The Center for Black Studies strives for excellence in research and teaching. Faculty
affiliates have numerous publications in civil rights history, race in media, southern
cultural studies, Black musical traditions, educational inequality, Jim Crow politics,
gender studies, and African American literary studies. Affiliates develop popular
courses based on their interdisciplinary research that attract students to the Black
Leslie A. Anderson, Ph.D.
Leslie A. Anderson, Ph.D., LMFT is a Family Scientist, Family Therapist, and Assistant
Professor of Child and Family Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Dr. Anderson earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis
in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Georgia. Her research broadly
focuses on Black American familial processes and specifically, their processes of
racial socialization. Her scholarship is rooted in a commitment to social justice
and undergirded by Critical Race Theory. In her clinical work, she is intentional
about practicing as a culturally responsive practitioner with underrepresented and
underserved groups. She has 10+ years of experience providing community and home-based
behavioral health services to impoverished and rural families in MS and GA.
Andrew Gutkowski, Ph.D.
Gutkowski is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, where
he teaches courses in Environmental Justice, Social Advocacy, and Black Studies. He
has a Ph.D. in History from the University of South Carolina (2020) with concentrations
in Modern U.S., African American, and Environmental History. His current book project
explores how post-war struggles over civil rights and industrial pollution in the
U.S. South shaped the uneven distribution of environmental hazards – toxic waste facilities,
Superfund sites, brownfields – that defines much of the region’s industrial landscape
today. His research has recently been published in The Journal of American History.
Being an affiliated staff with the Center for Black Studies will help to not only improve the services our office provides, but also offer the opportunity for collaborations on topics of mutual interest.Valencia Walls
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Walls holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Education, both from USM. She has worked in student development for almost 20 years. Her career honors include the Outstanding Staff Award from the USM Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Outstanding Service Award from the Hattiesburg National Pan- Hellenic Council; Advisor of the Year Award by the USM Office of Leadership and Student Involvement; 2011 Greek Hall of Fame Inductee; Outstanding Service Award from the Southern Miss Alumni Association, and the John Hope Franklin Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc- Mu Gamma Lambda Chapter. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Hard-work never failsAbrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi ' 23
Meet Abrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi
Abrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi, MPH, BDS is the first official Graduate Assistant in the Center for Black Studies. She has a Master's Degree in Public Health majoring in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor's degree in Dentistry from Mamata Dental College. She worked as an Intern in the Mississippi INBRE on Vaccine Hesitancy Project for which she received a 2nd place for Poster Presentation in the 85th MPHA Annual Public Health Conference with her co-intern. Her research on the Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude and Practices towards Covid-19 in Health-care students which was a Cross-Sectional Study was published in 2021. Her future research goal is to work on Association between Migraine and Trigeminal Neuralgia. She participates actively in all campus events.
Mario Marset, '20
• Major: Sociology
For Mario Marset, ’20, Black Studies emphasized the importance of exploring the ways in which perception of race and ethnicity may be determinants for outcome differences for immigrants, including asylum seekers and other displaced communities.
Alyssa Bass, ’20
• Major: News-Editorial Journalism
For Alyssa Bass, ’20, Black Studies emphasized the importance of learning history, framing Black people as change agents, and recognizing everyone in the African Diaspora.
Jonathan Puckett, ’20
• Major / Minor: English, History / Black Studies
Jonathan Puckett, ’20, was writing his Honors thesis on the literature of Pauline Hopkins, an African American writer and activist-intellectual from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Naturally, the Black Studies minor enhanced his thesis by grounding it in existing scholarly discussions.