Abstract: The paper examines a number of positive academic outcomes achieved by university students who, as young rail enthusiasts representing over 10 European institutions, took part in extracurricular rail-related academic activities. Analyses presented in the paper are based on the evaluation of the responses to the questionnaire distributed amongst participants of three consecutive editions of an intensive program in rail and logistics which took place in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Also, quotes from follow-up one-to-one interviews with participants are used to support the results presented. The sample for each year varies in terms of numbers, nationalities, academic backgrounds, and male:female ratio. Academic benefits are specifically looked into, which includes teaching and learning activities throughout the three weeks of the program. The analysis of results revealed that young rail enthusiasts who participated in the program benefited from lectures delivered in Week 1, especially those focused on multimodal transport and rail infrastructure in 2013, which received positive mean ratings of 4.45 and 4.53, respectively, on a five-point Likert scale. Moreover, academic benefits were strongly supported by non-technical skills improvements in areas such as English language and communication, both reaching the mean ratings of 4.35 or above in 2014. A number of recommendations for improvements of next editions of similar rail-related programs as well as areas for future research are identified in the paper
Abstract: In recent years, population aging has been recognized as an emerging challenge in many parts of the world. Earlier studies discussed its impacts on the sustainability of social security systems and national economic growth; however, they tended to focus on the issues at the national level and were limited to developed countries. With the knowledge that population aging will be a predominant trend in both developed and developing countries, this paper aims to: (i) describe the global population aging trend and its regional demography; (ii) provide a structural review of population aging challenges at the national, communal and individual levels; and (iii) elaborate future research topics on population aging with a particular emphasis on developing countries. Several indicators suggest rapid population aging in the coming decades, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The structural review presents the diverse challenges that affect both young and older population groups. Finally, the need for linking population aging with the sustainable development concept and the possible rural decline caused by rapid urbanization are suggested as future research topics. Further studies to establish a body of knowledge on population aging in developing countries are required to place population aging on the agenda of future sustainable development discussions.
Abstract: The rural context at times is characterized by heteronormativity and conservatism. For individuals who identify as a sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer), the rural context may pose particular challenges to the development of a healthy, coherent sense of self. Seven young adults (18–24) who identified as gay or lesbian participated in in-depth interviews regarding their experiences coming out in a rural Appalachian context. Findings suggest sexual minority individuals experience both trials and triumphs coming out in the rural context. Two overarching themes and six subthemes are discussed with implications for supporting sexual minority youth in the rural context.
Abstract: Now that the financial needs of post 9/11 student service members/veterans have begun to be addressed, the attention has shifted to disabilities and recovery strategies of student service members/veterans. Therefore, in a cross sectional design, this study electronically surveyed 189 enrolled student service members/veterans attending a large urban state university about their experiences of returning to school. Specifically, this study described the students’ rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcohol abuse, perceived stress, adaptive and non-adaptive coping strategies, social support, participation in campus activities, and perceived campus climate. Moreover, correlates of recovery were examined. Although the majority of the returning students were doing well, 36.1% reported a high level of stress, 15.1% reported a high level of anger, 17.3% reported active symptoms of PTSD, and 27.1% screened positive for alcohol problems. Social networks were found to be the most salient factor in recovery. The study’s limitations are discussed and specific support strategies are presented that can be employed by disability services, counseling services and college administrators.
Abstract: The transnational ex-gay movement is an important context affecting lesbians and sexual minority women around the world. In 2015, the UN Human Rights Commissioner called for all nations to ban conversion therapies. This research investigates a neglected area of scholarship on the ex-gay movement by deconstructing and analyzing the implications of ex-gay discourses of female homosexuality in a global context. The ex-gay movement originated in the United States and has proliferated to nearly every continent. We argue that it is the main purveyor of public, anti-lesbian rhetoric today, constructing lesbianism as sinful and sick to control women’s sexuality, enforce rigid gender roles and inequality, and oppress sexual minority women. Guided by Adrienne Rich’s theory of compulsory heterosexuality and Barbara Risman’s gender structure theory, we analyze how, in ex-gay discourse, lesbianism is demeaned and demonized in the individual, interactional, and institutional dimensions of the gender structure. Finally, we examine the impact of ex-gay discourse on sexual minority women in global context.
Abstract: Drawing on in-depth interviews with rural Christians living in the South who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB), this study analyzes how they negotiate their religious, geographic, and sexual identities. We find that most interviewees employed two strategies to reconcile their Christian and gay identities: emphasizing a personal connection to an accepting God and finding a local church in their rural community in which they felt accepted. We argue that rural contexts influenced interviewees’ reliance on these strategies and show how individuals can construct multiple interpretations about themselves, which do not always align with existing cultural assumptions. In addition, we argue that gender differences exist with regard to participants’ residential choices and the importance they place on “community”. We find that, in general, women value the privacy and freedom afforded to them in rural areas, a sentiment that is echoed in their religious choices while many of the men value the close knit community they find in their small towns.