MVSU’s Hawkins to chair Rural Poverty Research Interest Group

September 10, 2018

ITTA BENA, Miss.—Dr. Cassandra Hawkins may be new Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) faculty, but she is already making an impact on campus.

Hawkins, who is an assistant professor of public administration /rural public policy and planning, has been nominated to serve as the chair-elect of the Rural Sociological Society’s Rural Poverty Research Interest Group (RIG) for 2018-2019. She will serve as chair of the Rural Poverty RIG in 2019-2020.

The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) is a professional social science association that promotes the generation, application, and dissemination of sociological knowledge to enhance the quality of rural life, communities, and the environment. The association’s Research and Interest Groups (RIGs) reflect the substantive interests of RSS members and serve as an important avenue for connecting members with similar interests. 

The Rural Poverty RIG welcomes, fosters, and promotes research from diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that contribute to a broad understanding of the dynamic intersecting factors that produce and perpetuate conditions of poverty for rural individuals, families, communities, and regions in both the United States and in other nations. 

“This opportunity will allow me to expose my students in the MA Rural Public Policy and Planning program to research, networking, and career opportunities,” Hawkins said. 

“I look forward to preparing for the 2019 RSS National Conference and having students present their work,” she added.

Hawkins teaches in the Rural Public Policy and Planning graduate program as well as the Government and Politics program in the Department of Social Sciences at MVSU.

Her research interests include student pedagogy, American literature, agriculture policy, rural policy, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and food insecurity in Mississippi.

 “Dr. Hawkins is an addition to our capacity building for research in agricultural policy and rural policy," said Dr. Richard Mushi, chair of MVSU’s Social Sciences Department and coordinator of the Rural Public Policy and Planning program.  

“We are so excited about research and grantsmanship possibilities she brings to Rural Public Policy and Planning graduate program, Social Sciences department and our Mississippi Valley State University.”

For information about the Rural Poverty RIG, visit

To learn more about MVSU’s Rural Public Policy and Planning program, call (662) 254-3352 or visit