent-Adolescent Attachment Patterns in Inpatient Adolescents with Comorbid Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use
    (2020-05) Saubon, Frances
    Although Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often comorbid with substance use (SU), both have been associated with unique attachment strategies. BPD is associated with preoccupation and disorganization while SU is associated with dismissal and disorganization. Taken together, adolescents with comorbid conditions may appear more disorganized and lack a clear pattern of strategies. Previous research on attachment and comorbidity has not studied how these may present differently in adolescence, a period when most symptoms are first presented, and early interventions are most effective. Therefore, the present study examined attachment patterns of inpatient youths (N=392) with BPD and SU alone, as well as with comorbid BPD and SU. Using a multi-method approach, we utilized self- and parent-reported questionnaires and clinical interviews. Our findings suggest that comorbid adolescents were significantly less likely to report disorganization when compared to youth with BPD only. In addition, comorbid adolescents scored higher in dismissal with both parents and idealization with their fathers, though this effect did not reach significance. Overall, our findings provide information on how health care providers can assist adolescents with comorbid conditions based on their specific attachment needs.
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    An Evaluation of the Number of Response Options for Scales in Psychology
    (2020-04) Borjas, Maria
    Self-report scales are used widely in the field of psychology. These scales tend to widely differ on scale format for many reasons including consistency, time issues, and convenience. Previous studies have found that scale format has an effect on response variance, and reliability, among other psychometric properties. However, these findings have been mixed. The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of number of response options on response patterns and internal consistency. We used a 5- and 7-point scale of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem measure. Undergraduate college students were administered this scale with either 5 or 7 response options. We found that frequency and response patterns did not differ between the 2 scales, but differences in response patterns per item were present. There were also mean differences between scales, although these effects were small. The number of response options did not affect reliability. Using descriptive statistics and t-tests, differences were not detected between responses to items presented with the 5- and 7-point response scales. Further research assessing more than one measure and comparing even, and odd numbered scales is needed to better understand the effects of number of response options on response patterns.
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    Van der Waals Interactions in the Hadron Resonance Gas Model
    (2019-08) Boggs, Aaron
    The Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) and its phase transition on the Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) phase diagram have been at the forefront of high energy physics research for the past few decades. In order to study the QGP and its thermodynamic behavior, many experiments have been undertaken to recreate this state of matter at particle colliders like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. In addition to experiment, several theoretical models of the QGP have been developed which can then be compared to experimental results. In this thesis, we attempt to successfully implement one of these models, the ideal Hadron Resonance Gas (HRG) model, along with an extension of the model which includes van der Waals type interactions between pairs of baryons and antibaryons, called the Van der Waals Hadron Resonance Gas (VDW-HRG) Model. In order to determine if our implementations of the two models were successful, we compare our results for several observables at zero chemical potential to the results obtained in [1]. The observables calculated include the system's pressure, energy density, entropy density, the speed of sound, and the speci c heat at constant volume. After determining that our implementation of the VDW-HRG model was successful, we then venture out into nite chemical potential and again calculate the system's pressure, energy density, entropy density, number density and the second order uctuation of baryon number using the VDW-HRG model. Our results at nite chemical potential using the VDW-HRG model qualitatively behave as one would expect them to on the QCD phase diagram, further verifying the success of our implementation.
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    Representations of Influences in the Identities of Young Migrant Girls of the Borderlands and their Relationship to Gender, Childhood, and Motherhood
    (2020-05) Caceres Ferreira, Florencia
    This thesis seeks to analyze the representations of border-related trauma in contemporary written works. The introductory chapter seeks to set the foundation for this thesis using Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1985) as a means of thinking about the border in terms of womanhood and identity. In Chapter I, I draw from Chicana feminist theory and criticism to read closely Reyna Grande’s 2012 The Distance Between Us, a Memoir. In Chapter II, I turn to Valeria Luiselli’s 2019 fictional piece, Lost Children Archive, as well as her 2017 essay, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions. By reading across diverse genres, this thesis argues that Chicana writers construct works in which representations of the border’s detrimental effects are shown through narrative and pivot centrally around motherhood. Each writer points to the ways the border specifically complicates the relationship between Chicana identity and traditional notions of motherhood and childhood development.
