Acknowledgements

This project would not have been possible without ample help and support from so many people.

For always being there for me and for loving me for who I am, I want to thank my amazing family–Mommy, Daddy, Sam, Gram, and Grandpa. Without you, I would have no foundation. You instilled in me the courage to be curious and to challenge the status quo. You gave me the strength to always ask why and the integrity to never accept bullshit answers or anything less than I deserve. You taught me how to be strong, independent, inquisitive, and how to always love myself. I am forever grateful.

For always having my back and supporting me in my crazy endeavors, I want to thank my friends–Meg, Gabby, Zoe, Vera, Craig, Char, Maria, Claire, Christina, Vee, Stephanie, Hope, Katherine, Richonda, Hailey, Marissa, Kris, Holly, Brian, Lisa, Heather, Stina, the rest of my friends at Kean, at Bergen, at Plato’s, and far too many others to list but you know who you are. Thank you for keeping me company on this journey and for including me in your own journeys and on so many adventures too many of the late night variety perhaps… I am so grateful for every hug, every kind word, and every late night conversation about nonsense. You meme the world to me~

For supporting me in my research, I would like to give special thanks to both Dr. Mia Zamora and Dr. Charles Nelson. You have both been extraordinary mentors to me and have gone above and beyond to support me in all of my academic and research endeavors. Thank you for believing in me and for believing in my work. I owe more to you than I can, for all my words, ever describe. I would also like to thank and recognize Professor Jen Crupi, Dr. Mayhall, Dr. Kachur Professor Kim Kiefer, Professor Alan Levine, Dr. Susanna Rich, and Dr. Mort Rich for supporting me in my writing and my art and for always giving me the encouragement I need to express my voice and my vision.

For loving me at the start, for caring about me when I needed it, and for giving me the confidence to pursue what I want unapologetically, thank you Rich. And, thank you Sadik. I wish you could be here now. Wherever your journeys take you, I hope you’re well. Much love always, Lady Savage.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so very much. I appreciate everyone who has come into my life and who has given me the opportunity to be so much more than I ever dreamed more than I can ever fully express. Thank you.

And, to everyone who wrote me off, who needs the last word when you can have the last laugh, huh?