Pierina is an Afro-Dominicana, daughter of immigrants, and lifelong Bronxite, born in University Heights and raised in Kingsbridge, where her family strove to make a life for her and her brothers. She learned the value of hard work at an early age – watching her elders sell oranges, drive taxis, clean buildings and schools – to ensure she and her generation had a chance at higher education and opportunity in this country. Pierina is a proud alumna of Bronx public schools P.S. 46 and M.S. 45, and the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula. She knows the value of public youth programs because the Bronx Community College Upward Bound program helped her excel. She went on to graduate from Harvard University on a full scholarship, and earn a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University. All along the way, Pierina has been guided by the values that those closest to the problems must be closest to the solutions; those being pushed out should be brought in; the voices being silenced must be heard; those who have been historically excluded, silenced - womxn, people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community - should be the change agents and decision makers.