Announcements

We are pleased to announce the upcoming Seminar on Utilizing Big Data and the Social and Policy Sciences in Split, Croatia! Faculty from Mississippi State University, George Mason University, the University of Zagreb, the University of Split, and the University of Applied Sciences VERN’ at Zagreb will lead the 5-day seminar. Participants will be provided a chance to engage with lecturers to learn and discuss research on big data in social and policy sciences. Please contact Dr. Leslie Hossfeld for any questions (lhossfeld@soc.msstate.edu). You can also learn more by visiting the SSRC webpage.

New Projects

Dr. Heather Hanna will serve as Co-Director for Mississippi KIDS COUNT 2018. The project will produce a fact book on the status of Mississippi’s children in one or more of the following areas: education, economic well-being, safety, or health; provide updates on Mississippi data indicators that can be accessed via the Mississippi KIDS COUNT website and the national KIDS COUNT Data Center, and increase the number of Mississippi-based partnerships with Mississippi KIDS COUNT. This project is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair will serve as the Principal Investigator for year 3 of the School Safety Initiative project titled: “When does rejection trigger aggression? A multi-method examination of a multi-motive model.” This three-year project seeks to seeks to integrate the multimotive model with research on the “outcast-lash-out” effect and research on intergroup conflict to identify key predictors and buffers of aggression with high schools. Drs. Rebecca Goldberg, David May, Tawny McCleon, and Mrs. Megan Richardson will all serve as Co-PIs. The project is funded by the National Institute of Justice. ​

Dr. Holli Seitz is collaborating with Dr. Jesse Grady in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine on a new project related to provider-client communication in the veterinary setting.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi will take a team of students to the Mississippi Delta in March to conduct research for the CDC-funded Focus4Teens Initiative. Students will include Kelly Lower, Katelyn Swiderski, and Taylor Yarbrough.

Survey Lab

The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory is collecting data for the Mississippi Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control. Results from this telephone-based survey will allow researchers better understand the degree to which a representative sample of 1,500 Mississippi residents: Live in smoke free homes, work in smoke free environments, understand the health risks of tobacco, dine in smoke free restaurants, talk to their children about tobacco use, etc. The project is funded by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The primary investigator for this research is Dr. Robert McMillen, Research Fellow and Professor of Psychology at the Social Science Research Center. The survey administration is being directed by Dr. John F. Edwards, MAFES Research Scientist and Associate Research Professor at the Social Science Research Center.

Awards & Recognitions

Dr. Cindy Bethel gave a speech to Congress on December 12th about the future of artificial intelligence based on her research projects at Mississippi State University. The speech was given before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation’s subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. Details of her speech and the panel were featured in multiple papers and news outlets:

  • WJLA: http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/congress-debates-the-role-of-artificial-intelligence-in-america
  • Y’all Politics: http://yallpolitics.com/index.php/yp/post/48487
  • CIO Dive: https://www.ciodive.com/news/ai-experts-caution-senate-against-heavy-regulation/512856/
  • GCN: https://gcn.com/articles/2017/12/12/government-role-ai.aspx
  • MeriTalk: https://www.meritalk.com/articles/policymakers-and-experts-debate-future-ai-policy/
  • Daily Journal: http://www.djournal.com/opinion/columnists/roger-wicker-congress-explores-future-of-artificial-intelligence/article_c39a6ff3-e879-542d-988a-0fa932a5e1a7.html

Marisa Laudadio, a research assistant in The Message Laboratory, has been accepted to the prestigious 2018 Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference for Freshmen and Sophomores. This three-day program focuses on exposing first- and second-year college students to graduate programs in public policy, career opportunities, and fellowships. The conference will be in February at Harvard Kennedy School’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Delegates will attend workshops taught by Harvard students, staff, and professors covering different policy issues, career planning strategies, resume building tips, and leadership techniques. Over 800 students from 220 different colleges and universities applied to attend the conference this year, and only 73 students were selected.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi’s work on the USAID-funded Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab was highlighted in a recent USAID Agrilinks blog: https://agrilinks.org/post/building-capacity-gendered-agricultural-research.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi’s work on the CDC-funded Focus4Teens Initiative to address teen pregnancy in the Mississippi Delta was highlighted in the Winter edition of MAFES Discovers Magazine: http://www.mafes.msstate.edu/discovers/article.asp?id=105.

