Dr. Angela Pashayan is a full-time lecturing professor at American University, Washington, DC, in the School of International Service (SIS). She graduated from Howard University’s PhD Program in Political Science and was accepted into the distinguished Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. Her expertise is in International Development, Political Science, and International Relations, with 10+ years of field experience working to reduce extreme poverty in Peru, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Tanzania, and Kenya. Her research on extreme poverty reduction in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya includes ethnography, quantitative and quantitative research published in her upcoming book, “Below the Proletariat” to be released in 2023. Working across a wide range of socio-economic levels and different cultures, Dr. Pashayan’s lived and academic experiences provide a unique perspective on Diversity-Equity-Inclusion-Accountability (DEIA) in International Development and domestic poverty.
Michele is currently an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, and she holds an Adjunct Faculty position at Austin Community College. Originally from northern Montana, Michele has experience with a wide range of agriculture and food systems: lifelong experience on her family's large-scale wheat and cattle operation in Montana; designing and running a small organic garden program at a children's summer camp; and supporting local producers and school garden programs in the greater Austin, TX area. Michele received teacher training through her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, and she holds a Master's degree in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies from Michigan State University. Throughout her career, Michele has worked with farmers and students from Malawi to Kazakhstan, and Montana to Texas. Michele is passionate about education, food systems, and farming, and she is thrilled to bring her knowledge and expertise to the Hudson Center for Community and Environment.
Jessica Frye is Director of Development with the Berkeley Symphony, and lives in the SF Bay Area. She was a founding board member of HCCE and served on the Development Committee for the Homeless Garden Project, as a volunteer Youth Mentor with Digital Nest, and a grants panelist with Arts Council Santa Cruz. She has nearly 20 years of professional nonprofit expertise including organizational transitions, project management, fund development, CRM databases, special events, communications and marketing, graphics, and web design. Committed to values of diversity, equity, inclusion and compassionate leadership, Jess is interested in working toward a sustainable future for the planet and equal access to resources for all. .
Nicole has been a special education teacher for 20 years, and currently serves in that capacity at ACES Whitney Academy in Hamden, Connecticut. ACES provides collaborative educational, emotional, and physical services to children ages 3 to 14 years with a range of cognitive, physical, behavioral, language, and medical challenges. Whitney Academy celebrates the diversity of their student population through innovative and individualized instruction. ACES strives to increase student independence and welcome their community and parents as partners. In her free time, Nicole enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors with her husband Tom, and daughters Lena and Nola. She is excited to be part of Hudson Center for Community and Environment.
Dr. Taylor is an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has worked in education for 13 years as a pre-college counselor, financial aid consultant, assistant director of admissions, and admissions analyst, specifically aiming to serve low-income students and students of color. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin (2020), his MSE from Indiana University-Bloomington (2016), and his MA from Bowling Green State University (2013), He is Senior Editor,of the Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, an Assistant Editor of the Journal of International Students and Director of the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance Research Committee,. He is also the founder and leader of The Center for Higher Education Linguistics (CHELT), a praxis center with one goal, to increase access to higher education., by simplifying and translating higher education information..
Chaka Harris is a Queens native and product of the New York City public school system. He grew up with education at the forefront of his childhood as his father was Assistant National Coordinator for the National Endowments for The Arts, Film in Schools Program, as well as a film maker and videographer who taught video at PBS while the video format was still brand new. While in middle school (I.S 227, and W.C. Bryant H.S) Chaka participated in alternative learning scenarios that helped shape who he is today.
A natural storyteller who enjoys connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds, he became a well known member of a burgeoning alternative rock music scene in downtown NYC. Via this community which resembled an extended family of all races and classes, Chaka began to outwardly share his views by joining a band. He later signed to a major label with only the second band he was a crucial member in forming.
