The Assemble team is approachable, passionate about their work, and reflects the community we serve.
Grant Writer + Coordinator
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.
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.
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, often exploring 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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)
Thea Keene is an artist and advocate for alternative education. She holds a BFA in Ceramics, with minors in Spanish and Psychology, from Montana State University. Thea is fiercely passionate about fostering community connections through art making and working to ensure spaces to create remain accessible to all. Outside of work, Thea is likely drinking a cup of tea, knitting, mountain biking, or working on her upcoming graphic novel.
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.
Finance and Operations Manager
Alonso joins Assemble with a profound appreciation for the ability of arts and learning spaces to encourage comparative analysis, equitability, and justice. He has his Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and hasdemonstrated a knack and a love for work in nonprofit management and helping teams make a difference in and outside of their workplace. He has worked in various fields including civil liberties, food justice, health and wellness, human rights, law, technology and more! Alonso loves animals, lore, music, travel, and catching up on current events.
Space holder, story teller, lover of nature. Rosemary comes to Assemble via the coast and ocean of Maine. Full of a plethora of very odd information covering a wild and wide variety of subjects. I like to figure out the process by which something works and get super excited about sharing whatever I am doing with others at the time. I look forward to sharing and learning with the young Assemblers, along with my fellow teachers.
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.
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).
Duquesne Light Company, Regulatory Counsel
Emily Farah is a lawyer, animal lover, and adventure-seeker. Emily studied journalism at Duquesne University and received her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. At work, Emily practices regulatory law in thepublic utility sector. In her free time, Emily enjoys mentoring young adults, rock climbing, running, hiking, and snowboarding. Emily currently lives in Mount Washington with her dog (Zelda), cat (Frances Purrkins), and her most trusted ally/husband, Silas Russell.
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.
Elise Hawthorne is a Product Manager at Amplify Education, where she works to build digital curriculum and learning tools for K-12 students and educators across the country.
Elise is passionate about the intersections of education, technology, and creativity. Her prior work in education includes advising school districts and education technology organizations in technical strategies, and before that, leading a data team with KIPP NYC Public Schools. She is an alum of AmeriCorps and the Education Pioneers Fellowship, and holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Elise lives in Point Breeze with her husband, Samarth, and their two muppet-like dogs, Barry and Edie. In her free time, she loves reading and making pottery.
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.