Sarah 'Izzy' Pellegrine

  • February 2018

Research Associate I
Social Science Research Center
MSU Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 1
Years at MSU: 9

Izzy Pellegrine helps improve the lives of Mississippi children through her passion: sociology. Every day, her work directly challenges what justice, health and well-being looks like for youth across the state.

Pellegrine divides her time between the Family and Children Research Unit and the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory, both facets of Mississippi State University. She collects and interprets data about the lives of children through analyzing the system Mississippi uses to measure the quality of childcare centers, evaluating programs to increase college enrollment for high school students and helping design a statewide system that betters the developmental health of babies and toddlers. She also programs software for data collection and builds survey instruments.

Once a social justice activist in Mississippi nonprofits, Pellegrine learned the critical need for accurate and substantial data about social problems.

"I’m incredibly lucky to have a job doing exactly what I always wanted to do -- using social science to address disparities that impact kids," Pellegrine said.

Pellegrine says her education as a current Ph.D. student in MSU’s Department of Sociology has also influenced the work that she does through MSU’s Social Science Research Center.

"Often, a research method or a theoretical approach I learn about in class becomes really useful for one of our projects," Pellegrine said. "For example, I took a course in advanced data visualization. I now use those skills in every report I write."

Though Pellegrine works tirelessly, she finds infinite value in her career.

"The work we do here directly translates to meaningful outcomes for Mississippi’s kids," she said. "I’ve had the opportunity to see our research shape and improve programs that benefit children across the state."

When she unwinds from work and school, Pellegrine kayaks, reads dystopian novels and plays with her three dogs that she shares with her wife, Amanda.

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