Our Team

Our Team

From naturalists to film makers, educators to designers, our staff connects experts in various professions to the local Rockaway Community.

 
Jeanne DuPont portrait

Jeanne DuPont

Founder and Executive Director

As Founder & Executive Director of RISE, Jeanne has worked closely with the Rockaway community and city agencies over the past 15 years, developing strategies to redevelop large stretches of underutilized public land for the good of the community. Much of her work has involved organizing community members and youth in utilizing outdoor space for programming focused on social equity, health and environmental justice. Jeanne has a Masters Degree in Design from Yale University.

Mesha Joseph portrait

Mesha Joseph

Programs Manager

Mesha Joseph oversees all our youth development programs. Mesha has worked with various nonprofit organizations focused on youth development prior to joining RISE. Focused on making impactful social change, Mesha has dedicated her career to working with youth in all capacities. With her Bachelors from Fairfield University, where she was on the NCAA Div I Women's Basketball Team, Founder of the Performance for Change Theatre Troupe, and with a Masters Degree from Walden University in Nonprofit Management; Mesha utilizes her experience and knowledge to expand and develop youth programming. 

Ana Fisyak portrait

Ana Fisyak

Deputy Director for Planning & Development

As an urban planner dedicated to a community-based approach, Ana has previous years experience doing community advocacy and technical assistant provision for New York City communities. Before joining RISE, Ana was a planner at WXY Architecture & Urban Design where she worked on the Rockaway Parks Conceptual Plan. She is  a public space advocate and co-edited Beyond Zuccotti Park (New Village Press, 2012) and curated From Zuccotti to Taksim: Negotiating the Right to the City through Public Space (Pratt, 2013). Ana has a Masters Degree in Science/City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute.

Keza Lawrence portrait

Keza Lawrence

Manager, Office Administration

Keza comes from the Healthcare industry where she worked in the health system assisting the elderly for several years. She has a passion for working to help improve her community and gives back as much as she can through our community and youth programs. Keza has a Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration / Human Resources Management from Ashford University.

Judah Asimov portrait

Judah Asimov

External Affairs Manager

Prior to joining RISE, Judah had been involved in working on political campaigns and government relations. He has been put his skills to work doing public outreach and coordination with local individuals and organizations in the Rockaways to promote RISE Programs in addition to collaborating with local youth on planning work associated with Project Underway and public placemaking initiatives. Judah has a Bachelors Degree in Comparative Government from Wesleyan University.

Ephraim Foster portrait

Ephraim Foster

Educator, Living Classroom

Ephraim has lived in Far Rockaway all of his life, and loves the effect RISE has had on his community with events like tree plantings and beach clean ups.  Ephraim enjoys educating youth about environmental issues affecting the Far Rockaway community.  He started coming to RISE as a member of Shore Corps. Soon after graduating from high school, he started working as an educator for the Living Classroom and Aqua 101 programs. He has an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Nassau Community College and is interested in someday pursuing a degree in education. 

Katie Lowen portrait

Katie Lowen

Educator, Shore Corps

Katie is the newest addition to the RISE team, and is excited to be leading the 1st & 2nd year Shore Corps students on environmental conservation and food justice projects this year. Katie is a native New Yorker, and experienced dancer. In the past, Katie has worked with youth as a teacher and camp counselor on environmental stewardship and arts initiatives. She has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University.