Although completing a dissertation is an endeavor undertaken by a single person, many people facilitated and assisted my graduate program at the University of Nebraska. The support of my family, particularly my mother, must be recognized. Without that bedrock, this project would have never come to fruition. David J. Wishart, my advisor, was extremely supportive and always ready to offer assistance whenever needed. I deeply appreciate his tireless support over the years. This document would not exist without him. His contributions, along with those from the other committee members, made this the best dissertation possible. J. Clark Archer, Stephen J. Lavin, Robert H. Stoddard, and John L. Wunder provided mentoring and individual guidance that I wish graduate students at other universities could experience. Their collective efforts, in the classroom and their offices, helped me develop into the scholar I am today. Fellow graduate students offered kindness, support, and friendship. Becky Buller, Kenny French, Mel Johnson, Paul Kelley, Lesli Rawlings, and Ezra Zeitler each played a role they will probably never realize. Being surrounded by these colleagues made me a better person and geographer. Their assistance and everlasting encouragement are impossible to quantify. My closest friend, Doug Hurt, supplied motivation that kept me focused on the ultimate goal of graduation. I could not have accomplished this without his counseling. Last of all, I treasure the patience, humor, and wisdom of Damita Hiemstra. She stood beside me during the grueling stages of this dissertation, and carried me more often than she will ever know.
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