RIEEA is excited to announce that four new members have joined our board of directors! Our board members play a critical role as we work to promote and support high quality environmental education that increases the environmental literacy of all children and adults in our state.
Ayana Melvan is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mission Programs at Mystic Aquarium and the Sea Research Foundation where she is responsible for cultivating strategic partnerships that will substantially grow Mission Programs reach, revenue, and impact with a strong focus on environmental justice and racial equity. Ayana has worked in the field of youth development and education for over 20 years in several capacities, including most recently heading up the Youth Development work at United Way of Rhode Island, and leading the Rhode Island Afterschool Network, with a heavy focus on environmental justice with a racial equity lens. She has led work with local and statewide initiatives including the Rhode Island Working Cities Challenge from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on ending racism and helping the City of Cranston create more equitable opportunities for youth and families. Ayana has also led the work on eliminating the school to prison pipeline in Rhode Island for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) youth with national and local entities. Ayana has worked as a partner with Mystic Aquarium for over a decade in Connecticut and Rhode Island to help bring conservation-focused STEM education opportunities to lower income and BIPOC youth in out-of-school time and was a White-Riley-Peterson Fellow in 2020-2021.
Corrie Ignagni is the manager of digital communications at Roger Williams Park Zoo and responsible for leading the zoo’s social media and digital communications strategy. Mixing her passion for the arts and endangered species, she founded the zoo’s Endangered Species Youth Art Contest which is now in its 5th year. Corrie also currently serves as a marketing/public relations advisor for the Orangutan SAFE program and is a member of the Tree Kangaroo SAFE program’s engagement committee. Since joining the zoo family in 2017, she hopes her love and appreciation of our wild world inspires others to join the zoo in its mission to protect wildlife and wild places. She is the proud fur parent of two dogs and a cat, with the hopes of one day converting part of her home into a small animal rescue.
Dean Faiola is the Executive Chef of Rhode Island College Dining Services. He has been employed at RIC for 15 years and was promoted from Senior Cook to his current position in 2015. Dean is also the Co-Advisor of the Environmental Club and Supervisor of the Dine Green at RIC Initiative. He holds a Culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University. In his spare time, Dean enjoys gardening and cooking with his daughter Maja.
Gráinne Conley was born in Skerries, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and immediately fell in love with Rhode Island’s coastline when she moved here as it reminded her so much of home. She began her career in environmental education in 2004 and has not looked back yet. As education program manager at Save The Bay, she is honored and grateful to introduce students and the general public to Narragansett Bay every day and to have work that she is passionate about. In her downtime, Gráinne can be found outside with her two boys on nature walks and exploring all that Rhode Island has to offer.