Who we are

Current Community Development Faculty and Staff

Laura 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.


Connecticut Trail Census/Connecticut Trail Finder Program Coordinator Kimberly Bradley has a Master of Science degree in biological oceanography and a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science, with a focus on ecological and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut.  She worked as a research assistant for the National Undersea Research Center at UConn Avery Point, while earning her graduate degree, and upon completion of her master’s degree, she worked as a senior environmental and ecological consultant for close to 10 years, building a strong network of engineering and natural resource colleagues and municipal representatives across Connecticut.  Kim then moved into the role of project specialist for the UConn Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), supporting the grant funded planning, development, design, implementation and evaluation of workshops, webinars and outreach materials on living shorelines, green infrastructure.  Kim loves exploring the trails and open spaces with her family, especially her two young daughters and lab Huckleberry, by foot or on their mountain bikes.

Graduate Assistant Eniola I. Fasola is earning her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at the University of Connecticut.  As a graduate assistant, she will be working with the Connecticut Trail Census team on data gap estimation and trail user demand modeling.  She hopes to use the count data to investigate the impact of the trail use on development and health.  Apart from carrying out data analysis and conducting research, Eniola considers herself a “people person.”  She loves to hang out with her friends to catch up and to try out new food.  She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Connecticut, respectively.

Khadija Shaikh is the summer intern for the Connecticut Trail Finder and Connecticut Trail Census projects through the University of Connecticut Extension Program. She currently works on the creation of public education outreach materials to promote the use of trails and increase equity in the outdoors. Khadija is a rising sophomore at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Social Justice Organizing. She is involved in EcoHusky and UCCO, both of which are student-led organizations focused on the intersectionality of social justice movements. Khadija is passionate about personalizing and decolonizing the environmental movement by working towards the active inclusion and empowerment of marginalized individuals. Outside of being a voice for the climate justice movement, Khadija loves making art, fashion, and being a plant mom!

Previous Community Development Staff and Interns

Summer 2020 – The Connecticut Economic Development Association in partnership with UConn Extension is pleased to welcome Jade Hardrick to the team! Jade Hardrick is a rising junior at the University of Connecticut. She is currently double majoring in economics and urban and community studies. Her interests include urban planning, business, and law. She plans to obtain an advanced degree in at least one of those listed fields. On campus, she is the vice president of the organization Women & Minorities in Economics which encourages more women and minorities to enter the field of economics and has in-depth economic discussions about racial and gender inequality, income inequality, and climate change. Hardrick enjoys running and reading books in her free time.


Summer 2020  -Neva Taylor is a double major in Urban and Community Studies (UCS) and Sociology, and in the Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) fast track program. She is on the women’s rugby team and the triathlon team; because of COVID switched to mainly running, running her first virtual half marathon back in May. She is also involved with the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program where she has a “little sister” at a local elementary school. She also has a radio show called Woman of the Week (WOW) highlighting amazing women out there doing amazing things each week. She is starting a new podcast for the Connecticut Trail Census called “On the Trail.” The podcast will cover a broad array of topics both on and off the beaten path about all things having to do with nature, trails, and the outdoors. Each episode launches every Friday at 12pm so I hope you’ll join us “On the Trail! Learn more about the Connecticut Trail Census at https://cttrailcensus.uconn.edu/ and the podcast at https://uconnextension.podbean.com/.

Summer 2019 – Kevin Fitzgerald

The Connecticut Economic Development Association is pleased to welcome Kevin Fitzgerald as the program intern for the newly launched Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Program.  Kevin will assist with development, research and administration of the program.  Kevin is an incoming Master of Public Administration candidate with the University of Connecticut and a 2018 graduate from UConn in Political Science and Urban & Community Studies. While in Storrs, Kevin completed his Honors Thesis in Political Science on the use of eminent domain for economic development in the 2005 Kelo v. New London decision.  Kevin plans to focus his coursework on development and urban planning and after completing his masters Kevin looks forward to pursuing a law degree and assisting towns with economic development projects as a land use attorney. Kevin spent this past spring interning in the Town of Stonington’s Department of Planning and he looks forward to contributing to the Town of Berlin’s Kensington Village development as a member of the UConn MPA program.  In his free time Kevin likes to follow UConn and Boston sports, run, and hike.

Summer 2018 – Madeleine Aseltine
Madeleine served as the 2018 Extension summer intern and developed a white paper on the health benefits of the Derby, Greenway.

Summer 2018 – Hope Frew

Hope served as a Summer intern in 2018 and assisted with the development of the Local Economic Development Organization Survey Report.

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