Meet our Board Members

Gayla Gazero


Community Planning Specialist, Independent Consultant


For over twenty-five years, Ms. Gazerro has held several positions in the area of Community Development and neighborhood revitalization. Ms. Gazerro holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies/Planning and Sociology and has earned graduate course credits in the URI’s Community Planning and Area Development Graduate School. She has also completed the course work for the URI’s Institute for Housing & Community Development including Community Development Law; Policy and Implementation; Housing and Community Development; and Financing. Her professional experience includes expertise in administration; successful proposal development; community-based research; strategic planning; evaluation; education policy, community advocacy and outreach; neighborhood revitalization; crime and substance abuse prevention and social science and applied research. She has raised over $3 million in Federal, State, local and private funding to initiate and implement revitalization initiatives to build neighborhood and individual capacity for residents to build the skills they need to empower them to create change within their individual communities and improve their quality of life through leadership development, education, and workforce development. As an urban planner, she has provided technical assistance and support to resident groups, public schools, law enforcement, government, businesses, and community-based agencies.

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Leisa Young


Director of Student Services at the Providence campus of the University of Rhode Island in charge of Student Activities and events, peer mentoring training and employment, student government board, senior banquet, and graduation.  Prior to this position, Leisa was the Director of Advising and Counseling for 19 years at the Community College of Rhode Island. Leisa’s approach in each position was to address nontraditional students with a holistic approach addressing their past educational experience, building academic skills as well as balancing life and academic pursuits. Leisa has earned a Bachelors of General Studies from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters in Counseling from Rhode Island College.

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Kathryn “Kat” Quina


Kat is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She earned her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Georgia, and has taught in university settings for over 40 years. As an advisor and associate dean on the Feinstein Providence campus, she worked closely with adult and nontraditional students, developing programs to support their success. She developed URI’s Urbanscape initiative, supporting faculty and staff in research, teaching, and service activities related to urban programming. She has published and presented her research nationally, and authored / edited 7 books on the topics of sexual assault and harassment, success for women, and teaching psychology from a multicultural perspective. Her research centered on trauma and its effects, including HIV risk and incarceration, and impacts of discrimination and harassment on achievement. She has been recognized locally and nationally for her work as a mentor, a teacher, and a scholar.