Meet The Advisory Committee
Tina Dierna, Co-Founder
Tina Dierna was born and raised in the Hudson Valley. She relocated to the Kingston after obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York. She worked as a caseworker for eight years with the Ulster County Social Services Department. While working for the county she started a family and went back to obtain her Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University. In 2015, Tina became a high school social worker for Kingston City School District. After a summer of volunteering to build a tiny home with five of her students, Tina became an Internship & Career Coordinator, a position that allows her to combine her passions for volunteer work and empowering and helping students succeed. Shortly after, she gained the added position of Transition Coordinator for Kingston High School, assisting students with planning their lives after high school, working with community organizations and creating partnerships throughout the Kingston Community.
Tina has always been an active member of the community, whether it’s creating the first Pajama Program Chapter in Ulster, launching a healthy eating program for Cornell Cooperative or a parenting group for Family Services. She has taken this work back to Kingston High School to create the first Chapter of Period Power, a part of Period. aimed at reducing period stigma and creating a safe space where every student has access to hygiene products. She completed the Chamber of Commerce Ulster Leadership Development Institute in 2020, where she co-chaired the group to launch a youth leadership program. This ultimately led her to launch her own transformation coaching and consulting firm in 2020.
Her most recent accomplishments consist of becoming a Fillies Hockey Coach, Alternative Captain to the Nightmares Women's Ice Hockey Team, earning a position on the Wild Earth Board of Directors and working with the community to bring lasting impact and change. Tina found a team of likeminded women to spearhead the development of The COOP Concept.
Emily Seawall, Co-Founder
Emily Seawall relocated from Huntington (Long Island) to Ulster County in high school. She worked at Belleayre mountain, managed farmer’s markets for Bread Alone, participated in athletics, and graduated in 2001. Emily graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Marketing, with minors in Finance and Accounting, while competing as a member of the Cardinals softball team, and acting as a captain for two years. Although grateful for her internship at the Times Union newspaper through the Chamber of Commerce, Emily recognized that, rather than an office job, she would be better suited to work with her hands. Upon graduation, she moved to Colorado, and eventually made her way back to the Hudson Valley, via Newport, Rhode Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts, and New York City.
Emily was regularly involved with volunteering at the Unitarian Universalist meeting house and Nantucket Food Pantry, for farm and food distribution projects. She advocated and assisted with legalizing tiny homes in Nantucket; and after her significant investment of time and money, lived in her own tiny home for a year. If not for the trials and tribulations encountered and overcome while building her home, she may have chosen a path other than carpentry. She also holds certificates from Yestermorrow Design and Build School in Sustainable Treehouse Design & Construction and Foundation Fundamentals. Her affinity for puzzles, problem solving, and working with people are all critical components to her success. She honed her skills predominantly through high end renovations in Nantucket and New York City.
The pandemic accelerated Emily’s return to the Hudson Valley where she has been operating as a contractor, earned her home inspection license, and aspires to launch her custom furniture business. Emily has always had a passion for projects that level the playing field, particularly by reducing food and housing scarcity and by creating learning opportunities.
Maria Scarangella, Member
Maria Scarangella is devoted to promoting Restorative Justice processes in the Hudson Valley and beyond. Currently, she is the Assistant Program Director of Family of Woodstock’s Restorative Justice and Juvenile Justice Services. Maria was a Case Manager for Family of Woodstock’s premier Restorative Justice program, “One80”, for 6 years before expanding the department to include community cases and School-based Restorative Justice programming.
Currently, she is the Restorative Justice Coordinator for both the Kingston and Saugerties School Districts, helping each district begin the journey of implementing Restorative Practices in their own way.
In 2017 Maria became a Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and received a certificate in School-Justice Partnerships and Diversion Pathways. She is a liscensed trainer in Restorative Practices through the International Institute of Restorative Practices and trained with Dr. Tom Cavanagh ("Creating a Culture of Care: Restorative Justice in Education"). She has also been Assistant to the Executive Director and trained volunteer circle keeper in the Newburgh Model at The Restorative Center in Newburgh, NY. She is currently studying to obtain her Master’s of Social Work from SUNY Albany (anticipated May 2023).
