March 2021 Chronicles

Published by Emile Creel on


Applications are being accepted for the position of SSRC director, and the review process is ongoing. Find the application at

Awards & Recognition

Sayantani Dutta, a graduate research assistant in the STaRS Lab, placed 3rd in the 2021 Human-Robot Interaction International Conference elevator pitch competition. Read about Sayantani’s pitch at

Dr. Sheena Gardner and Dr. Randy Little, a professor in the agricultural economics department, will receive funding for a William M. White Special Project Award.

Dr. Colleen Sinclair met with staffers from the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to discuss the state of the science regarding online misinformation and radicalization on March 5th.

Taylor Ray, a graduate research assistant with the Data Science for the Social Sciences Lab, placed 1st in the Physics, Mathematics, and Computational Sciences/Engineering category at the MSU Graduate Student Research Symposium.

Robert Kolbila, a graduate research assistant with the Gender Impacts Lab, placed 3rd in the Arts and Humanities category at the MSU Graduate Student Research Symposium.

Read more about Taylor and Robert’s presentations at

New Projects

Dr. Heather Hanna will serve as principal investigator (PI) with Ben Walker as co-PI for the Mississippi Department of Human Services Market Rate Survey. The scientists will obtain feedback from child care stakeholders and use it to design and implement the survey. This project is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Dr. Sheena Gardner will serve as principal investigator for the 2020 RED Report. This report is being compiled for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Tiara Love will provide support.

In the News

Robert Kolbila and Taylor Ray’s wins at the Graduate Student Research Symposium were announced on the MSU newsroom. Read the story at

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi were featured on Agrilinks for work with the Soybean Innovation Lab and a second time for work with the Fish Innovation Lab. Find the articles at and

Dr. Ragsdale and Dr. Read-Wahidi’s work with Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish was featured in two news items on the Lab’s website. Read at and

Dr. Colleen Sinclair released a story on The Conversation. Find 7 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Misinformation Superspreader at


Rachel Adair joined the SSRC as an undergraduate research assistant in the Message Laboratory working with Dr. Holli Seitz. Rachel is a freshman Provost Scholar double majoring in Marketing and Economics.

Presentations & Conference Participation

Dr. Cindy Bethel served as general co-chair of the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction held March 9-11 virtually.

On behalf of the Survey Research Laboratory, Dr. John F. Edwards recently attended the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO). The mission of this association is to support and promote excellence in survey research conducted in academic settings. Dr. Edwards has been an active member of AASRO since 2010.

As part of her work with the PROMISE Initiative (Preventing Opioid Misuse in the Southeast), Dr. Holli Seitz of the Message Laboratory presented a training on Youth Mental Health First Aid for SSRC and university personnel on March 24.  

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M.R., Marinda, P., Pincus, L., Torell, E. & Kolbila, R. (2021). Using the Household Hunger Scale to explore food insecurity among smallscale fishers, processors, and traders at Zambia’s Lake Bangweulu: Fish4Zambia Results. Poster Presentation. 2021 Women and Gender in International Development Conference, February 23-26. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. [Virtual] 

Publications & Reports

Guttmann, K., Huber, M., Seitz, H., Flibotte, J., & Demauro, S. (2021). Goals of care discussions and moral distress among neonatal intensive care unit staff. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Robertson, M. N., Downey, L. H., Seitz, H. H., Hardman, A. M., & Buys, D. R. (2021). Rural adults’ perceived role of family members in prescription opioid misuse prevention: Implications for family-based approaches. Journal of Rural Health.

Seitz, H. H., Parker, J., Hanna, H., & Hooge, G. (2021). Evaluation of a health education intervention for rural preschool and kindergarten children in the southeastern United States: A cluster randomized trial. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9, 46-65.