Meet Carolina Torres, a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. While in college, Carolina volunteered for the Latin Community Center of Pittsburgh and was the Events Coordinator of the University of Pittsburgh’s Spanish Club. Carolina was elected by her peers to be a group leader of PACT- a student-run volunteer group that raised money for cancer research at the Hillman Cancer Center. In this capacity, Carolina was responsible for organizing both large and small fundraising and other events including 5K runs, concerts, food drives at the hospital, and Funday Fridays for patients and their families. Upon graduation, Carolina moved to New York City to launch her career in educational fundraising. She recently finished a Communications Internship at Brooklyn Prospect Schools and is excited to take everything she’s learned and apply it at BUILD NYC! Carolina is a first-generation Chilean American who loves hiking, traveling, and running!
Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education. She currently serves as the Regional Executive Director for BUILD NYC. Prior to BUILD, Chymeka served as the National Executive Director of Minds Matter National Inc., an academic mentoring nonprofit headquartered in New York City. She set the organization’s strategic direction in collaboration with the leadership of 12 chapters. During her tenure, Minds Matter doubled the number of students served and successfully launched four of its 12 chapters. She developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy and formed partnerships to achieve scale and impact to benefit the national network. In addition, Chymeka has worked in programming, development and management capacities at the New York City Department of Education and at The After-School Corporation (TASC). As a Program Manager in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education, she oversaw a number of large efforts to bring private-sector philanthropy into the public schools. Prior to that, Chymeka was Deputy Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of Jumpstart for Young Children
Chymeka is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Economic Policy and African and African-American History. She completed her MPA with a focus in Public and Nonprofit Management at The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. In the summer of 2012, Chymeka earned a Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management certificate offered through Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
Cindy Pineda is a mission-driven educator with over 10 years of experience who has dedicated her life to youth development, fighting social injustices and closing the achievement gap. She cares deeply about future generations and seeks to leave a legacy through everything she does. Hailing from the sunny city of Los Angeles, she attended the University of California Berkeley, where she received her Bachelors’ in Psychology with a minor in Public Policy. Upon graduation, Cindy interned in Washington DC, working on educational policy reform on Capitol Hill. While in Washington, she moved on to work as an Academic Advisor for a non-profit organization called Upward Bound, chaired the Policy Committee for the District of Colombia of Consolidated Services and worked for the US Census Bureau. Her interest in international education came after she worked on and led various Latin American education development projects in Colombia and El Salvador. Being a huge advocate for social change and multicultural exposure, Cindy was devoted to bring students of all backgrounds together to share their stories and experience the world from different perspectives. This interest led her to pursue a Master’s in International Education with a focus on development at New Yok University. While at NYU, she continued her career as the Assistant Director of the Field Projects office. There, she managed the daily operations of all civic engagement, college preparation and community outreach programs with NYC public schools, and designed first-year college programs. At BUILD, Cindy has spent the last 4 years instilling and developing entrepreneurial lessons to a budding group of students in NYC communities. Her innovative ideas and program design have been instrumental in improving the student experience. She serves as an imputation to the first graduating class to become the best they can be, add value to others lives and explore the world as evidence by lessons learned in her travel of over 30 countries. Cindy is obsessed with tacos and french-fries., and loves to try new foods wherever she goes. On her free time, Cindy likes to work out, do yoga, run, cook, show off her dancing skills or just sit at a park on a sunny day and read a good book.
A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way of Jamaica. Hailing from a single parent home and growing up in one of the most disenfranchised communities in New York City, Decota has experienced the affects of living and surviving in an under served community. Working with students that look like her and live in the same area she grew up in brings joy to Decota’s heart knowing she can share her experience with others. It is for this very reason she BUILDS. Combining nine years of experience in communications in the entertainment, arts, and lifestyle space and five years in community engagement, Decota is excited to be a part of the BUILD NYC team as its Community Engagement Manager. In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, grounding, traveling and experiencing all the world has to offer. She would ultimately like to create safe spaces for students in under-resourced communities to fully exercise their potential and be given the same opportunities as their counterparts.
Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and their families. She currently serves as Program Director with BUILD NYC. Prior to build, Kenya spent over a decade with University Settlement, a nonprofit that provides services throughout University Settlement.
As Community School Director, Kenya led a team of professionals in planning and implementing enrichment programs for youth, young adults and families, building relationships with stakeholders in the community, and raising funding to sustain and propel youth development forward.
Kenya holds a B.A. in psychology from Barnard College, a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College.
Miranda has a strong commitment to service and equality, working with youth to help prepare for college and career readiness since high school. Before BUILD, Miranda worked at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, and was a camp counselor with their summer program for almost a decade. Miranda received her Bachelor’s of Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications, minoring in Asian Studies. Miranda is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Urban Policy and Leadership from Hunter College. Outside of work, Miranda enjoys traveling, baking, reading and spending time with her family and friends.
Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of boutique and bulge bracket firms including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Mogavero, Lee. Her diverse experience encompasses investment banking, institutional sales and marketing. She has always been passionate about educational equity and child and family welfare and has served as a mentor and nonprofit board member for over twenty years. In 2017, Pam joined the BUILD NYC team where she is responsible for all fundraising activities. Pam graduated from the University of Virginia with Highest Distinction and received her MBA from Columbia Business School.
Roger Du is a dedicated educator with a specific interest in adolescent mental health, immigrant parental involvement, and college access. He brings over 7 years of classroom experience and program development for educational nonprofits. Previously, Roger served as a Youth Job-Readiness Program Director, school counselor, and social studies teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. As a native New Yorker, Roger is devoted to advocating for the youth of New York City. Roger is a graduate of St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s in Adolescent Education with a concentration of History and a Master’s in School Counseling. In his spare time, Roger enjoys playing basketball, scuba diving, and taking his dog, Chance to the dog park.
Rose Cherubin joins the Build NYC team with years of experience in higher education admissions at her alma mater, Hobart and William Smith (HWS) Colleges. As former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, she recruited for all five boroughs of New York City, was the office liaison for the HWS’ Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), assisted in creating and leading office-wide diversity recruitment initiatives, and also participated in final selections for HWS’ POSSE Foundation Los Angeles cohorts.
She is excited to join BUILD NYC and transition into college access and counseling, and empower young people to actualize their maximum potential. Rose is also a budding entrepreneur with a venture in digital storytelling and is a volunteer for local blogging/influencer networks. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, photography, and dance. Rose holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.