Our Team

Arthur G. Cosby, PhD

William L. Giles Distinguished Professor

Ben Porter, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Charlie Schloemer

Systems Administrator

Cindy L. Bethel, PhD

Interim Director of the SSRC & Professor

Delma Nieves-Rivera

Graduate Research Assistant

Ed Swan, PhD

Professor

Gina Rico Mendez, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

John F. Edwards, PhD

Co-Director of DS3 Laboratory, Associate Research Professor

Karissa Bergene, M.P.A.

Research Associate

Megan Stubbs-Richardson, PhD

Co-Director of DS3 Laboratory, Assistant Research Professor

Shelby Gilbreath

Senior Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sujan Ranjan Anreddy, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Taylor Ray

Graduate Research Assistant

Viswadeep Lebakula

Big data-ML Architect, Graduate Research Assistant

Arthur G. Cosby, PhD

William L. Giles Distinguished Professor

Dr. Cosby is a team member of the Data Science for Social Sciences Laboratory (DS3).  His current research is following a number of substantive pathways that benefit from data science innovations.  With a group of colleagues, he is investigating the acceleration of human population along the coast of the earth based on the capabilities inherent in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s LandScan data.  With another group, he is researching the place-based social determinants of human mortality in the United States using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Compressed Mortality File.  He is also collaborating with projects that are informed by such data sources as Twitter, Google Trends and Google N-grams. 

Ben Porter, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Ben Porter is an Assistant Research Professor at the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University. He holds a PhD from University of Houston in Social Psychology where he studied positive psychology in relation to romantic relationship functioning. Ben’s recent research has focused on various health and occupational outcomes of military service members and veterans. He has extensive training and experience in advanced data analytics including latent trajectory analysis, missing data theory, and using data with complex structures. He is the PI of a grant providing analytic services to the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety and Co-PI on a National Science Foundation funded project examining scams and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  

Charlie Schloemer

Systems Administrator

Mr. Charlie Schloemer is the Systems Administrator at SSRC, helping to guide the design and implementation of DS3's computers, networks, and data security.  He has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Cindy L. Bethel, PhD

Interim Director of the SSRC & Professor

Cindy L. Bethel, Ph.D. (IEEE and ACM Senior Member) is the interim director for the Social Science Research Center, a professor in the computer science and engineering department and holds the Billie J. Ball Endowed Professorship in Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU). She was the 2019 U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar sponsored by the University of Technology Sydney. She is the Director of the Social, Therapeutic, and Robotic Systems (STaRS) lab and a Research Fellow with the MSU Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Human Performance Group, and the MSU Social Science Research Center. She is a lifetime member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers in the Bagley College of Engineering at MSU. She also was awarded the 2014-2015 ASEE New Faculty Research Award for Teaching. Cindy was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Computing Research Association. She was also named by Analytics Insight as one of the "Worlds 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics." She has been active in her professional research community serving on the Steering Committee for the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). She will serve as the upcoming General Co-Chair for the HRI Conference in 2021 in Boulder, CO. She was an NSF/CRA/CCC Computing Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Robotics Laboratory at Yale University. From 2005 - 2008, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was the recipient of the 2008 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Graduate Fellowship. She graduated in August 2009 with her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of South Florida. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Her research focuses on applications associated with robotic therapeutic support, information gathering from children, and the use of robots for law enforcement, search and rescue, and the military.  

Delma Nieves-Rivera

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Delma Nieves-Rivera is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Social Science Research Center (SSRC). She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Computer Science at Mississippi State University. Her research interests include Machine Learning, Game Theory and Multi-Agent Systems.

 



Ed Swan, PhD

Professor

Dr. J. Edward Swan II is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Mississippi State University.  He holds a B.S. (1989) degree in computer science from Auburn University and M.S. (1992) and Ph.D. (1997) degrees in computer science from Ohio State University, where he studied computer graphics and human-computer interaction.  Before joining Mississippi State University in 2004, he spent seven years as a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Swan's research has centered on the topics of augmented and virtual reality, perception, human-computer interaction, human factors, empirical methods, computer graphics, and visualization.  Currently, he is studying the perception and technology required to give virtual objects definite spatial locations, including depth and layout perception and depth presentation methods, as well as empirical techniques for evaluating and validating visualizations.  His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the Office of Naval Research.  Dr. Swan is a member of ACM, IEEE, the IEEE Computer Society, and ASEE.  In 2017 and 2018, he served as Interim Department Head of Computer Science and Engineering at Mississippi State University.

 

Gina Rico Mendez, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Gina Rico Mendez is a Research Assistant Professor and Research Fellow at the Mississippi State University-Social Science Research Center. Prior to her current appointment, she was the Developmental Evaluator of the USAID-funded Complexity-Aware Monitoring and Evaluation (C-AME) of the Reconciliation Activity in Colombia. Her research focuses on the analysis of food systems, rural development, and gender and social inclusion. She has more than ten years of experience working with communities, public organizations, and academic institutions in Latin America, North America, and Africa in areas such as evidence-based Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL), policy, and institutional/systems analysis. Dr. Rico Mendez received a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Habitat (Human Settlement Studies) from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She completed her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration at Mississippi State University under a Fulbright scholarship. ORCID iD https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8021-6981.   

