The Mississippi Urban Research Center employees hold degrees on the bachelor’s through doctoral levels, as well as discipline-specific national certifications.  Staff members also possess a wide range of expertises and career experiences in the public, private, governmental sectors and non-profit sectors.


Dr. Sam Mozee Sr.

Dr. Sam Mozee, Jr., Director at the Mississippi Urban Research Center, earned the doctor of philosophy degree in public policy and administration from Jackson State University. Dr. Mozee’s dissertation research focused on examining job training programs in minority communities.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from JSU. Dr. Mozee has received specialized training in research, public policy, and community and economic development at the University of Oklahoma, University of Southern Mississippi, Carnegie-Mellon University, and the RAND Corporation’s Pardee Graduate School.  Dr. Mozee has more than 20 years of experience working  in research and planning organizations; state and local governmental units, and local non-profits. Dr. Mozee tenure at MURC started in September 2004.

Phone: (601) 979-4204


Associate Director for Research

Dr. Melinda Todd

Dr. Melinda Todd., Associate Director for Research at the Mississippi Urban Research Center, holds a doctor of public health degree from Jackson State University’s School of Public Health. Her dissertation research addressed parents of children with autism and their access to support groups.  Additionally, Dr. Todd holds a Master’s degree in public health with a concentration in health education and health promotion from JSU, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mississippi College. Dr. Todd is a Master Level Certified Health Educator (MCHES®) and is a certified prevention manager (CPM). Dr. Todd has over 20 years of experience with grant writing and health education program development. Her current research interests include public and urban health issues, community health education, violence prevention, and mental health.

Phone: 601-979-1174





Frederick O’Quinn

Research Associate/Analysis

Frederick O’Quinn presently serves as a Research Associate/Analyst at MURC. He earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Jackson State University, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology from Alcorn State University. He has over 20 years’ experience working in the fields of mental health and substance abuse treatment. His research focus at MURC is on mental health, and criminal justice related issues. He has been employed in his present capacity since August 2016.

Phone: (601) 979-1169




Sheryl Bacon 

Research Associate/ Analyst

Sheryl L. Bacon joined the MURC staff in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Services (2011), and a Master’s in Public Administration (2013) from Belhaven University. After working for nearly a decade in the private sector as a Senior Data Analyst/Processor with ACS/Xerox, she decided to pursue a formal career in public service, and is currently ABD in the doctoral program in Public Policy and Administration at Jackson State University. Her doctoral concentration is Environmental Policy, Planning, and Management, and her research priority area at MURC is Community and Economic Development.

Phone: (601) 979-1409



Dawn Camel

Evaluation Specialist

Dawn Camel is an Evaluation Specialist at the MURC and is responsible for conducting research in the area of K-12 education and is responsible for working on evaluation projects.  She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Jackson State University.  She has published several publications around K-12 education and has expertise in developing and administering surveys.  Her research interests include the mental health of underserved populations, best practices of effective schools in K-12 education, and bullying among school aged children and its long term effect.

Phone: (601) 979-6355


Administrative Assistant 


Ashley Mcphearson

Administrative Assistant


Ashley Mcphearson currently serves as MURC’s Administrative Assistant.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Jackson State University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Belhaven University.  She has been working at Jackson State University since 2015.  Her specialty area of research is COVID-19 and Community Development.  She enjoys learning and applying new knowledge to help solve societal problems .

Phone: (601) 979-1386