SSRC Introduces Research Fellows and New Labs

SSRC Introduces Research Fellows and New Labs

SSRC Introduces Research Fellows and New Labs

By Emile Creel on
Group photo of research fellows recognized


STARKVILLE, MS—The Social Science Research Center recently named new Research Fellows and introduced three research laboratories at a fall luncheon event.

At the event on Tuesday, November 1, eleven new fellows were inducted. This year’s fellows have backgrounds in the fields of education research, data science, health promotion, health marketing, linguistics, evaluation, and agriculture economics.

“This year’s cohort of SSRC Research Fellows represents the broad range of research and scholarship at the SSRC.  We are excited to recognize the scholars that are collaborating with the SSRC on new education initiatives and in long-standing areas of research excellence such as demography and public health” said Devon Brenner, SSRC director.

Each year the SSRC names a new cohort of scholars who are recognized for their contributions to research and collaborations with the center. Many are partners on SSRC projects, assist or operate research laboratories at the center, or support with ongoing work.

Additionally, at this event the SSRC recognized three additions to the labs and research programs that comprise the center. First, Heather Hanna, an assistant research professor, detailed the mission and goals of the Systems Change Lab. Hanna directs the lab that seeks to facilitate solutions to complex societal problems through data analysis, policy research, training, and systems change methodologies.

Next, Megan Stubbs-Richardson, an assistant research professor, introduced the Data Science for the Social Sciences (DS3) lab that she directs. The DS3 team’s mission is to apply data science techniques and methods to social science research across a variety of big data sources including open-source data, such as social media content and images.

Finally, SSRC Director Devon Brenner shared details about the projects and work of the Rural Education: Research and Initiatives lab. The team is currently working on a National Science Foundation project that studies teacher retention and preparation. Additionally, Brenner oversees the Mississippi Education Policy Fellowship Program and chairs the Whippoorwill Book Award for Rural Young Adult Literature.

“For over 70 years, the SSRC has been at the forefront of research to address the most crucial problems and concerns for people living in Mississippi and our region and nation. These new labs represent renewed commitment to understanding our complex and changing world and using evidence and outreach to support policy and practice in a variety of domains.”

The event was attended by friends of the center and faculty, staff, and administration from Mississippi State University. Keith Coble, vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine; Julie Jordan, vice president of the Office of Research and Economic Development; and Scot Willard, director of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, all delivered remarks.

To learn more about any of the research at the SSRC, visit

The newly inducted fellows include

  • Sujan Anreddy — assistant research professor at the SSRC.
  • David Buys – associate extension and research professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion
  • Devon Brenner — a professor of teacher education in the College Education and the director of the Social Science Research Center
  • Lourdes Cardozo Gaibisso — assistant professor in the Department of English
  • Will Davis– assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Dana Franz — professor of mathematics teacher education in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education and director of academic quality at MSU
  • Viswadeep Lebakula — a research and development associate in geoinformatics engineering in the geospatial science and human security division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Diana Outlaw — associate professor in the Department of Biology and program manager on the Teacher Preparation for Rural STEM Teacher Persistence and Retention, housed at the SSRC
  • Daniel Petrolia — professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Richard Thomas — vice president of health and performance resources in Memphis, TN
  • Carol Cutler White — assistant professor and founder the Community College Advocacy Lab in the Department of Educational Leadership.