I am using this medium to thank and appreciate every person who has made this thesis a great success.
First and foremost, I will like to show my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Jimmie Manning, for his assistance, enthusiasm, inspiration, and his ability to explain things clearly and simply, he helped to make this thesis a reality. Throughout my writings, he provided encouragement, advice, good teaching, good company, and great ideas. He impacted me with his knowledge of which I would have been lost without him. He found time for me even out of his busy schedules, sir, you are simply wonderful.
Secondly, I give many thanks to my network of friends (the “Nerd Brigade”) that I have met during the course of my program. I truly enjoyed growing as a scholar and having you with me every step of the way. You all are more of a support than you realize. Your understanding, compassion, and willingness to lend a helping hand or ear in any situation, have contributed a lot to my existence. You have helped in keeping me grounded and reasonable through this process.
Also, to my committee member, I salute your courage and steadfastness. I thank all of you, for the support and understanding that you showed during the course of the project; I particularly appreciate you for providing helpful critiques which has really helped me to improve on so many areas in the thesis. I also want to thank you for paying close attention to my needs whenever I request for them. I acknowledge the inspiration and challenge that I derive from working with this successful generation. We shall all attain a greater height than this in the future.
To my closest friends, Tiffany, Aimee, and Prigge, you are more than just a support structure, you are my family, and to you I cannot express how grateful I am. You housed and fed me all through my research period, you are always there even before I called. You are more than a friend to me, you are my angel. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, most time when I am down, you guys are there for me, you are so close, and even closer than my brothers. I cannot appreciate you enough, you helped me smile, relax and not go off the deep end. Truly, you are my gem.
I also want to thank my family members for their care and support. My Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, and especially my Cousins, “The Cousin Mafia” for their “protection” and making me feel safe and comfortable when facing the most intimidating task I have ever done. Thanks to my sister, and her family, for their trust and believe in me which has built my confidence.
Lastly and most importantly, I want to thank my parents, Gary and Babs Dirr, for their fatherly and motherly love that they showed towards me. They bore me, raised me, supported me, taught me, and loved me. Thanks for your understanding and your cool words even when situations are not favorable. Right from my childhood, they nurtured me, tamed me and taught me to be serious and hardworking. To them I dedicate this thesis.