2017 Research Fellows

From L-R: Leslie Hossfeld, Julie Parker, Rebecca Goldberg, Ben Walker, Holli Seitz, Roberto Gallardo, Gina Rico Mendez

Leslie Hossfeld: Dr. Hossfeld joined MSU’s Department of Sociology as Professor and Head of Department in 2015. She founded and directs the Mississippi Food Insecurity Project that examines and documents food insecurity and food access in the Global South. Her current research focuses on local food systems development and food access in Mississippi.

Julie Parker: Dr. Parker is an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Sciences at MSU. She currently has a research and teaching appointment, as well as an Extension grant. Her background in pedagogy for early childhood professionals and developmental and physical well-being for young children with and without disabilities are central to her research and service. She has served as PI or co-Investigator on several grants that focus on specific needs of children with disabilities, as well as authored or co-authored several publications that relate to children’s well-being and development.

Rebecca M. Goldberg: Dr. Goldberg is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations at MSU. She is the Co-Director of the Social Relations Collaborative and the resident scientist-practitioner. Goldberg is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, and a Certified Grief Counselor. Her research interests include relational aggression, gender, marriage and family therapy, social influence and interpersonal relationships, human-animal bond and animal-assisted therapy, and grief counseling.

Ben Walker: Mr. Walker is a Research Associate at the SSRC. He works under Dr. Linda Southward in the Family and Children’s Research Unit where he conducts applied demographic research on the health and well-being of children and families in Mississippi. Walker is currently working as a data analyst on the W.K. Kellogg funded Mississippi Data Project which aims to deliver data concerning the health, education, and economic well-being of Mississippi’s children and families to Kellogg grantees and state level agencies. His research interests as a doctoral student include social demography, medical sociology, and health inequality.

Holli Hitt Seitz: Dr. Seitz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication with a joint appointment in the SSRC. She was a 2007 Presidential Management Fellow and worked as a social media specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her research interests include message effects, cancer communication, and using communication to achieve health equity.

Roberto Gallardo: Dr. Gallardo is an Associate Extension Professor of the MSU Extension Service. He is interested in local and regional rural community economic development, including use of technology. He spearheads the efforts of the MSUES Intelligent Community Institute that helps rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in the digital age.

Gina Rico Mendez: Dr. Rico Mendez, originally from Colombia, is a Postdoctoral Associate in the SSRC. Her Fellowship is jointly funded by the SSRC and Department of Sociology. She is currently researching food systems and food security, with interests in the Political Economy of Food Security, Development Studies, Political Institutions and Social and Political Networks. More specifically, her work examines the consolidation of state legitimacy in non-industrialized nations given transformations in the food security narrative.

(Unpictured): Anne Buffington: At the SSRC, Buffington has served as a researcher, program evaluator, and technical writer on numerous federal, foundation, state, and intramurally funded research grants. She has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and final reports, and has synthesized and disseminated results through dedicated websites and other outlets. For the last 2 years, Buffington has directed the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s policy work on chronic absence in Mississippi’s public schools. She also developed and implemented the EMPOWR study, which is funded by the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi.