SSRC Spotlight: Willie Brown
Willie Brown was no stranger to the SSRC when he accepted a Research Associate I position earlier this summer. Originally from Vicksburg, Brown decided to make the SSRC his permanent home after working as a graduate research assistant in the Center for two years and completion of his master’s degree.
Since moving to Starkville in 2006, Brown has obtained his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and his master’s degree in experimental psychology from Mississippi State University. He began working for Dr. Arthur G. Cosby as a graduate research assistant in 2010.
As a graduate assistant, Brown worked on research surrounding Mississippi’s fatal crash data through FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) for the National Highway Association. This data was used to develop reports that analyzed the logistics and other factors involved with fatal crashes throughout the state of Mississippi. Information from these reports assisted with the development of interventions and Mississippi highway policies. Brown also worked with the Google N-Gram database, which downloads and archives books for research purposes.
Brown’s enjoyable experience as a research assistant ultimately led him to return as a full-time employee with the SSRC after earning his master’s degree.
“It’s good working for Dr. Cosby. He allows you to have the freedom to contribute your own ideas. If you have your own research interests, he encourages it. It’s a good, free work environment,” Brown said.
As a Research Associate I, Brown is responsible for overseeing the undergraduate research assistants’ work for Dr. Cosby.
“I try to make sure their experience is worth it, not just grunt work,” he stated.
Brown also works in the SSRC’s Innovative Data Laboratory. He is currently learning the ins and outs of social network analysis, a concept introduced at a seminar he attended in Croatia. Brown joined Dr. Cosby and other colleagues in June for the seminar, which was hosted by the SSRC in collaboration with the University of Zagreb.
Because he has only been full-time with the SSRC for a little over month, it is difficult for Brown to pinpoint his long-term goals.
“I just want to assist where I can now and hopefully I can figure that out in time,” he said.
In his free time, Brown likes to stay active and enjoys running, swimming and biking. He hopes to one day complete a triathlon. Another goal for Brown’s life?
“To glorify God in what I do, and just to lead an honest life,” he said.July 2, 2012