SSRC building with cloudy sky


The Social Science Research Center will hold its annual Open House on Thursday, October 17th at 5:30 p.m. The event will take place in the Courtyard of the Mississippi Technology Center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology, and Economic Development Park. The Open House will be highlighted by the introduction of the new SSRC Research Fellows.


Dr. Melanie Loehwing of the Civic Life Lab was awarded the National Communication Association’s 2019 Diamond Anniversary Book Award for her recently published book, Homeless Advocacy and the Rhetorical Construction of the Civic Home (Penn State University Press, 2018). Given annually, the award honors the most outstanding scholarly book(s) published during the previous two years. Read a news story recognizing Dr. Loehwing here.

New Projects

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi have been notified of the award of the Focus4Teens Evaluation – Year 5 project. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with support from Teen Health Mississippi, this is the final year of this five-year evaluation project focused on teen pregnancy prevention efforts and evaluation in the Mississippi Delta.

Dr. Heather Hanna and Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas will serve as Co-Principal Investigators for year 3 of the “HRSA Early Childhood Developmental Health System: Implementation in a High Need State.” This project sees the SSRC working with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to improve child health by building a statewide system of early childhood development screenings and interventions. The project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration and UMMC.

Survey Lab

On behalf of the Mississippi Thrive! project at the Social Science Research Center, the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory is conducting a survey of health care providers’ opinions and practices around developmental health promotion, screening, and referral resources. This web-based survey of approximately 3,500 healthcare providers includes pediatricians, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners across the state of Mississippi. The primary investigators for this research are Drs. Heather Hanna and Connie Baird-Thomas. The survey instrument was constructed by the Mississippi Thrive! survey subteam, which includes Dr. Dustin Brown, Ben Walker, and Izzy Pellegrine. Survey administration is being directed by Izzy Pellegrine, project manager for the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory at the MSU Social Science Research Center.


On September 11-13th, Billy Brister, Director of MASEP Operations, Dr. Blythe McCance and Chuck Dawkins, MASEP Field Staff Specialists, attended the Mississippi Municipal Court Clerks fall training held in Biloxi, MS. This training was conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College. On Thursday, September 12th, Billy Brister made a presentation on the proper methods of ordering an individual to the MASEP class.

On Saturday, September 21st, the fourth Motivational Interviewing training session for MASEP facilitators was held in Brandon, MS. The training was conducted by Dr. Blythe McCance with the assistance of MASEP facilitators Jennifer Kibbodeaux, Dr. Pat Brawley, and Dr. Raymond Richmond. Those facilitators in attendance were: Walter Armstrong (Natchez); Robert Baysinger (Meridian); Greg Bedford (Pontotoc); Ken Brown (Florence & Canton); Jimmy Cook (Madison); Frank Finnegan (Brandon & Madison); Judi Hamilton (Philadelphia & Forest); Janice Lee (Brandon & Clinton); William Lucy ( Meridian); Tim Rigby ( Forest); Nelson Tate (Jackson &Canton); Jamie White (Clinton); Shane Williams (Meridian). Also in attendance were Amanda Gochanour of MASEP Research and Development and Billy Brister.


Madeline Enlow has joined the Message Laboratory, a communication research lab under the direction of Dr. Holli Seitz, as an undergraduate research assistant. Madeline is a second-year Provost Scholar studying Communication with a focus in Public Relations. Madeline’s research interests include the use of social media in politics, healthcare reform, poverty in schools and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Laura Ingouf has returned to the SSRC as an undergraduate intern for Fall 2019, where she will work with the SSRC Gender Impacts Lab led by Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi. A Presidential Scholar at MSU, Laura is an anthropology major and accompanied Dr. Ragsdale to rural Zambia’s Lake Bangweulu to conduct Fish4Zambia this summer. During her SSRC internship, Laura will contribute to the SSRC Gender Impacts Lab’s projects for the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, and Teen Health Mississippi.

As the Social Science Research Center’s system’s administrator, Charlie Schloemer’s job could easily go unnoticed. Spending most of his time behind the scenes, Schloemer’s service is the source that allows all other employees to tackle their tasks. Read more of Shloemer’s story in our latest Spotlight!


Julie Sweetland and Clara Gibbons from the FrameWorks Institute, who serve as consultants to the Child Health and Development Project:  MS Thrive!, met with project principal investigators and health literacy workgroup members in Canton, MS on September 10-11, 2019. The purpose of the visit was to develop a communications strategy for the project, including strategic goals with planning grids for each goal, framing considerations, key messaging for specific audiences (including early childhood professionals such as childcare providers and home visitors, pediatric health care professionals, families, policymakers, and advocates), and a “big picture” Message House for the project.

On the Horizon

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Dr. Pamela Marinda (University of Zambia), Dr. Elin Torell (University of Rhode Island) and Joanna Springer (RTI International) have been invited to give a 60-minute webinar, Talent is Universal; Opportunity is Not: Why Gender Equity and Youth Inclusion are Vital for Aquaculture and Fisheries Development, by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish. The webinar is slated to take place in late October.

Presentations, Panels & Conferences

Stubbs-Richardson, M., Barranco, R. E., Brink, J. N., Nelson, S. L., Johnson, T. A., Reid, A. L., Stokes, E., & May, D. C. (2019). Not your typical social media influencer: Exploring the Who, What, and Where of Islamic State Online Propaganda. Presented at the Southern Criminal Justice Association conference in Nashville, TN.

As part of the PReventing Opioid Misuse In the SouthEast (PROMISE 2.0) Initiative, led by Dr. David Buys, Dr. Holli Seitz recently conducted Mental Health First Aid training for faculty and staff at East Mississippi Community College.

Marinda, P., & Ragsdale, K. INVITED SPEAKER. Talent is Universal; Opportunity is Not: Why Gender Equity and Youth Inclusion are Vital for Aquaculture and Fisheries Development. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, Virtual Platform Meeting, Mississippi State University, September 27, 2019.

SSRC Chronicles: September 2019
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