Welcome New Psychology Faculty!

The Department of Psychology is pleased to welcome 6 new tenure-track faculty to the University of Southern Mississippi this year! Faculty were hired to complement the reserach and training programs in Clinical, School & Experimental Psychology as well as to the Gulf Coast campus.

Dr. Mike Anestis

Michael Anestis is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 2002 and completed his graduate training at Florida State University under the mentorship of Thomas Joiner, graduating with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 2011.  He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and, upon graduation, completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Military Suicide Research Consortium. 

Michael’s research focuses on suicidal behavior, with a particular focus on the impact of emotion dysregulation on risk.  His research has included both military and civilian populations and both clinical and non-clinical participants.  Upcoming projects will test the degree to which the capacity to persist towards goals while experiencing both emotional distress and physiological pain differentiates those who engage in suicidal behavior from those who engage in other dysregulated behaviors (e.g., non-suicidal self-injury) that are driven more by a desire to reduce negative emotional experiences than by the desire to die.  This work will hopefully inform clinical practice by identifying nontraditional paths towards risk that more clearly delineate risk for one problematic outcome versus another.

Dr. Gilbert ParraGilbert Parra is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Gilbert received his B.A. in Psychology from New Mexico State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed a clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, PA. He is coming to The University of Southern Mississippi from The University of Memphis where he was an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department. His research focuses on better understanding how to reduce the negative impact of family-related stressful life experiences on the emotional health of children and adolescents.
Dr. Keith RadleyKeith Radley is an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi.  He  received his doctoral degree in School Psychology from the University of Utah in 2011.  He worked as a school psychologist at the elementary and high school levels in Granite School District, a large urban public school district in Salt Lake City, UT.  His major research focus is social skills training for individuals with a variety of disabilities, particularly children with autism spectrum disorders.  He has co-authored chapters on the neuropsychology of autism and challenging behaviors in autism.  His other research interests include parent-training, video-modeling, and interventions for challenging behaviors.

Dr. Don Sacco

Don Sacco is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He received his PhD in social psychology from Miami University in 2010.  He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship (2010-2012) from Procter & Gamble to study consumer attitudes and nonverbal behavior at the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center (Cincinnati, OH).   Dr. Sacco's framework for studying behavior is informed by social cognitive and evolutionary psychological perspectives.  Though broad, his research interests fall into three major categories: 1) causes and consequences of social inclusion and exclusion, 2) face perception and nonverbal behavior, and 3) the role of motivation in cognition and perception.
 Dr. Hans Stadthagen-Gonzalez Hans Stadthagen-Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor at The University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast campus. He is originally from Nicaragua, and has also lived in many places including Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and several States in the U.S.  He completed a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Cognitive Sciences at Rice University, Texas, in 1996. After that, he worked for five years as a field engineer on board a geophysical research ship in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and South America before deciding to pursue graduate studies. In 2001, I completed an M.Sc. in Research Methods at the University of Bristol, England,  and in 2005 he obtained his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. Upon receiving his doctorate, he was awarded an ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, and in 2006 he obtained a grant to investigate the effects of phonological neighborhood density in speech production. During this time he also carried out research related to handwritten word production. In 2007 he joined the Centre for Research on Bilingualism at Bangor University, in North Wales, U.K. There he was part of a team doing research on the interactions between bilinguals' two languages at the semantic, syntactic and morphological levels.
 Dr. Natalie Williams Natalie Williams, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Dr. Williams completed a dual Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Missouri in 2008. She received specialized training in child health during her clinical psychology residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and during her post‐doctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Prior to joining the USM faculty, Dr. Williams spent three years as an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis. Broadly defined, Dr. Williams’ research interests focus on health promotion in vulnerable pediatric populations, including children with cancer, food allergy, and obesity. Her active projects focus on the etiology, prevention, and psychological consequences of obesity during early childhood.