Our Team

Jo Britt-Rankin profile image

Jo Britt-Rankin
Extension Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Ph.D. – Human Nutrition, Foods & Food Systems Mgmt., University of Missouri
Dr. Britt-Rankin serves as the Administrative Director for the SNAP-Ed and Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) grants for University of Missouri Extension. These grants deliver nutrition, physical activity, and health education to all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis with emphasis on vulnerable and underserved audiences. Dr. Britt-Rankin’s focus has been on ensuring access to safe, affordable, healthy food supplies for all.

Sarah Hultine Massengale profile image

Sarah Hultine Massengale
Assistant Extension Professor in Political Science, UMSL
State Extension Specialist in Community Development, MU Extension
Ph.D. – Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
In her 15+ years with University of Missouri Extension, Sarah has worked with communities to strengthen civic leadership skills and take action on community priorities for resilient, long-term economic and social well-being. Her focus areas include food systems, community health collaborations, and rural community development.

Mary Hendricksom profile image

Mary Hendrickson
Associate Professor, Rural Sociology
Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security
Ph.D. – Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
Dr. Hendrickson’s scholarship focuses on the social and economic organization of different types of food systems, the ways in which food systems impact social, ecological, and economic spheres; and options for changing how we organize food systems. Prior, Dr. Hendrickson spent 15 years with University of Missouri Extension working to create robust local food systems. She is currently the Undergraduate Advisor in Sustainable Agriculture and teaches courses on sustainable food and farming systems.

Joan Hermsen profile image

Joan Hermsen
Associate Professor, Sociology
Ph.D. – Sociology, University of Maryland
Dr. Hermsen’s research focuses primarily on gender inequality in the labor market. In particular, recent research topics include differences in work-related travel, the use of flextime, occupational gender segregation, the gender wage gap, and the glass ceiling. Joan also co-directs a study on sexual assault and is chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Missouri.

Harvey James profile image

Harvey James
Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics
Ph.D. – Economics, Washington University in St. Louis
Dr. James’s research interests include applied ethics and the economic foundations of trust and ethical behavior, with a particular focus on the fairness, operation and structure of agricultural markets. He is former editor-in-chief of the journal Agriculture and Human Values.

Wilson Majee profile image

Wilson Majee
Associate Professor, Health Sciences and Master of Public Health Program
Ph.D. – Development Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The overall research goal of Dr. Majee is to explore, identify and implement place-based approaches to health and well-being for those living in resource-limited communities. Dr. Majee works to create sustainable, real-world community health initiatives that live on after grants end. His work closes knowledge and practice gaps using a socio-ecological approach to multi-level individual, family and place-based factors affecting health and well-being.

Bill McKelvey
Senior Project Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security
M.S. – Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
Bill McKelvey’s interests and experience center on strengthening community food systems and enhancing food security. He has been involved in community gardening, youth gardening, farm to school, and various hunger relief projects for a number of years. Currently, McKelvey coordinates activities for the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security and serves as chair for the MU Extension Food Systems Network. He also has curriculum development and program evaluation experience.

Sandy Rikoon

Sandy Rikoon
Professor Emeritus, Rural Sociology
Director Emeritus, Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security
Ph.D. – Sociology and American Studies, Indiana University
Dr. Rikoon led the effort to establish the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security in 2004, the first center of its kind nationally to combine research, training, and outreach. His research interests include environmental sociology, political ecology, food security, and ethnicity. He has been involved in sustainable agriculture outreach and education activities as well.

Rui Yao
Professor, Personal Financial Planning
Ph.D. – Consumer Economics, The Ohio State University
Dr. Yao’s research interests focus on individual and family financial decision-making and well-being. Specific topics include resilience, retirement, saving and investment behavior, risk tolerance, and debt management. She is Senior Editor of the Journal of Consumer Affairs.

Affiliated Members
Miloslav Lapka profile image

Miloslav Lapka
Associate Professor of Regional and Social Development, Vice-Dean for Science and Research, College of Economics, University of South Bohemia. PhD. – Inst. of Landscape Ecology, Acad. of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
Dr. Lapka leads interdisciplinary teams working in sustainable development. His research areas are environmental and rural sociology, landscape ecology and cultural ecology. He is also part of the Faculty of Art, Charles University Prague.