The Assemble team is approachable, passionate about their work, and reflects the community we serve.
Kiera is very excited to be joining the Assemble team. She holds a master of the arts in International Policy and Development from Middlebury Institute of International Studies. There she focused on education and environmental policy. She assisted in teaching and designing courses such as Racism and Policy and Storytelling for Change. In 2020, she served a year as an English as a Second language instructor with Compass Americorps. Kiera is passionate about developing safe learning environments so students can discover their learning style. In her free time Kiera enjoys hiking, embroidery, and reading stories from around the world. She is a proud cat mom to two lovely kitties, with hopes of fostering more soon.
In-House Programs Manager
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.
Studio Coordinator + 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.
Off-Site Programs Manager
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.
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.
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.
Monthly Coordinator + Teacher
Samira Mendoza is an interdisciplinary performance artist, curator, and educator based in Pittsburgh, PA. Their work centers improvisation through different mediums including sound, sculpture, organizing, and movement to investigate oppressive systems, familial history, and personal experiences. Mendoza is the founder of hodgepodge, an interdisciplinary arts network that features performances, installations, and curated ensembles. Mendoza’s work has been featured at the Experimental Sound Studio, Fuse Factory and Digital Arts Lab, Queens Museum, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Pittsburgh Filmmakers & Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Public Space One, and the Woods Cooperative. Mendoza serves on the Artists Council for the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and is currently a Distillery Resident artist at the Brew House Association. You can catch Samira deejaying with the Dyspheric crew on Verge FM in Columbus, Ohio every third Saturday at 9PM!
Afterschool Coordinator + Teacher
Tany is a transplant to Pittsburgh and has lived here for 4 years. She was born in Massachusetts, grew up in South Florida, and most recently moved from Buffalo, NY. While in Buffalo she ran an afterschool art program ( one she attended in her youth) and also received a degree in Fine Arts from The University of Buffalo. Her love is Art Education and working creatively with children. She has also studied various forms of dance throughout her school career including ballet, jazz, and modern. Tany enjoys learning about all kinds of music, Djing dance parties, and practicing yoga. She is very excited to be a new member of the Assemble team!
Ramp Up Fellow
I’m Breydon Prioleau, a Pittsburgh based creator, comic illustrator, teacher and character designer, creating shareable works since 2014. My work is heavily inspired by diversity, representation, and inclusivity. Through illustration and colorful character design I am focused on creating work that showcases concepts that are important to me, such as the want to feel included, represented, and being aware that there are so many different types of people on this earth but nonetheless they are all important and beautiful in their own ways. Follow my work on Instagram @Tiny.Goblin.Art
Cameron Evans Jr. first started his teaching career at Propel Hazelwood in 2020 while serving with the KEYS Americorps program. Now, he is a teacher at Assemble teaching classes such as Afro-futurism and summer camps. Being the oldest brother of 4 siblings and his passion for video games, Anime, films, and all forms of sports (The Pittsburgh Steelers & Penguins being his favorite teams), this gives him a huge boost to connect and relate with student’s. He is a 2019 graduate from Obama Academy and will be attending Trade school in the Fall 2021 semester.
Part-Time Assemble Teacher
Jenni is a first generation student majoring in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Alongside ADP, she is in the Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) program. She is a tutor, member of Kappa Delta Pi, and member of the Latinx Student Association. Her hobbies include makeup artistry, watching TV, painting, and singing. Jenni began her time at ASSEMBLE in May of 2021 as part of the Browne Leadership Fellowship at Pitt. She couldn’t get enough and decided to apply to become an official Assembler. Jenni loves teaching, learning, and creating with the kiddos and the team!
Offsite Program Coordinator
Jazmine Bailey is a Teaching artist with a passion for arts integrated learning. She uses her innovative skills to create result based curriculums and promote holistic learning, by sparking curiosity in the minds of her students. Jazmine’s unique educational experiences, from Shady Lane School, to graduating from Pittsburgh CAPA , it is easy to recognize how her experience in learning influences her philosophy of teaching, through play. She now holds a BFA in dance from Eastern University & 10 years of experience leading classrooms and mentoring youth. As an artist, Jazmine is an expersionalist through a plethora of artistic genres and mediums. Jazmine is esatic to be joining the Assemble Team and looks forward to cultivating more creative learning experiences.
Assemble Teacher + Ramp Up Mentor
Jacquea Mae is an international singer, actress and spoken word artist that has graced the stage and has featured at many venues, theatrical productions and engagements throughout Pittsburgh,Pa, Switzerland, Ghana and beyond. As early as Jacquea can remember, she was singing songs of praise at St. Mark AME Zion Church as early as five years old. Now. Ms. Mae continues to receive rave reviews for her powerful, often passionate, free, from the gut and soulful performances. Embracing Jill Scott, Big Momma Thorton and Stevie Wonder as her influences, Jacquea is able to command your attention with a presence and voice that soars! In addition, Ms. Mae has been building with the youth for over half her life, inspiring and celebrating the brilliance of youth.
Assemble Teacher + Ramp Up Fellow
Veronica is a Garfield Native who started off at Assemble in 2011 as an afterschool student and went on to work at Assemble summer camps, Teens as Teachers, Hack the Future and more! She is also a proud teacher of the Afro-future curriculum. Veronica graduated from Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in 2019. Veronica is also a photographer who learned her digital and film skills at the Manchester Craftsmans Guild, she is now the owner of Veronica Rae Photography™, a Black Female Owned Photography service. Veronica also has received her RAMP certification. Veronica loves to create safe learning environments, seeing, all things STEAM, travel and caramel iced coffee!
Facebook: Veronica Rae Photography
Phone: (412) 254-3778 (Text)
Monthly Coordinator + Teacher
Marketing and Development Manager
Dale Crawford is passionate about all things STEAM and out-of-school-time education. She comes to Assemble with a background in environmental education, elementary education, marketing and development. Dale holds a Master’s Degree from Chatham University, and has worked in the nonprofit education field for over 10 years. She is so excited to join Assemble’s team as Marketing and Development Manager and to help spread the word about all of the amazing things the organization is doing in the Pittsburgh community! When Dale isn’t Assembling, she enjoys spending time outside, caring for her many houseplants, and hanging out with her family.
Lou Duplantier (she/they) is a food and art educator. Her love of food comes from her home of New Orleans and from Pittsburgh, where she earned a MA in Food Studies. Their work focuses on food and racial justice and community awareness of the food system.
Originally from Philadelphia, Carolyn is passionate about building, making, teaching, playing and learning how things work. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Pitt and has worked in precision automation and product design. Particularly interested in woodworking, Carolyn is an active member of Hack PGH and crafts tables, shelving, cutting boards and other home goods. She is also an elite Ultimate frisbee player, having competed on multiple world championship teams. She currently plays for a Pittsburgh club team she helped found called “Parcha,” which is a portmanteau for Parking Chair, a Pittsburgh icon. She is excited to share her knowledge about tools and technology to support Assemble’s mission.
Ramp Up Fellow
To me, being an artist looks like sitting on a blanket out in the grass to draw or paint, putting things together and having pain and tape all over me, or writing in a cafe with a cup of hot chocolate or tea, or sitting over photoshop for hours on the floor, cooking at odd hours of the night, and even writing music alone or with friends. Being an artist is a way to project my voice in a way I normally can’t; a way to translate how I see the world and communicate my thoughts in a more legible way. I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, and taking that base and expanding on it with creating three dimensional pieces and creating worlds through writing and painting the air with music translate a single picture into a fantastical performance worth more words than anyone can use to explain the madness of life.
Minnie Jones is a second term AmeriCorps Member and is excited to start her first term with KEYS (her previous term was with Public Allies where she served at Vibrant Pittsburgh from 2020-2021)! Outside of serving with AmeriCorps Minnie spends her time studying Mechanical Engineering, performing with theatre companies in and around the Pittsburgh area, and spending a lot of time serving at her church: Amplify City Campus. The Arts, STEM, and Social Justice are all things Minnie is passionate about, so getting the opportunity to empower youth around them is like a dream come true.
Board of Directors President
Senior Policy Analyst, Allegheny Health Choices
Samantha Levinson is the Senior Policy Analyst at Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc (AHCI), which was formed by Allegheny County to perform oversight, monitoring, and quality improvement of County’s behavioral health Medicaid system. Samantha works on a wide range of topics, including racial disparities in healthcare, value-based care incentives, and data science applications in public sector healthcare.Samantha is also an adjunct professor at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability, where she teaches economics. She also serves on the University of Pittsburgh’s Young Alumni Advisory Team. When she’s not analyzing data (or capitalism), Samantha enjoys boxing, cooking, and watching 90’s sitcoms. Samantha is a graduate of Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned her Master of Science in Public Policy, Management, and Data Analytics. She is also a proud alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned degrees in French Language and Economics.
