It must be recognized that this thesis is not the work of one man or mind. The contributions of many people helped form the thoughts and opinions held throughout. I would like to thank the people of South Brooksville, and those particularly in Mitchell Heights, for allowing me to intrude into their daily routine, to ask seemingly irrelevant questions, and for having the patience to nurture my understanding of their struggle. This project’s key informant, and the leading voice of the community, desires a great deal of thanks for his time and knowledge that was shared abundantly. In this same way, the insight of the many scientists, politicians, and civil servants gave this project balance and credibility that is often missing from projects such as this and their trust in me is humbling.
This project would not hold any semblance of shape or form without the guidance and steady hand of Dr. Roberta Baer. This support from Dr. Baer extends beyond the academic as she embodies all the positive antidotes one hears about thesis advisors. To Dr. Baer – thank you for the harsh critiques, the personal encouragements, and the gentle nudges coupled with the straightforward, honest advice. One would be hard pressed to find a more steady influence.
To the remainder of my committee, Dr. Barbara Orban and Dr. Rebecca Zarger, I appreciate the support in this project and for my greater life objectives. Each of you have been asked to write recommendations, offer advice, or assist in navigating an obstacle. I value your feedback and flexibility.
I want to thank my parents, John and Diana Brijbag, for helping me through the storms of life that formed during this season of life. In that same manner, I want to thank my siblings, Daniel Brijbag and Tiffany Brijbag, and Ed and Nancy Smith, for proving the strength of the bonds of family. Finally, to my wife Stephanie and my children Skylar, Micah, and Rachel - I love you and remember … “All I Do Is Win!”