Dr. Hall played an integral role in the
creation of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and
served as the Associate Director from 2006-2014. She continued to serve the
institution through various leadership roles, including Interim Associate Dean
of the College of Health, Chair of the Department of Economic Development,
Tourism, and Sport Management, and most recently as Executive Associate Dean for
the College of Business and Economic Development.
Dr. Hall's expertise is in the area of sport safety and security management. She
has published in leading international sport management, homeland security, and
emergency management journals and has co-authored two textbooks--Sport Facility
Operations Management and Security Management for Sports and Special Events. She has also authored several book chapters in sport facility and event management, crisis communications, and emergency response and recovery. Additionally, she has been invited to publish in national magazines such as Athletic Management, Athletic Administration, and Security Magazine. Dr. Hall has been referred to as one of the nation's leading experts in sport security with interviews in USA Today, ESPN the Magazine, CBS New York, and also appeared on a live national broadcast of ESPN's Outside the Lines. Dr. Hall was one of 150 experts from across the globe invited to attend the first International Sport Security Conference in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Hall has presented at international and national conferences, and conducted invited presentations for U.S. federal and state agencies, college athletic conferences, and professional sport leagues, including Major League Soccer (MLS).
Dr. Hall has been the principal investigator on external grant awards in excess
of $4M. Funded projects included awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security to develop risk management curriculum for sport security personnel at
NCAA institutions, conduct risk assessments at college sport stadia, and develop
training programs for sport venue staff. Dr. Hall has also been involved in
several service projects including the development of a risk assessment tool for
U.S. sport stadia in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and
International Association of Venue Managers; development of a disaster
mitigation plan post-Katrina for the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority; and
development of a sport safety and security system for a K-12 school district in
Dr. Hall teaches undergraduate and graduate sport management courses in
economics, finance, and security. She developed a graduate level emphasis area
in sport security management for the Master's program at Southern Miss. Dr. Hall
has completed threat/risk assessment training through the National Emergency
Response and Rescue Training Center; terrorist bombing training through New
Mexico Tech Energetic Materials and Testing Center; and special events
contingency planning for public safety agencies training through the FEMA
Emergency Management Institute.
Dr. Hall played soccer at Southern Miss from 1997-2001 and holds the record for
most goals scored. She was inducted into the Southern Miss Sports Hall of Fame
in 2013. She also captained the Northern Ireland International Soccer Team until
her retirement in 2008.
Lauren Cranford is the Director of Operations for the National Center
for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. Her role is to manage and coordinate
all NCS⁴ operations including, but not limited to, overseeing all grants,
projects, budgets and staff. She assists the director with development and
implementation of programs, special events and training sessions.
Cranford received her Master of Public Health Degree from The University of
Southern Mississippi with an emphasis in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She
received her Bachelor's degree in Community Health Sciences with an emphasis in
Health Promotion. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist through
the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
Dr. Justin Kurland is the Director of Research at The University of Southern
Mississippi's National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. He is
currently responsible for the NCS⁴'s research and evaluation, which includes the
development of venue- and spectator-specific surveys, the spatiotemporal
analysis of current and emerging safety and security problems as well as
operational research and evaluation of technologies meant to help reduce and
prevent potential harm. Dr. Kurland also oversees NCS⁴'s research fellows who
provide expertise and generate peer-reviewed journal articles and conference
papers on various aspects of sport safety and security from across the world.
Prior to his current position at NCS⁴, Dr. Kurland was a Senior Lecturer (US
equivalent of Associate Professor) for the Institute of Security and Crime
Science at the University of Waikato (New Zealand). There he taught several
foundational graduate level courses on security, crime science, and prevention,
in addition to serving as a principal investigator on numerous security related
grants. Before taking his position as a Senior Lecturer, Dr. Kurland was a
Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University's School of Criminal Justice, where he
conducted research with Stockholm Prize Winner (Criminology's Nobel Prize) and
the Associate Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Professor
Ronald V. Clarke, focusing primarily on aspects of spatiotemporal crime pattern
analysis and situational prevention.
Dr. Kurland has a Ph.D. in Security and Crime Science from the Faculty of
Engineering Sciences, University College London. His dissertation entitled "The
Ecology of Football-Related Crime and Disorder" explored how ecological changes
in the area around stadia when they were used for soccer games as opposed to
days in which these facilities were not used facilitated different opportunities
and risk. This was achieved through the analysis of various datasets, including,
but not limited to police-recorded crime data, attendance figures from games,
and numerous aspects of the physical and social landscape around these stadia
such as the street network and constellation of facilities such as pubs that are
routinely visited during game days. Dr. Kurland received a studentship (US
equivalent to a full scholarship plus a living stipend) from related research he
conducted for the Government Office for London (GoL), the Association of Chief
Police Officers (ACPO), the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU), and the Scottish
Government to fully fund his doctoral studies. He also holds a Master's degree
in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology
from Rutgers University.