Board of Directors Vice President
Public Health in Philanthropy Fellow, The Pittsburgh Foundation
Kara is a Pittsburgh transplant by way of upstate New York and is originally from the island of Guam. As a research fellow at the Pittsburgh Foundation, she conducts community-engaged research and supports grantmaking, public policy and advocacy efforts that advance The Pittsburgh Foundation’s public health agenda, with a concentration on the built and natural environment. As a former guesteducator and volunteer at Assemble, Kara is super pumped to serve as a director on the board, where she chairs the Infrastructure committee. Kara is an avid reader and biker and is currently teaching herself how to skateboard. She lives in Lawrenceville.
Business Operations & Intelligence Analyst, JazzHR
Kayla spends her days wrangling data and making pretty visualizations to help leaders make strategic decisions and plans. She works for a SaaS used-to-be-startup that makes hiring software for small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profts. She nerds out on things like regression analyses and clean, tidy code. She began a career in analytics several years ago after studying her master’s at the University of California, San Diego in International Management & Analytics.
Prior to this, however, she worked for several years as an English-as-a second-language teacher and English department head, first in Pittsburgh and then in Bogota, Colombia. Her first love was education, and she’s found a fantastic opportunity at Assemble to combine her teacher side and her tech side. She’s also a Pitt alum and, after many years exploring other places, found her way back home.
Board of Directors Secretary
Receptionist, Dickie, MCCamey & Chilcote, P.C.
Shannon Phy received her BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Visual and Performing Arts. She started work in Long Beach public schools before moving to Pittsburgh in 2001 where she taught a Pre-K/K classroom while also creating and teaching the art program for students Pre-K through 5th grade. She has a 20 year career in education with a strong focus on accessibility initiatives. Most recently it has been her pleasure and honor to serve the Pittsburgh community, schools and families doing education programming for a number of cultural institutions and non-profit organizations. Shannon is a mother, an avid doodler, a fan of chickens and a new learner of all boat related things. A long time fan of Assemble, she is thrilled to join the organization and contribute to its mission and work inside the Pittsburgh Community.
Executive Director, Bloomfield Development Corporation
Christina Howell serves as Executive Director of Bloomfield Development Corporation (BDC), a non-profit working to build a thriving and diverse community through equitable engagement. Her work in community development includes positions at Community Design Center of Pittsburgh (now Design Center), Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation, and Northside/Northshore Chamber of Commerce. With BDC since 2014, she first worked with the community to create the Bloomfield Saturday Market, and then moved into education and advocacy for small businesses, affordable housing, improved mobility and infrastructure, and open and transparent community engagement in all of BDC’s work. Christina currently serves on the Baum Centre Initiative and is a three-year alumnus of AmeriCorp.
Program Manager, Zoobean
Kelly Hiser is Product Manager at Zoobean, a startup helping communities read more and read together. She’s also co-founder and the former CEO of Rabble, astartup that empowers libraries to support and sustain their local creativecommunities. Kelly holds a Ph.D. in music history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a historian she focuses on gender, race, music, and technology; as an entrepreneur and product leader she works at the intersections of technology, the arts and humanities, and the public good.
Project Architect-GGBN, Adjunct Faculty-Carnegie Mellon University
Phyllis Kim is an architect at GBBN Architects in Pittsburgh. Her passion for community-engaged, public interest design finds expression in her work on the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians, her programming GBBN’s Edge Gallery, and her contributions to GBBN’s Design Issues Series. With an expansive view of what design can do, Phyllis always seeks opportunities for designers to engage their communities. In addition to her work at GBBN, Phyllis is interested in teaching and mentoring young architects. A member of the National Organization of Minority Architects, she is part of the team that executes Project Pipeline, an architectural camp aimed at exposing architecture and design to minority students. She also is an adjunct faculty member Carnegie Mellon’s school of Architecture where she is an alumnus.
PwC, Business Analyst & Project Manager
Ellen studied Writing and Urban Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and Sustainable Business Practices at Duquesne University. They’re developing a business plan for a human centered-design cooperative and paid apprenticeship program, tentatively called Applied Arts and Sciences Co-op. They work as a business analyst and project manager in sales enablement at PwC. In 2022, they joined Assemble’s Board of Directors and began co-chairing the Information Management Committee. They live in Lawrenceville now and grew-up in State College, PA.
Steel City Media, Creative Services Director
Katelynd Gibbons is the Creative Services Director for Steel City Media, a full-service marketing agency with offices in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Her work in graphic design and digital storytelling has been featured in advertising campaigns for major national brands as well as small mom & pop shops. Katelynd holds a BA in
art history from Penn State University and a MA in social science from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. A lifelong passion for the arts and past experience as an educator has inspired an ongoing mission to uncover interdisciplinary connections and study the myriad stories that are written into works of art.