John F. Edwards, PhD

Co-Director of DS3 Laboratory, Associate Research Professor

Dr. John F. Edwards directs the Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) at the Social Science Research Center. The SRL conducts telephone, web, mail, and mixed mode surveys with respondent pools ranging from small targeted groups to large scale, probability-based, national samples of the general population. The survey projects cover a broad range of research topics such as healthcare, education, behavioral risk factors, children’s wellbeing, quality of life, consumer satisfaction, disaster response, and the state of the economy. For telephone-based surveys, Dr. Edwards manages a state-of-the-art call center with 30 interviewer stations and 70 employees. The laboratory utilizes a robust CATI (computer-assisted-telephone-interviewing) system and the data collection process is based on rigorous sampling methodology. The SRL’s client base includes: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, in addition to numerous NGOs, state level agencies, and private sector businesses. During his tenure as director of the SRL, Dr. Edwards has led the data collection efforts for over 300 research projects.

 Dr. Edwards regularly collaborates with other scientists to continuously explore emerging datasets. Most recently, he has been involved in a number of interdisciplinary efforts to provide researchers with access to social media data as a source of public communications related to specific events or research topics. In addition to his research activities, Dr. Edwards has taught courses in Measurement and Evaluation, Behavioral Science Writing, and Personality Theory for the Educational Psychology Department at Mississippi State University.

 Dr. Edwards received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Loyola University in New Orleans, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Orleans, a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Mississippi State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology from Mississippi State University.

 

Phone

(662) 325-2689

Karissa Bergene, M.P.A.

Research Associate

Ms. Bergene is a Research Associate at the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) and Ph.D.student in Public Policy and Administration at Mississippi State University. Before starting at theSSRC, she worked in local government, state government, and intellectual property. She holds aMaster of Public Administration Degree and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degreefrom Appalachian State University. Ms. Bergene’s current research interests include 21st centurypublic policy issues, organizational behavior, international management, and crime.

 

Megan Stubbs-Richardson, PhD

Co-Director of DS3 Laboratory, Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Megan Stubbs-Richardson is an Assistant Research Professor at the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) of Mississippi State University. She co-directs the Data Science for Social Sciences Laboratory at the SSRC and is leading one of the missions of the laboratory to identify victimization patterns via social media analytics. Megan has been a PI or Co-PI on projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Department of Defense (DoD). She has been conducting social media data analyses at the SSRC since 2012. In her research, she uses open source data to identify crime patterns and trends for gender-based violence and crime prevention techniques. She is currently leading a team to identify negative emotions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as exposure to types of scams using 10-15 social media and forum platforms for an NSF funded project.

   

Shelby Gilbreath

Senior Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ms. Shelby Gilbreath is an Undergraduate Research assistant working for the Social Science Research Center. She is currently a senior at Mississippi State University and is pursuing a degree in Criminology. Her research interests are violence against women, aggression, PTSD, social psychology, feminist theory, and sexual violence. 

Sujan Ranjan Anreddy, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Sujan Anreddy joined SSRC in January 2018 as a computer specialist, and after completion of his PhD, he was named an assistant research professor. He currently works on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded project, “Child Health and Development Project” where he is designing and managing an integrated database that links educational records from MS Department of Education (MDE) with health records from the Division of Medicaid and the Mississippi State Department of Health. As part of managing this integrated database, he deals with technical issues related to system maintenance and data quality such as integration, consistency and integrity and provides support to data analysts. Additionally, given his expertise in data visualization, he provides the SSRC with the capacity to develop data dashboards and interactive visualizations.He holds a doctorate degree in Computer Science from Mississippi State University with a specialization in data visualization. His expertise and research interests include applying, and evaluating machine learning algorithms, building visual patterns using interactive visualization techniques to help analysts explore, identify, and comprehend big data features at multiple levels.

 

Taylor Ray

Graduate Research Assistant

Taylor Ray currently serves as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at the SSRC, where she works alongside Dr. Sujan Anreddy, and the rest of the interdisciplinary team on the center’s project related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project seeks to understand negative emotions experienced throughout the pandemic by utilizing sentiment extracted from social media posts across varying platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others). Additional project goals include analysis of scams that are inherent to and present within social media, especially when misinformation can be used maliciously upon vulnerable groups. Taylor’s major contributions toward the project include tasks such as writing programming scripts to obtain the COVID-related social media data, managing the database used to store retrieved data, aiding in the dissemination of the data to the public, and any other needs that are computational in nature.Taylor earned a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Anthropology (cum laude) at Mississippi State University in 2019. She is now pursuing a M.S. degree in Computer Science with a primary specialization in artificial intelligence and a secondary specialization in data science.

Viswadeep Lebakula

Big data-ML Architect, Graduate Research Assistant

Mr. Viswadeep Lebakula, is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Mississippi State University. He joined SSRC in 2018 as a Graduate research assistant and worked on projects related to estimating coastal population of world and continents using Landscan datasets and applying ML (CNN and LSTM) to estimate population based on Night Time Light data. Currently working in DS3 Laboratory as a Big data-ML Architect, his responsibilities include building and maintaining Hadoop cluster, implementing ML tools like Sentiment analysis for twitter data and developing pipelines for deploying ML techniques on Cluster. His area of interest includes ML, Data Science and Computer Vision.

  



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