Tricia Serio

Dean

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Tricia Serio’s research interests focus on understanding and reversing the biological consequences of pathogenic protein conformations central to such diseases as mad cow disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes. As a public communicator of science, over the past year Dean Serio has authored opinion pieces for the Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, U.S. News and World Report, and Nature, on such topics as the unintended consequences of seeking tenure, mentorship, work-life balance, increasing college graduation rates, subtle sexism in science, and the role of basic research in finding cures for human diseases. She earned a BS in molecular biology from Lehigh University, and an MPhil and PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.

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Brenda Barlow

Assistant Dean, CNS Advising

Brenda Barlow

Brenda Barlow is an Assistant Dean in the CNS Advising Center in the College of Natural Sciences. She joined UMass Amherst in 2012 and worked as the Director of Advising in the Commonwealth Honors College for nine years before she joined the CNS team in 2020. Barlow has over 20 years of experience in academic affairs, advising, student success, and supporting students in crisis. Her personal experiences navigating college as a low-income, first-generation college student, inspire her to develop initiatives and programs to better support students from diverse backgrounds. Barlow has a BS in Psychology from Stonehill College and an MS is Nonprofit Management and Public Policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management and Environment.

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Elizabeth Connor

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Elizabeth Connor

Elizabeth A. Connor is an Associate Professor of Biology with research in the area of neurobiology and the development and maintenance of vertebrate synapses.  She has extensive experience in the classroom and the use of effective teaching strategies, as well as development and implementation of curriculum redesign, and initiatives to support student success and student research.  Connor has received two College Outstanding Teaching awards and the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Teaching Award. She serves as Program Director for the UMass Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Award.  She earned a BS in biology from St. Lawrence University, a PhD in physiology and biophysics from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine.

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Peter Holden

Associate Dean for Administration, Finance & Operations

Peter Holden

Peter L. Holden serves as the principal for all finance, human resource and strategic matters for the College of Natural Sciences. He came to UMass Amherst with more than 20 years of practice in academic administration, operations and research enterprises, including his work as director of facilities planning and operations at Brown University. Holden received a BS in Construction Management from Roger Williams University and an MBA from Bryant University.

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Leo Hwang

Assistant Academic Dean, CNS Advising

Leo Hwang

Dr. Leo L. Hwang is the Assistant Academic Dean in the College of Natural Sciences Academic Advising Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Hwang is particularly interested in using participatory action research and asset based community development as a model for enhancing how we engage in racial justice work in higher education. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts in Geosciences, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his B.A. in English and Fine Arts from the University of the South. His work has appeared in The Handbook of Diverse Economies, Human Being & Literature, The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism, Route Nine, Rethinking Marxism, Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet, Meat for Tea, The Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Rivendell, Fiction, Gulf Coast and other journals and publications. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mount Holyoke College; Greenfield Community College; and Westfield State University; and he served as Dean of Humanities, Engineering, Math, and Science at Greenfield Community College for over 16 years.

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Jody Jellison

Director, Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Agricultural Research and Engagement

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Jody Jellison joined UMass in 2016 as a Professor of Biology. Her area of research interest is in fungal biology. She is an author on over 100 publications and four patents and has significant experience in agricultural research administration. She currently serves as the Director of UMass Extension and the Director of the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. She received her BS from the University of New Hampshire and holds an MS in Plant Pathology/multivariate statistics and a PhD in Plant Virology/Biochem/Biophysics from Oregon State University. Her post-doctoral work was in immunology and molecular plant biology at Harvard University.

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Mark Tuominen

Associate Dean for Research & Innovation

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Mark Tuominen is a Professor of Physics at UMass Amherst, where he performs research in experimental condensed matter physics and nanotechnology. His work helps to advance the science and applications of nanoscale charge transport, magnetism, bioelectronics, superconductivity, self-assembly, and nanomanufacturing. He was instrumental in establishing the NSF Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing and the National Nanomanufacturing Network. Dr. Tuominen’s educational innovations are in the areas of research learning and professional development. He received a bachelor’s in chemical engineering and a PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota, and was a postdoctoral research associate at Harvard University.

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Position Temporarily Vacant

Associate Dean for Graduate, Post Doctoral, and Faculty Development

Gabriela Weaver

Assistant Dean for Student Success Analytics & Professor in Chemistry

Gabriela Weaver

Gabriela Weaver’s scholarship is in the area of STEM education innovation for the goal of increasing access to higher education and student success. Her work has spanned numerous projects, including: individual innovations in classes, researching how students learn specific concepts using different pedagogies or tools, engaging in curricular reform at the program or department level, providing professional development for K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, researching and supporting institutional-level change, engaging in national-level policy related work, and developing and studying networks for practitioners and researchers of higher education STEM reform. Although her work has progressed across different projects, it has remained within the same sphere and theme, even while its scope has expanded from individual courses to institutions and ultimately communities of practitioners across the nation. She is a Fellow of the AAAS and was a member of the 2019-2020 ACE Fellows cohort.

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Brooke Weisenbeck

Assistant Dean for Advancement

Brooke Weisenbeck

Brooke Weisenbeck serves as the Assistant Dean for Advancement for CNS and is responsible for providing advancement leadership to further development, communications, engagement, and alumni relations efforts on behalf of the College of Natural Sciences. Prior to joining UMass in 2019, Brooke oversaw advancement efforts across international markets at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Brooke began her advancement career at the University of Chicago and served as campaign planning and fundraising lead for Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business. She received both a bachelor’s degree and a master of public administration degree from DePaul University and is a graduate of the Chicago Management Institute at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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