Riverzedge staff share a vision with the board, volunteer corps, and youth for success, innovative capacity, a commitment to materials and resource conservation, and boundless energy to provide hope and contribution to others.

Karen Barbosa, Executive Director

A self described “teacher-nerd”, Karen has dedicated her career to deepening her understanding of the “art of learning”. Receiving her MEd from Vermont College in 2006, with a focus on social justice and adolescent racial identity development, her learning journey has taken her from Colorado, to Vermont, to Boston, Massachusetts, and now Rhode Island, which she calls home. She is a passionate supporter of experiential education and is excited to see Woonsocket serving as a model for innovative hands-on learning programming in the state and nation.

Shanikqua Dandy, Arts & Business Program Director

Dandy has been an “Edgster” since 2005, first as a Media Works program participant, then as an alumni, and now as a full time staff member. A believer in “paying it forward”, Dandy seeks to provide current participants with stable, creative programming that will expand youth vision and voice in this community; components she herself benefited from as a teen. She is currently taking this drive for giving back to the community a step further, starting her own arts social empowerment organization, Cre8tive, that focuses on coordinating events that builds community by practicing the art of upcycling.

Kelly Harlow, ELO Program Director

Kelly, a recent graduate of Rhode Island College, studied Youth Development with a concentration in Holistic and Therapeutic Development. She is passionate about social justice work through advocacy and the empowerment of underrepresented youth. Kelly believes in critical and positive youth development and leading with youth.



Christopher Fagbayi, Design Works Studio Director

Chris was born in Paris, France and was raised in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe before moving to the states 28 years ago. Chris is a passionate Graphic Designer who has worked at corporate companies in the Greater Boston area and as an art educator in the community of Woonsocket where he has taught basic art and design to Pre-K, Elementary and High School Students. He believes that sharing his artistic knowledge with youth will enable them to discover their own creative talents and appreciation for the arts.  Chris received an AS in Graphic Design from Bunker Hill Community College and a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Eric Lebow, Print Works Studio Director

"Ink is life" is the Mantra and Battle Cry of graphic artist and printmaker Eric Lebow. Eric is a classically trained illustrator and has worked in comics, children's books, and movies for the past 20 years. He serves as editor-in-chief for Deadboy Press, a comic book publisher that gives young artists with something to say, the voice to say it with. He also designs and prints for his own clothing line TDYK.


Irene Su, Media Works Studio Director

Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Irene has had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of cool people and organizations from all over the world. At Riverzedge, she works with participants to find new and creative ways to share stories through video and photography. Irene is passionate about exploring media, and investigating how media can be used for social change. In her free time, Irene enjoys listening to live music for inspiration for her visual work, playing with how to translate sound into something physical.


Kah Yangni, Public Art Lab Studio Director

Kah is an artist, educator, and organizer. Their recent projects include collaboratively organizing an activist street band festival, teaching art workshops for youth at the RISD Museum and New Urban Arts, and running an independent comics and zines expo with three friends. They graduated from Brown University in 2014.


Esther Cortorreal, Arts & Business Americorps VISTA
Esther was born in Azua, Dominican Republic and came to the United States at eight years old. She lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for four years. However, most of her life she has lived in Rhode Island. She graduated from Woonsocket High School in 2012. She is studying social work at Salve Regina University to pursue a career in oncology social work. Due to her work with non profit organizations in the community, she understands the strengths and challenges our community faces in a day to day basis. She uses her knowledge of the community, cultures, and social work background to better help students with their goals through academic and personal achievements.
Zachary Larivee, ELO Americorps VISTA

After graduating from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, Zachary returned back to Rhode Island in search of a career that would get him involved with his community. It did not take long for him to find the Riverzedge Arts program, where he is now an ELO AmeriCorps Vista. With his love of helping others, Zachary has the opportunity to assist high school students explore their interests and establish solid foundations for their future careers. He enjoys reading, writing, and staying active.

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