Eventually, life as a touring musician was exchanged for a business to business Information Technology/Services sales and marketing career. An almost two decade long experience that was both challenging and successful. Seeking to be more of service to his community, as well to be in the best expression of his inherent talents and passions, Chaka gave in to the pull to leave the business to business world. Honoring a deep desire to help create better literacy outcomes for learners of all ages, he is amplifying a slightly new approach to driving engagement for learners of all ages. He is excited to explore how he can support Hudson Center for Community and Environment's mission.
Gretchen recently completed a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University focused on Environmental Health. Her thesis focused on determining the best initiatives for addressing health issues in older adults caused by poor air quality. Previously, she was a nurse practitioner practicing home-based palliative medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network where she gained experience developing educational curriculum for a variety of audiences through presentations and written materials. Since moving to the Hudson Valley, she has refocused her energy on the health of the environment and its effect on the community. She has a special interest in the older adult population and their health needs related to climate change and has started a blog to address these issues: Check it out at https://environmentstrong.com/. She is also passionate about reducing current inequities concerning exposure to pollutants and ability to cope with consequences of climate change. Gretchen is excited to be part of HCCE to help improve the health of the environment in her new home.
Originally from North Carolina, Jordan Lunsford is a Financial Analyst on the Go-To-Market Software team at IBM in New York City and he has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance from North Carolina State University. Jordan has experience in financial analysis and planning, predictive analysis, budgeting, and go-to-market strategy. In addition to his financial background, Jordan interned for ActionNC in North Carolina as a Community Organizer supporting programs around immigration reform, tenants’ rights, Medicaid expansion, and voter participation. While growing up in Charlotte, Jordan developed a passion for community outreach and is ecstatic for the opportunity to give back to the New York community by being part of Hudson Center for Community and Environment.
Carly Sheinberg is a Manhattan Urban Park Ranger and active advocate for environmental justice, equity, inclusion, diversity, and universal access. She has a wide range of environmental experience including: serving as a water quality monitor at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown; working in various food systems-related roles involving farming and horticulture; overseeing composting and volunteer programs at Red Hook Farms in Brooklyn; holding Lower East Side Ecology Center's environmental education workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students; and leading similar educational programs for NYC Parks. She is a skilled tractor-driver, has won multiple prestigious awards for her university work, and has presented her scholarly research at several conferences.
In addition to serving as the Director of Social Development for the City of Poughkeepsie, Herbert is a key member of the leadership team of Nubian Directions, a criitically important Youth Social Services Organization in the Poughkeepsie area, whose ongoing mission is to empower our community’s youth, Nubian Directions provides a nurturing environment for youth to reach and fulfill their potential. Their New Directions YouthBuild/AmeriCorps Partnership is a comprehensive youth development program that offers career preparation, job training, counseling and leadership development for out-of-school youths ages 16-24.
John Harrod directs the DuPont Environmental Education Center for the Delaware Nature Society, where he provides vision, raises financial support, builds community connections and administers the strategic initiatives. Working with partner organizations and businesses across disciplines, John connects community with the outdoors and action through unique, relevant, and authentic experiences. John previously served as the backyard habitat coordinator for the society, helping individuals, schools and businesses create and manage outdoor spaces for wildlife habitat and improved water quality. He holds a master’s degree in public horticulture, a certificate in museum studies from the University of Delaware Longwood Graduate Program, and a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental horticulture from Texas A&M University. John has worked at several public gardens including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. John is currently a board member with the Christina Conservancy and volunteer for Open Lands Conservancy of Chester County.
Pamela (Pammi) Price is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, with a M.Ed. in Environmental Education from Bard Center for Environmental Policy and a B.T. in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill. Her tools to enhance educational opportunities for everyone include place-based and inquiry-based teaching, curriculum development and educational approaches that are mindful of access and inclusion for all.
As part of her graduate work, Pammi held two long-term internships: an Environmental Education Virtual position with Missouri River Bird Observatory (MRBO), and a position with Kite's Nest, a center for liberatory education in Hudson, New York where she helped teach lessons related to environmental awareness and conservation, community engagement and public education, environmental justice, collective and personal consciousness and action, business creation and development, and food sovereignty through teaching growing, production, cooking, and preservation skills. Once again, Pammi was in her element in the learning garden, working with at-risk youth. See her blog post on the experience here.
