A special shoutout to all the people that have helped me along my dissertation journey. I put my graduation speech and a small excerpt from my dissertation dedication and acknowledgments. I wanted to recognize a few of the people who have made it possible to finish this specific project. Next week I will thank those I wasn’t able to thank at my graduation party. You all mean so much to me and thanks for all the support!
Vanessa for constantly believing, urging, and making life meaningful
My Mother who is my inspiration, and my Father who is my teacher. No one in the universe could have given me a better education to do good in the world. To my sisters Camie and Joy, I love you both for encouraging me at a young age to take risks and face life with open arms. Kaedance, Kaeley, Serene, Caleb, and Cody I hope I can be a little inspiration and if nothing else, a resource and support for your education. Luna and Gordon, you are my rascals, my loves. I hope you don’t remember this time as me sitting and writing on my laptop. I instead hope you remember the time as us fishing and eating lots of pizza. Vanessa, I may have married you quickly because I thought I would die in Iraq, but you are my soulmate, and nothing will change that.
Dr. Brayboy, when you met my Father, you told him that you would take care of me throughout my Ph.D. program. I appreciate you holding to your words and creating opportunities. Dr. Martin, thank you for your mentorship, time, and supporting my research. It gave me the reassurance I was on a good path. Dr. Shotton, your research has been instrumental in my formation as a scholar. You gave me your email address four years ago and said to email if I ever needed anything. I hope I didn’t ask for too much.
Dr. Jimenez-Silva, thanks for helping me with my writing and more importantly for the breakfast burritos. It wasn’t the food, as much as you create an environment that I feel I could belong. Dr. Saggio, thanks for getting my foot in the door of academia. If you weren’t willing to help, I would probably still be navigating graduate school applications. Dr. Peralta, you always were a great professor and I appreciate your practical boldness that draws me back to the basics of my work. Vince, thanks for always letting me come in your office to talk and for introducing me to Redbone at a young age. Blair, your words and use of humor to educate non-Natives is always in the back of my mind. Dr. Tachine, I appreciate you as a colleague and friend; your creativeness constantly challenges my thinking to produce meaningful research. Dr. Solyom, thank you for our conversations, your advice, and feedback as they have been influential to my research foundation.
My sincere thanks to the Cocopah and Quechan nations, especially to Cocopah education director Wynnie and Quechan higher education director OraLee. The tribes’ willingness to entrust me with researching on ancestral lands truly humbles me. To the students from the Cocopah and Quechan nations, I hope that this project will lift our voices a little higher.