iiiACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe research that I have been conducting for past two years, under the directionof Professor Kathleen C. Howell, has been, at diﬀerent times, challenging, frustrating,and exhilarating. I would like to thank Professor Howell for her guidance, in both thedirection of my research and the direction of my career, as well has for her seeminglyinﬁnite patience. I am extremely grateful for being given the opportunity to workwith her, and for the time and eﬀort she has devoted to my graduate education.I would also like to thank the other members of my graduate committee, ProfessorsJames M. Longuski, and John J. Rusek, for their interest and input.The members of my research group (Belinda, Brian, Eric, Jason, Jin Wook, Jos´e,and Mark), have given me assistance, support, and friendship. For this I thank them,and wish them the best of luck wherever their careers take them.The writings of Robert A. Heinlein have, throughout my life, provided inspiration,motivation, and education. Sadly, Mr. Heinlein passed away before I could thankhim personally for all he has done.Through all of my endeavors, both past and present, my parents have encouraged,supported, and guided me. My parents gave me the desire to set myself goals worthachieving, and the education with which to achieve those goals. I am eternally gratefulfor all that they have done for me.I am also grateful for the ﬁnancial support provided to me by Purdue University.This support has come in the form of a Frederick N. Andrews Fellowship, and aWarren G. Koerner Fellowship. These fellowships have assisted greatly in allowingme to pursue a graduate education.