Mississippi Geographic Alliance

Connect to the world here!

The Mississippi Geographic Alliance, part of National Geographic Society’s Alliance Network, helps prepare Mississippians to interact with the world around us by increasing geographic literacy through high-quality geography education services including outreach to civic leaders and policymakers, awareness raising among the general public, unique student outreach programs, and professional development for K-12 educators. Located at the University of Mississippi, MGA works statewide to help educators prepare students to embrace a diverse world, succeed in the global economy, and steward the planet’s resources.


David RutherfDavidRutherfordord, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. David J. Rutherford is Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy Leadership at the University of Mississippi where he also serves as Executive Director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. Dr. Rutherford’s undergraduate and masters degrees are in geography, and he earned his Ph.D. in geographic education from Texas State University. His professional employment has included visitor service positions in state parks, outdoor education for the YMCA and wilderness adventure organizations, and teaching geography and earth science at the secondary level. His broad background in research and teaching in geography covers physical, human, regional, techniques, and educational components of the discipline and his specialty is in educational policy related to geography in both K-12 and university levels.

Email: druther@olemiss.edu               Tel: 662-915-1337



Dawn_headshotDawn Bullion, Project Manager

Dawn started her career in the Army as an accountant. After her military career she continued working as an accountant in both higher education and small businesses. Dawn also worked in the social service industry and hospitality industry, event coordination being a large part of both of these careers.Dawn loves to travel, both for the cultural and educational immersion. The world is vast and she plans to see as much of it as possible! Dawn also believes that volunteering is essential. She has spent many years volunteering for the Oxford Film Festival. Dawn has a degree in English/Sociology/Psychology from the University of Mississippi.

Email: dabullio@olemiss.edu                Tel: 662-915-2281




While the Mississippi Geographic Alliance provides services throughout the state of Mississippi, we are proud to call the University of Mississippi home.  The University of Mississippi has partnered with National Geographic Society since 2006 as the state institutional home of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. For more information on the University’s academic programs and other centers and institutes, go to www.olemiss.edu.


MGA Advisory Council

  • Weixing (Mark) Chen (ex-officio), Chair, Department of Public Policy Leadership
  • Clifton Dixon, Chair, Department of Geography/Geology, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Martha Hutson, Department of History/Political Science, Mississippi College
  • Kathy Sherman-Morris, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • Chauncey Spears, Social Studies Specialist, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Mitch Waycaster, President, Renasant Bank
  • Blake Wilson, CEO, Mississippi Economic Council

MGA Steering Committee

  • Kenneth Anthony, College of Education, Mississippi State University
  • Barbara Boone, Retired Teacher, Petal
  • Cathy Lee, Teacher, Petal
  • Ellen Foster, School of Education, University of Mississippi
  • Mary Jane Jackson, Retired Teacher, Walnut
  • Sylvia Leggette, Instructor, Jackson
  • Bert Nokes, Retired Teacher, Pearl
  • Melinda Moore, Teacher, Petal
  • Carol Paola, Executive Director, Mississippi Association for Gifted Children, Long Beach
  • Bobbie Richardson, Educator, Tupelo
  • Laura Russell, Teacher, Tupelo
  • Steven White, Teacher, Morton