by Emily Pschigoda
Callie Poole’s professional endeavors have taken her nationwide and around the globe, prior to landing her back in her home state of Mississippi. SSRC Research Assistant and native of Hattiesburg and Brandon, Mississippi, Callie has always found a passion in working with children of all ages, races and cultures, even prior to working in the realm of early-childhood research.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s interesting to be able to apply my practical and direct work in this more research-oriented, behind-the-scenes way,” she said. “It has been really enjoyable and has really broadened my skill-set.”
At the start of her education, Callie stayed near her hometown to complete her undergraduate degree in psychology with minors in business, English and a concentration in human services at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She then took a position with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), where she was stationed in Sacramento, California.
Following her stint with the NCCC, Callie moved to Tucson, Arizona, to work with preschool and early elementary-age kids for the next 10 years. Through her decade-long stretch in the Grand Canyon State, Callie completed her graduate degree in elementary education with a focus in cultural studies from Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona.
Taking her knack for education international, Callie moved to Japan, where she completed her year-long student teaching. As if Japan wasn’t enough of an adventure, she also spent her summers in a rural Alaskan village of merely 300 residents, where she later spent a year directing a preschool.
Not only did Callie sharpen her educational tools in Alaska, she spent her spare time working and training as an Alaskan park ranger.
After a year and a half, Callie was ready to reenter mainland civilization. She put her psychology skills to work in Oakland, California, practicing therapeutic behavioral coaching for children at risk of psychiatric hospitalization.
“Teaching and directing preschool, coupled with the behavioral health work that I did, [was probably the most beneficial to me now]. A lot of what we do now is training childcare staff, especially directors,” Callie said. “Now, I know what I wish I had known and the training that I wish I had. Also, if the people that you’re training know that you’re experienced in the field, they can receive it more easily.”
Callie serves as a Research Associate for the SSRC, primarily assisting the Family and Children Research Unit and the Health Literacy Committee of the Child Health and Development Project: Mississippi Thrive! She also lends her skills to the evaluation team for the Partnership for Healthy Mississippi and Mississippi KIDS COUNT research team.
“[Working with children in Mississippi] matters a lot. I think, especially in Mississippi, we have one of the highest child-poverty rates. We know the effects that that has on child development and adult outcomes. When children grow into parents, it becomes an intergenerational situation. There are so many important things to put energy into. I think, when we put the energy there, it has extreme, long-term implications. I’m really glad we’re focusing on that early-childhood piece.”
When Callie returned to the Magnolia State, she reconnected with her high school sweetheart and current SSRC Systems Administrator Charlie Schloemer. Charlie and Callie married, and the couple has resided together in Starkville for the last year.
Alongside Charlie’s 12-year-old daughter, Callie and Charlie spend free time enjoying their wedding registry favorite—a kayak that allows them to soak in the pristine nature of the waterways and campsites of central Mississippi.