Acknowledgments

Almost exactly twenty years ago, a good friend of mine died. He wasn’t the first friend I lost, and he, unfortunately, was also not the last. But I remember learning of his death so perfectly clearly. I remember that awful sinking feeling, the Hitchcock dolly zoom of the world retreating into faded obscurity under the harsh light of a stark reality. Nothing would ever be the same.

My friend had been missing for a few days. He’d gotten himself into a bit of trouble and, I expected, was laying low until things blew over. That is how these things went, after all. One day’s drama was subsumed by the next day’s laugh track, a real-life sitcom in which even the worst truths could be erased through a smile and a shrug. No matter how bad things seemed, it would always work out in the end.

In retrospect, my optimism for this outcome seems foolish even then. At the time, I was a quiet and lonely sixteen-year-old who hadn’t quite put the “post” in post-traumatic stress disorder. I regularly skipped or carefully portioned meals because I couldn’t always afford to eat. I had witnessed violence up close and spent my nights clinging to consciousness, too terrified to sleep in my own home. Despite dissociation, depression, and a tendency towards bipolar disorder, as the youngest member of my household, I was also the most financially and emotionally stable. I had long since learned how to keep up appearances despite a life that, as it turns out, was quite simply not normal.

So, you would think, perhaps, that I would have known better than to believe it could all be okay. You would think that I would have been prepared for the worst. Expected it, even. Yet on that warm spring afternoon, as I blithely danced in the rain like the California hippy that I am, I was not at all prepared for the news. I was not at all prepared for my mother to tell me that they had found my friend. That they had found his body.

The world slipped away.

Just a few short weeks later was my high school graduation. Speaker after speaker stood up to share platitudes about how we were the future and how we could do anything. I was so, so angry. I still am angry, to be honest. My friend had graduated from that same high school just two years before. Just two years before he died. And these distant adults had the gall to get up there and tell me that our futures were bright? Kids like me didn’t get to have a future. We just didn’t. I knew it. They knew it. Everybody knew it. These adults were lying and thought I was too naive to figure it out.

In retrospect, though, I think they were actually just lying to themselves.

That is the great deceit of the American dream, after all. The story that any kid can grow up to be President; that any child can become anything they want. That if you work hard, if you perfect your craft, if you persevere through some character-building setbacks, if you are a Good person who deserves Good outcomes, then you too can have it all.

What an unforgivable lie.

I write this in 2020. It feels like a short lifetime ago that Senator Elizabeth Warren suspended her campaign to become President of the United States. It has been less than two weeks. Just two weeks since a Super Tuesday showing which could politely be referred to as “disappointing.” An election in which she took third place in our mutually adopted home state of Massachusetts.

The closing of Senator Warren’s campaign was deeply painful for me. Not only because she was my candidate – though she was – but because the misogyny which plagued her candidacy was unavoidable, intractable. Any kid can grow up to be President, sure, but only if that kid isn’t a woman who tries to run for President. Kids like me don’t get to be President. We just don’t.

The anger and grief I felt in response to the end of Senator Warren’s campaign is not unlike that which I felt during my high school graduation all those years ago. They tell us we can do anything, be anything. That if we shoot for the moon, we will land among the stars. They fill us with platitudes and pretty poetry, saying that all it takes is hard work and dedication. That our success is out there for the taking if only we have the fortitude to claim it. They peddle the empty hope and false promises of a meritocracy where all is ultimately as it should be.

What an unforgivable lie.

I am supposed to be using this space to thank the many, many people who have helped me through my doctoral studies and this dissertation – and I absolutely promise that I will get to that. But a dissertation isn’t just the accomplishment of a single person, and it isn’t merely the result of a small city of support. It is the product of a system.

A system that allows some people to succeed while blocking others from advancing. A system that is non-random in its treatment of subjects, in which the possession of certain personal characteristics is highly correlated with positive outcomes. In which success depends not only upon hard work, resilience, and intelligence but – perhaps even more fundamentally – upon luck and on privilege. No matter how qualified or tenacious you are, it is ultimately this system that determines whether or not you are allowed to succeed.

In other words, I cannot acknowledge the many people who have helped me through this process without first acknowledging the incredible privileges I’ve had along the way. My life has not always been easy, and it would certainly be inaccurate to interpret “privilege” as indicating a total lack of challenges or barriers. Rather, I use that word to acknowledge that – while some dimensions of my experience and identity have made my life harder – others have, undeniably, made it easier. Have made it possible, quite frankly.

The high school I mentioned earlier, for example – it was a good high school. One of the best in the country, to be honest. And I was never supposed to go there at all. I was never supposed to be able to get the kind of education I have been able to get, and I was never supposed to live the kind of life I have been able to live.

How do I even begin to thank people for that?

I went to school out of district, you see. Without the official permission I was supposed to get for doing so. Thanks to a lot of help from a lot of people. I went to public schools very unlike my local public schools. For Kindergarten through 8th grade, I went to a public school, magically nestled amongst the redwoods of northern California, where I was one of four students in my graduating 8th-grade class. After that, I went to an extremely privileged public high school. A school with extracurriculars, college prep classes, and new lab equipment. A school where students were safe and fed, where no one ever, ever got stabbed or shot.

It was very different from the neighborhood I grew up in.

Going to school out of district was challenging in a lot of ways. My parents would drop me off at public transit around 5 in the morning. I’d take the train and the bus – something like an hour and a half commute, if I remember correctly – then I’d sit in the hallway and do my homework while I waited for my first class to start. I was able to participate in after-school activities only thanks to the several teachers who quietly agreed to drive me home. Most teachers could only afford to live on my side of the hill anyway. And, of course, this whole arrangement was only possible thanks to my parents. They would regularly pick me up at some absurdly late hour — after theater, or dance, or choir rehearsal — despite needing to rise by 4 am in order to get back to work.

I didn’t like high school at all. I liked my teachers. I liked my classes. But I…well, I frankly didn’t like the community. I just never fit in there. A poor, dirty girl wearing tattered hand-me-downs. I had more in common with the housekeepers who shared my early morning commute than I did with the children who lived in those houses. It was painful. Isolating. Exhausting. Constantly pretending to be something I was not.

But here’s the thing: I could pretend.

Despite how painfully uncomfortable I found high school to be, no one ever questioned my right to be there. As intensely as I felt that I didn’t belong…no one ever suspected that I did not, in fact, belong. I could pretend to fit in because I looked like I fit in.

Every year, the Computing Research Association (CRA) conducts the Taulbee Survey, tracking the enrollment, graduation, and employment of Ph.D.s in computer science and related fields. According to the most recent data — and many thanks to Rediet Abebe for pointing me towards this survey — 1,521 people were awarded degrees in computer science in 2018. 19 were African American, and a mere 8 were African American women. 4 were Hispanic American women. 1 was a Native American woman, and 1 was a multiracial American woman.

Those numbers are bleak.

I grew up in East Oakland. I grew up in a majority Black neighborhood. My family was literally the only white family around. But the high school I secretly commuted to was around 75% white. In my senior year, the school newspaper published a front-page article featuring the faces of the 9 — 9 — Black students who were among the over-1000-member student body. The headline was some slightly more eloquent version of, “Hey, did you know there are Black students here?!”

Yeah, turns out people had noticed them.

So I don’t think it was an accident that I was able to fly by unnoticed. I don’t think it was luck that allowed me to get the education I was able to have. I don’t think it was just hard work that got me to where I am.

It is not coincidental to my success that I am white.

It’s important to acknowledge this. It’s important to acknowledge that the system is not fair, that who succeeds is not merely a matter of merit. Our whole lives are subtly shaped by the systems and institutions around us. These institutions are systemically unjust, built for a model “normal” which, as Kenji Yoshino would argue, not a single one of us completely conforms to.

If we fail to acknowledge these systemic disparities, if we continue to spread lies about how any kid can grow up — then we risk ignoring all the work left to do.

My dissertation is rooted in civic studies. It is rooted in the belief that systems shape our lives and that our lives shape those systems. The challenges we collectively face are huge, daunting, and complex. We will not tomorrow, and, frankly, may not ever achieve some idyllic form of The Good Society. But this is not cause for nihilism or despair. It is not reason to throw up our hands and declare all efforts useless. We are not merely wayward waifs, caught in the current of forces beyond our control.

No. We are independent agents with the power to repair the world around us.

Every one of us.

But that power is not equally distributed. Those with more power, those most well-positioned to bring about systemic change, are also more likely to have benefited from the unequal systems currently in place. And because this privilege works by subtly removing barriers, by making difficult tasks just a little more tractable, those with power aren’t always aware of the lines of privilege which have supported their journey.

So I think it’s important to acknowledge this privilege. To acknowledge this power.

I am a first-generation to college, queer woman with chronic pain and significant mental health issues. But I still fall well within the bounds of a socially acceptable “normal.” Or at least I am both willing and able to pretend like I do. I am queer, but not that queer. My chronic pain is not typically incapacitating. And my mental health – well, I suppose I am fortunate to be broken in a very high-functioning sort of way.

My life has been difficult, but I have still been incredibly privileged. Across all my dimensions, I fall close enough to that fictional “normal” that I am allowed to maintain voice within existing power systems. The dimensions where I don’t fit are typically hidden: I can draw within the lines without disrupting the whole system. I have had to fight hard for everything I have, but my privilege is what has made those battles winnable.

In moving towards more traditional acknowledgments, it feels appropriate to start by thanking the many therapists, councilors, and health care providers who have helped me over the years. I’d particularly like to thank Dr. Spottswood, who was, perhaps, the first therapist I ever really trusted. I started seeing her after my father passed away in 2012. That was another life-shattering event. An experience which destroyed the ersatz coping mechanisms I had accrued over the years and forced me to really figure out the kind of person I wanted to be. The loss of my father broke me completely. Giving me no choice but to rebuild myself. Better. Stronger. Faster.

Dr. Spottswood helped me come to terms with the strange, inherent tension of mental health. Appreciating who I am, who I’ve become, and who I am still becoming means appreciating, in a way, the myriad experiences that brought me here. I will fight like hell to protect others from many of the things I have gone through, but I cannot simply remove that part of my life. My trauma is an indelible part of who I am. Dr. Spottswood helped me appreciate that both those things can be true at once.

I don’t think I ever would have started a Ph.D. program without her.

More recently, Dr. Golkar saw me through the entire job market process as well as many of my years in graduate school. I literally don’t think I could have done this without her. There are many others, of course: therapists, councilors, workers who process my payments, schedule my appoints, and clean the offices where I’ve attended sessions. I owe them thanks as well.

I also owe a great deal of thanks to my committee.

Peter Levine, whom I’ve known for nearly 12 years, has been an incredibly positive force in my life. He is, I think, the first person who ever really believed in me. Or, perhaps, he was the first person who I ever really believed.

I have, as you may have guessed, very little patience for platitudes or empty optimism. I am not interested in interpretations of democracy that are all sunshine and rainbows, where someday we’ll just roll the dice into a better society.

When Peter Levine says that every person’s voice matters, he truly means that every person’s voice matters. It is no platitude. He believes it in his bones, in his blood, in the very way in which he interacts with the world.

And he made me believe it, too.

When I first met Peter, I was deeply skeptical of deliberative democracy. Not because I thought it was too idyllic or too impractical, but, as I came to realize, for a much simpler reason. I could not possibly believe in a society in which every person’s voice mattered when I was so deeply convinced that my own voice was worthless.

My mother, an avid genealogist, once told me that no one in our family had ever done anything important and that no one in our family would ever do anything important. She loved tracking our family’s history because no one else would ever care.

Incidentally, she did tell me more recently that no one, in the entire history of our family, had ever received a PhD. Just a few generations ago, most people in my family were illiterate. “So when you get that degree,” she said, it won’t be just for you. You’ll be representing all the generations which came before you.”

Peter Levine made me believe that I mattered.

And in doing so, he made me recognize that everyday people do shape the world around them. By making an immeasurable difference in my life, he made me appreciate that I had the power to make a difference in other people’s lives, too.

I believe deeply in deliberative democracy. I believe it in my bones, in my blood, in the very way I live my life. I am unrelenting in my conviction that we all benefit, individually and collectively, when everyone’s voice is heard. I believe that every single person – every single one of us – has something valuable to contribute. We each, then, have a moral obligation to not only contribute to public life, but to ensure that all others are able to contribute as well.

I know that I am flawed. We are all of us flawed. There is no magic utopia where all our collective challenges will be resolved. But I stand firmly by the Levinian conviction that by working together, by talking together, by reasoning together — we can leave this world better than how we found it. We are not hopelessly bound by the unjust systems we inherit.

