CSSR Affiliated Scholars and Organizations

CSSR Affiliated Scholars and Organizations

Project Personnel

The CSSR works with many different scholars and organizations to best address research problems both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Perky Beisel

Associate Professor

Department of History

Stephen F. Austin State University

Nacogdoches, Texas

Historic Preservation – Voices from Small Places

Perky Beisel is a co-director of the M.A. in Public History program at Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently the President of the Texas Oral History Association.  She earned her D.A. in History from Middle Tennessee State University and an M.A. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri.  She led the digitization and update of the City of Nacogdoches Historic Sites Survey, the Angelina County Historic Sites Survey, and the Houston County Cemetery and Historic Sites Survey.  Since 2005 Beisel has overseen the transcription of over fifty oral histories for the East Texas Research Center and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  In the Voices from Small Places project Beisel conducts oral history interviews as well as directing the historic resources and cemeteries survey.  She currently serves on several boards including the Association for Gravestone Studies and the Nacogdoches Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, and regularly leads other public history projects with local museums, cemetery associations, genealogical groups, and regional archives.  Her other research interests include stable architecture, the timber industry during the Gilded Age, and agricultural history.

Aleksandra Veleva Cregler



 Her research interest and published work are centered around the problems and prospects of applied sociology in the globalization era. Her research highlights the close association of social psychology with identity formation, race and ethnicity, and social inequality by examining their relevance for contemporary research, intercultural communication, and social policies.
With her dissertation research, she introduces the concept of ‘cultural semantics’ while promoting an interdisciplinary research methodology that investigates generative social dynamics rather than correlations. The initial concern of her research is to adapt the theoretical knowledge to actual social situations, producing knowledge that is pragmatic.  

Dr. Luis Gautier

Assistant Professor


Luis Gautier is an Assistant Professor of Economics at UT-Tyler. His research interests include applied microeconomics, environmental and development economics. His research deals with aspects of environmental policy in an international context and policy issues at the intersection of development and environmental economics.  Publication outlets include reputable journals such as Resource and Energy Economics and Journal of Public Economic Theory. He has served as a reviewer for a number of journals including Journal of Economics and the BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.

Ms. Colleen Hanratty

Director, Maya Research Program


Colleen Hanratty is a member of the board of directors of the Maya Research Program and co-director of the Blue Creek Archaeological Project. Colleen is an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at Tyler and is the owner of Linda Vista Archaeology.

MRP logo

The Maya Research Program (MRP) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization (501C3) that sponsors anthropological research in Middle America. Each summer since 1992, we have sponsored archaeological fieldwork in northwestern Belize and ethnographic research in the village of Yaxunah, Mexico. In addition, the MRP offers study tours of the Maya world each winter, supports community outreach projects in the village of Coba, Mexico, and has been instrumental in documenting, protecting, and conserving numerous Maya sites in northwestern Belize. 

The MRP is proud to support a vast range of talented researchers from across the globe under our project’s umbrella. Our research associates include not only anthropologists, but also soil scientists, geoarchaeologists, geographers, conservationists, biologists, and botanists. Over 3000 students and volunteers have participated in MRP projects in the past 25 years. The current MRP project team includes faculty members and graduate students from over a dozen universities worldwide.

Dr. Rachel N. Head

Assistant Professor


Rachel N. Head is an Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Texas at Tyler. Partnering with community stakeholders, her research has addressed mental and physical health inequities for marginalized, under-represented, or disadvantaged populations. Her current emphasis is in the area of stress process research, exploring racial discrimination as a stressor influencing mental and physical health. Dr. Head has published in Society and Mental Health, Sociological Spectrum, Health Promotion Practice, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, and the Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Dr. Rick Helfers

Assistant Professor

Criminal Justice

Dr. Helfers began working at the University of Texas at Tyler in the Fall of 2013 after a twenty-five year career in municipal policing in Texas. His research interests focus on criminal justice education, police officer decision making, and organizational justice within police agencies. His recent work has been published in the Criminal Law Bulletin, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, and Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.

Ms. Linda Reynolds

Director, East Texas Research Center

Stephen F. Austin State University

Nacogdoches, Texas

Certified Archivist – Voices from Small Places

 Linda Reynolds is the Director of the East Texas Research Center.  She earned her M.A. from University of North Texas and is a Certified Archivist (C.A.) from the Academy of Certified Archivists.   She is in the process of acquiring a Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Certificate from the Society of American Archivists.  She has been involved with digitization projects for over ten years.  Some of the successful digitization  projects she has been involved in include the Community Collections project in which materials from the community are borrowed, digitized and then returned, the Quilting Stories of East Texas (QSET) project that documents quilts and their stories and the Oral History project that provides online access to East Texans firsthand accounts.  In the Voices from Small Places project she conducts oral history interviews and directs the digitization process of the materials.  She currently serves on several local boards including the Texas Forestry Museum, Texas State Genealogical Society and Millard’s Crossing Historic Village.

Dr. E. Cory Sills

Assistant Professor


Dr. E. Cory Sills is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at The University of Texas at Tyler. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin, her MA in Anthropology from Louisiana State University, and her PhD in Geography from Louisiana State University. Dr. Sills carries out research in Maya archaeology as a collaborator on the Underwater Maya project and the Placencia Lagoon Salt Works project in southern Belize. Her research interests are 3D digital imaging, geographical information systems (GIS), underwater archaeology, sea-level changes, ancient economies including salt production, and ancient Maya wooden architecture.

Dr. Matthew Stith

Assistant Professor


Dr. Stith teaches about a variety of American history topics, but has two principal research and writing interests: the Civil War and bears. With the Civil War, he explores the nexus between environmental, social, and military history west of the Mississippi River. With regard to bruins (black and grizzly), he is chiefly interested in their place within the evolving nature of nineteenth-century American frontier culture and identity.

Dr. Ken Wink

Associate Dean

College of Liberal Arts

Public Administration

Kenneth Wink is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Public Administration at the University of Texas at Tyler.  His PhD in Political Science was earned at Louisiana State University.  He has taught courses in U.S. politics and public administration for nearly 26 years.  His research interests include various aspects of campaigns and elections, legislative politics, and American political parties.

Mark Walters

Archaeology Steward, Texas Archeological Stewardship Network, Texas Historical Commission

Research Fellow, Center for Regional Heritage Research, Stephen F. Austin State University

Mark Walters has a long history as an avocational archaeologist in the East Texas area, with a special focus on Caddo Archaeology. He has published numerous articles on East Texas archaeology and has recorded over 300 archeological sites in the region. He continues to assist landowners and promote archaeology in East Texas.

Dr. Mark Owens

Assistant Professor

Political Science

Mark's research, be it how policy is crafted or the likelihood of winning an election, examines the rules that govern political processes. His work on American politics has been published in "American Politics Research, Congress & the Presidency", and "PS: Political Science and Politics". Since coming to The University of Texas at Tyler, Mark has also organized student-led research projects about voter turnout in Texas elections.