Board Member: Michael DeSapio
Mike is a life long resident of Kingwood Township located in rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey. While not necessarily an Italian enclave, it certainly felt like one growing up in the close-knit (and sizable) De Sapio family – instilling in Mike, his five brothers, and numerous cousins a strong sense of pride in their Italian roots and culture.Mike first connected with his ancestral homeland during a study abroad experience, living in Milan for six months. His time abroad enabled him to study the Italian language and history, tour most regions of the country, and visit the hometown of both his paternal (Monteforte Irpino, Campania) and maternal (Benestare, Calabria) families. The highlight of the experience was the opportunity to become acquainted with his cousins from the De Sapio family still living in Monteforte, a relationship that continues today. Mike has since made a dozen trips back to bell’Italia, and tries to return whenever possible. It always feels like going home again.Throughout the years, Mike has worked to promote the Italian and Italian-American cultures. He is a longtime member of several Italian American organizations, including the National Italian American Foundation, past president and Board member of the Italian American Heritage Club of Hunterdon County, and board member of the Italian American Baseball Foundation.Mike’s educational experience includes a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Penn State University, a J.D. from Widener University. The love for all things Italian prompted Mike to established De Sapio Dual Citizenship Services to assist applicants for Italian Citizenship.
Board Member: Dominique Sessa
Dominique is a disabled Italian American woman with a passion for inclusion, being a leading voice for the Italian American disability community, accessibility in preservation work, and Italian history and culture.
She founded The Girl in The Pink Wheelchair. She’s known locally, statewide, and nationwide for advocacy. It also has allowed women and young girls to find a connective solution through her platform.
Dominique is the founder of Italo American Imagery. It’s the first accessible Italo-American digital archive. The project focuses on telling the stories of Italians and Italian Americans, historical enrichment, genealogy, and preservation of Italian and Italian Americans.
She also founded and created the Italian American Disability Alliance. This platform allows both disabled Italians and Italian Americans to engage in community, culture and advocate together.
She proudly serves her state in these roles: Chairwoman of the Assistive Technology Loan Program Board of Directorsof Maryland, a Commissionerfor theMaryland Commission on Disabilities and the Maryland Advisory Council on Hereditary and Congenital Disorders. Dominique is an active community member in her City by serving on Committees and volunteering, enthusiastic about Italian history, and a published writer.
Board Member: Stephen Cerulli
Stephen J. Cerulli is the Bennet Distinguished Fellow at Fordham University, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in Modern History. He holds two appointments at The City University of New York as a Lecturer in Social Sciences at Hostos Community College and as a researcher at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College. He most recently edited and wrote a critical introduction for the second edition of Giovanni Schiavo’s The Italians in America Before the Revolution.
Peter A. Subissati
Born and raised in Montreal, Peter is a third-generation Italian-Canadian and dual citizen of both countries, with roots in the Marche and Campania regions, he is a consummate lover of all things Italian. His family’s American story began in Albany, NY’s Mansion Hill Italian enclave, and later Springfield, MA’s Little Italy, where his paternal great-grandfather settled after arriving in the New World via Ellis Island in 1914. Peter’s academic background in political science and history and lifelong passion for advocacy has led him to a career in public relations and communications roles in the diplomatic, nonprofit and corporate worlds. His lifetime engagement on Italian and Jewish issues has also led him to serve on numerous associations, committees and boards, and to be published in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Globe and Mail and National Post. An armchair historian and polyglot, Peter’s other passions include photography, traveling the world – through Italies big and little – and singing timeless standards from the great songbooks of Naples and America.