spotlight stories

spotlight on fresh faces

Rocking the Boat is thrilled to have added three new full-time staff and a board member to our ranks in the past couple of months, and we want to introduce them. We are still looking to fill three open positions—the Director of Boatbuilding Operations, the Student Program Social Worker, and the Alumni Social Worker—so please pass along the job descriptions to anyone you think might be a good fit.


The new Director of Sailing Operations, Juan Pablo Sarmiento Torres, comes to Rocking the Boat as an experienced sailing instructor after five years on the staff of the New York Sailing Center on City Island. Originally from Colombia, Juan Pablo holds a bachelor's degree in Film and Anthropology from Denison University. He is both ASA and US Sailing certified with offshore emergency medicine expertise. His love of sailing started in high school when he was a student at an international boarding school in British Columbia, Canada and is now excited to pass along his sailing knowledge to a new generation, and to continue to promote diversity in the world of sailing.


Currently Rocking the Boat’s Assistant Director of Public Programs, Elizabeth Alexandra (“Alex”) Severino has played student, apprentice, and Program Assistant roles in all three program tracks during her tenure with the organization and has also served as the Community Rowing Coordinator and even interim Environmental Student Program Director. Now in her first full-time role at Rocking the Boat, Alex brings 10 years of experience working in outdoor education and 12 years of teaching experience to her new position. Alex earned her associates degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College, and is certified to drive a powerboat, sail a keelboat, and perform first aid/CPR. Check out this video and promotional piece starring Alex from over a decade ago: Bronx River Oysters and 2010 Highlights.pdf.


Demetris Giannoulias, a founding member, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Spring Bank, is not only Rocking the Boat’s newest Board member but its new Treasurer. Demetris earned a BA in economics and sociology from Yale University and a master’s in philosophy of social science from the London School of Economics. Demetris joined the Board having been “inspired by the work that the organization does for its students and the Bronx community. My professional career is focused on using business as a force for good. At Spring Bank, the first bank to open its doors and establish headquarters in the Bronx the past 30 years, this means financial inclusion for residents of New York City and specifically the Bronx. We partner with many nonprofits serving Bronxites and the Rocking the Boat model is truly unique.”


Pascale Mevs brings over a decade of youth development experience to her role as Rocking the Boat’s Senior Director of Programs, overseeing all programming. Following earning her teaching degree from New York University, Pascale taught English at Validus Preparatory Academy in the South Bronx where, coincidentally, many of her students participated in Rocking the Boat’s student programs! After completing an M.A. in Urban Education Policy at Brown University, Pascale spent several years working at the Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity where she was responsible for various educational programs aimed at increasing equity for young people. “I learned about Rocking the Boat in 2008 when I was teaching in the South Bronx,” Pascale recalls. “Many of my students had a great experience in its programs. I am excited to join an organization that centers the experiences of young people and supports them while pushing them to achieve their personal best.”

kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892

Rocking the Boat is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Download Form 990.