Staff | Apex for Youth

Our Team

The Apex for Youth staff consists of skilled, experienced and caring administrators and educators who come from diverse backgrounds and speak multiple languages.

Leadership

Jiyoon Chung

Executive Director

TingYi Chen

Director of Marketing & Communications

Wendy Hu-Au

Director of Development

Alex Kogan

Director of Operations

Yaya Yuan, LMSW

Director of Programs

Administrative Team

Stephanie Amarnick

Deputy Director of Development

James Chen

Digital Media Coordinator

Corianna Jackson

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Danny Le

Development & Gift Processing Coordinator

Allen Leung

Operations Manager

Jennifer Li

Executive Assistant & Administrative Coordinator

Cole Messina

Grants Manager

Nicole Picinich

Events Manager

Chloe Rinehart

Program Data Analysis Manager

Serena Wong

Associate Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations

Programs

Melissa Lee Alvey, ATR-BC, LCAT

Art Therapist

Paul Arroy

Athletics Program Coordinator, Manhattan

Mikaela Chang

Elementary Program Coordinator, Manhattan

Shirley Chen, LCSW

Social Worker

Beau Dorien

Elementary Program Manager, K-2 Programs

Assumpta Galang

Associate Director of College & Career Success

Fulton Hou

Community Network Coordinator

Marina Karnofsky

Career Exploration Program Manager

Atiya Khan

Middle School Mentoring Program Manager, Manhattan

Erica Ji-Hyun Kim

Elementary Program Coordinator, Brooklyn

Jennifer Kong

Elementary Program Manager, Manhattan

Stephen Lai

Athletics Program Coordinator, Brooklyn

Heather Lee

Community Network Coordinator

Ivy Li, LMSW

Associate Director of Mental Health

Stephanie Loui

Middle School Mentoring Program Manager, Brooklyn

Haywood Matthews

Athletics Program Manager

Phung Ninh

College and Career Success Program Manager

Grace Noh

Art Therapist

Owen Rapaport

College and Career Coordinator

Kavita Shah

Associate Director of Elementary Programs

Ashwath Srivatsan

Middle School Mentoring Program Coordinator

Isabelle Li Shen St. Clair

Elementary Program Manager, Brooklyn

Annie Tan

National Virtual Mentoring Program Manager

Ellie Yeo

High School Mentoring Program Manager

Ian Yu

Associate Director of Athletics Programs

Chi Fai Yuen

Alumni Program Manager

Amy Zhao

Associate Director of Mentoring Programs

Jiyoon Chung

Executive Director

Jiyoon oversees the administration, operations, and strategic direction at Apex, working closely with staff, board, donors, and community partners. Since joining Apex in 2011, Jiyoon has developed Apex’s core programs, cultivated Apex’s rich organizational culture, and helped to grow the organization more than tenfold. She believes in the power of mentoring and has mentored youth throughout her life. Prior to Apex, Jiyoon worked in education and advocacy at nonprofit organizations across NYC, including the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund and Grand Street Settlement. A proud New Yorker, she attended Hunter College High School and SUNY Geneseo, where she studied English, sociology, and psychology, and became involved in activism. She enjoys dancing, cooking, hiking, and traveling — and has driven cross country three times.

TingYi Chen

Director of Marketing & Communications

TíngYí sprung forth from the loins of Taiwanese immigrant parents and graduated from UT Austin with a BA in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. She was trained in digital marketing at Microsoft, eschewed corporate life to explore consulting, opened a summer smoothie shop rather than take the GMATs, established marketing departments at several Houston AAPI nonprofits, produced a talk show at Johannesburg’s first Chinese radio station, and led marketing departments across opera, arts & culture, and theater nonprofits.

A former camper, counselor, advisor, and camp director of Houston Chinese Youth Camp, she is thrilled to wield her passion for youth empowerment, mentorship, and creative storytelling to lead the nascent Marcomms team at Apex for Youth. TíngYí is an animal, people, plants, literature, and arts lover and resides in Brooklyn with 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 human, 4 marine snails, and a generous dash of ADHD.