Mr. Ward is the Director of Training and Exercise at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). In this role, he engages professional, collegiate, endurance event, and interscholastic safety and security professionals to meet industry training requirements, validate plans and processes, integrate solutions and implement best practices. Mr. Ward is responsible for ensuring the NCS⁴ effectively connects the academic and operational communities, preparing practitioners for the current, evolving threat environment.
In addition to his role at the NCS⁴, Mr. Ward has served in the United States Air Force since 2006. He has held a variety of roles in planning, incident management and emergency response. Mr. Ward has led organizational preparation, mitigation, response and recovery efforts for a wide range of natural, technological and human-caused disasters. He has also developed and led chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response teams. In his 15-year career, Mr. Ward has supported preparedness and response efforts domestically and throughout Southwest Asia and the Republic of Korea. Most recently, he served in theater in support of Operation SPARTAN SHIELD as an Emergency Management Superintendent, where he oversaw emergency management efforts at three locations across the AOR.
Mr. Ward has developed and headed emergency management plans and programs for multiple disciplines and organizations, applying best practice and experience to a wide range of incident and event management. He is an Anti-Terrorism Officer, a Hazardous Material Technician, and was awarded the international designation of Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) by the International Association of Emergency Managers in 2013. He has a Bachelor's degree in Emergency and Disaster Management and a master's degree in business administration.
William Adams is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports
Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides
oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include
course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining
the quality of each delivery.
Before his current role, Adams assisted with Athletic Facilities and Event
Management with USM. In this role, he oversaw daily maintenance and management
of multiple venues, as well as being the primary game manager for multiple
sports. Prior to that, he was an Event Management Intern at the University of
Missouri. During his time in athletics, he has taken part in several conference
and regional tournaments. William received his Bachelor of Science in
Hospitality Management with an emphasis in Sport Venues from the University of
Missouri. He then completed a Master of Science degree in Sports Management with
a Safety and Security emphasis from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Michael Finley is Curriculum Manager for the National Center for Spectator Sports,
Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides leadership
and oversight for the development, implementation and strategies for the sport safety
and security in domestic and international curriculums. In the international program,
he is responsible for the development and implementation of the trainer's
certification program. In addition, he is responsible for executing the process
of consultation and drafting of all security best practices, policies, and
standards as well as compliance procedures and oversees the implementation of
e-learning training for security personnel.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Finley was a member of the Dallas Police Department
where, for the majority of his career, he served in the Special Weapons and
Tactics (SWAT) Unit. During his time there, he developed various specializations
becoming a certified instructor in disciplines including less lethal,
sub-machine gun, hostage rescue, high-risk warrants and barricaded persons.
Finley helped create the Dallas Police Department's Use of Force policy on
less-lethal munitions, served as a Team Leader and received numerous
commendations and awards. He also served as President of the Texas Tactical
Police Officers Association (TTPOA), one of the largest SWAT associations in the
United States, which is committed to the training and safety of SWAT officers.
He also helped author the State of Texas certification standards for SWAT.
After leaving Dallas, Michael put his training experience to work serving as
Director of Training for a major manufacturer of police/military goods, as a
Program Director for a preparedness exercise known as "Urban Shield," and as a
Director of Corporate Training for a large provider of online services for
businesses. He is recognized as a top instructor and has conducted training
events and exercises at a local, state, national and international level.
Finley received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from The
University of Southern Mississippi.
Brooke Graves is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports
Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. She provides
oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include
course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining
the quality of each delivery. Before her current role, Brooke held a number of
first responder roles in both the criminal justice and emergency medical systems.
She was a Special Investigator for the state of Mississippi where she was deemed
a subject matter expert in sexual abuse cases in the state court system. Most
recently, Brooke served as the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Instructor for
the Hattiesburg Public School District. She was the mentor instructor for the
state of Mississippi and was involved in developing curriculum and assessment
material for the Law Enforcement and Public Safety curriculum. Brooke received her
Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science from Tennessee
Wesleyan University and her Masters of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the
University of Cincinnati. She is a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical
Technician and a trained forensic interviewer. She is a certified trainer for
Community Emergency Response Teams.
