Contact: Carol Gifford
STARKVILLE, Miss.--The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) honored the executive director of Mississippi State’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) with its 2016 Excellence in Research Award during the organization’s annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday [Aug. 9].
“At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Rural Sociological Society,” Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi said.
In the early 1990s, Parisi emigrated from Italy to the United States knowing very little English. However, he soon won an RSS award for best student paper.
In accepting the 2016 research award, the MSU sociology professor expressed a commitment to being as generous as the society that changed his life.
“Today, I am a proud American and a well-regarded citizen who has fully lived the American dream,” Parisi said at the end of his acceptance speech.
“It’s [the award] truly a reminder of giving back everything that I have received from all of you,” he said.
Parisi thanked many individuals during the speech, including those who helped him when he couldn’t speak English well and those who shaped and cemented his intellectual identity as a scholar. But he gave his “deepest gratitude” to everyone he has worked with at Mississippi State in making NSPARC a place where research is actionable.
“We [MSU’s NSPARC team] created this incredible center,” Parisi said.
The RSS award program highlighted his scholarly record and the tens of millions of dollars he and his colleagues have helped bring to Mississippi. This funding has been used to do everything from create a flexible work program for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to design a mobile app that can instantly match job seekers with available jobs in the state.
“Professor Parisi is an outstanding scholar who has not only made major disciplinary contributions, but has also contributed to improving the lives of rural Americans and rural Mississippians,” Dan Lichter, the Ferris Family professor in the policy analysis and management department at Cornell University, said.
Parisi also discussed his collaboration with Lichter.
As coauthors, they have put a spotlight on the specific ways that social forces, such as residential segregation and immigration, can affect rural people and settings. This approach has helped broaden what sociology can address beyond its traditional urban application.
“We were able to advance this notion of being spatially inclusive,” Parisi said.
Discover more about NSPARC at www.nsparc.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.