Board of Trustees & Staff

  • Paul Robertson, President, Fundraising & Grant Committee
  • Debbie Kline, Vice President, Volunteer Committee
  • Shilpi Mukherjee, TreasurerAlumni Relations Committee
  • Tanisha Morgan, Secretary. Volunteer Committee
  • Terri Evans, Bookkeeper
  • John Enz, Artistic Director
  • Phillip Pugh, Assistant Artistic Director
  • Larisa Epps, Executive Director
  • Mary Armstrong, Volunteer Committee
  • Aloka Bagchi, Fundraising & Grant Committee
  • Annette Briffa, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Dr. Anita Franzione, Alumni Relations Committee
  • Catherine Isnardi, Social & Hospitality Committee
  • Yen Lu, Social & Hospitality Committee
  • Lakshmi Masineni, Parent Volunteer Committee
  • Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Yan Shi, Fundraising & Grant Committee
  • Dhanu Thejaswi, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Amy Woodward, New Student Auditions

    Advisory Board

  • Melanie Clarke
  • Dr. Richard Hodges
  • Michael Meduski

    Biographies

    Mary Armstrong is a resident of Yardville, NJ.  She currently serves on the Executive Board of both the Steinert Marching Unit Parents Association and the Friends Of Steinert Jazz organization.  Mary has thoroughly enjoyed watching her son participate in the various groups of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey over the past four years and is looking forward to working with other dedicated parents to create another successful year for this amazing program

    Aloka Bagchi lives in Plainsboro with her husband and two daughters. She holds a Post graduate degree in Business Management and has worked for many years in various business development roles in Law/ Real Estate firms and Recruitment Agencies. Currently she stays at home with her children while serving extensively for the West Windsor-Plainsboro school PTA boards as President and Vice President. She brings in over 5 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. Aloka loves working  with children and is an avid supporter of music and performing arts. She is excited to be a part of the YOCJ board serving the Fundraising and Grant committee for 2019-20.

    Annette Briffa is a Business Development Associate with a New York based IT Consulting firm. She has been an active volunteer in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district for many years as well as a former Homefront Cherry Tree Club volunteer. She has served on the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey Board of Trustees for 3 years, including Vice President from 2016-2017 and the role of President from May 2017 to June 2018. She is an avid supporter of music education as well as charitable outreach, including most recently working to arrange a fundraiser with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey to support the Houston Youth Symphony and surrounding Houston school music programs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Proceeds donated will be used to help replace lost and damaged instruments.

    Melanie Clarke, YOCJ Advisory Board, has a long and distinguished career in non-profit and arts management. A conservatory-trained violinist, she worked for the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, serving as its Executive Director for nine seasons before retiring in 2015.  In her many roles at the Princeton Symphony, she led its transformation and raised the funds for it to become a diverse and successful orchestra enterprise which won national recognition for artistic excellence, significant community engagement, collaborations with a wide range of civic and cultural partners, commitment to new music, and extensive and innovative music education programs. Melanie recently stepped down as chairman of the board of the Highland Center for the Arts (HCA) a new performing arts center serving rural northeastern Vermont. At HCA she led the startup of operations and oversaw a much-admired inaugural season of theatrical, musical and educational performances.  She is a trustee of the League of American Orchestras and chairs its development committee. She holds degrees from Harvard University and Wellesley College. Melanie and her husband, John Clarke, reside in Princeton, New Jersey, and Greensboro, Vermont.

    Larisa Epps, Executive Director for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Montclair State University, as a Governor’s Teaching Scholar, with a degree in Music Education. She was a string specialist in the public schools from 1993 to 1999, working in Summit, NJ as well as the Manalapan-Englishtown District. Additionally, Ms. Epps runs a private violin and viola studio in Hamilton Square since 2000, and manages a special event music ensemble, Tutti Dolce, The Violin Trio since 2007. She was the site coordinator for the NJ American String Teacher Association (ASTA) Certificate Advancement Program Exams held at Rider University from 2008 to 2016. Ms. Epps is currently honored to be sharing her life long passion for music and her love of organizing events, with this unique youth orchestra, that has made such a noteworthy impact on generations of young musicians!

    Terri Evans is a Bookkeeper with TCG Solutions LLC. Terri is a results oriented professional with 20+ years of progressive management experience with entrepreneurial companies. Her emphasis is on increasing the value of companies by providing them with the information needed to make informed, proactive business decisions.

    Anita Franzione, MPA, DrPH, is an assistant professor at Rutgers University, Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy and program chair for Health Administrion.  Dr. Franzione served on a number of health-related nonprofit boards in New York City.  She is currently a member of the Junior League of Greater Princeton where she was the Strategic Planning Chair.  Dr. Franzione brings 30 years of operations and administrative management to the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, as well as a passion and minor degree in musicology.

    Richard Hodges, saxophonist and YOCJ Advisory Board member, has appeared as a soloist in Europe, Canada, and throughout the United States including his debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  While specializing in the music of contemporary French composers, he has also premiered works by composers from the United States and Japan. A graduate of Wichita State University, Dr. Hodges received his doctorate in education from the College of William & Mary.  Dr. Hodges holds master’s degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Mississippi. He has served on the faculties of Indiana University, Columbia University, and the University of Mississippi. Former teachers include Eugene Rousseau and Lawrence Teal. Dr. Hodges currently teaches saxophone and clarinet at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia where he serves as the Director of Learning Resources. Dr. Hodges served as assistant conductor at the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey from 1996 to 2010.