Sonny Mattera is the Web Developer for the National Center for Spectator
Sports, Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi where he
oversees the new website launched in 2020.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Mattera was the Multimedia Producer for the Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians where he managed social media accounts, websites, and
video production for the Office of Public Information. During his time with the
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, he started livestream events for high
school sports and, more notably, the Choctaw Indian Fair. The Choctaw Indian
Fair YouTube page, created in 2013, currently sits at 150,000 views and has
helped increase visibility for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
Mayra Ordonez is the Instructional Design Specialist for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. Her role is to design, develop, and deploy engaging learning activities and compelling course content for traditional classroom and eLearning training delivery programs. She collaborates with subject matter experts, instructors, and other design team members to ensure the accuracy and validity of the training design and methodology.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Ordonez was an educator and curriculum specialist. Ordonez received a Master of Science Degree in Learning Technologies with an emphasis in Instructional Design from The University of North Texas. She received her Bachelor's degree in Bilingual Education from Texas A&M University.
Sara Priebe is the Event and Membership Manager at the National Center for
Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi.
In this role, she executes planning and logistics for NCS⁴ events. Priebe is the
contact for vendors interested in securing sponsorships and exhibits at all NCS⁴
events. She works to develop and implement membership plans, strategies and
initiatives for current member retention and new member recruitment. She also
provides customer service to vendors and Solution Partners as well as members
and event attendees. In addition, she provides graphic design for NCS⁴'s
Tymika Rushing is the Business Affairs Manager for the National Center for
Spectator Sports Safety and Security. She is responsible for overseeing the
daily financial operations of NCS⁴, which includes coordinating processes in
budgeting and compliance for grants and externally funded projects, contractual
amendments, and various fiscal responsibilities. Her role is to provide
comprehensive financial management to include, but not limited to, budget
planning, forecasting, compliance, and financial reporting.
Before joining NCS⁴, Rushing was a Contracting Specialist at the NASA Shared
Services Center (NSSC) and for the past 6 years, worked as a Grants & Contacts
Coordinator within the Office of Research Administration at The University of
Rushing received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The
University of Southern Mississippi. She received her Master of Business
Administration degree from William Carey University.
Joslyn Zale, PHD
Research Associate and CSSP Manager, NCS⁴, and Adjunct Geography Faculty, School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Joslyn Zale serves as the Research Associate at NCS⁴ and Adjunct Faculty with the Department of Geography and Geology at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this capacity, Dr. Zale contributes to research produced by NCS⁴ Research Fellows and oversees the CSSP Program. Dr. Zale also produces white papers and technical reports, and aids with product review and product operational exercises.
In addition to her work at NCS⁴, Dr. Zale is an adjunct geography faculty member with the USM's School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences. Her research interests include modeling risk, vulnerability, and resilience to hazard events, evacuation modeling, social media use related to hazard events, geospatial big data sources and uses, multi-scale and spatio-temporal modeling, citizen science, and location privacy. Her research has appeared in numerous publications, including The Professional Geographer, the Journal of Emergency Management, and Southeastern Geographer. She has presented her work at national and international conferences and before U.S. Congressional delegations.
Dr. Zale has collaborated on more than $22 million of research funded by DHS, NSF, Department of Education, and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, and is a reviewer for the Journal of Emergency Management. She received her PhD in geography from USM.
Olivia Hay is a Graduate Assistant for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security where she assists with managing databases, marketing, and all logistics as it relates to events and forums. Hay is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sport Event Security Management (MBA) at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Hay received her Master’s Degree in Sports Commerce from
The University of Memphis. While obtaining her master’s degree she worked as a
full time facility manager at Mid-South Ice House, where she was responsible for
day to day operations of the facility. She also received her Bachelor’s degree
from The University of Memphis in Sports and Leisure Management where she worked
for Memphis Football from 2014-2018. During her time with Memphis Football, she
was a part of the university’s most winningest class (at that time). In 2014,
she was with the team during the first ever Miami Beach Bowl, the team’s first
bowl game since 2008 and their first bowl victory since 2005. She also has
experience with the Memphis Redbirds and the 901 FC, where she worked with
Tyler Jacobs is a current Graduate Assistant for the National Center for
Spectator Sports Safety and Security where he assists in gathering data to be
used on future research projects as well as assisting in the planning and
execution of conferences and events. Jacobs is currently pursuing his master's
degree in Sport Management with a concentration on event security for The
University of Southern Mississippi.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Jacobs Received his Bachelor's degree in Sport Management
from Slippery Rock University where he worked with their Athletic Department. He
also has experience with the University of Portland, where he was an Operations
intern, The Portland Pickles, a collegiate wood bat summer league team, where he
managed concessions, and with Texas Christian University where he worked with
Facility and Game Day Operations. During his time with TCU, he was able to
assist in hosting Men and Women's NIT Basketball games as well as assisting in
hosting the first and second round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament.