Side of the rotunda on the SSRC building with sunlight coming through

Awards & Recognition

Emile Creel, SSRC communication coordinator, was recognized with a Certificate of Merit at the Public Relations Association of Mississippi Annual State Conference for the 2019 Annual Report.

The SSRC’s Gender Impacts Lab‘s website – which is led by Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi – received an Award of Excellence for digital tactical materials from the PRism awards program, from Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s Annual State Conference. Dr. Terri Hernandez (Department of Communication) worked hand-in-hand with Drs. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi and directly supervised a team of Communication undergraduate students in a capstone project to develop and launch the Gender Impacts Lab website.

The Fish4Zambia Quick Start Project, lead by Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale (PI), Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi (co-PI),  and others outside the SSRC, was highlighted in the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish Year 1 Annual Summary Report. The 20-page report was submitted to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is available at

In the News

Dr. Colleen Sinclair wrote a blog for Psychology Today. Why Misinformation Goes Viral: Psychological Factors Affect the Spread of Misinformation during Crises can be found at

New Projects

Dr. Robert McMillen will serve as Principal Investigator of the “Surveillance and Evaluation Services for the Mississippi Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program” July 2020 – June 2021. The project will seek to develop and implement a system of surveillance and evaluation for programs and services administered by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Office of Tobacco Control (OTC). Mrs. Nell Valentine will serve as Co-PI on the project. This project is funded by the MSDH.

Dr. Robert McMillen will serve as Principal Investigator of the Mississippi State University site for the Richmond Center. He will devote his efforts to Richmond Center as co-investigator for the Richmond Center Administrative Core.

Dr. Ben Porter will serve as Principal Investigator on the “Highway Analytics Project.” This project will provide analytic and data management support for the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety for answering questions and preparing reports. The Mississippi Office of Highway Safety is sponsoring this project.

Dr. Megan Stubbs-Richardson will serve as Principal Investigator for a project funded by the National Science Foundation entitled “RAPID: Analyses of Emotions Expressed in Social Media and Forums During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Co-Principal Investigators include Dr. Sujan Anreddy and Dr. Ben Porter. This research project will construct a comprehensive data archive that captures, organizes, and analyzes fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger-related emotions and human behavior associated with the COVID-19 pandemic as occurring on 10-15 social media and web-based forums. The project has two core sub-studies. One is focused on identifying health disparities through Census information linked to geolocated data while the other will identify types of scams more prevalent during the pandemic. For more information, visit

Dr. Holli Seitz is a co-investigator on a recently funded project led by Dr. David Buys of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. The “PReventing Opioid Misuse In the SouthEast (PROMISE) Initiative” has received an additional two years of funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to continue work on opioid misuse and farm stress prevention in the state of Mississippi.

MS Thrive!

Team members from The Child Health and Development Project, Mississippi Thrive! participated in a conversation recorded live for the La Leche League of Metro Jackson’s Facebook audience (following of 8,000+) on July 28th. They presented brain-building Vroom Tips and other early childhood on the importance of developmental screenings and marking milestones. The recording is available at:

Throughout the month of August, team members from The Child Health and Development Project, Mississippi Thrive!  have been presenting brain building information and Vroom Tips on live stream videos to the Facebook page of Parents and Kids Magazine. The videos are available


Abigail Chase has joined the SSRC for a Directed Independent Study (DIS) with the Gender Impacts Lab under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi, and co-supervision of Dr. Hsain Ilahiane, head of the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures (AMEC). A native of West Point, Mississippi, and a member of the National Guard, Chase completed an 8-month tour of duty in Kuwait and Northern Syria in 2018-2019. For her DIS, Chase is working with Drs. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi and the SSRC Gender Impacts to contribute to FishFirst! Zambia. At Mississippi State University, Chase is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Applied Anthropology.

Michelle Cleveland accepted a position as a Project Manager on the HRSA funded Child Health and Development Project. Michelle has worked in various early childhood programs in Mississippi and Tennessee. She received her bachelor’s and master’s from Mississippi State University in human development and family sciences. She will be contributing to the project advocating for early childhood policy through research and writing.

Megan Raden has joined the Highway Analytics Project. Megan is a cognitive psychology doctoral student who will be assisting part-time with data management, data analytics, and report building for this project.

Taylor Ray has joined as a Graduate Research Assistant working on a recently funded NSF project under the direction of Dr. Sujan Anreddy. Taylor earned a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Anthropology at Mississippi State University in 2019. She is now pursuing an M.S. in Computer Science with a primary specialization in artificial intelligence and a secondary specialization in data science.

Lindsay Roberts has joined the SSRC as an undergraduate research assistant. She is a senior undergraduate student at Mississippi State University currently obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a minor in Cognitive Science. Roberts joined the SSRC in July 2020 as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Megan Stubbs-Richardson’s NSF RAPID COVID-19 project.

Dr. Ismail Yigit, data analyst Post-Doctoral associate at the SSRC, enrolled in the Data Analyst with Python track in order to gain Python skills. He has successfully completed the following certificates Data Manipulation with Pandas, Introduction to Data Visualization with Matplotlib, Introduction to Data Visualization with Seaborn, Introduction to Importing Data in Python, and Intermediate Importing Data in Python.

On the Horizon

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi are invitees to the Virtual 2020 TAQ All Grantee Meeting: Building Sustainable Health Care Delivery Systems to Address the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescents – Looking to the Future. The purpose of this meeting is to bring closure to the grantees’ five years of hard work mobilizing health centers and youth-serving organizations to partner to build coordinated systems to prevent teen pregnancy and address the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care needs of vulnerable adolescents in Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The meeting is a platform to share lessons learned, consider improvements for the future, and discuss grantee and partner strategies for sustaining gains made and continued efforts. Attendees will include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention personnel from the Division of Reproductive Health’s, grantee organization personnel – including project coordinators, training and technical assistance (TTA) providers from Teen Health Mississippi’s Focus4Teens Initiative – and grantee project evaluators – including Drs. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi from the Focus4Teens Evaluation project. The meeting will serve as an opportunity to identify grantee and partner strategies for sustaining gains made and continued improvement to teen pregnancy prevention and youth-friendly SRH care for adolescents.


Gardner, S. (2020, August). Using data to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities in MS youth courts. Presented at the DMC-RED Learning Network Virtual Meeting.

McMillen R. (August 2020). Knowledge, attitudes and practices related to COVID-19 in Mississippi. American Academy of Pediatrics’ Tobacco Consortium Summer Virtual Meeting.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M.R., & Kolbila, R. (2020, August 28). SIL’s Multi-Crop Thresher Initiative: Promoting Gender Equity and Ownership (Webinar). SIL Multi-Crop Thresher Webinar Symposium. USAID and the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab.

Read-Wahidi, M.R., & Ragsdale, K. (2020, August 26). Focus4Teens Evaluation Project – Lessons Learned: Qualitative Assessments with Mississippi Delta Parents, Teens, Health Providers and Youth-Serving Organizations. Learn. Grow. Evolve. Increasing Access for Mississippi Delta Teens — Focus4Teens Virtual Partnership Meeting.

Dr. Holli Seitz served as the featured presenter for the inaugural Bulldog Bites speaker series hosted by the Mississippi State University Alumni Association. The title of her presentation was “Using communication science to address today’s pressing health issues.”

Publications & Reports

Stubbs-Richardson, M. (2020). Responses to bullying among high-school students through the lens of general strain theory. Sociological Spectrum, 1-19.

SSRC Chronicles: August 2020
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