Locomation, Inc., Director of People Operations & Inclusion
Jacquie Foradori is the Director of People Operations & Inclusion at Locomation, Inc., a tech start up here in Pittsburgh that is retrofitting semi-trucks to be self-driving. She was the eighth employee at Locomation; and the first female and first non-tech hire. She has had excellent opportunities working in various small start-ups in different industries from accounting to franchising businesses; software development and process improvement; and human resources and business operations. The latter has allowed her to develop skills and knowledge of working in both small and large organizations with a wide variety of customers both locally and internationally. She grew up in the Greater Pittsburgh Area and is an active member of the community for several years, and is passionate about the community and city she lives in. She currently serves on the board of Pittsburgh Young Professionals (PYP) as Past President (2020).
Partner, Keystone Artist Connect
Maddy is an event professional in the arts and entertainment industry. Her favorite project was co-producing a livestream event titled “Live at 25: The Pandemic Series,” which helped to raise almost $10,000 for participating local and national artists. The series ran for 30 straight days during 2020, and she was able to meet and stay connected with artists during a time of crisis, while also learning video live switching and streaming skills. Maddy has experience in production management, event coordination, audio, lighting, artist management, and booking. Select clients and projects include: Barrel and Flow Festival, 1Hood Media’s Get Out The Vote series, Demeatria Boccella, Smokey Robinson, Benji., CAAMP, and PA Cyber. She has fostered strong industry connections in the Pittsburgh community, and when she’s not working, she can be found collecting and watching vintage VHS tapes or listening to vinyl.
Instagram: @maddylafferty, @keystoneartistconnect
Retired School Administrator
Recently retired from a 30 year career in public education, I look forward to the next chapter of my life. My career and now my goal in retirement is to support student learning and use my skills and expertise to expand hands on learning that ignites creativity, enjoyment, and success for every learner. My hobbies include reading, hiking, playing with my dog Flannery and spending time with family and friends. I’m very proud to be a member of the Assemble Board and look forward to our exciting future of expanding the wonderful Assemble impact to more makers, learners, and community members.
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council / Senior Director of External Affairs
Kristen is a longtime strategic communications professional with a special affinity for the nonprofit sector, the arts, environmental causes and education. She is currently the Senior Director of External Affairs at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, where she works closely with the region’s arts and culture community. During her time at the Arts Council, Kristen has provided leadership to key marketing and public relations initiatives. She previously worked at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Fallingwater, and a woman-owned private public relations firm. Kristen is an active board member at Assemble, where she co-chairs the events committee and serves on the infrastructure committee. She’s a previous board member and longtime member of PRSA Pittsburgh chapter. Pro tip: Kristen is a West Virginia native and will make you pepperoni rolls, upon request.
Thornridge Facilities Associates / Operations Manager
Stephen is an Engineer and Operations Manager with a background in system integration, facility design, manufacturing strategies using novel technologies, and educating adult workforces. He has spent most of his career developing organizations focused on expanding access to healthy and fresh food sources in a way that out competes “Big Food” in both a consulting and direct management capacity across North America. The most fulfilling part of his career is developing employee roles to improve stakeholder outcomes through management/labor partnerships in the underserved areas where manufacturing careers are commonly found.
Stephen holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a MA in Business Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Global Wordsmiths/Founder and CEO
Mary Jayne is the Founder and CEO of Global Wordsmiths, Adjunct Faculty Lecturer of Translation Technologies and Applied Translation in the MA of Global Communication and Applied Translation program at Carnegie Mellon University, and member of the Assemble Board of Directors. She also serves as the Executive Committee Co-Chair of the Pittsburgh-based All for All Coalition, and sits on several Advisory Boards in order to share her broad expertise in the fields of language accessibility and language justice. Mary Jayne studied public service at the University of Pittsburgh and language translation & interpretation at the Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México in Mexico City, and brings seventeen years of field experience as a Spanish language translator, simultaneous interpreter and language service industry executive to her current position at Global Wordsmiths. She is driven and passionate, and dedicated to advancing a culture of language accessibility.
Public Health Evaluator
Abigail Sanders is a public health evaluator living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has been an enthusiastic board member for Assemble since 2020.
Abigail holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and Visual Arts from Chatham University and is currently a graduate student at American University, obtaining an MS in Measurement & Evaluation.
Abigail has 7+ years of K – 12 teaching experience, focusing on Visual Arts and Birth – Six Early Childhood Development, and has numerous years of experience as a director for school programs.
Abigail’s work has grown to include M&E specialities in order to determine an organization’s programmatic success, particularly through a social justice lense.
Finally, Abigail is also a former educator for Assemble and an occasional farmer when life allows.