Wendy Hu-Au

Director of Development

Wendy leads the development team at Apex, which is in charge of relationships with donors, corporations, and foundations. Previously, Wendy served as the New York regional major gift officer for UC Berkeley as well as the senior associate director of alumni-student mentoring programs at Columbia University. Wendy is passionate about communities of people coming together to create more equitable and just societies. Wendy graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Mass Communications and a minor in Education. She lives in Harlem with her partner and three kids. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, baking sourdough bread, and reading fantasy and science fiction.

Alex Kogan

Director of Operations

Alex oversees finance and operations at Apex. Prior to joining Apex, Alex served as the Director of Finance, Operations and Analytics at Bank Street College’s Children’s Programs, and as Director of Finance and Administration at Jewish Community Project. Alex is passionate about working with nonprofits to support organizational growth and sustainability, as well as empower youth and staff teams. Alex holds a B.A. in Psychology and Economics from Hunter College. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, traveling, and listening to podcasts.

Yaya Yuan, LMSW

Director of Programs

Yaya oversees all of Apex’s volunteer programs as Director of Programs. Yaya brings with her extensive experience in working with diverse communities of young people, beginning with her experience as a history teacher in Shanghai, China. She has developed and led many programs in the U.S. and abroad focusing on positive youth development. She holds a B.A. from Grinnell College and an M.S.W from Columbia University. During her spare time, Yaya enjoys exploring the many neighborhoods and cuisines of New York City.

Stephanie Amarnick

Deputy Director of Development

Stephanie oversees development and fundraising and focuses on partnerships, donor cultivation, fundraising events, and grant writing. She has spent her career supporting non profit organizations in New York City with events, fundraising, volunteer management, and operational needs. Stephanie holds a BA in Business Administration and Marketing from Temple University – Fox School of Business and Management. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, swimming, cycling, and spending time with her two daughters.

James Chen

Digital Media Coordinator

James helps oversee marketing efforts and social media, as well as assisting with development and operations. Prior to joining Apex, he worked in various client experience, marketing, and operations roles. James is passionate about increasing Asian American representation in our communities and empowering youth. In his free time, he enjoys playing music, basketball, and video games.

Corianna Jackson

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Corianna is an award-winning storyteller and a certified social media scroller. On the MarComms team, she produces written and visual content across Apex’s communication channels. Prior to Apex, she worked as an editor for several literary magazines, a tutor and an academic counselor, a social media admin for a record label, and a community engagement intern for a non-profit. People of color have always stood at the center of her work, and she is passionate about uplifting voices that have been historically ignored or underrepresented. She loves dance movies, empty supermarkets, old books, and music from before she was born. You’ll find her most awake at 2am, and only because it’s the best time to write.

Danny Le

Development & Gift Processing Coordinator

Danny helps to coordinate development team initiatives at Apex. Prior to joining Apex, Danny served as the Development Operations Manager at APIA Scholars. Through his early career experiences, Danny has worked with various nonprofits focused on supporting AANHPI communities within roles of development, operations, and programming. He is passionate about supporting underserved and underrepresented communities to uplift the next generation of leaders. Danny holds a B.A. in Global Affairs and is currently pursuing an M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management from George Mason University. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring new cafes.

Allen Leung

Operations Manager

Allen manages the day to day operations at Apex. He comes to Apex with a diverse background of experiences. Starting his career in Investment Banking, he spent 12 years working on Wall Street. He went on to start multiple casual dining restaurants and lounges where he developed a keen understanding of all aspects of operating and managing small businesses. At Apex he maintains the efficient continuation of Operations. He has been with Apex since 2016. During his free time, he likes trying new restaurants. He is also a huge NY Rangers fan.

Jennifer Li

Executive Assistant & Administrative Coordinator

Jenn provides administrative support to the leadership team at Apex. Prior to Apex, she worked in other administrative positions at Park East Synagogue. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Marketing. In her free time, she is on the hunt for the best sci-films out there as well as another riveting poetry collection to add to her shelf.

