Students and Faculty Earn Rural Sociology Society Recognition

Students and faculty members of the Rural Sociology Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources presented and were honored at the Rural Sociology Society (RSS) 2012 annual meetings in Chicago.

“The Rural Sociological Society Annual meetings are the major national meetings for rural sociologists who study rural populations and issues,” said Mary Grigsby, associate professor of rural sociology. “It is a great forum to present work, share ideas, network, and get feedback from colleagues working in the field.”

  • Dianna Havner Bryant, Ph.D. student, won first place in the poster session. She gave a paper presentation on the methodology and literature related to her dissertation research, “Characterizing a Rural Emergency Management Network.”
  • Mark Porth, Master’s student, and Mary Hendrickson, associate professor of rural sociology, won honorable mention, or second place, in the same category for their Urban Agricultural poster.
  • Robin Mabry-Hubbard, Ph.D. student, presented the poster “Crowd counts matter: The application of sociology and human geography.”
  • Anne Cafer, Ph.D. student, presented the paper: “Food affordability and fiscal inequality: Addressing the hunger gap in rural Missouri.”

“The RSS meetings are a great place to see what other students and faculty are doing, and interact with researchers doing some very interesting and innovative research,” said Cafer. “Often these meetings are a great networking opportunity for students and it’s always great to see your school so well represented.”

  • Master’s student Mandy Sims presented a paper on her research, “An exploration into mother’s attitudes, beliefs and coping mechanisms pertaining to healthy/unhealthy food in the context of feeding their families.”
  • Kenny Sherin, Ph.D. student, participated in a roundtable on “The Rural Church: Visions for the Future.”
  • Mary Grigsby and recent Master’s graduate Tracey Straight presented the paper “Buying for a Better Tomorrow? A Literature Analysis of Western Consumer Fair Trade Consumption.”
  • Ken Pigg, professor emeritus of rural sociology, Mary Hendrickson and Mary Grigsby, associate professor and department chair of rural sociology, attended the meetings.

“Overall, it was a valuable experience for my professional development,” said Sims. “Part of my role as a graduate student is to learn the conventions of my discipline and my experience at the conference this summer was an integral part of my professional development.”

Hendrickson presented “Power and Agency in the Neoliberal Era: The State and Transnational Agrifood Firms” with Philip Howard, Michigan State University; and Doug Constance, Sam Houston State University; both of whom are MU rural sociology graduates. Hendrickson also presented the paper, “Networks, Power and Dependency in the Agrifood Industry” with Howard and Harvey James, associate professor and director of graduate studies for agricultural and applied economics, University of Missouri. Hendrickson presented, “Local Food Systems In Rural Areas: Issues and Opportunities” with Randy Cantrell, University of Nebraska; Thomas Johnson, Frank Miller professor of agricultural and applied economics; University of Missouri and Jessica Scott, research associate, University of Missouri.

Grigsby was on the panel for “Author Meets Critics: Lyn Macgregor.” The panel asked questions of Macgregor about her recent book “Habits of the Heartland: Small-Town Life in Modern America.” Grigsby reviewed the book for Contemporary Sociology.