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Conferences


Rural Poverty Research Symposium - December 2-3, 2013
Speaker Biographies

Don Albrecht is director of the Western Rural Development Center. He began his role as director in July 2008. He served as a member of the faculty at Texas A&M University for 27 years, where he worked in the Departments of Rural Sociology and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences. He has researched and written extensively on the issues confronting the communities and residents of rural America. Among the issues explored are natural resource concerns, economic restructuring, demographic trends, poverty, inequality, and education. He received a BS in forestry and an MS in sociology from Utah State University and earned a PhD in rural sociology from Iowa State University.

Ivye Allen is president of the Foundation for the Mid South, a regional foundation serving Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Founded in 1990, the foundation supports programs and initiatives that focus on community development, education, health and wellness, and wealth building. Efforts have included helping nearly 75,000 families expand their asset base, supporting efforts that have improved student outcomes for over 50,000 students, and helping rebuild communities after disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, tornadoes, and floods. Prior work experience includes serving as chief operating officer for MDC Inc. and director of Fellowship Programs for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Before working in the nonprofit arena, Allen's early experience was in finance and marketing positions in Fortune 100 corporations. She serves on numerous board and advisory groups and is a member of several professional and social organizations. Allen has a BA in economics from Howard University, an MS in urban affairs from Hunter College, an MBA in marketing and international business from New York University, and a PhD in social policy from Columbia University.

Dave Altig is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition to advising the Bank president on monetary policy and related matters, he oversees the Bank's regional executives, the Bank's research department, and the district's Community and Economic Development function. He also serves as a member of the Bank's management and discount committees. Altig also serves as an adjunct professor of economics in the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He served as vice president and associate director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland prior to joining the Atlanta Fed in 2007. Before moving to Cleveland he was a faculty member at Indiana University. He also has lectured at Ohio State University, Brown University, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Duke University, John Carroll University, Kent State University, the University of Iowa, and the Chinese Executive MBA program sponsored by the University of Minnesota and Lingnan College of Sun Yat-Sen University. His research is primarily focused on monetary and fiscal policy issues. His articles have appeared in a variety of journals and he has served as editor for several conference volumes on a wide range of macroeconomic and monetary-economic topics. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in business administration He earned master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Brown University.

Lionel J. "Bo" Beaulieu is director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and assistant vice president for engagement at Purdue University, a position he began in April 2013. Prior to joining Purdue, he served for nearly 16 years as director of the Southern Rural Development Center and as professor of rural sociology in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University. He also spent 20 years on the faculty of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. Beaulieu has played a major role in the launch of a number of innovative national research and extension programs, including the National e-Commerce Extension Project, the extension rural entrepreneurship effort, the "Stronger Economies Together" (SET) regional economic development initiative in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, and the Food Assistance Small Grants Program in collaboration with the USDA Economic Research Service. Beaulieu completed his term as president of the Rural Sociological Society in August 2004 and is currently president of the Community Development Society. He received his MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University.

Qian Cai (pronounced "Chien Tsai") is director of the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. She leads a group of multidisciplinary research professionals to produce population estimates and projections for Virginia and to conduct applied demographic research at national, state, and local levels. The most recent projects include developing a Virginia poverty measure, creating a racial dot map for the entire nation, and producing national and 50-state population projections. Cai has served on the Steering Committee of Federal-State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates, the Population Association of America Committees on Population Statistics and on Applied Demography, and the Steering Committee of ACS Data Users Group. She is a winner of the E. Walter Terrie Award for her scholarly contribution to state and local demography. Prior to coming to Virginia, she was an associate professor at the Portland State University's Population Research Center, directing population estimates and research for the state of Oregon. A native of China, Cai received a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in demography, both from Peking University. She received a PhD in sociology from Brown University.

Steven Deller is a professor of agricultural and applied economics with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a community development specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension. His research and extension educational programming focuses on rural economic growth and development and the policies communities can implement at the local level to affect change. He is coauthor of the textbook Community Economics: Linking Theory and Practice and coeditor of the book Targeting Regional Economic Development. He is currently working on a coedited book on alternative disciplinary perspectives of social capital and community development and a coauthored book on the fiscal health of U.S. cities. He is former president of the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, and president-elect of the Southern Regional Science Association. He serves on the North American Regional Science Council. He also served as coeditor of the Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy. He holds a MS and PhD from the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.