Cole Messina

Grants Manager

Cole manages the grantmaking process at Apex involving institutional, corporate, and government funders. Prior to joining Apex, Cole served as Senior Grants Manager at Project Renewal, a nonprofit committed to ending the cycle of homelessness in New York City. He joins the organization with six years’ experience in grants management and institutional advancement, as well as a lifelong interest in social equity. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a B.A. in Cinema Studies, Cole began his career in film production and remains passionate about film and its history. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, and diversifying his music library.

Nicole Picinich

Events Manager

Nicole oversees fundraising, cultivation, and volunteer events at Apex. She previously held roles managing and supporting events at Columbia University for alumni, student, and family populations. She is passionate about bringing engaging experiences to life that foster community and connection. A native New Yorker, Nicole earned her B.A. in Media Studies from Hunter College. Outside of work she enjoys traveling, cooking, shopping, and listening to music.

Chloe Rinehart

Program Data Analysis Manager

Chloe leads Apex’s data collection, monitoring, and evaluation efforts to build capacity for self-assessment and to measure and report on the impact of Apex for Youth’s programming. Chloe has more than seven years of experience in applied research and data analysis focused in the areas of youth development and college and career access, and most recently managed and supported various evaluation projects as a Research Associate at Metis Associates. She is passionate about the use of data to empower individuals and communities to highlight and root out inequities. Chloe holds a B.A. in Government and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University. Outside of work, she enjoys building meaningful relationships with friends and neighbors and playing ultimate frisbee.

Serena Wong

Associate Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations

Serena manages a growing portfolio of relationships, volunteer engagements, and new partnerships with corporations. She is a fashion industry veteran who has held roles in buying and account management for global fashion brands. Her passion for social justice, volunteering, and uplifting communities led her to the social impact sector. She received a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Communications from UC Davis. During her spare time, Serena enjoys discovering new eateries, fitness, dancing, and cultural experiences. 

Melissa Lee Alvey, ATR-BC, LCAT

Art Therapist

Melissa is a licensed art therapist on Apex’s Mental Health team. Before joining Apex, Melissa worked providing therapeutic support to survivors of torture and asylum seekers, as well as with children and families in various clinical and educational settings. She practices a strengths-based, client-centered, and trauma-informed approach to healing, and as a multi-racial therapist, Melissa values the intersections of identity, culture, and community. She received a B.A. in Design from the University of California at Davis and an M.A. in Art Therapy from New York University. As an artist and art therapist, Melissa values the creative process as a means to discovering narratives of resilience. She is a painter, an avid reader, and adventurer who really enjoys ocean swims.

Paul Arroy

Athletics Program Coordinator, Manhattan

Paul coordinates Apex’s athletic programs for our Manhattan sites. Paul gained valuable experience playing 4 years of varsity HS basketball as well as coaching in various youth basketball leagues in his community. With a proven ability to strategize, execute, and inspire, Paul is committed to making a significant impact on our organization’s athletic endeavors. He thrives on creating opportunities for athletes to shine, and his unwavering enthusiasm for sports is contagious. In his spare time Paul enjoys playing and watching basketball, hiking, and managing his fantasy sports teams.

Mikaela Chang

Elementary Program Coordinator, Manhattan

Mikaela coordinates Apex’s Elementary Programs in Manhattan. Prior to Apex, she taught history to high school students while supporting various after school activities and facilitating student affinity group initiatives. Mikaela completed her undergraduate work in International Studies and Education at Middlebury College. Through her work at Apex she is excited to empower youth with the tools to understand identity, build strong foundations for community, and to strive towards justice. In her free time she enjoys going on walks, listening to music, and frequenting coffee shops.

