Nina Barbuto, Executive Director
Nina’s passion for art, new media and social learning led her to found Assemble, a community space for arts + technology, in 2011. On her own, Nina works in a variety of media including architecture, film, sound, and installation and often explores the idea of recycling noise into a system or elevating the vernacular to the spectacular. Nina co-founded I Made It! Market in 2007. An idea based on urban acupuncture, this nomadic market partners with community, arts and non-profit organizations to raise funds and awareness to assist in improving their communities while allowing local artists and crafters to sell their wares. Nina holds degrees in architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture and Carnegie Mellon University, where she is also adjunct faculty.
Takumi Davis, Teacher
Takumi Jordan Davis is currently an architecture student at Carnegie Mellon University and an aspiring community/residential architect. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he has been interested in exploring the social impact that architecture has and desires to make architecture an option for Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and economically underrepresented children and teens. In his off time, he enjoys studying other languages (including his native language Japanese), illustrating, model making, jogging, and riding his bike around Pittsburgh.
Devon Dill, Studio Coordinator + Teacher
Devon Dill is an artist and educator with a passion for community building, informal education, and making things. She holds an MFA in Photography from Parsons The New School for Design, and focuses on exploring the intersection of traditional craft and technology. Her art incorporates a variety of media and thrives on change, which encourages her mission to be a life long learner. Her hope is to provide the tools for both young and old minds alike to take agency over their own learning experiences. In her free time Devon enjoys exploring the outdoors, riding her motorcycle, and cooking.
Samir Gangwani, Monthly Coordinator + Teacher
Samir Gangwani is an interdisciplinary performance artist, curator, and educator who focuses on igniting conversations on disenfranchised communities, mindfulness explorations, and action-based scores for self-care and emotional support. She believes we can combat discrimination that occurs throughout the world by providing safe spaces for people of different backgrounds to communicate and collaborate. Gangwani’s work has been featured at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Queens Museum, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Fuse Factory Electronics and Digital Arts Lab, and Public Space One.
Evelyn Glaze, Teacher
Evelyn is a scientist, artist, and educator with a varied background in research, fiber crafts, and visual and performing arts. She holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Arizona State University, where she did work researching the fossil teeth of our ancient ancestors. She is passionate about mental health and trauma-informed care, and spends most of her free time knitting and cross stitching.
Leah Lavrinc, Camp Coordinator + Teacher
Leah Lavrinc is a teaching artist with an appreciation for community based learning. Her passion for teaching and learning derives from her love for experimenting with art supply. She has her degree in Art Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a minor in studio arts focusing her coursework on sculpture and painting. As an artist Leah likes to find ways to repurpose recycled materials by promoting the idea that found objects can be used again. Her dream is to provide a fun, safe learning environment where all ages can create freely. When she isn’t teaching you can find her watching movies, playing with her cat Moxxie, or exploring the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.
Jacquea Mae, Teacher
Creating an environment for youth to learn, Jacquea Mae has been blessed to teach youth for over thirteen years, in Pittsburgh, PA and beyond. Jacquea has become an international artist this year, performing at the Lausanne Afro-Fusion Festival in Switzerland, the PANAFEST in Cape Coast, Ghana this year and will be returning to jam in both countries in 2020. Ms. Mae released her second album, Life On Hold this June and continues to create at spaces,throughout the city of Pittsburgh like at Ujamaa Collective, The Corner Pittsburgh and countless more!
Andrea Petrillo, Marketing and Development Manager
Andrea joins the Assemble team with 6+ years of project management and production experience. She is graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she received a Bachelors in Arts in Sculpture and a foundation in Art Education. Since graduation she has gone on to manage a variety of special projects and creative teams with Pittsburgh organizations such as Kelly Strayhorn Theater and the Brew House Association and globally with creative tech agency Deeplocal. With both non-profit and for profit experience she looks forward to combining the best of both worlds to propel the future of Assemble.
Ja'Sonta Roberts, Manager Off Site Programs
Ja’Sonta Roberts is very happy to be a part of the Assemble. Ms. Roberts has Theater Arts Degree from Point Park and certification as a Neighborhood Development Leader from Coro Pittsburgh. She brings over 15 years experience working with youth and young and adults and has a track record for developing multi-faceted arts and educational enrichment programs throughout the city. Priding herself in a career in the non-profit secter she plans to bring all her creativity and a network of community partnerships to Assemble.
Aubrey Thompson, Teacher
Aubrey Thompson is passionate about mathematics, the outdoors, all things STEAM, and making education in these areas universally accessible. She earned her Master’s degree in Neural Computation from Carnegie Mellon University, modeling brain activity using stochastic dynamical systems. She’s since had several years of STEAM education experience, from teaching high school math to facilitating environmental outreach through her other job as a park ranger. In her free time, she focuses on building community through mutual aid projects, exploring the woods, and making crossword puzzles.
Chitika Vasudeva, Teacher
Chitika is an aspiring architect with a passion for creating safe, equitable, and inspiring learning spaces. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University with minors in Architectural History and Professional Writing. Her final-semester thesis focused on repurposing out-of-use PPS buildings, driven by her love for adaptive reuse and community-driven spaces. Chitika finds Assemble’s emphasis on STEAM and making-based learning very exciting and crucial to creating empowering and fun experiences for learners everywhere. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and learning new things.