Who we are

Community Development Faculty

Saff_Laura_2012 croppedLaura Brown is a Community & Economic Development Educator with Uconn Extension and Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). Laura’s statewide work is focused on asset based community, regional and economic development in urban and underserved communities. Prior to joining the University of Connecticut in 2014 Laura served as an educator with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Hartford Food System. Laura holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications from Clark University.


Community Development Interns


Summer 2018 – Madeleine Aseltine


Summer 2018 – Hope Frew

Summer – Fall 2017 – Ryan Faulkner

Ryan, UConn BA Economics 2017, has helped with our National First Impressions Research by interviewing program directors across the country and analyzing the results. Ryan also assisted with the Connecticut Trail Census project with helping to input, analyze and report on trail user survey data. Lastly, he has taken part in our First Impression exchanges and coordinated interviews for the evaluation on the First Impressions Program. He collected footage of the visits and interviews of participants to be used for an informational video on the First Impressions Program.

Ryan is pursuing a career in Planning and looking into graduate programs, with research interests in Sustainable Economic Development and Environmental Planning. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, photography and traveling.


Spring 2017 – Carrie Flanagan is currently earning her Masters degree in Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University. She has a passion for environmental and agricultural while also developing ways to educate, empower and connect local communities to these important variables. Carrie spent two years has a health educator with high school students and will be involved in similar aspects for the multiuse trails. She also enjoys writing, playing and singing music as well as cooking and traveling.




becky-pic2016-2017 – Becky Pejinsky is pursuing her Master of Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University. She is interested in environmental and community health and therefore is helping us with our current multi-use trails program. Becky has previously worked as a health educator so she will be helping us analyze trail use data in regards to well-being. She is also a strong advocate for sustainable practices. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking and camping.



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2015-2016 Jessica Powell, a native of Massachusetts is pursuing her Master’s degree in Community Development through the University of New Hampshire. Jessica spent 3 years working for a non-profit housing partnership in Boston before moving to Connecticut in Fall of 2015. With her she brings program management and capacity building experience as well as a strong background in monitoring and evaluation. She will use this applied experience in her work on the CT Trails Project with UConn Cooperative Extension through Spring 2016.



Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.29.35 AM2015-2016 John McDonald is a Psychology major and Urban and Community Studies minor at UConn’s Waterbury campus. John considers himself an explorer of the physical environment and is interested in the historical, cultural, and psychological significance of our landscapes. John is an avid hiker and blogger and lives in New Haven with his wife and five cats. In his work for UConn Extension during the Summer of 2015 John completed a literature review of economic impact analyses of multi-use trails and greenways.  He is now working on an independent study with Extension which will include studying the theoretical foundations for the Community First Impressions Exchange program, assisting with data analysis for the multi-use trails program, and writing short articles on trails and land use for the Community Development Extension blog on this site called “Community Perspectives.”




For more information contact:

Laura Brown
Community & Economic Development Educator/Associate Extension Professor
University of Connecticut Extension
Fairfield County Extension Center
67 Stony Hill Rd, Bethel, CT 06801-3056
Direct: 203.207.0063
Main: 203-207-8440