December 2022/January 2023 Chronicles

Published by Kinnadi Walker on

New Projects
Dr. Sheena Gardner will serve as an evaluator for the “Alliance Evaluation II.” Dr. Gardner will review the logic model and other processes and will develop reports of project activities. This work is sponsored by the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Dr. Robert McMillen will serve as Principal Investigator for  “Smoke-Free Policy Disparities and Outcomes in Rural Communities in Southern States.”  The University of Kentucky College of Nursing and National Institutes of Health are sponsoring this project.

In the News

Researchers at the SSRC participated in Early Childhood Capital Day. Learn about the event at 

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale co-wrote a piece for the Fish Innovation Lab’s website about a local advocate for the benefits of fish consumption for mothers & children. Read at

Looking Ahead
In February, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi, and Robert Kolbila MA (PhD candidate, MSU Department of Sociology) will join their WorldFish Zambia colleagues, Dr. Netsayi Mudege, Lizzy Muzungaire MSc, and Keagan Kakwasha in attending and giving an invited oral presentation at the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish 2023 Annual Meeting, which will be held in New Orleans, LA on February 27-March 1.

Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory

The Survey Research Laboratory is collaborating with researchers from The University of Mississippi Medical Center to conduct a repeat measure of a COVID-19 survey first administered in 2021. The data collection in Mississippi is part of a nationwide research effort led by the National Institutes of Health titled, “Community Engagement Alliance.” The purpose of this research is to measure the health conditions and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines by minority populations. This telephone-based survey will focus on members of three population groups in Mississippi: Black Mississippians, Latinx Mississippians, and members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Personnel News
Makayla Smith, an undergraduate student in MSU’s Department of Sociology, has rejoined the SSRC’s Gender Impacts Lab as an Undergraduate Research Assistant during Spring 2023 through the ADI-ORED Undergraduate Research Scholars program. Makayla is being mentored by Drs. Mary Read-Wahidi and Kathleen Ragsdale, and her position is supported by an initiative of the Office for Research and Economic Development (ORED) and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI). The ADI-ORED Undergraduate Research Scholar program engages undergraduate students in meaningful research experiences in centers through Mississippi State University. Originally from Georgia, Smith is a junior majoring in Sociology. 

Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program

On January 25-27, Dr. Blythe McCance, Chuck Dawkins, and Billy Brister of MASEP attended a conference of the Mississippi Association of Justice Court Clerks that was held in Oxford. Billy Brister served on a DUI discussion panel along with other members from the Department of Public Safety, the Attorney Generals Office, and the Mississippi Prosecutors Association.

Presentations & Conference Participation

Dr. Heather Hanna, Bradley Long, Callie Poole, & Heather Martin served on the planning committee for Early Capitol Day and attended the event. Learn more about the day at

Martin, H. (2022, December) Using Vroom App Data and QR Code Tracking to Evaluate Community Response. Presented at Campaign For Grade Level Reading Area Cohorts.    

Heather Martin and Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas participated as panelists at the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi annual “Tapping into our Potential” summit (Jackson, MS, January 18, 2023). The panel session highlighted programming in early childhood resources across Mississippi, shared ‘on the ground’ work in communities across the state and discussed some opportunities in addressing challenges. Other panelists were Erin Ramsey, Senior Manager, Mind in the Making at Families and Work Institute and Dan Torres, Senior Program Manager, Bezos Family Foundation.  

Read-Wahidid, M., Ragsdale, K., & Kolbila, R. (2022, December). Why Gender in Ag Matters: What’s In It for You? Invited  Oral Presentation. USAID Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab, SIL 3.0 Research Retreat, St. Louis, MO.