The following awards were given as part of the Spring 2018 Marion T. Loftin Awards:

  • Janet Giron-Legarda: Travel support for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Chloe Parker: Travel support for the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Izzy Pellegrine: Presentation at the American Sociological Association meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Courtney Heath Windhorn: Travel support for the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Personnel

The Message Laboratory (https://commlab.ssrc.msstate.edu) welcomes two new undergraduate research assistants, Ciarra Smith and Mariah Warner. Ciarra Smith is a third-year recipient of the Provost Scholarship. Majoring in biochemistry with a minor in Philosophy, she aims to earn a master’s degree in bioethics and a doctorate in neurobiology. An active member of the Biochemistry Club, Ciarra acts as this year’s secretary and aids with the planning of the club’s own attempts at public outreach and community engagement. She is also the Editor of Nonfiction Works for MSU’s creative publication, The Streetcar. Mariah Warner is a third-year student at MSU majoring in Criminology with minors in Political Science and Business Administration. She plans to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. Mariah is a member of the Shackouls Honors College and also a recipient of the Provost Scholarship. Her research interests include racial discrimination in how it contributes to police brutality and anti-terrorism efforts. Aside from her work at the SSRC, Mariah is an Athletic Tutor in the Athletic Academic Department, works in circulation at the Reflector, and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.

Kelly Lower (below left) has joined the SSRC as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) to Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi. A native of Wyoming, Kelly earned a B.A., cum laude, in Anthropology and French at the University of San Diego in 2017. She is pursuing a Masters degree in Applied Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University. Lower will be working on the CDC-funded Focus4Teens initiative and has joined Drs. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi’s Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) team on the USAID-fund Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab.

Taylor Yarbrough (below right) has joined the SSRC as an Intern with Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi. A native of Louisville, Yarbrough is a senior at the Mississippi University for Women (MUW), where she is a Dean’s list honoree and is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health Education. Upon graduation, Yarbrough plans to pursue a Masters in Public Health (MPH). Yarbrough will be working on the CDC-funded Focus4Teens initiative and has joined Drs. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi’s Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) team on the USAID-fund Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab.

On The Horizon

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale will serve as a Reviewer for the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Program and for the Maternal and Child Health Program for the 2018 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale will serve as a Judge for the 2018 Mississippi State University Graduate Research Symposium, which will be held February 17 at The Mill.

Publications & Reports

McMillen, R., Wilson, K., Tanski, S., Klein, J., & Winickoff, J. (2018). Adult Attitudes and Practices Regarding Smoking Restrictions and Child Tobacco Smoke Exposure: 2000-2015. Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/Supplement_1/S21.

Robertson, A. A., McKinney, C., and Walker, C. S. (In Press). Peer, Social Media, and Alcohol Marketing Influences on College Student Drinking. The Journal of American College Health.

Robertson, A. A. & Walker, C. S. (In Press). Predictors of Justice System Involvement: Maltreatment and Education. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Yigit, I. & Tatch, A. “Syrian Refugees and Americans: Perceptions, Attitudes and Insights.” American Journal of Qualitative Research 1(1): 13-31.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Reid, A., & Swiderski, K. (forthcoming). Focus4Teens YR2 Evaluation: YR2 Interviews with Multi-Level Staff of Aaron E. Henry Community- and School-based Health Clinics. Mississippi First and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

Read-Wahidi, M. R., Ragsdale, K., Reid, A., & Swiderski, K. (2018, January). Focus4Teens YR2 Evaluation: YR2 Youth Serving Organization Interviews. Mississippi First and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., & Reid, A. (2017, November). Focus4Teens YR1 Evaluation: Summary Report. Mississippi First and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi and their team have developed a video for the USAID-funded Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab based on results of the Soybean Uptake and Network Survey (SUNS-Wave I), which was implemented among 832 men and women smallholder farmers in Ghana’s Northern Region in 2016:

  • Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M., Swiderski, K., & Reid, A. (January, 2018). Soybean Uptake and Network Survey Results—Ghana. Video. USAID and the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/suns+video+/15ec5bc1a9955834?projector=1.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi developed a research brief in January 2018 on the USAID-funded Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab and their Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) for posting on the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab website:

  • Ragsdale, K. & Read-Wahidi, M. (2018, January). Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab: Gender Equity Research Brief. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University. https://ssrc.msstate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Ragsdale-Read-Wahidi_SIL-MSU-1Pager_010218.pdf.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale, Mary Read-Wahidi, and Gina Rico Mendez were co-authors on the following Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab Policy Brief developed in November 2017 for posting on the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab website:

  • Ragsdale K, Read-Wahidi M, Rico Mendez G, Mubichi F, Quinhentos MDL, Findeis J, Keane R. (2017, November). WEAI+: Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index Specialized for Smallholder Soybean Farmers.

Presentations, Panels & Conferences

Abernathy, T., & Dunn, L. (2017, November). Strategies for improving student success by partnering with residence life. MAHO – Mississippi Association of Housing Officers, Starkville, Mississippi.

Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi and their team have submitted four abstracts for presentation at the 2018 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, which will be held in November in San Diego, CA. These abstracts include:

Miller, S., Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Lower, K., Yarbrough, T., Feher, E., Williams, P., Mueller, T., Tevendale, H., Brittain, A., & Koumans, E. (2018). Revitalizing Title X in Mississippi: Partnership Building with Focus4Teens, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center. Submitted Oral Presentation. 2018 APHA Annual Meeting, November 10-14, San Diego, CA.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Asigbee, M., Atiim, P., Kolbila, R., Lower, K., & Yarbrough, T. (2018). Exploring Household-Level Hunger among Smallholder Farmers in Rural Ghana: Comparing Household Hunger Scale Results across Two Large-Scale Surveys. Submitted Oral Presentation. 2018 APHA Annual Meeting, November 10-14, San Diego, CA.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Lower, K., Yarbrough, T., Feher, E., Crenshaw, H., Miller, S., Hines, M. S., Coleman, M., Mueller, T., Tevendale, H., Brittain, A., & Koumans, E. (2018). “What to Expect at Your Teen’s Healthcare Visit”: Health Communication Tools to Increase Multilevel Buy-In for Youth-Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Rural Mississippi. Submitted Oral Presentation. 2018 APHA Annual Meeting, November 10-14, San Diego, CA.

Reid, A., Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Lower, K., Yarbrough, T., Feher, E., Crenshaw, H., Miller, S., Coleman, M., Middleton, D., Mueller, T., Tevendale, H., Brittain, A., & Koumans, E. (2018). Multi-level Factors Associated with Teen Pregnancy in the Mississippi Delta: Insights from Social/Behavioral Support Providers Serving Local Youth. Submitted Oral Presentation. 2018 APHA Annual Meeting, November 10-14, San Diego, CA.

Stubbs-Richardson, M., Nelson, S., Harris, C., Haynes, S., Richardson, J., & Cosby, A. (January 2018). A Spatial Analysis of Rape Culture News Events on Twitter. Presented at the Sociologists for Women in Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kelly Lower, GRA to Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi, has an accepted abstract for presentation at the 2018 MSU Graduate Research Symposium:

  • Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Lower, K., & Yarbrough, T. (2018). CDC Focus4Teens Initiative: Focus Groups with Mississippi Delta Youth Assess Barriers to Sexual & Reproductive Health Services. Accepted Oral Presentation. 2018 MSU Graduate Research Symposium, February 17, Mississippi State University, MS.
SSRC Chronicles: December/January 2018