Karen Leone de Nie is the community and economic development (CED) research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She is responsible for building partnerships and leading research efforts related to community and economic development issues with the objective of improving the policy environment and facilitating sustainable community development practices. She works with colleagues in the Sixth District (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee) and throughout the Fed system to study a variety of community and economic development issues, including foreclosure, small business development, and unemployment. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, she was a researcher at Georgia Tech's Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, which does applied research to help communities achieve sound and equitable development through planning and policy. Leone de Nie also worked for the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan planning organization, focusing on real estate development and environmental resource management. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master's degree in city and regional planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Cynthia "Mil" Duncan is research director of AGree and professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire. From 2004 to 2011 she was professor of sociology and founding director of the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, an interdisciplinary research center focused on vulnerable families and sustainable development in rural America. From 2000 to 2004 she served as the Ford Foundation's director of Community and Resource Development. Duncan wrote Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America (1999), which won the American Sociological Association's Robert E. Park Award. She is updating the book for a new edition in 2014. She has written numerous articles on poverty and development, and edited Rural Poverty in America. Among her awards are the Earl D. Wallace Award for Contribution to Education Reform in Kentucky, the Thomas R. Ford Distinguished Alumni Award for Sociology at the University of Kentucky, Distinguished Lecturer talks, and several public service awards. She serves on several regional and national boards related to poverty and development. Duncan received her BA from Stanford University and her MA and PhD from the University of Kentucky.

Michelle Eley is the community and economic development specialist for the Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina A&T State University (and co-interim program leader for the ANR/CRD Unit), providing programming in community planning, emergency preparedness, leadership development, and organizational planning and development. Eley has provided leadership to such programs as Turning the Tide on Poverty (sponsored by the Southern Rural Development Center), which offers a step-by-step process for communities to address poverty issues and factors that may be contributing to its persistence in the United States. She also served on a research team with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State to create a planning guide for communities to develop and prioritize strategies for enhancing their local food system. She is in the process of creating a series of modules that provide information for how garden organizers and community leaders can build local participation and support for community garden activities. Eley has served as principal investigator/coprincipal investigator on multiple agricultural and community-oriented grants. Her dissertation research focused on determining factors of poverty for at-risk families and household strategies of families living in manufactured housing in rural North Carolina. She earned a MS in agricultural economics and a PhD in community and rural studies from the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.

Tracey Farrigan is a research geographer with the Resource and Rural Economics Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS). Her primary areas of expertise are rural poverty and economic impact analysis. At ERS she conducts research on a variety of related topics associated with rural household well-being and federal policy. Her recent and ongoing work includes research on persistent and concentrated poverty, alternative poverty measures, rural children and veteran populations, tax credits, and food deserts. Farrigan received an MS in resource economics from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in economic geography from Pennsylvania State University.

Robert Gibbs is associate director of the Resource and Rural Economics Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS). He has a longstanding interest in rural employment, education, and poverty research, first as a regional economist at ERS focused on these topics, and later as chief of the Farm and Rural Household Well Being Branch. He has led research in areas such as the economics of rural schools and youth outmigration, implications of welfare for persistently poor regions, and the effects of economic change on rural low-skill labor. Gibbs has served as a visiting scholar at the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, coeditor of the Review of Regional Studies, and president of the Southern Regional Science Association. He grew up in rural middle Georgia, an area marked by both gradual economic development and continuing evidence of deep and persistent poverty.

Stephan J. Goetz is a professor of agricultural and regional economics at Pennsylvania State University and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development and the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center. His research focuses on the determinants of economic development, including income and employment growth as well as poverty reduction. Current research applies emerging tools of network science to problems of coordination, including economic complexity and resilience as well as population migration and commuting. Goetz has also published widely on the determinants and impacts of self-employment and entrepreneurship. He has received external grant funding in excess of $10 million from various sources, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, and the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship. Goetz serves on the board of directors of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for policy research within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He earned an MSc and PhD in agricultural economics from Michigan State University.

Linda Hoke is coordinator of the Southern Consortium of University Public Service Organizations (SCUPSO) and has over three decades of experience in economic development research and policy. She spent over 20 years at the Southern Growth Policies Board, until its recent consolidation with the Southern Governors' Association, serving as director of the Council on the Southern Community. During her time at Southern Growth, she played a key role in the writing of each of the organization's Reports on the Future of the South, including the most recent report, Re-imagining Workforce Development. Hoke also managed Southern Growth's partnerships with the Southeast Agriculture and Forestry Energy Resources Alliance (SAFER) and SCUPSO, and created and managed Southern Growth's public involvement process, known as "Listening to the South." She continues to work with the Kettering Foundation in engaging citizens in deliberation around important public policy issues. Hoke has a BA from Northwestern University and a master's degree in regional planning from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

