COE faculty member named as MILO advisory board member

Jul 14, 2021 | Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, General News

A faculty member from Louisiana Tech’s College of Education has been named as an advisory board member to an organization that works to improve military and law enforcement industries.

Dr. Todd Castleberry, an assistant professor of kinesiology in Louisiana Tech’s College of Education, is on the MILO Cognitive Advisory Board. MILO uses the board to remain connected to relevant points in the sectors it serves.

“As a part of the advisory board, we are responsible for advising MILO Range management on how their technology can help provide the best evidence-based training solutions for military and law enforcement,” Castleberry said.

Castleberry was invited to join the board after working closely with Dr. Joy VerPlank, senior researcher and chair of the board for MILO Range, for six months about using their simulator to help improve responses in police officers. One of these simulators will actually be at Tech, and Castleberry will be trained as to how to use it.

“The simulator is a state-of-the-art simulator that uses pre-filmed simulations with actual people, on a life size screen from a projector,” he said. “The simulator also allows for officers to rewatch their performance and be counseled and coached following a simulation. There are also multiple scenarios within each simulation that can be changed during each scene.”

Castleberry said Tech faculty and students will have the opportunity to use the simulator during research studies.

“We will be utilizing the simulator with multiple studies, including one with the psychology department that will rate each scenario on an arousal scale that will let us know how stressful or scary each one is,” he said. “Another study that will start data collection soon will also measure cortisol, a stress hormone, in officers before and after a series of simulations.”

Castleberry said the simulator would be a benefit to Tech.

“This is a major attraction to bring research participants, police officers, to Ruston for specific training,” Castleberry said. “These simulators are incredibly advanced and expensive and not every department can afford them.”

Dr. David Szymanski, kinesiology department chair, said Castleberry being on this board will allow his research opportunities to abound.

“Dr. Castleberry is a motivated faculty member who is trying to make an impact on this campus, region, state and possibly the nation from a research perspective,” Szymanski said. “Being on the MILO Advisory Board and obtaining the MILO board technology will allow him and others to pursue their research ambitions. I am proud of the work he is doing because he is getting students and faculty members to collaborate together with tactical — law enforcement and military — personnel to address such issues as police officers making better decisions in the field. If the research can provide data results about how officer performance can be enhanced through better training, lives can be saved.”