ii DEDICATION This body of work is dedicated to the memory of my father, Rodrico Jackson Sr. Throughout life; he always taught me the meaning of hard work and what it takes to achieve my goals. Without his insight, his guidance, and life lesson teachings, I would not be the person that I am today or possess the infinite will to accomplish so much of what I have done and what I plan to do in my future. A dream of mine was for him to see me finish this portion of my academic tenure, but his life expectancy did not allow that. He was not only a shining light that fueled my desire for success but he was also one of the greatest men I have come to know and for that purpose is why this is my dedication to him.