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Emery to head sociology and rural studies at SDSU

Mary Emery joins South Dakota State University as professor and head of the SDSU Department of Sociology and Rural Studies. That means she’s in charge of 234 sociology majors on campus in undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs.

Emery comes to SDSU from Iowa State University where she participated in numerous Extension initiatives and applied research projects. Her research interests include rural communities transitioning to the 21st century and community cooperation to enhance economic development.

Mary Emery

Emery’s goals for the SDSU department include establishing the current Rural Life and Census Data Center as the South Dakota State Census Data Center and working closely with rural sociologist Mike McCurry to create an advisory committee for the center.

Since 1981 the Rural Life and Census Data Center has provided the state with federal, state and local demographic information. The unit also assists with data interpretation, develops local demographic indicators and analyzes population trends.

Emery plans to work to strengthen the internship and service-learning programs as well as the graduate program in the department. “We hope to expand resources through grants and contracts, so we will be able to support additional graduate students,” said Emery. “The most rewarding part of the work I do is helping students and faculty be successful.”

Emery has also served as the associate director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Sociology, a senior fellow with the North Central Regional Center for Development and as a senior consultant with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development in Ames, Iowa.