No. Those systems were built by people like us, and they can be changed by people like us.

Peter and I have been known to disagree. Yet, if this dissertation has an intellectual grandparent, it is Peter Levine. He made me a deliberative democrat and made me truly understand “democracy as a way of life.”

David Lazer is an equally important scholarly grandparent to this work. As my co-chair, the graduate studies director, and as the senior social scientist at the Network Science Insitute, David has taught me so much about what it means to be a scholar, a scientist, and a computational social scientist. He has taught me how to be both skeptical and intellectually compassionate, to be both transparent about limitations and rigorous about interpretations.

He taught me that science is a slow, incremental endeavor. That our job is to move the needle in the gradual accumulation of human knowledge. That any single paper or study is flawed and incomplete, but by being intellectually honest and by bringing those tiny pieces together, we can learn great things. I keep a note of something he once said in class: “Science is an endeavor built flawed brick by flawed brick. Yet we can still build palaces.”

David has also taught me a lot about what good leadership looks like. What deliberative leadership looks like. As a student in the second-ever NetSI cohort and a founding member of our Graduate Student Council, I’ve had a lot of, ahem, constructive suggestions to share over the years. This past year, David closed out the semester with a student town hall, a sort of Festivus airing-of-grievances, that went on for no less than two and a half hours. I could barely sit through it, to be honest.

David always listens seriously to others’ perspectives. He is clear in justifying his own positions and is open to being persuaded when he is wrong. Indeed, he is a paragon of the deliberative ideal — ardently standing by his convictions while simultaneously aiming to learn and be convinced by others.

He has also been a truly good friend and source of support throughout my PhD. Particularly over this past year, as I experienced the adventures of the academic job market, David was always there. I have sent him so many panicked, anxiety-induced emails, complaining about the injustices of the patriarchy, and doubting my own ability to survive and thrive. He has always been so kind, compassionate, and generous with his time. I have really needed his emotional, intellectual, and moral support throughout this process, and I can hardly thank him enough for everything he’s done for me.

David is one of the most thoughtful, moral, and genuinely good people I have ever met. I can only hope to be the kind of scholar and academic he has taught me to be.

I also owe a great deal of thanks to my co-chair and coauthor, Nick Beauchamp. One chapter of this dissertation is coauthored with Nick, and another builds off work we coauthored together. Nick has taught me a lot about how to develop a research idea and shape a research agenda. He’s been a consistent collaborator and has played an important role in helping me get from research ideas to published papers. I am very fortunate to have an advisor who shares so many of my research interests, and who has given me so much freedom during my doctoral studies. It is because of his mentorship that I am coming to the end of this Ph.D. with several published papers in my chosen research area.

I also very much want to thank the fourth and final member of my dissertation committee: Lu Wang. Lu has been a tremendous coauthor and mentor. She has taught me so much about Natural Language Processing and has given me valuable feedback on this work. I very much appreciate all her contributions to this and our other projects.

Additionally, there are a number of other people from my academic life to whom I also owe thanks.

First, everyone at the Network Science Institute. NetSI has been such an amazing scholarly community and family. I want to thank Mark Giannini, the Ph.D. Program Coordinator, who has done so much to make the logistics of this program work. Also, Janette Briceno, James Stanfill, and Kate Coronges, who all do so much to the help the Institute and its labs run. All my instructors: Lászó Barabási, Nick Beauchamp, Matteo Chinazzi, Sean Cornelius, Cody Dunne, David Lazer, Gabor Lippner, Chris Riedl, Roberta Sinatra, David Smith, Alex Vespignani, and Qian Zhang.

I’d particularly like to thank Chris Riedl. Chapter 2 of this dissertation started as a project for his Network Economics class. While the final model and paper have developed dramatically since then, his initial feedback and guidance were invaluable. Chris helped me think through what an Agent-Based Model of deliberation might look like, as well as the steps needed to incrementally develop such a model. Additionally, Chris’ office is directly behind me at the Institute, and, while it seems like a small thing — I also appreciate that he took the time to add padding to his cabinet doors. I have a terrible jump reflex, you see. It’s one of the most noticeable, though still subtle signs of my PTSD. I don’t think Chris ever knew why the sound of a closing cabinet made me involuntarily jump, but he noticed that I did, and he took steps to fix it. It was, really, incredibly kind.