    Catherine Isnardi is the mother of four musical children. She lives in Plainsboro. She has a deep and fond love of music. Catherine is a pediatric nurse and at this moment  works as a school nurse for the West Windsor- Plainsboro School District. Catherine enjoys being with the children and assisting the students and conductors with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey.

    Debbie Kline presently serves as Vice President of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey Executive Board after serving one year as the Board Secretary.  Mrs. Kline has worked as an 8th Grade World History teacher at Community Middle School in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District for the past 13 years.   Prior to that, Mrs. Kline worked for 14 years in the private sector as a Project Manager for a leading, national industrial supply distributor.


    Yen Lu
    is the mother of three musicians, one of them a cellist, who is currently enrolled in the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey. Music constantly is played in her house and she has grown a great love for it. She enjoys volunteering for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey when she can and attends all the events and concerts.

    Lakshmi Masineni
    is an IT professional with 14 years of experience in Software Development in various technologies like Java, J2EE, VMWare, and IAM Cloud based Technologies. She has worked on different domains like Banking, Financial, Health Care, with various clients like Mphasis, Tyco Electronics, Hewlett-Packard, UPS, DXC Technology, Coreblox. She was a director of the IT consulting company, taking care of the company along with her IT job. She has also substituted in the West Windsor School district since 2017, and loves substituting whenever she gets a chance. She graduated with a Bachelors in Electronics and a Masters in Computers from Bangalore University in India. She is blessed with two kids (girl and boy), who both play the violin. She loves cooking and spending time with her kids. Lakshmi is very excited to be part of YOCJ as a volunteer.

    Michael Meduski
    is a retired Lt. Colonel, US Army, active and reserve.  He is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Suffolk University Law School, The US Army Judge Advocate General’s School at University of Virginia, is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, and has worked in defense contracting for RCA, GE and American Overseas Marine Corporation, a General Dynamics subsidiary. During 20 years in West Windsor Mike has been active in Little League, Babe Ruth Baseball, Pop Warner Wildcats Youth Football and WWP North High School Football.  Mike has gigged locally and in greater Philadelphia with Princeton School of Rock band Random Clarity.  At First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square he is a session Elder, commissioner to Presbytery, and member of praise band and choir. Mike values the opportunity to volunteer in support of YOCJ.

    Tanisha Morgan loves working with children!  She is the mother of two very talented young musicians.  Despite her lack of musical aptitude, she enjoys all genres of music and surrounds herself with it – in the house, the car and earbuds.  For many years before becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent, Tanisha was an Administrator for a Management Consulting firm.  She looks forward to lending her skills to YOCJ as a board member, and meeting more of the YOCJ parents.

    Shilpi Mukherjee is an Investment professional and brings with her over 15 years of financial management experience in institutions like Lord Abbett & Co, Nomura Securities, Princeton Capital Management and Citigroup. She has an Engineering degree from Birla Institute of Technology in India, a masters in finance from XLRI, and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  Both her kids play the double basses and have enjoyed playing with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey for several years. She loves hiking and mountain climbing.

    Paul Robertson, President of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Bernstein Global Wealth Management where he is involved in both money management and providing financial advice to high net worth clients. He has degrees in Economics, Law and Business Administration, has worked as an management consultant for McKinsey & Co, and began his career as an economist for the Australian Government. Paul played the violin as a child, classical guitar as a college student, and now attempts to inspire his two sons to practice their instruments by taking piano lessons and practicing every night.

    Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin serves as part of the jazz faculty Princeton University; is the executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. 501(c)3 Organization; is the Creative Arts Director at Turning Point United Methodist Church in Trenton, NJ, where she founded the Christian Education and Arts Division (CEAD);  serves on the national faculty of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.; is a founding and executive board member of the Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award; the founder of Soul Ingredients® Voice Studio; and is an active member of both the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Dr. Robinson-Martin is an internationally recognized voice pedagogue and scholar in the area of contemporary music and the creator of Soul Ingredients®: the methodology. For the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, she serves on the Publicity and Marketing Committee.

    Yan Shi
    is a pharmacovigilance drug safety physician and global clinical development lead. She currently serves on the Fundraising & Grant Committee for Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ). Yan and her husband Jason Jin reside in Plainsboro, NJ with their son Roger Jin and daughter Sonya Jin. Both of their kids play piano and cello. Sonya enjoys playing violin with the YOCJ Symphonic Orchestra. Yan brings over 20 years management experience and a great passion to serve YOCJ.

    Dhanu Thejaswi
    has two children who have played string instruments in YOCJ for the past few years. She would be thrilled to live in a world consisting of mostly chocolates (dark) and books, reading on a comfortable sofa under the warm afternoon sun filtering gently into a sunroom through skylight windows. Seeing how this is a feasible reality only on rare occasions, she does other stuff like balancing being a busy mom and wife and extracting insights from financial data. She currently works at Bloomberg Global Data team where she supports the Bloomberg news and editorial team with content generation, data advocacy, working across industries and asset classes and creating automated content based financial news. She has several years of financial services industry experience having worked at Merrill Lynch and Lazard Freres, previously with experience working with Equity Trading Desk, Order and Execution management systems in the Advisory and Brokerage business. Apart from this, she has volunteered at a non-profit organization as a treasurer. Music, singing, travelling and hiking are some of her many hobbies.

    Amy Woodward
     has a Masters Degree in Special Education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  She has worked in the field of special education since 1995, and is currently a case manager and behavior analyst at a school for students with special needs.  She is participating on the Fundraising Committee for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, and is looking forward to working with the Board to support this wonderful group of young musicians and talented conductors.