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Who We Are

The Center for Behavioral & Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR) was established in 2014, funded through competitive grants from the USDA Economic Research Service (2014-2019) and from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (2019-2023). CBEAR works with program administrators at the USDA and its partners to incorporate behavioral insights into program designs. CBEAR has twice been named a USDA Center of Excellence.


"CBEAR is excited to work with this talented group of researchers and their partners from across the country to address important agricultural and environmental problems using the best of the behavioral sciences and rigorous experimental designs.

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor,
Johns Hopkins University
Co-Director, CBEAR





The CBEAR Fellows are critical to expand CBEAR’s research capabilities and better understand a large variety of

agri-environmental issues through behavioral and experimental

research techniques. 

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Group Discussion


The Future of

Agri-Environmental Research

We established the CBEAR Fellows Program to provide career guidance to the next generation of food and agriculture scientists.


Our research projects expose each scientist to state-of-the-art methodologies and leading experts in their fields. 


Additionally, our fellows run seminars on agri-environmental research that reinforces scientific leadership and teamwork together with professional experience in addressing conservation challenges within farming systems. 

Our Team


Kent Messer

Co-Director, CBEAR

University of Delaware

Kent Messer is the S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Applied Economics and the director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics at the University of Delaware. He also co-directs the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR), a USDA Center of Excellence. Messer received a BA from Grinnell College, a MS from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from Cornell University. Messer’s research interests include the behavioral response to food risks and the interface between agriculture and the environment. He had published over 110 publications, served as editor of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review and an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  Messer has been an investigator of interdisciplinary proposals worth over $72 million from numerous sources including NSF, EPA, NOAA, and USDA.  His recent book is The Science of Strategic Conservation: Protecting More with Less published by Cambridge University Press.

Paul J. Ferraro

Co-Director, CBEAR

Johns Hopkins University

Paul J. Ferraro is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Human Behavior and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ferraro has a joint faculty appointment in the Carey Business School and the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, a joint department of the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering. Ferraro’s research focuses on building a credible evidence base about the environmental and social impacts of public and private programs.


Mark Masters

Director of Outreach, CBEAR

Albany State University

Mark Masters currently serves as Director of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center at Albany State University and is a leading expert in agricultural water use and policy in the Southeastern U.S. Throughout his career, Mark has led numerous research and outreach projects related to water resources in Georgia and has positioned the Center as a trusted technical resource for the State and its water planning efforts.  Mark is active on a number of local, state and national advisory boards including the American Farm Bureau Water Advisory Committee, Governor’s Soil and Water Advisory Committee, the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Board of Directors.

Ann Alvarado

Research Manager

University of Delaware

While Ann's title may read research manager, she is responsible for wearing many hats in her leadership role with CBEAR.   With an extensive background in project management, Ann possesses a tenaciousness to meet any challenge presented in research administration.  This includes proposal development/submission processes, budgeting, contract development, and the center's research projects.  Aside from her primary role on our leadership team, Ann also develops communications and standards for our project teams; while sharing our best practices to a wide range of audiences via social media, the YouTube channel, and our CBEAR website.


Aisha Emory

Lab Coordinator

University of Delaware

Aisha Emory is no stranger when it comes to working with scientists in agri-environments.  A former employee with University of Delaware Extension, she now heads up CBEAR's multidisciplinary lab facility. Spearheading many improvements to administrative processes in her role with CBEAR, Aisha oversees the management of experiment resources in the center as well as work with budgets, purchasing and the management of funding.  Additionally, she uses her strong leadership strengths to manage data gathering collection and the coordination of lab use.​ With an IRB (Institutional Review Board) certification, Aisha insures protocol compliance and manages the procurement of experiment expenditures.  She also provides a wide variety of operational, research, and administrative laboratory support services.  

Hannah Correia

Postdoctoral Researcher

Johns Hopkins University

Hannah Correia is a statistician with expertise in spatiotemporal statistics, robust estimation, forecasting, disease modeling, Bayesian estimation, and causal inference for ecological data.  Dr. Correia is a former Data Science Fellow of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she developed and applied causal analysis methods for detecting and quantifying multiple causal influences in dynamic, nonlinear ecological systems.​ Correia is currently a postdoctoral fellow at John Hopkins University under the direction of Dr. Paul Ferraro, co-director of CBEAR.  Her work focuses on modeling and estimating effects of behavioral changes in agri-environmental systems and developing causal inference methods for natural and human-natural systems.   


Diya Ganguly

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Delaware

Diya Ganguly is an agricultural economist with expertise in behavioral and experimental economics.  Dr. Ganguly is a former  J.B. Fellow from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where she completed her dissertation on "The Role of Gender Identity on Conservation Effort Choice on Rented Farmland." Currently a first-year postdoc at the University of Delaware, Dr. Ganguly is actively involved in several research projects in relation to consumer behavior and best practices in agricultural conservation efforts.

Lusi Xie

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Delaware

Lusi Xie is an environmental economist with expertise in environmental valuation and experimental economics. Focusing on water, land, and wildlife conservation, her interdisciplinary research addresses issues surrounding common pool resource use, provision of public goods, and reduction of negative externalities.​ As a research fellow, Dr. Xie has expanded her opportunities in the field through networking and making strong connections with government agencies

and stakeholders.  



Kylie Tugend

Undergraduate Research Assistant

University of Delaware

Kylie Tugend is a native of Nazareth, Pennsylvania and currently a sophomore at the University of Delaware.  In her second year at the university, Kylie is double majoring in environmental studies and public policy.  This is her first year with CBEAR's research team and she works closely with both leadership and administration. Playing a vital role in our research activities, she already has an IRB (Institutional Review Board) certification in human subject's protection and uses her credentials to assist with the data management and recruitment of

study participants.

Sarah Wessel

Undergraduate Research Assistant

University of Delaware

Sarah Wessel is from Adams County, Pennsylvania where she grew up on a cattle ranch. A junior double-majoring in Art and Agricultural Science at the University of Delaware, Wessel is the recipient of the Calloway Humanities Scholarship, the UD Trustee Scholarship and the General Honors Award.​ A main contributor to the design and updating of the CBEAR website, Sarah says she is considering a career in Agricultural Communications.  Possessing an IRB (Institutional Review Board) certification in human subject's protection, she assists with the data management and recruitment of study participants as well as other research activities. 

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