HISTORY OF THE CENTER
In 1998, a collaborative effort in the Dean's office of the College of Arts and Letters at Old Dominion University formed the initial structure of The Social Science Research Center after much deliberation and careful study of existent research centers around the nation. Their goal was to create a center devoted to acquiring, analyzing, and reporting information on behavior, attitudes, and social trends.
After an extensive nationwide search, Dr. Jeff Harlow, the lead evaluator in the design and implementation of Virginia's Early Intervention Monitoring and Improvement Measurement System, was selected as the Director of the Center. At roughly the same time, the Dean's office interviewed and hired Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, an Old Dominion alumnus and former graduate research assistant and, at the time, a standing magistrate for the 4th Judicial District in the City of Norfolk, to be the Associate Director.
Dr. Harlow and Mrs. Vandecar-Burdin were initially supported by two graduate research assistants. The Center undertook four projects the first year (two of the three clients would continue to work with The SSRC for the next four years, while the third has kept an ongoing relationship with The SSRC with or without a project). After two years of quality research, the Center grossed over a half million dollars. By the end of year four, the Center grossed over one and a half million dollars.
In November 2004, Dr. Margaret Camarena became Director of the Social Science Research Center. Dr. Camarena came to us from Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she was most recently Vice President for Research Services at NcNeil Technologies. Dr. Camarena had over 20 years experience conducting research and evaluation studies in the areas of education, substance abuse, and community-based prevention and early intervention programs for low-income youth and for minority populations. She also has managed regional and national research and evaluation studies and has extensive experience applying for Federal funding and private foundation funding.
In the summer of 2009, Dr. Xiushi Yang took over as Director of The SSRC. Dr. Yang is also a professor in the department of sociology and criminal justice. For the past 15 years, his research has focused on the impact of migration and socioeconomic changes on reproductive and HIV risk behaviors in China. More recently, his research has also focused on migration, gender, and HIV risk behaviors. Since joining the ODU faculty in 1993, Dr. Yang has been the principal investigator for several National Institutes of Health funded projects. Most recently, he is the principal investigator of a HIV behavioral intervention study among female entertainment workers in Shanghai (funded by NIH/NICHD) and a co-investigator of a HIV and alcohol risk reduction among female sex workers in Guangxi, China (funded by NIH/NIAAA).