Maria Romano

Maria, our STEM Specialist, holds an English degree from Yale University and a Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from the New School. STEM is a relatively new area of expertise. She was previously the Director of the Bronx Writers’ Center, an instructor at the Fordham University Science and Technology Entry Program for teens, and a curriculum consultant at Girls Write Now. She takes great joy in figuring out how stuff works.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

Emily Blakley

Emily has been working with youth in various capacities since she was a high school student herself. Emily received her BA in Psychology and her Master’s in Counseling from Pace University in Pleasantville NY. Emily came to Girls Inc. Westchester first as an intern as part of her Master’s program and loved the place so much she’s continuing to work as a part time staff member.
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” — Judy Garland

Amber Aldredge

Amber has been working with youth for over 15 years and has been in the nonprofit sector for 8 years. She has previously worked as an AmeriCorps *VISTA and taught Writing and Science at the Abaarso School in Somaliland. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Public Administration from Texas Southern University.
“I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing i can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” — William Penn

Heather Apollonio

Heather is a development professional and project manager with over fifteen years international and domestic experience in the not-for-profit and private sectors. She has an B.A. (Anthropology) from Syracuse University, and an M.A. (Archaeology) from the University of Cape Town. She started her career as an archaeologist, working in Louisiana, the Caribbean, and South Africa. In 2005, she completed the Association of Development Officer’s Certificate in Fundraising & Board Development, and has worked in a variety of development roles including institutional and annual giving, event planning, and database management.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Vanessa Santiago

Vanessa Santiago holds a BA from Brooklyn College, CUNY and received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, a graduate school of The New School University. With almost 2 decades of youth leadership and program development experience, Vanessa manages all facets of our programs from school based programming to county wide programs and loves to see all programs in action. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” — Sheryl Sandberg

Catherine Lepone

Catherine has been working in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years in a number of leadership capacities. She comes to us directly from Making Headway Foundation, in Chappaqua, NY where she served as their Executive Director. With a BS in Business Administration from the University at Albany, she brings a strong business background to her work in philanthropy.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” — Dolly Parton