Back to top

Faculty and Staff Brief Bios

Every few weeks, the Snapshots section will introduce you to a UMass faculty or staff member whose work helps to support the mission of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. With these pieces, we aim to present a picture of the breadth of the education and research that happens every day at UMass Amherst. Enjoy getting to know some of our extraordinary colleagues.

Carrie Chickering-Sears: When Your Passion Is Your Career

Carrie Chickering-Sears, 4-H Extension EducatorCarrie Chickering-Sears has a deep passion for animals. Fifteen years ago, she left a position as Operations Officer at a Massachusetts bank to go to work for the UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. Today, she will tell you that she’s had a job for 15 years that syncs up perfectly with her interests and talents. As a dairy farmer and former 4-H dairy member, her decision was easy. She chose to leave regulators, auditors, and the inside work environment behind in favor of working with youth and adults doing things in which they, too, have devoted interests.

Dwayne Breger: Clean Energy Advocate

Dwayne Breger, Director, UMass Clean Energy ExtensionDwayne Breger is no stranger to clean energy issues. He brings many years of experience and broad knowledge to his role as founding director of the UMass Clean Energy Extension.

Breger arrived at UMass Amherst in October, 2015 to head up the new extension program after 13 years as the Director of the Renewable Energy Division at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Breger is also an extension professor in environmental conservation.

Wendy Marcks: 4-H Educator and Enthusiast

Wendy Marcks 4H extensionWendy Marcks is an extension educator for the UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program for the northeast region of Massachusetts. She loves her job and has been perfecting it for 19 years. If you ask her what drives her passion about 4-H she will readily tell you it is the success of the 4-H Visual Presentation (VP) Program in her region and across the state. This program is known in the state’s educational community for producing capable, competent, and confident public speakers, willing to teach others.

Paige Warren: Urban Wildlife Devotee

Paige Warren, associate professor, Environmental Conservation, UMass, AmherstPaige Warren is an outdoor enthusiast who is devoted to increasing access to birds and wildlife within cities. Typically, low-income city-dwellers have limited access to greenspace and urban parks. Tree canopy, birdsong and other pleasures of rural or suburban settings are not as readily available to them. As associate professor in environmental conservation at UMass Amherst, she wants to change that.

Masoud Hashemi: This Expert Has Cover Crops Covered

Dr. Hashemi is the epitome of a perfect professor. While he may be a walking textbook on all things soils, pasture management, and cover crops, he is also a very easy man to speak with, listen to and learn from. His is a very congenial personality.

Hashemi is an extension professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst.

Linda Horn, 4-H Assistant Director

Linda Horn, 4-H Assistant Director A good match. We all look for it in terms of college choices, jobs and partners. And a good match is how one would describe Linda Horn’s skills and her position as Assistant 4-H Director, 4-H Military Liaison, and 4-H Military Partnership for Massachusetts. 

Carolina Aragón

Carolina Aragón’s exuberance for her work is palpable in the first minute of a conversation.  Clearly, she loves what she does in a job that encourages creativity and innovation amongst her students.  In the context of design work, she is in the business of, “What If?”  For example, what if we can make beautiful benches using just recycled tires? What if we could produce enough solar power in public spaces to really make a difference?

Peter Jeranyama: A Thriving Transplant, from Zimbabwe to Massachusetts

Peter Jeranyama, Extension Assistant ProfessorNo doubt about it, Peter Jeranyama knows how to help plants grow. As an Extension assistant professor, he introduces undergraduate students at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the UMass Amherst campus to plant physiology.

Brian Kane

Brian Kane, professor of commercial arboriculture at the University of Massachusetts AmherstRopes, helmets, and harnesses are as second nature to Brian Kane as, well, climbing a tree.

From early childhood right up until today, his fascination with trees and the outdoors has been a driving force in his life. So much so that it has led him to a career as professor of commercial arboriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Jason D. Lanier

Jason D.Lanier, Extension Educator II, Turf ProgramLandscape and Turf: From a Passion to a Profession

A summer lawn.... or a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.  While he may not be “firmly rooted” –pun intended-- in Shakespeare, Jason Lanier has always lived by that motto...enamored of the smell of freshly-cut grass since childhood.  Even then, he knew he was all about the plants, intrigued by the role that they have on planetary health and how they affect our lives. 

Pages