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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.

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. 

Sheila Mammen

Sheila Mammen, Professor Resource EconomicsRural Low-Income Families: Studies on Their Health and Well-Being

Sheila Mammen, professor of resource economics at UMass Amherst, is passionate about understanding the complex economic realities faced by rural low-income families.  Talk with her for just a moment and her eagerness to convey information about how these families are impacted by health care choices, employment opportunities and food security is evident.