Daniel T. Lichter is the Ferris Family Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. He is also a professor of sociology and director of the Cornell Population Center. He joined the Cornell faculty in August 2005. He taught previously at Pennsylvania State University (1981–99) and Ohio State University (1999–2005). Lichter has published widely on topics in population and public policy, including studies of concentrated poverty and inequality, intermarriage, cohabitation and marriage among disadvantaged women, and immigrant incorporation. His recent work, for example, has focused on changing ethnoracial boundaries, as measured by changing patterns of interracial marriage and residential segregation in the United States. He is especially interested in America's racial and ethnic transformation, growing diversity, and the implications for the future. His other work centers on new destinations of recent immigrants, especially Hispanics moving to less densely settled rural areas. Lichter is past president of the Population Association of America (2012) and the Rural Sociological Society (2010–11). He also is past president of the Association of Population Centers, and he has served as chair of both the family and population sections of the American Sociological Association. He also has served as editor of Demography (2002–04), the flagship journal of the Population Association of America. Lichter received his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Scott Loveridge is director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) and professor of agricultural, food, and resource economics at Michigan State University. As director of NCRCRD, he works to enhance the capacity of land grant college and university personnel to execute their rural development missions in a 12-state region. His research interests focus on rural development policy. His recent publications have appeared in Economic Development Quarterly, Agricultural Economics, CD Practice, Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, and Social Science Quarterly. He earned an MS and PhD from Michigan State University.

Marybeth Mattingly is the director of research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire and a research consultant at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. Her interests center on women, children, and family well-being, poverty experiences and measurement, the social safety net, and child welfare. She has published research on couples' labor force participation in the Great Recession, measuring resiliency to child maltreatment, and a nexus of work-family balance issues. Current projects include analyses of trends in Hispanic income and poverty, how race and child poverty experiences influence health in early adulthood, and analyses of the ways poverty experiences have changed over time. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Maryland–College Park.

Pamela Monroe is the Lois Canulette & W.A. "Buster" Baker Alumni Professor in the School of Social Work at Louisiana State University. Her research and teaching areas are poverty, public policy, and community development through a civic engagement model. She provides leadership for the multistate project Turning the Tide on Poverty, and is frequently called upon for program evaluation and support by various state agencies. Monroe earned an MS from the University of Kentucky and a PhD from the University of Georgia.

Doug O'Brien was appointed acting under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 6, 2013. Prior to his appointment, O'Brien served as deputy under secretary for rural development, a senior adviser to Secretary Tom Vilsack, and chief of staff to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. Before joining the USDA, O'Brien served as the assistant director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. In this capacity, he assisted the director in administering the day-to-day operations of that department in such areas as plant industries, animal health, and its laboratories. In addition, he was responsible for developing the department's biofuels, bioproducts, and renewable energy policy. He has also served as senior adviser to Iowa Governor Chet Culver, interim codirector for the National Agricultural Law Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and senior staff attorney at the Drake Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines, Iowa. He is former counsel for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, where he worked on the 2002 Farm Bill. He also served as legislative assistant for Representative Leonard Boswell, focusing primarily on Boswell's work on the House Agriculture Committee, and as a clerk for Justice Jerry Larson of the Iowa Supreme Court. O'Brien graduated from Loras College and earned a JD with honors from the University of Iowa. In addition, he holds a master's degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.

Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi is director of the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) and a professor of sociology at Mississippi State University. Much of his research focuses on workforce and economic development, spatial economic analysis, sustainable community development, and public welfare policy. His recent work has examined micro- and macro-spatial racial and ethnic relations in rural and small-town America, the micro-scale concentration of poverty, new destinations of Hispanic immigrants, and the importance of place in understanding differential opportunities for low-income families. He has an MA and PhD from Pennsylvania State University.

Mark Partridge is the Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University. He is an affiliate for the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto; faculty research affiliate, City-Region Studies Centre, University of Alberta; and an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Partridge is managing editor of the Journal of Regional Science and coeditor of Springer Briefs in Regional Science; he also serves on the editorial boards of seven other journals. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, including in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of International Economics. He coauthored the book The Geography of American Poverty: Is There a Role for Place-Based Policy? He has received research funding from many sources, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Brookings Institution, European Commission, Infrastructure Canada, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His research includes investigating rural-urban interdependence and regional growth and policy. Partridge served as president and is a fellow of the Southern Regional Science Association.

David Peters is an assistant professor of sociology and an extension rural sociologist at Iowa State University. His research examines how socioeconomic restructuring impacts rural poverty and income inequality, both over time and across small geographic scales. He also conducts research on green economic development, demographic change, and rural criminology. Peters has published in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, International Regional Science Review, Rural Sociology, and Social Science Research. Previously, he was an assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska. He holds a BS in applied economics and sociology from the University of Minnesota, and an MS and PhD in rural sociology from the University of Missouri.