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    Serialized Comic Book Storytelling As Modern Myth-Making
    (2020-04) Bui, Justin
    This work sets out to investigate serialized comic book storytelling as a medium through its low-culture historical roots and the unique qualities it possesses. In doing so, it identifies the characteristics integral to the medium like decentralized narrative authority, long-running continuity, and multiformity: all of which help differentiate the serialized comic book from more conventional forms like literature or film. This work also closely analyzes one of the most popular examples of successful serialized comic book storytelling. By using The Amazing Spider-Man, and the body of work surrounding the Spider-Man character as a case study, those same integral characteristics of the format can be verifiably evaluated in a real-world context. Finally, this work compares the serialized comic book to Ancient Greek storytelling through myth and theater. The same multiformity and fluidity that defines comics is key to understanding mythic storytelling. By drawing that comparison, it becomes clear that serialized comic book storytelling, with all of its unique formal characteristics, bears the closest modern resemblance to a new form of mythmaking.
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    Petrography, Geochemistry, and Geochronology of Cretaceous Porphyry Intrusives near Red Lode, Montana
    (2020-05) French, Logan
    There are many localities of Cretaceous porphyry intrusives in and around the Beartooth Range and particularly along the Beartooth Front near Red Lodge, Montana. Although Rouse et al. (1937) carried out a study devoted to them, they have been almost ignored since then and today new methods are available in order to further our understanding of their history. In recent decades, there has been some confusion as to the age of these rocks due to their proximity to Paleogene porphyry felsic to intermediate intrusives. In contrast, Cretaceous porphyry intrusive rocks represent intrusion prior to the main Laramide thrusting of the region. These are felsic porphyries ranging in composition from andesite to dacite and all have large plagioclase phenocrysts with prominent zoning. The initial geochemical data suggests that these intrusives are the result of fractional crystallization. Geologic observations of the region have shown through relative geochronology that these rocks are late Cretaceous in age and this has been confirmed by preliminary geochronology by Barry Shaulis which provided an age of 93 Ma, and by this study which yielded an age of 96.7 +/- 1.77 Ma.
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    (2020-04) Faour, William
    This thesis, a fiction novella, examines themes of nostalgia, perception against reality, redemption and forgiveness, and the inner human. Drawing from a mix of literary classics by greats such as Shakespeare, Morrison, Asimov, Orwell, and Steinbeck as well as real-world experiences, it places an adult in her childhood home and examines her attempts to recreate the past, asking us to what length one will go to satisfy our goals. The human mind holds an all-encompassing power that may change the significance of events large and small, so this work intends to answer the following questions: how valuable a tool is nostalgia; what can one do in the face of crushing perceptions that may warp reality; what constitutes as redemption, and how can one act when forgiveness isn't granted; and what truly defines the inner human, a being under the mind's gripping control?
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    Overcoming Imposter Phenomenon in Academic Faculty: Using Cognitive Processing Therapy to Address Distorted Perceptions
    (2019-11) Flores, Jennifer R.
    Despite recent research into the effects of imposter phenomenon (IP) on academic faculty members, there has been no research on empirically tested, non-clinical interventions that could help individuals address the distorted cognitions that are related to IP. Using elements from Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), we developed and tested a workshop intervention to determine the impact on participants’ imposter and Core Self Evaluation (CSE) scores, factors that influenced transfer of learning, the impacts that the workshop had on participants, and what changes can be made to increase the effectiveness. Results showed that after attending the workshop, academic faculty participants (n=19) reported lower imposter scores, increased CSE scores, and experienced increased agency over imposter thoughts and the resulting feelings and lower levels of pressure and anxiety. Based on follow-up focus groups, three main themes were identified regarding factors that had the most impact on participants’ transfer of learning and ability to address imposter thoughts after the workshop. Implementation of the workshop as a faculty development tool is proposed, however further research is suggested to determine impact on work outcomes and generalizability to a larger population.
