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 and executive director of RISE, Jeanne has worked closely with the Rockaway community and city agencies since 2005, 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 master's degree in design from Yale University.

Daniel Borrero portrait

Daniel Borrero

Project Manager, Community Visioning in Edgemere

A former student in RISE's youth programs as well as the former youth programs administrator, Daniel has rejoined RISE as a project manager to lead the initiative Community Visioning in Edgemere. He grew up in the Rockaways and enjoys relaxing at the beach and kayaking in the bay. He received a bachelor's degree in urban design and architecture from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts in architectural history from Savannah College of Art and Design. Daniel's passion is helping communities understand the past through the built environment to ensure equitable and healthy futures for current residents.

Caroline Finck portrait

Caroline Finck

Youth Engagement Coordinator

Caroline is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science. She led the university's STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) Makerspace, worked on the education team of the Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, and was a contact tracer for the New York State Department of Health. Caroline is excited to utilize her knowledge of science and her love for conservation at RISE!

Giselle Herrera portrait

Giselle Herrera

Youth Development Program Manager

Before joining the RISE team, Giselle carried out urban ecology research while also participating in environmental education. She always has been interested in the intersection of human interaction and wildlife, as seen in the projects she's worked on involving coyotes, black bears, and rats. For Giselle, working on coordinating a variety of youth programs at RISE strikes the perfect balance between science and education to produce long-term change toward environmental stewardship and community engagement. Giselle has a Master of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology from Fordham University.

Stephanie Castillo Samoy portrait

Stephanie Castillo Samoy

Operations Manager

The Rockaways has been part of Stephanie's life since the late 1990s, when her Tae Kwon Do instructor trained his students in his backyard and then took them surfing off of Beach 87th Street. She served as president of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association, worked for New York State Senator James Sanders Jr., and is happy to have landed at RISE! Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arizona and a Master of Arts in media studies from the New School.

Nirmala Singh portrait

Nirmala Singh

Community Programs Manager

Nirmala’s passion for working to strengthen local communities and bridging the equity gap stems from her experiences at NYC Service, New York Immigration Coalition, and South Queens Women’s March, of which she is a founding board member. She genuinely believes in the mission of RISE and knows that together we can continue to inspire all generations of Rockaway residents to care for the environment and community. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Mount Saint Mary College, and even spent a month in Shanghai at East China Normal University.