Jennifer Sherman is assistant professor of sociology at Washington State University. Her research uses in-depth interviews and ethnography to look in detail at the ways in which job loss and poverty affect families, primarily in rural U.S. communities. Her research focuses on understanding how economic and labor market struggles affect family life, survival strategies, cultural discourses, and gender norms. Her work includes the 2009 book Those Who Work, Those Who Don't: Poverty, Morality and Family in Rural America. Current research projects look at the impacts of the recent economic recession on families experiencing loss of jobs or income, and the impacts of agricultural practices on the larger communities, particularly with regard to the experiences of farm laborers. Sherman received her PhD in sociology from the University of California–Berkeley.

Ed Sivak is the founding director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC), an initiative of the Hope Enterprise Corporation. As director, Sivak manages the strategic direction, sustainability, research, training, and advocacy agenda for the center. Prior to starting MEPC in 2006, Sivak coordinated major community development projects for the Hope Enterprise Corporation (HEC)—formerly the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta. He holds a BA in history and English from Marquette University and a master of public policy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

Kostas Skordas is the director of the Division of Regional Planning and Research at the Appalachian Regional Commission. He manages a variety of commission activities involving transportation development, socioeconomic research and data analysis, strategic planning, and program evaluation. He holds master's degrees in urban and regional planning and public administration. His undergraduate degree is from the College of William and Mary.

Tim Slack is associate professor of sociology at Louisiana State University. His scholarly interests are in the areas of social stratification and social demography, with emphasis on forms of economic and spatial inequality. Recent and ongoing research projects include studies of working poverty and other forms of underemployment; household livelihood strategies, including participation in the informal economy (unrecorded work for cash, barter, and self-provisioning); and various aspects of regional inequality (place-based poverty dynamics, food stamp program participation, and disaster vulnerability and resilience). Slack has received support for his research agenda from a range of sources, including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of the Interior. He earned a PhD from Pennsylvania State University.

Richard M. "Dick" Todd joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a research economist in 1980. He has served as an officer in the Bank's discount window, payments system risk, banking supervision, and information technology functions and is currently a vice president with responsibilities in community development and monetary policy. He is on the board of the Minnesota Council on Economic Education, the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, and the University of Minnesota Crookston's Economic Development Center. He holds a PhD in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota.

Bruce Weber is a professor of applied economics at Oregon State University and director of the university's Rural Studies Program. He does applied research and outreach and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on rural community economics and policy and on rural poverty. His current research projects focus on rural-urban economic interdependence, impacts of changes in social safety net programs, impacts of federal forest and rural development policies on rural communities, and the economic resilience of rural communities in the face of natural disasters. He is coeditor of Rural Dimensions of Welfare Reform (2002), Frontiers in Resource and Rural Economics: Human-Nature, Rural-Urban Interdependencies (2008), and Rural Wealth Creation (in press).

Rachel Welborn is the program manager for the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), which serves the 13 southeastern states. She has devoted the past 10 years to helping communities face difficult community issues through a combination of facilitation, strategic planning, education, and grant writing. For most of this time, she was serving within the Extension Service of Mississippi State University. Her current responsibilities fall within the SRDC's three priorities: fostering civic engagement, building economically vibrant communities, and enhancing opportunities in distressed and low-wealth communities. Her most recent projects have been to coauthor Turning the Tide on Poverty and modules within both the national Stronger Economies Together (SET) and ReadyCommunity curricula.

Veronica L. Womack is an associate professor of political science and public administration at Georgia College. She currently serves as the director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and special assistant to the president. Womack leads diversity initiatives for Georgia College and served as a member of the President's Taskforce on Diversity and the President's Commission on Diversity for several years, including as past chair of the commission. Her research efforts include publications on public policy, leadership, and diversity. She has published several works on the Black Belt region and has worked on the Farm Bill and other southern economic development policy initiatives. She has published a recent book, Underdevelopment in the Black Belt Region: Abandonment in Dixie, A Snapshot of America's Third World (2013). She received a BA in communications and an MPA and PhD in political science from the University of Alabama.

James P. Ziliak holds the Carol Martin Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics at the University of Kentucky, where he is also founding director of the Center for Poverty Research. He served as assistant and associate professor of economics at the University of Oregon, and has held visiting positions at the Brookings Institution, University College London, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin. His research expertise is in the areas of labor economics, poverty, food insecurity, and tax and transfer policy. Recent projects include trends in earnings and income volatility in the United States; the role of earnings nonresponse on poverty and inequality; the origins of persistent poverty in America; the causes and consequences of hunger among older Americans; and the effect of taxes, health, and human capital on labor supply. He is editor of Welfare Reform and Its Long Term Consequences for America's Poor (2009) and Appalachian Legacy: Economic Opportunity after the War on Poverty (2012). He earned his BA and BS degrees in economics and sociology from Purdue University and his PhD in economics from Indiana University.