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.

Dr. Gina Rico Mendez from the SSRC and Dr. Sandra Guzman from Auburn University, successfully completed a Study Abroad to Bogota and Santa Marta, Colombia. The participation of MSU undergraduate students is part of the project “Study Abroad for Spanish Language and Exchange for Precision Agriculture” funded by the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA -100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Grant. The visit was reported in local news. (1) (2)

Visitors

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi hosted a meeting at the SSRC with Sara Miller MEd of Teen Health Mississippi, who is a lead on the CDC-funded Focus4Teens Initiative and Director of Community Engagement. Miller met with Ragsdale, Read-Wahidi, and SSRC GRA Kelly Lower to discuss Year 4 Focus4Teens Evaluation goals to be incorporated in the Continuation Application that will be submitted to the Centers for Disease Control in April.

Members of the SSRC participated in a meeting between MSU and Samford University held on March 27, 2018. Samford University’s goal for the meeting included discussions with MSU faculty on setting up their own undergraduate research program and having their students work with mentors at MSU. The MSU-Samford University meeting was an initiative of Provost Judy Bonner.

Survey Lab

On behalf of the Family and Children Research Unit at the Social Science Research Center, the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory is conducting a survey assessing health care access for children under five years of age in Mississippi. This study is a state-specific replication of the National Survey of Children’s Health, which is conducted across the US by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This methodologically innovative study involves a random-digit-dial, telephone-based survey of a representative sample of 1000 parents of children 0-5 years of age residing in the state of Mississippi. The primary investigator for this research is Dr. Linda Southward, Director of the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU) and co-investigators include FCRU personnel: Dr. Dustin Brown, Ben Walker, and Izzy Pellegrine. The survey administration is being directed by Dr. John F. Edwards, MAFES Research Scientist and Associate Research Professor at the Social Science Research Center.

On The Horizon

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi assisted SSRC Intern Laura Herring with the submission of an abstract for presentation at the Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, which will be held at Mississippi State University on April 13, 2018. Presentation details include:

  • Herring, L., Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., & Rico Mendez, G. (2018). Exploring Gender-Biased Customary Land Tenure in Rural Ghana: Results from Focus Groups with Men and Women Smallholder Farmers. Submitted Oral Presentation. Submitted Oral Presentation. April 13, Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mississippi State University.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi have been invited by the USAID-funded Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) to present a webinar on conducting focus groups. It will cover village setting — particularity in terms of community mobilization — but the bulk of the presentation will be for social and behavioral scientist regardless of whether they’re conducting research in the US or abroad. The one-hour webinar, Focus Groups 101: Brief Guide to Conducting Focus Groups in Village Settings, will be held on May 9th at 10am CST and information and registration is available on the SIL website at: http://soybeaninnovationlab.illinois.edu/focus-groups-101-brief-guide-conducting-focus-groups-village-settings.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi assisted SSRC Intern Taylor Yarbrough with the submission of an abstract for presentation at the Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, which will be held at Mississippi State University on April 13, 2018. Presentation details include:

  • Yarbrough, T., Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Lower, K., Feher, E., Miller, S., & Hines, M. S. (2018). Perspectives from Parents in the Mississippi Delta: How Parents Engage Teens in Sexual and Reproductive Health Communication. Submitted Oral Presentation. April 13, Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mississippi State University.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi have been invited to attend the Planning Meeting of the Aquaculture & Fisheries Innovation Lab (AFIL) Proposal Group, which will be held April 13-14 at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale has been invited by the Department of Sociology to host international visiting scholar Grace Mukwaya at a luncheon in her honor on April 4. Other guests include Dr. Melanie Loehwing (Assistant Professor, Department of Communication), Dr. Gina Rico Mendez (SSRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow) and Laura Herring (SSRC Intern). Mukwaya is the Executive Director of Platform for Labour Action (PLA), a non-governmental organization founded in 2000 to protect vulnerable and marginalized workers in Uganda – of whom the majority are women, youth, and children.

Personnel

Courtney Harris has joined the SSRC as a data analyst for Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi. A native of Tennessee, Harris earned a dual B.S., cum laude, in History and Sociology at Bethel University in 2011. She received an M.S. in Strategic Leadership from Austin Peay State University in 2013.  She has worked as a case manager for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and as a Legislative/Research Assistant and as a Legislative Intern with the Tennessee State Legislature. Harris is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Mississippi State University. Harris will be working on the CDC-funded Focus4Teens initiative and has joined Dr. Ragsdale and Dr. Read-Wahidi’s Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) team of the USAID-fund Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab.