Shirley Chen, LCSW

Social Worker

Shirley is a social worker with the Mental Health team at Apex. Prior to joining Apex, she worked with young people of color as a clinically licensed social worker, providing individual/group therapy to college students and youth in mental health settings. She was born and raised in NYC’s Chinatown and received her BSW from the University at Albany, and MSW from Hunter College. Her approach working with young people is person-centered, trauma-informed, and relationally driven, with particular attention to systemic contexts that shape social injustice. In her free time, Shirley enjoys practicing yoga, reading, and exploring new places.

Beau Dorien

Elementary Program Manager, K-2 Programs

Beau manages the K-2 in-person and virtual programs. Most recently with Apex, Beau was the Elementary After School director at PS 184. Prior to joining Apex Beau served as a director at the Robotics camp, NORY & worked at the Fresh Air Fund providing low income NYC children with unique programs. Additionally, Beau has experience as a high school teacher and teaching English as a 2nd language overseas. Beau holds a B.A. in history and is currently completing his M.S. in adolescence social studies education. In his free time Beau enjoys kayaking, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family.

Assumpta Galang

Associate Director of College & Career Success

Assumpta manages, supports, and develops programming for all the students who have gone through Apex programs with their post-secondary paths. This includes supporting them with their academic and professional pursuits. She has been working in college and post-secondary access and support programs for underrepresented young adults in New York City for over thirteen years. Prior to this work, Assumpta was a high school health educator at a school-based health center in Oakland, CA. Assumpta holds a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and an MPH from Columbia University. In her spare time, Assumpta enjoys yoga, cooking, trying new cuisines, and exploring the city.

Fulton Hou

Community Network Coordinator

Fulton was born and raised in NYC and currently helps bridge relationships between Apex and the local community in Chinatown. He has been with Apex as a mentor for over 4 years and has been involved with other community efforts on the side, whether it be related to supporting small businesses or combatting Asian hate. Outside of work, he spends most of his time playing basketball, scrolling through Tiktok and studying the current trends of today’s internet culture.

Marina Karnofsky

Career Exploration Program Manager

Marina graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where her focus was the sociology of education and health. She has spent nearly a decade working on education focused initiatives with a specialization in afterschool and summer career readiness initiatives. In her free time Marina enjoys traveling, cooking, and knitting.

Atiya Khan

Middle School Mentoring Program Manager, Manhattan

Atiya is the Manhattan Middle School Mentoring Program Manager. Born and raised in Queens, she loves her city and wants to do work that empowers the people and communities that raised us. Prior to joining Apex for Youth, she worked as a Community Coordinator in Adult Education which provides free English, CTE, and GED classes to NYC students. A forever student of people’s history, she majored in American Studies and minored in Teaching and Learning Studies in Wellesley College. Through her work at Apex, she hopes to learn about relationship and community building, honoring the identities we hold, and building strong futures together. She enjoys reading, cooking, going on picnics, loving her cats, and collecting journals. One day, she hopes to be an athlete who hikes in mountains and learns archery.

Erica Ji-Hyun Kim

Elementary Program Coordinator, Brooklyn

As the Elementary Program Coordinator for Apex’s programming in Brooklyn, Erica is dedicated to supporting youth and their families and communities in creating safe, inclusive, and uplifting spaces. Building meaningful, reciprocal relationships has been central to Erica’s past experiences as a teaching assistant, dining services employee, and kindergarten teacher, and it continues to be a priority today as she promotes educational equity. In her free time, Erica enjoys playing with her rescue pup, exploring bookstores, and spending quality time with her loved ones.

Jennifer Kong

Elementary Program Manager, Manhattan

Jennifer is the Elementary Program Manager at Apex’s sites in Manhattan. She is committed to fostering value among immigrant youth through community work, identity exploration, and relationship-building. Jennifer approaches her work with optimism and the belief that students have the agency to uplift and become visionaries for their community. Before joining Apex, she worked in education and youth development both locally and abroad. Jennifer studied Cultural Anthropology at Rutgers University and International Education at NYU. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys biking, surfing at Rockaway, and discovering new pizza spots.

