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Batastini Earns Public Service Award from APA

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 16:40pm | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Ashley BatastiniThe American Psychology Association (APA) has named Dr. Ashley Batastini, an assistant professor in The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Psychology, recipient of the "Psychologists in Public Service Early Career Achievement Award" through its Division 18 - Psychologists in Public Service.

Qualifying recipients of this recognition are early career psychologists (within first 10 years of graduation) demonstrating exemplary commitment to public service psychology, with a focus on underserved populations; and who have made outstanding contributions to public service psychology through research, teaching, program development, and/or clinical practice.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Dr. Batastini joined the USM faculty in 2015 after earning her Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. Her areas of expertise include counseling psychology, psychodiagnostic testing, correctional psychology, and forensic psychology. She is also a licensed psychologist in Mississippi.

“I’m incredibly honored that my colleagues and peers within the Division thought me worthy enough to be nominated for, let alone receive, such an award,” Dr. Batastini said. “They’re a huge reason why I strive to be a better researcher, mentor, and psychologist.”

Dr. Batastini’s current research focuses primarily on the intersection between the mental health and criminal justice systems. She is involved in a number of projects aimed at exploring and developing innovative ways to reduce the risk of future criminal conduct, and is lead developer of an evidence-based treatment program for inmates in restricted housing ( Her research team is also partnering with University of Mississippi Medical Center Telehealth to provide psychological care to rural jails in the state, and was awarded an extramural grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to initiate and evaluate these services.

Along with her colleague Dr. Melanie Leuty, Dr. Batistini was recently awarded a Lucas Endowment Award from USM for a project examining personal and contextual barriers to employment for community supervised offenders, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“I’m motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of people who find themselves stuck in the criminal system, and in the communities impacted by their choices,” Dr. Batastini said. 

The USM School of Psychology is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. For more information about the School and Dr. Batastini’s work at USM, visit