Meet the SYEP Team

Adam Fier
Director, SYEP Iniatives
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Adam has been a part of Commonpoint Queens for the majority of his life, attending Nursery School at our Sam Field location 30(!) years ago. Since then, he has also been a participant of our after school programs and summer camps before starting his professional journey as a camp counselor in high school. After graduating from Syracuse University and Queens College with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees respectively in Education, Adam became the full time Program Director at the COMPASS Program at P.S. 169 in Bay Terrace. From there, he spent a few years serving our executive team as the agency’s Director of Administration before finding his current home overseeing our SYEP initiatives, working out of John Bowne High School. In his down time, Adam enjoys spending as much time as he can with his wife Rose and dog Ahsoka, watching his beloved Mets, Knicks, Jets and Arsenal, reading and collecting comic books, and forever trying to catch up on his tv and movie streaming binge-list.

David Baker
Director, Career Ready SYEP
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As an agency-lifer, David is no stranger to all things Commonpoint Queens. He first began as a toddler in one of our nursery school classes, then attended our Pioneer Day Camp as a camper for 6 summers. In 2009, he started as a camp counselor for Pioneer Day Camp for five summers, while also working as an after-school counselor and Gym Specialist at P.S. 175 during the school year. He found his calling in the Youth Workforce Department by starting off as a Worksite Monitor/Liaison in 2013. By 2018, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Queens College, David quickly climbed the ladder to becoming full-time with the Youth Workforce Department as a School-Based SYEP Program Coordinator. A short time after, a new title of Worksite Operations Coordinator was bestowed upon him to manage all Work Learn & Grow and SYEP Worksite partnerships. He now sits as Program Director for our Career Ready Work Learn & Grow, Summer Youth Employment Program. He is looking forward to bringing more opportunity and growth to hundreds of youth every year through the programs. In his down time, David enjoys spending quality time with his girlfriend, watching comedy movies, rooting on the Yankees, and hanging out with family and friends.

Sarrah-Jeen Exilas
Worksite Operations Coordinator
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Sarrah-Jeen began at Central Queens in 2013 as a worksite monitor for SYEP until 2015. She returned in 2019. She has recently transitioned and has been promoted to a Worksite Operations Coordinator for Summer Youth in High School and College Success. Sarrah-Jeen oversees all worksite development for youth ages 16-24. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from John Jay College with a concentration in police science. She was an after-school site director in Park Slope for 3 years before coming back to Commonpoint Queens. She has a great passion for youth development, advocacy, and making changes in her community. Sarrah-Jeen enjoys being a basketball mom, Netflix, traveling, and spending time with her husband Marco, son Aiden, and stepdaughter Arline.  

Kara Siegel
Program Operations Coordinator 
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Kara has been a part of the Commonpoint family since she was a camper at age 7. Before being promoted to Program Operations Coordinator, she worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Summer Youth Employment Program/ Work, Learn & Grow Program. In May of 2021, Kara graduated from Stony Brook University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She is passionate about supporting youth through transitions and socioemotional growth. One goal of hers is to effectively engage youth to meet their academic and personal goals in addition to promoting their overall mental health and well-being. As a prior SYEP participant, she understands the invaluable opportunities that the program has to offer.

Janet Astudillo
Program Coordinator, Career Ready SYEP at Pan American International High School
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Janet works at Commonpoint Queens as a Career Ready Program Coordinator in Pan American International High School. She specializes in youth development and is passionate about advocating for the Latinx community. After graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a double major in Human Services and Latin American/Latinx Studies in May 2020, she became aware of the lack of resources available to non-English speakers and the undocumented community. She quickly built close relationships in the school and has helped many students gain employment and internship opportunities through SYEP and WLG. When she is not at work, she continues to bridge the gaps within underserved communities through her writing.

Chienne Harris
SYEP Engagement Coordinator
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Chienne started working at Commonpoint Queens in the Summer of 2019 as an Internship Coordinator at Queens Academy High School working with the High School & College Success Department. In Summer 2021, she began working as a SYEP Engagement Coordinator at John Bowne High School with the Youth Workforce Development Department. Chienne has a Bachelors of Science in Human Development & Family Relations with a double minor in Sociology and English. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and binge watching Netflix shows.

Michell MarinMichell M syep
Special Initiatives SYEP Program Director
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Michell Marin started working at Commonpoint Queens in September 2021 as the Program Director for the SYEP Emerging Leaders Program. She comes to Commonpoint Queens with a strong background in youth development. She graduated from NYACK College with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and was an after-school site director before coming to Commonpoint Queens. Michell is passionate about the work she does and the lives she touches. Michell wants the future leaders of tomorrow to have positive role models who can show them how to make a difference while cheering them on in the process. Michell enjoys traveling, hanging with her friends and family, and trying new restaurants.

Alex ChavezAlex Chavez SYEP
Administrative Specialist
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Alex started out at Commonpoint Queens in 2017 as an after-school counselor at PS 206. She joined the SYEP team as an Administrative Assistant during the summer of 2019 and subsequently stayed on for the Work Learn and Grow program. In spring of 2022 she joined the full time staff in the position of Administrative Specialist, and now oversees the entire admin team. In her spare time she enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching historical dramas.

Kathia Espinalkathia espinal syep
Emerging Leaders SYEP Program Coordinator
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Kathia Espinal started working at Commonpoint Queens in March 2022 as the Program Coordinator for the SYEP Emerging Leaders Program. She graduated from The New York City College of Technology with a Bachelor’s in Human Services and was a caseworker before coming to Commonpoint Queens. Kathia is passionate about empowering today’s youth to reach their full potential. Kathia enjoys traveling, Netflix, and music.

Nicole Poncenicole ponce syep
Worksite Administrative Specialist
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Nicole Ponce started working at Commonpoint Queens in July 2020 in our High School and College Success Division where she primarily focused on supporting youth with work readiness and completing post-secondary plans. Nicole has recently transitioned into a new role as our new Worksite Administrative Specialist for our Youth Employment Division. Nicole has over 7 years of non-profit experience where she worked in various Youth Development Programs including Summer Youth Employment, Work, Learn, and Grow, and In-School Youth. Nicole currently attends New York City College of Technology to complete her dual degree in Business and Technology of Fashion. Nicole enjoys various areas of creative arts and actively designs and participates in Anime Conventions.