Her Restorative Justice work and vision has always been indebted to and grounded in indigenous wisdom. In 2020 she graduated from EarthTime Project’s "Ancient Art of Awareness: A One-year Apprenticeship in Native Philosophy” and is a student of Tom Brown Jr's Tracker School. She has also studied narrative medicine, storytelling, and hypnosis through regular workshops with the Coyote Institute.
Rob Jameson, Member
Rob Jameson is a social entrepreneur, inventor, and immersive artist from Babylon, New York. He has co-founded 4 companies, working extensively with multi-stakeholder cooperatives and distributed economies. He is currently the project lead of Trust Up, a hyper-local exchange platform that celebrates and grows community wealth in Kingston, NY.
Rob loves to blend technology with art to help communities thrive. He has won multiple grants to make large immersive installations, and holds 30+ certifications in various digital media and tech softwares. Rob has won national filmmaking competitions, and has a strong background in marketing at all levels. He is passionate about using technology and collective imagination to help groups outsmart scarcity together.
Rob has been an innovator in social policy, co-introducing a new, radically inclusive cooperative model to the US. He has lived in the famous urban laboratory of Arcosanti, leading technology development, and conducting pioneering studies in collective consciousness measurement. Recently, he’s created a 360 degree, multisensory system using light, sound, scent and touch for helping groups sync and shift their collective consciousness state. Learn more on his website aiotea.info.
Valerie Carelli, Member
Valerie Carelli is an Ulster County native who lives in Woodstock, NY. When people comment that “the Hudson Valley has been discovered” she simply smiles because she has always believed in the diversity, creativity, and generosity of the individuals who choose to call this beautiful place home. Valerie started her education at SUNY Ulster and earned her last credential, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education at SUNY New Paltz. Other educational accomplishments include a B.S. in Marketing and Management at Siena College, a M.S. in Counseling and Development from Long Island University, and completion of the requirements for Diversified Work Studies Coordination Certification from Cornell University.
Valerie is an entrepreneur and proven community leader who has been involved in workforce development programs for over 25 years. She is driven to create educational change by implementing relevant and innovative hands-on educational programs that foster results, improve self-worth and promote mindfulness and wellness. In addition to raising a family, Valerie proudly founded both Learner First & C3 Quest. Both companies in partnership with the NYSED provide high-quality, engaging, and motivating career and post-secondary readiness programs. These programs help self-determining individuals identify and achieve their goals.
As a community advocate and supporter, she has served as the Vice President of the Work Experience Coordinator Association, a member of the Ulster County Workforce Investment Board, the NYS PTA, Mid-Hudson Regional Parent Involvement & Education Chair, PTA President & Treasures, Booster Club President, Junior Achievement Advisor, Assistant Cub Scout Leader, and Awards Chairmen for the Boy Scouts. Valerie currently serves on the Business Engagement Committee of the NYS State Rehab Council and on Zena Rec.
Niki Buffa, Member
Niki Buffa was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. She has stayed local to the Hudson Valley her entire life. She graduated high school in 2014 from Red Hook. Niki is a first-generation college student, she graduated from SUNY New Paltz in December of 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has this overwhelming sense that she was always meant to help others. Niki decided to continue her education and is now enrolled in a Masters of Social Work program at SUNY Albany.
Niki’s first placement for her MSW Internship was at Kingston High School where she created a program working with students to create recipes using food that is readily available to students in the High School’s Free Food Store. She then turned that into a cooking workshop for all students to learn to create the dishes and develop their cooking skills. She continues to empower youth through the workshops she creates and provides essential skill building to Kingston Youth.
Niki is also the co-advisor for Period Power! Club at KHS, an advocacy group working to eradicate period poverty in Kingston High School.
Recently, Niki was hired by Lasalle to work with two Ulster County school districts. She provides families with mental health resources and case management.
Niki has seen the need for youth centered programs that teach young adults how to center themselves in their JOY. She feels this is done through entrepreneurship training, workforce development, and provide youth with strong mentor relationships that foster connection and trust.
Niki is passionate and driven to continue her education and model this for the youth she works with.
E-mail us to learn more
If you are interested in joining our advisory committee please get in contact with us. We are a female founded organization with a desire to have a diverse committee. We are currently looking to diversify our advisory committee.