August 2022 Chronicles

Published by Kinnadi Walker on

New Projects

Dr. Angela A. Robertson will lead a project to adapt the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP) curriculum for the state of Connecticut. Connecticut requires 18 hours of intervention, which mean the content will be extended and content on cannabis-impaired driving will be added. The research team will also train Connecticut impaired driver program providers on delivering the new curriculum.

Dr. Heather Hanna will serve as the principal investigator of the Mississippi Child Care Quality Support System Project: Phase II. Callie Poole, Bradley Long, and Laure Bell will also work on the project that will work closely with national technical assistance to assemble a MS Planning Committee to review best practices and develop a strategic plan for the MS QIS system. 

Project Updates 

FishFirst! Zambia’s ComFA+ Multiple Micronutrient Powder has been selected as one of ten USAID Feed the Future Technologies that will be used to beta test the join USAID and Soybean Innovation Lab’s Innovation-to-Impact (i2i) online system. Each technology team will engage with Station One of USAID’s new Product Lifecycle/Innovation-to-Impact Learning Platform and Management System. The FishFirst! Zambia technology team will include the SSRC’s Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale (Lead PI) and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi (Lead Co-PI), Washington University in St. Louis’ Dr. Lora Iannotti (International Human Nutritionist), and WorldFish Zambia’s Dr. Netsayi Mudege (Zambia PI) and Lizzy Muzungaire MS (WorldFish Project Manager). You can learn more about the i2i initiative at the USAID FTF Product Lifecycle/Innovation to Impact Management System .

The NSF Rapid Covid Emotions Project team (PI: Megan Stubbs-Richardson and Co-PIs: Sujan Anreddy and Ben Porter) recently released the COVID-19 Online Prevalence of Emotions in Institutions Database (COPE-ID). More information about the database can be found on our website:


Dr. Ronald E. Cossman, SSRC research professor, was awarded Emeritus status by Mississippi State University. The award recognizes his contributions to MSU, the Academy, and to research. 

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale has been competitively selected to participate in the ORED-sponsored program, Intensive Grant Writing Program – Phase II. The Phase II group session and individual sessions will be led by Dr. John Robertson and will be held at Mississippi State University on September 7-8, 2022. This program is designed to assist research scientists in developing competitive proposals for submission to leading funding such as NIH, NSF, and USDA.

The Message Laboratory, directed by Dr. Holli Seitz, welcomed two new graduate research assistants for the 2022-2023 academic year, Braeden Renfrow and Shelby Hall. Braeden Renfrow is a graduate student in the Department of Communication and earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. He is working with Dr. Holli Seitz on the PROMISE Initiative, and he is particularly interested in the effects that messages have on actions. Shelby Hall is a graduate student obtaining her Master’s in Agriculture Business Management. Her undergraduate degree was in Agribusiness with a concentration in policy and law and a minor in economics. Hall is working with Dr. Holli Seitz on the HappyHealthy campaign. Upon finishing her degree, she hopes to continue to work with programs that educate children about food and where it comes from.

Looking Forward

USAID has competitively selected the FishFirst! Zambia project to give a presentation during the public-facing USAID-sponsored Innovation Lab Directors Annual Meeting, which will be held on September 21, 2022, in Washington, D.C. FishFirst! Zambia’s lead research scientists include Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale (Lead PI), Netsayi Mudege (Zambia PI), and Mary Read-Wahidi (Lead Co-PI). Their project was selected among five projects submitted to USAID by the Feed the Future Fish Innovation Lab Director, Dr. Mark Lawrence. The Fish Innovation Lab is hosted at Mississippi State University, which oversees research focused on aquatic health and food security conducted by scientists at MSU and other leading universities in the U.S. and internationally. The FishFirst! Zambia team will present results from two Sensory Trials conducted at Zambia’s Lake Kariba this summer to evaluate five ComFA+-fortified traditional Zambian dishes – including ComFA+ Complementary Maize Porridge for children ages 6-23 months old. ComFA+ is a multiple micronutrient powder made from locally sourced dried fish powder and other locally sources powders. ComFA+ is used to enhance the nutrient density of traditional Zambian dish that may lack high-quality protein and key micronutrients, such as maize-based weaning porridge for children, which is a carbohydrate-dense and low-protein food.

The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory

On behalf of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) in Chicago, Illinois, the Survey Research Laboratory has begun collecting data for the 2022 Mississippi Charter School Survey.  This telephone-based survey will interview approximately 200 parents who have a child attending a charter school in Mississippi and 300 parents who have a child eligible to attend a charter school, but not enrolled in one. The purpose of this project is to provide NACSA with a better understanding of parents’ attitudes and opinions toward Mississippi’s charter schools.

Presentations & Conference Participation

Barber, S., Grady, J., & Seitz, H.H. (2022, August 4-7). Validation of a revised measure of veterinary general decision-making preference.decision-making 2022 Veterinary Student Scholars Symposium, Minneapolis, MN, United States.      

Perkins, M. (2022). Evaluation of machine learning algorithms used for classifying COVID-19 misinformation across social media platforms. Presented at the Mississippi State University Undergraduate Symposium in Starkville, MS. Poster Presentation.

Ragsdale, K., Mudege, N., Read-Wahidi, M., Muzungaire, L., Kolbila, R., Funduluka, P., & Muzungaile, T. (2022, August). FishFirst! Zambia: Lake Kariba ComFA+ Taste-Tests and Nutrition Trainings. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish Annual Meeting, August 8-10, 2022. [Virtual]

Stubbs-Richardson, M. (August 2, 2022). The Impact of Social Media in a Digital World. Presented at the Back-to-School Data Science Seminar 2022 at Mississippi State University. See:

Tate, J., Seitz, H. H., Grady, J. (2022, August 4-7). Evaluating the impact of shared decision-making on pet-owner decisions. 2022 Veterinary Student Scholars Symposium, Minneapolis, MN, United States. 

Publications & Reports

Swanson, David & Cossman, Ronald E. (In Press) “A Simple Method for Estimating the Number of Unconfirmed COVID-19 Cases in a Local Area that Includes a Confidence Interval: A Case Study of Whatcome County, Washington.” In Socio-Demographic Perspectives on the COIVD-19 Pandemic. Edited by Richard Verdugo and David Swanson. Information Age Publishing.

Davis, J. B., Outlaw, D C., Ringelmans, K. M., Kaminski, R. M., Lavretsky, P. ( August, 2022). “Low Levels of Hybridization between Domestic and Wild Mallards Wintering in the Lower Mississippi Flyway.” Ornithology,