Awards & Recognitions

Stories in recent newspapers cited data from Dr. Robert McMillen, Mississippi Tobacco Data, and the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Lab (SRL):

Dr. Cindy Bethel was the recipient of a Fullbright U.S. Senior Scholar award. A story on her award and her future plans was featured on the Mississippi State Newsroom: https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2018/03/msus-bethel-chosen-fulbright-scholar/.

A presentation by Dr. Gina Rico Mendez, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi was featured in a Soybean Innovation Lab Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/illinois/stay-up-to-date-with-the-latest-sil-news?e=1438403ce8.

Izzy Pellegrine was named Outstanding Graduate Student by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Read their spotlight on Izzy and the other outstanding women in the Maroon MEMO feature: http://www.memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=4557.

Publications & Reports
Hossfeld, L. & Rico Méndez, G. (2018). Looking for Food: Food Access, Food Insecurity, and the Food Environment in Rural Mississippi. Family and Community Health, 41(2), pp. S7-S14.

Hossfeld, L., Rico Méndez, G. & Russell, K. (2018). Accessing Government Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers. Prepared for the USDA – Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center, Alcorn State University.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M. R., Reid, A., & Swiderski, K. (2018, March). Focus4Teens YR2 Evaluation Results: Aaron E. Henry Community- and School-Based Health Centers. Teen Health Mississippi and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

Robertson, A. A., McKinney, C., Walker, C., & Coleman, A. (2018). Peer, social media, and alcohol marketing influences on college student drinking, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1431903. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/SS9yMBPQshyP2tGb9FXN/full.

Presentations, Panels & Conferences

Cossman, R. E. (2018, April 4). How Important Are Stakeholders and Can Their Impacts Be Measured? Invited plenary at the Mississippi Water Resources Conference, Jackson, MS.

On March 20, 2017, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi gave an invited presentation to graduate and undergraduate students in Dr. David Hoffman’s course, International Development, offered by the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, Mississippi State University. Dr. Ragsdale and Dr. Read-Wahidi gave an overview of their Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) results from 2014 through the present on the USAID-fund Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL). Their talked also focused on how SGER and other SIL Managed Research Areas are focused on Research for Development (R4D) outcomes:

  • Ragsdale, K. & Read-Wahidi, M. R. (2018, March 20) ‘Life is not fair, but we can make it more fair’: Assessing Gender Responsive Agricultural Development in the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab. International Development (CO 4253), Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.

Megan Stubbs-Richardson and Sierra Nelson were invited to speak at Magnolia Hall dorm by Resident Assistants on March 26th, 2018. The purpose of the event was to define and describe the nature and prevalence of sexual violence and emphasize its impact on college students and individuals in the U.S. more generally. In their presentation, they provided an overview of key definitions and statistics related to sexual violence in the context of college campuses and dispelled common myths about sexual assault while providing factual empirical information about the topic. Additionally, in their presentation, they discussed the “ins and outs” of Title IX and specific MSU policies pertaining to sexual misconduct. Lastly, their presentation addressed empowering sexual assault survivors through increasing their access to and knowledge of sexual violence resources available both on and off campus:

  • Richardson, M. & Nelson, S. (2018, March). Bulldogs Against Sexual Violence, 2018. Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.

On March 20, 2017, Dr. Gina Rico Mendez gave an oral presentation at the World Bank 19th Annual Conference on Land & Poverty. Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi are co-authors on the presentation, which is based on results from the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) SIL’s Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER) team’s “Gender Equity and Land Tenure Focus Group Discussions” conducting in August-September, 2017, among smallholder farmers in Ghana’s Northern Region. SIL is managed by the University of Illinois through support from USAID (Award No. AID-OAA-L-14-00001; P. Goldsmith, PI) and provides support to SGER at Mississippi State University (Grant No. 2013-04026-07; K. Ragsdale, PI):

  • Rico Méndez, G., Ragsdale, K. & Read-Wahidi, M. R. (2018, March). Exploring Gender-Biased Customary Land Tenure Systems in Ghana: Results from Focus Groups with Men and Women Farmers in the Northern Region. Presented at the 19th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty: Land Governance in an Interconnected World, Washington, DC. (March 19-23).

Rico Méndez, G. & Medina Frias, G. (2018, March). Agricultural Policies in Colombia: The Dilemma between Food Security and Commodity–Export Agriculture (Case Study of Tolima, Colombia). Presented at the 19th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty: Land Governance in an Interconnected World, Washington, DC. (March 19-23).

Valentine, N. & McMillen, R. (2018). Healthy Childbearing and the Role of Tobacco Control. Presentation to the 2018 Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference, Hattiesburg, MS, 23 March, 2018.

Ziogas, I. (2018, March). The Rise of European Populism: Political Extremism and the Economic Crisis. Invited speaker, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

SSRC Chronicles: March 2018
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