Operations Staff

Yarida Cruz
Yarida Cruz
Receptionist
Yarida Cruz is one of the Receptionists for the UMass Center at Springfield. She provides general office support with a variety of clerical activities, including customer service, distribution of information, overseeing of Center use, and some Social Media and Event coordination. Born and raised in Indian Orchard, Yarida discovered the fun and benefits of education at an early age and grew into serving as a leader. She began her professional journey in Business Information Management at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School. Yarida completed her undergraduate studies at Westfield State University, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. Her passion is advising with staff and students throughout college in Student Services programs such as TRiO Student Support Services, Financial Aid, Academic Advising, and Benaco’s Disability Services.
Wesley Days
Wesley Days
Assistant Manager of Operations
Wesley Days is a native of Arlington, VA. He has resided in Western Massachusetts for nearly two decades. Prior to joining the UMass Center at Springfield team, Wesley worked at CIGNA and Prudential Life Insurance Companies as a software developer and database administrator. He also managed the IT and Operations Department at the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Wesley attended Howard University and attained an Associates of Science and Associates of Arts from Springfield Technical Community College. He brings a wealth of IT and management experience to the team.
Hannah Forbes-Smith
Hannah Forbes-Smith
Executive Assistant/Fiscal Support Specialist
Hannah Forbes-Smith is the Executive Assistant & Fiscal Support Specialist for the UMass Center at Springfield. She provides a broad range of administrative services, including: operations, human resources, and logistics coordination, finance and accounting, and executive support. An interest in human relations along with a strength and passion for teaching and leadership led to the Springfield native's pursuance and completion of a Baccalaureate Degree in Psychology from Virginia State University. Hannah remained in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she would spend the next five years as an administrator in Early Childhood Education. In her role as Program Director of Rainbow Station Nursery School, Preschool, and School-Age Program, Hannah supervised a team of 40 staff. Under her leadership, Rainbow Station achieved regional recognition and was awarded the “Employer of Choice” award for two consecutive years. Rainbow Station also received national accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children within just two years of its opening. Upon relocating back home to Massachusetts in 2013, Hannah transitioned to the non-profit sector as an Assistant Unit Manager with the Community Renewal Team (CRT) in Hartford, Connecticut. During her career with CRT, Hannah worked closely with diverse populations and guided the daily operations of two Preschools and 50 staff.
Dorcas Dee Jones
Dorcas "Dee" Jones
Receptionist
Dorcas "Dee" Jones is a Receptionist at the UMass Center, with a focus on customer service. She has over 20 years of experience interacting with different audiences. Dee previously worked at Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start Inc. and Health New England. This Army Veteran understands the importance of education and has continued her path majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology at Holyoke Community College where she is a member of both the Holyoke Chapter of Psi Beta and Phi Theta. Dee’s mantras to live by are: “It is not what you say, but how you say it,” and a “Smile goes a long way.”
Daniel Montagna
Daniel Montagna
Director of Operations
Dan Montagna is the Director of Operations for the UMass Center at Springfield. He is the center’s liaison with community and academic partners and is focused on capacity building, UMass brand promotion and long-range strategic planning for the center. In addition, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the Center and the programs housed within. A resident of Feeding Hills, Montagna had served as interim director of operations at the downtown Springfield facility March 2014 and was made permanent director in June of the same year. Montagna joined UMass as assistant director of operations last August, right before the center opened. From 2012-14, Dan was a project manager at Heller Consulting, Inc. in Newton, where he oversaw large-scale technical, assessment, business process, software selection and internal projects. Prior to that position, he was a program coordinator with the Massachusetts Local Technical Assistance Program at UMass Amherst and an information technology specialist at the UMassFive College Federal Credit Union in Hadley. Dan is a 1999 graduate of Westfield State College with a degree in geography and regional planning and currently working to complete is Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA). His lifelong ties to the greater Springfield area and investment in seeing the region prosper provide the backdrop of his goals for Center growth and partnerships, as well as adherence to the high standards of academic excellence and research by the University of Massachusetts.
Jamina Scippio-McFadden
Jamina Scippio-McFadden
Director of Student Services, Marketing & Community Relations
Jamina Scippio-McFadden is the Director of Student Services, Academic Support, Marketing, & Community Relations for the UMass Center at Springfield. She is responsible for external relations and student support, and is actively looking for opportunities to connect and collaborate with outside organizations. Jamina earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bethune-Cookman University and her Master’s degree from the University of Florida, both in Mass Communication. Prior to joining the UMass Center staff prior to the 2014 opening, she has taught at several universities throughout the country and was the founding Director of Career Services at Tallahassee Community College. Jamina has over 20 years of experience in media, including television news where she has worked for ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, commercial and public radio, print media, and public relations. Jamina serves on the Executive Committee of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Board, the Board of New England Public Radio, the Springfield Museums, and the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, and the Davis Foundation’s Reading for Success Steering Committee. She is also a volunteer with Springfield Public Schools and a member of several professional and civic national organizations.
Bennett Smith
Bennett Smith
Technical and Operations Support Specialist
Bennett Smith, a native of New Orleans (LA), is the Technical and Operations Support Specialist. His career path in technology began as an Information Technology Specialist in the U.S. Army. Bennett finished in the top 3 of his class and received the Army Certification of Achievement for his duties. He also has other earned certifications in Computer Networking, Security, and Maintenance. He utilizes his skills for the Center by providing excellent service with a smile. Bennett offers support with Technical and Room layouts for designated Center classes and events, as well as day-to-day technology maintenance and support for students, faculty, staff, and guests.