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    Transit Deserts: An Analysis of Their Impact On Health and Access to Health Care
    (2020-05) Cervantes, Angie
    A transit desert is defined as an area with limited transportation supply and or infrastructure, which may limit people’s ability to procure jobs, access health care, and obstructs economic mobility (Junfeng & Dillivan, 2013). The University of Texas Professor Junfeng Jiao first coined the term transit desert in 2012. Transit-dependent communities are immobile, unable to afford private transportation costs such as insurance or gas, and poverty-stricken. Using panel data of 3,974 block groups from 2013 to 2019, we investigate whether there is a relationship between vehicle availability and access to health care. We estimate the relationship between vehicle availability and various health outcome measurements, such as self-reported Unmet Medical Need, Emergency Room Visits by Children in the last 12 Months, and Last Reported Health Care Visit. We found that there is a relationship between vehicle availability and access to health; however, there are other vital factors such as not having insurance or having income below the poverty line, that transcend the effects of vehicle availability.
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    A Dosimetric Evaluation of MiniPIX Performance Using In-situ and Simulated Environments
    (2020-05) Masek, Reed B.
    Space weather is becoming increasingly relevant as human activity in space and around grows. Primary contributors to this space radiation are galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) which continue to mystify scientists with their high energies and unknown origins. Despite the unknowns, active monitoring of the radiation environment beyond the Earth’s surface is important for the safety of commercial airlines and astronauts. This thesis examines the use of a MiniPIX camera as a relatively low-cost, portable radiation dosimeter used on-board high altitude balloon flights under the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP). The MiniPIX was housed within a miniature container designed to replicate the structure of the International Space Station (ISS). The goal of this construction is to model a complex and exotic environment, such as the ISS, using a simplified representation in attempt to reduce the high dependence of simulations for monitoring the dose received by human on commercial flights or in space by generalizing this methodology to other applications. Its performance is compared to simulations executed by the FLUKA transport code which strive to replicate the atmospheric environment and GCR sources during the HASP missions. The use of the simulations in this context is to validate the configuration flown on the balloon. The results from the simulations are not directly comparable to those from the balloon, but characteristic features within the simulated data are present. Lastly, results from experiments and simulations performed by others are examined and compared to the results from the HASP mission and the simulations performed in this study.
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    Identity in the Writings of Lucian of Samosata
    (2020-05) Loos, Stefan T.
    The second-century CE Greek sophist, rhetorician, and satirist Lucian of Samosata (c. 120-185 CE) presents a complex figure in his writings. A native of the province of Syria who wrote in Greek under the Roman Empire, Lucian’s identity and perspective on the world around him seems complex and often self-contradictory in his works. In light of Lucian’s complexity, readers and later scholars have sometimes tried to pigeonhole his identity into simple terms of “Greek,” “Syrian,” or “Roman.” This thesis offers an alternative view, applying the postcolonial lens of “discrepant identities” to Lucian’s literary personae in his writings. Lucian’s self-portrayal shifted between his works due to a variety of factors stemming from Roman imperial rule. Through a series of case studies of Lucian’s works (De Dea Syria, Heracles, De Mercede Conductis, Apologia, and Patriae Encomium) this thesis shows the malleability of Lucian’s self-presentation within his literary corpus due to his evolving circumstances, the broader context of the Roman Empire, and the pressures of unfavorable stereotypes. Finally, as a figure with a sizable literary record, Lucian offers an excellent model of how the identities of other provincials may have shifted as a response to the necessities of life in the heterogeneous Roman Empire.
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    The Trickle-Down Effect of Academic Mentoring
    (2020-05) Lezcano, Alyssa
    The mentoring literature has not sufficiently explored the potential trickle-down effects of mentoring, and there has yet to be an examination of how and why amount of mentoring received might lead a person to mentor a greater number of protégés. This thesis seeks to address these gaps in the literature by examining the role of faculty support systems in promoting greater numbers of mentored students. To accomplish this, I examine career sponsorship as a means to increase number of student protégés through heightened faculty commitment to the mentoring process using a sample of 255 tenured and tenure-track faculty members across 25 public universities in the United States. The results support the proposed hypotheses and indicate that career sponsorship of faculty has a positive indirect effect on number of undergraduate and graduate protégés via increased faculty mentoring commitment.