Stephen Lai

Athletics Program Coordinator, Brooklyn

Stephen is the Brooklyn Athletics Program Coordinator. Stephen graduated from NYU getting a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Media and Business where he worked for many professional sport teams and leagues including the National Women’s hockey League, the New York Red Bulls and the Sydney Sixers. His love of basketball started at the age of 8 and continues to this day. Stephen is excited to expose the next generation to the lifelong benefits and lessons athletics can provide.

Heather Lee

Community Network Coordinator

Heather coordinates Apex’s community partnerships and one-off events in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Previously, she supported Apex’s Elementary programs in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for two years. Prior to her time at Apex, Heather served as an AmeriCorps member at an education nonprofit supporting low-income, immigrant students and families in Northern Virginia and studied Sociology and Psychology at Clemson University in South Carolina. She is passionate about building community wherever she goes and providing underserved communities with the resources they need to feel safe, be happy, and stay healthy. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, playing volleyball and tennis, strolling through Central Park, trying new restaurants, and journaling.

Ivy Li, LMSW

Associate Director of Mental Health

Ivy oversees the mental health services at Apex. Prior to joining Apex, Ivy has worked extensively with Asian American non-profit organizations, where she played pivotal roles in developing and leading high impact programs to support Asian American and immigrant communities. Through her different roles working with diverse communities, Ivy developed a profound understanding of ways in which social systems, cultures, and personal experiences can shape personal and community well-being. Therefore, in her clinical practice, Ivy adopts a strength-based and trauma-informed approach to help individuals define their personal narratives and develop effective coping mechanisms. Ivy is a licensed social worker. She received her B.S. in Social Work from Syracuse University and an MSW from Columbia University. Ivy loves to travel, cook, and capture the little moments in photos.

Stephanie Loui

Middle School Mentoring Program Manager, Brooklyn

Stephanie is the Middle School Mentoring Program Manager at Apex, merging her teaching experience with her passion for connecting communities to resources that nourish, grow, and root resilience. A newcomer to the Sunset Park community, Stephanie hopes to build new relationships, support student interests, and leverage intergenerational knowledge. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Stephanie enjoys hiking, climbing, cooking, and jumping from high places into bodies of water. Stephanie holds an MA in International Education Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in English from Wesleyan University.

Haywood Matthews

Athletics Program Manager

Haywood is the Athletics Program Manager at our partner sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management specializing in operations from Stony Brook University. He has spent many years in the sports realm training and advising many high level athletes globally. Haywood brings diverse skills to help bring the Athletics program to a new level as Apex grows exponentially. Haywood has mentored athletes around the world and loves to give back to the youth as athletics has helped him grow and experience various new avenues in life. During his spare time, Haywood loves to workout, hike, trade stocks and travel.

Phung Ninh

College and Career Success Program Manager

Phung works in the College and Career Success team, where she develops the 11th & 12th Grade curriculum. She also manages volunteers, recruitment and check-ins for the college access program. Prior to Apex, she has worked as an educator in Boston Public Schools, which instilled in her a passion for making the world more equitable through education and advising. Phung received her individualized degree in Ethnic Studies from Wellesley College and a Masters in Education from University of Massachusetts Boston through the Boston Teacher Residency. In her personal life, Phung likes to take long walks, explore different art spaces, powerlift, boulder, bake and cook.

Grace Noh

Art Therapist

Grace Noh is an art therapist on the Mental Health team at Apex. Prior to joining at Apex, she took a lead role to pioneer in-person & remote art therapy programs and build group therapy curriculums for school settings both in NYC and Seoul. She has diverse work experience with different age groups including at-risk students from immigrant families, students of families who defected from North Korea, and those who experienced the loss of a loved one.

Grace received her M.A. in Art Therapy from New York University and earned her B.F.A in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, writing, museum hopping, and riding a bike.

Owen Rapaport

College and Career Coordinator

Owen supports the College and Career Access department at Apex, helping to produce and implement programs for students as they plan for their lives after high school. He has worked with youth in various environments, from the classroom to foster care, as well as supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This role will allow him to continue creating opportunities for students to develop their skills and discover their goals. Outside of work, Owen is probably cooking with friends, getting lost in the city, or trying a new coffee spot.