Gabor Lippner, also, has been an incredible friend and colleague. I am so glad that through this program, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know both him and his family.

And, of course, a special thanks needs to go to Alex Vespignani — who taught me so much about how to consider, interpret, and model complex systems. Furthermore, I am writing these acknowledgments in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and businesses are closed, everyone’s working from home for the foreseeable future, and it feels like the worst is still ahead of us. It is a scary and uncertain time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful for all of Alex’s work.

I never had the formal pleasure of taking a class with Brooke Foucault Welles, Tina Eliassi-Rad, or Sam Scarpino, but I have very much appreciated all their contributions to the Insitute and community. They are all outstanding mentors and advocates, and I have benefited immensely from their support and from having them in my circle.

Similarly, I have very much appreciated the amazing scholars I have met while they were postdocs at NetSI. Particularly, Lisa Friedland, Nir Grinberg, Kenny Joseph, Evelyn Panagakou, Sebastian Ruf, Briony Swire-Thomson, Emma Towlson, and Stefan Wojcik.

Additionally, I cannot thank my NetSI classmates enough. We truly are a family, and they have been there for me every step of the way. My cohort Brennan Klein, Xindi Wang, Syed Arefinul Haque, and Matt Simonson have, in particular, been in the trenches with me since the beginning. I certainly could not have made it through this program without them. The current and past leadership of our Graduate Student Council: Ryan Gallagher, Leo Torres, and Carolina Mattsson, have also all played an important role in helping to grow and nurture this community.

Additionally, Jessica Davis, Ieke De Vries, Tim LaRock, Charles Levine, Stefan McCabe, Dina Mistry, Ronald Robertson, Timothy Sakharov, Sara Williams, and Chia-Hung Yang have all provided much-needed advice, support, and friendship throughout my graduate studies. I am also so glad to be able to count among my colleagues: Lucas Almeida, Sara Benedetti, Ayan Chatterjee, Hanyu Chwe, Mike Foley, Zach Fulker, Harrison Hartle, Wan He, Yanchen Liu, Ben Miller, Kunpeng Mu, Alexi Quintana Mathé, Ivan Viotalov, Xinyue Xiong, and Jingyi (Joy) Xu. Truly, NetSI is a tremendously welcoming, supportive, inclusive community in which we all bring out each other’s best. I am so lucky to have been a part of it.

Also at Northeastern, I’d like to thank Kirsten Rodine Hardy, who has been so kind and supportive over the last few years. She has listened to my practice talks, given me tremendous feedback, helped me navigate academia, is always there when I need to vent, and sends me pictures of her dog, Chip, whenever I request them. Also, Sarah Connell and the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks: Sarah has been a great friend, and the NULab has been an amazing resource for community and financial resources. Cara Marta Messina and Laura Johnson have also put in a great deal of work in helping to organize many NULab events and trainings. I’d also like to thank Alexia Ferracuti and the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research, which has been an excellent resource for me. Additionally, several other Northeastern faculty have aided me in my journey: Meryl Alper, Aleszu Bajak, Colin Brown, Donghee Jo, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Julia Flanders, Laura Nelson, Costas Panagopoulos, and John Wihbey.

I am also incredibly thankful for the many current and former graduate workers at Northeastern who have taken the lead in union organizing efforts. This includes Alex Ahmed, Tim LaRock, Sam Maron, Liz Polcha, and James Robinson.

Beyond NetSI, there are so many others I have yet to thank.

Jennifer Victor, an amazing scholar and mentor, who has done so much to make me feel welcomed and supported. Mirya Holman, infamous founder of the Feminist Mafia, who is such an outspoken inspiration. Samara Klar, who is an absolute delight and is the founder of Women Also Know Stuff, an invaluable force within the field of Political Science. Rebecca Gill, who has done so much to make this discipline better. Amanda Bittner, who taught me that a group of female otters is properly referred to as a “raft of bitches.” Anand Sokhey, who, among other things, taught me that the Velveteen Rabbit had no hind legs. Lori Bougher, who is the best text-buddy a girl on the academic job market can have. Haley Norris, who is going to do such great things in this discipline. Stella Biderman, who helped remind me who I am. Felicia Sullivan, the first person to tell me that I could succeed in a doctoral program. Michael Neblo, who has been so, so kind and encouraging. Betsy Sinclair, who is nothing short of a superhero. Rebekah Tromble, who was my first PolMeth discussant and is a veritable force to be reckoned with. Arthur Spirling, who I am so excited to work with following my PhD. Zander Furnas, an outstanding scholar, who also wrote my favorite tweet of all time (Fly me to the moon / and launch me into the sun”). And, of course, my personal raft/meerkat mob: Del Bharath, Devon Cantwell, Siobhan Kirkland, Hannah Lebovits, Maricruz Osorio, Kate Petrich, Natalie Rohas, Rosalie Rubio, Rachel Torres, Gabi Vitela, and Rachel Winter.