Pammi combines her myriad of skills to engage with community members and share her nature knowledge with them. She uses citizen science in her education programs and has gained knowledge and insight into the practice of citizen science through the Citizen Science Association where she is a member of the communication committee, and collaborated on a blog post which talked about the importance of mentors and connections. She also teaches about the health benefits of nature and the ways it helps to create community connections; see her blog post about it – The Power of Nature: How Getting Outdoors Can Help Us Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Pammi is an active member of the New York State Outdoor Education Association where she is Co-Chair of the Equity, Access, and Inclusion committee and Co-chaired the 2022 Annual Conference. She is also an active member of many other professional associations including the Citizen Science Association, the New York State and National Chapters of The Wildlife Society, North American Association of Environmental Educators, the National Association for Interpretation, and the National Association of Wetland Managers.
In her current role as the Preserve Naturalist and Educator at Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, she is a member of the dynamic education team, assisting with interpretive and educational programming, publications, and opportunities for community engagement, as well as managing the Volunteer Naturalist Program.
Prior to joining the team at Albany Pine Bush Preserve, Pammi was the Environment and Natural Resources Program Coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene Counties, where she assisted in training the 2021 and 2022 class of Master Forest Owner volunteers (as the Catskill/Lower Hudson Regional Director for the NYS program), and led events on topics including Citizen Science, Nature Journaling, Forest Bathing, Birding and Forest Best Management practices. Prior to her work at CCE, she was the Education Program Coordinator at Mud Creek Environmental Learning Center, the education arm of Columbia County Soil and Water Conservation District in Ghent, New York, where she coordinated the education and awareness programs, nature interpretation and brochure and exhibit development.
Mark is a lifelong Hudson Valley resident. He has worked in the construction industry for over a decade, overseeing public and privately funded projects, including roadway construction, flood control initiatives, drinking water distribution, storm-water enhancements, sanitary infrastructure, environmental mitigation, and improvements of parklands. Additionally, Mark has an extensive background in contracts, real estate development, materials, and solid waste recycling, which aid in his current role. He is an avid hiker and enjoys exploring new trails and peaks throughout New York and New England. Honored to join HCCE and serve on its board, Mark is excited to pursue important matters of the organization, particularly related to land conservation, water quality, environmental restoration, and sustainable adaptive reuse.
Kevin, a Hudson Valley resident, is the Founder of HCCE and Board Liaison. He has served as a high school and middle school principal, dean, and teacher of language arts and environmental education in a variety of public and private schools over the past 25 years. Kevin is honored to have recently been named the New York State Outdoor Education Association's Vice President of Administration. In addition, he periodically serves as Site Director for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth summer residential programs in a range of settings including Hong Kong University and JHU's Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. He has earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin’s Educational Leadership and Policy Department with an emphasis on Environmental Education, and an MA in Educational Leadership at Columbia University’s Teachers College. His primary research interests are environmental justice, environmental health, environmental literacy assessments, community engagement, and integrated watershed management, for which he is professionally certified in the field.
John is responsible for monitoring and protecting Westchester Land Trust’s preserves. Previously, he has worked on projects in Arizona, California, Jamaica, and Wisconsin monitoring wildlife populations and restoring habitat. He has a B.S. from Cornell University in Natural Resources and a M.S. in Conservation Biology from SUNY ESF. While growing up in the Hudson Valley, he developed a love of the local parks and forests, and he is excited to have the opportunity to care for some of these special places for future generations.
With 30+ years of marketing experience, Kristin Bernor has created and implemented strategic marketing vision for organizations in the non-profit, healthcare, engineering, education and technology industries. Kristin has earned her Masters Certificate in Marketing from Sacred Heart University as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College. She currently serves as a Board of Directors member for the ITCC (IT Certification Council) as Marketing Chair. Her day job and passion revolves around Head of External Relations for Questionmark.