Kavita Shah

Associate Director of Elementary Programs

Kavita supports Apex for Youth’s Elementary Saturday programs in Brooklyn and Manhattan for students in K-5th grade. Prior to Apex, she worked at the Fresh Air Fund providing enriching summer experiences to NYC youth from low-income families. Kavita hold a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Scranton and a M.S. in Applied Psychological Methods from Fordham University. She is passionate about strengthening low-income communities and increasing their opportunities for civic engagement. In her free time, she enjoys board games, playing with her dog, and listening to podcasts.

Ashwath Srivatsan

Middle School Mentoring Program Coordinator

Ashwath Srivatsan was born in Seattle, and moved to New York to study at NYU Tisch and Stern in a dual degree program for Film and Business. Ashwath seeks to pursue work that empowers individuals, and places value on growth and personal development. With past experience in both the worlds of business and education, Ashwath is now hoping to coalesce knowledge from a plethora of learning and apply it to his career. Outside of their career, Ashwath is a passionate storyteller, animator, and a dungeon master for the popular game system Dungeons & Dragons. He has not only authored a number of unique campaigns, but has even developed original game systems to tell these stories. Ashwath aspires to share his passion for storytelling with anyone who will listen, and to teach others how to tell stories of their own.

Isabelle Li Shen St. Clair

Elementary Program Manager, Brooklyn

Isabelle is Apex’s Elementary Program Manager in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Prior to Apex, she served as the Coordinator of Tutoring and Academic Skills at NYU Shanghai and as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Hualien, Taiwan. Isabelle graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Peace and Justice Studies and Asian American Studies. She is committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment for immigrant youth and providing them with the tools for community and self empowerment. In her free time, Isabelle likes to read, play soccer, climb, and bake.

Annie Tan

National Virtual Mentoring Program Manager

Annie Tan manages Apex’s National Virtual Mentorship Program. Prior to joining Apex, Annie taught special education students for over a decade in New York City and Chicago Public Schools. Annie holds a MAT in Special Education from National Louis University, a BA in Urban Studies and Elementary Education from Columbia University, and a Certificate in Teaching English as a New Language (ENL) from Northeastern Illinois University. Born and raised in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Annie loves karaoke and trying new Asian foods. Annie is writing a memoir about her heritage language loss, reclamation of Cantonese and Toisan, and the historic legacy of her cousin Vincent Chin.

Ellie Yeo

High School Mentoring Program Manager

As the High School Mentoring Program Manager, Ellie helps with curriculum planning, mentoring pair support, and communication. Her MSc dissertation at the University of Oxford focused on the effects of racism on Chinese American Youth. She is so happy to work in a position that combines her passion for education and racial justice and allows her to serve her community. For fun, she loves watching true crime documentaries while playing with her cat.

Ian Yu

Associate Director of Athletics Programs

Ian oversees Apex’s athletics programs. Ian brings his experience from playing Division III basketball at Hunter College and has organized basketball clinics and leagues in Chinatown, NY for youth and adults. His passion for sports helps with teaching the students teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance.

Chi Fai Yuen

Alumni Program Manager

Chi Fai manages the Alumni Program at Apex. Most recently with Apex, Chi Fai was the Middle School After School director at PS 184. Prior to joining Apex, Chi Fai was helping oversee a SONYC and College Access & Success program serving Asian youth in the Lower East Side. Chi Fai holds a B.B.A in Finance from Baruch College. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, doing food challenges, playing handball, and working out.

Amy Zhao

Associate Director of Mentoring Programs

Amy oversees middle and high school mentoring programs at Apex. Prior to joining Apex, she taught English to middle and high school students in a rural community in Phitsanulok, Thailand through the Fulbright Program. Amy is passionate about youth leadership development and civic engagement, and loves supporting young people explore who they are and grow. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Writing from Northeastern University. In her free time, she loves cooking, reading, biking around the city, and eating ice cream.