Additionally, I owe thanks to the many, many other faculty, graduate students, and otherwise academically-adjacent folks who have supported me along the way. This includes: Terese Anders, Lisa Argyle, Julia Azari, Aeshena Badruzzaman, Mike Bailey, Kevin Banda, Sarah Bernt, Jodi Beneson, Rachel Blum, Sarah Bouchchat, Amber Boydstun, Jan Box-Steffensmeier, Anna Broido, Jessica Byrnes, Ben Campbell, Kelsey Campbell, Phil Chodrow, Dino Christenson, Olga Chyzh, Aaron Clauset, Mike Colaresi, Mia Costa, Cesi Cruz, Matt Denny, Bruce Desmarais, Amanda Sahar d’Urso, Laurel Eckhouse, Ryan Enos, Justin Esarey, Emily Farris, Mike Fix, Sandra González-Bailón, Lilly Goren, Justin Grimmer, Justin Gross, Alex Hanna, Michael Heaney, Dan Hopkins, Sarah Jackson, Lorien Jasny, Nathan Kalmoe, Kris Kanthak, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Elsa Talat Khwaja, Abby Kiesa, Lorraine Klimowich, Rebecca Kreitzer, Chrissy Ladam, Hannah Lamarre, Juniper Lovato, Will Lowe, Janica Magat, David Masad, Shannon McGregor, Rachael McLellan, Burt Monroe, Laura Moses, Allison Morgan, Lucia Motolinia, Joshua Miller, Amanda Murdie, Hans Noel, Ioana Panatiu, Periloux Peay, Matt Pietryka, Cara Pina, Eric Plutzer, Jessica Preece, Tara Riggs, Molly Roberts, Pedro Luis Rodriguez, Luke Sanford, Kyle Saunders, Jessica Schoenherr, Alice Schwarze, Ian Shapiro, Yotam Shmargad, Noah Smith, Kelsey Shoub, Alexandra Siegel, Jane Sumner, Catriona Standfield, Nikki Stevens, Michelle Torres, Josh Tucker, Kim Turner, Annie Waldherr, Mike Wagner, Laila Wahedi, Joe Wasserman, Julie Wronski, Bi Zhao, and Justin Zimmerman.

On more personal notes, I am very thankful to Janet Kelley and all the wonderful members of my book club: Julia Africa, Allison Hastings, Courtney Hering, and Rebeca Salguero Palacios. Additionally, a few other dear friends who have done so much for me over the years: Jessica Byrnes, Nancy Wilson, Jamie Barret-Riley.

I am also incredibly thankful to The Training Room, my wonderful, locally-owned gym, which has done so much to keep me sane these last few years. I’d especially like to thank owner Maren Kravitz, and trainers Chris Mullins, Wes Luce, and Alex Tanskey. And an especially strong thank you to Rob Colameta. Rob has been a driving force in increasing my strength and helping me achieve the other big goal I accomplished this year: doing a single-arm, overhead, strict press with 28 kg (62 lbs). Looking forward to crushing 30 kg next.

Finally, I would like to thank my family.

Especially my incredibly supportive partner, Peter Jehlen. I’m pretty sure I would have starved to death long ago if it weren’t for him. He is funny, kind, incredibly caring, and has supported my choices to really throw myself — and continue to throw myself — into this work. I don’t know what I would do without him. He gets all the points.

Also, to my sister, Rebekka Shugars, who has supported me through so many difficult times. And to my mother, Suzanne Todd, who has worked so hard to give me the opportunities I’ve had.

Finally, I want to end by thanking my father, who I miss so much, every day. If he were here to see this, I have no doubt of what he’d say:

I hope you know that this will go down on your PERMANENT RECORD.