Dr. McMillen directs Pathfinders, a research and intervention program designed to improve retention, academic performance, and graduation rates for MSU freshman. This award-winning program has been highly successful and has provided data for several dissertations and theses.
Dr. McMillen has been a nominee for the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford University and the associate director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan. He has also received the MSU Alumni Association Award for Service.
Dr. Ty Abernathy joined the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) in August 1998 as a research assistant working with the Freshman Academic Success Project (currently called Pathfinders). He has a joint-appointment with the SSRC and the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology (DCEP).
His research in the SSRC focuses on the dispositional and situational factors that influence the academic and social success of freshman students, and how these factors impact retention and graduation rates. He has been involved with research surrounding the performance of freshman students since 1996. His research has appeared in The Marketing Management Journal, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, and International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing.
Dr. Abernathy works with Residence Life Academic Assistants and other partners on campus to ensure the program is running smoothly.
Nell Valentine is a graduate of Mississippi State University and holds
a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. Since 2002, she has
coordinated the Mississippi Youth Tobacco Survey, which provides the
state with the data needed to design, implement, and evaluate
comprehensive tobacco control programs. Nell is also the project
coordinator for the Mississippi Tobacco Data Unit and works with the
Pathfinders program examining freshman retention.
Ms. Valentine provides data and technical support to the Pathfinders program.
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