Click on each photo to be introduced to each officer
Maria D’Andrea-Yothers is proud to be a first-generation Italian-American: her mother was born in Pacentro, Abruzzo and her father in Roccamandolfi, Molise. She has been an active member of the Society since it was founded by her father in 2000. She has served as a member of the Board, 1st Vice President-Programs, 2nd Vice-President-Membership and editor and co-editor of the AMHS Notiziario.
In her professional life, Ms. D’Andrea-Yothers is a Supervisory International Trade Specialist with the Office of Textiles and Apparel, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). She is responsible for domestic policy issues, and the textile and apparel trade portfolio for Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. Prior to joining the DOC, Maria worked on textile and clothing trade issues as a member of the Secretariat of the Word Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Maria dedicates her time and enthusiastic support the Italian American community in the Washington, DC area, and enjoys travel and spending time with her friends and her very tight-knit family (four sisters, one brother, their spouses, and 8 nieces and nephews). Most importantly, Maria is proud to carry forward the legacy of her father who served as the first President of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society. She is married to Sam Yothers, and has two step daughters, Lauren and Mara.
Nancy DeSanti was born in Massachusetts and while growing up, lived in Athens, Greece for 4 years, and in Manila, the Philippines, for 3 years. For the past 11 years, she has been a legal specialist with Reed Smith LLP, a top-15 global law firm. Prior to that, she was an editor at The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., a legal publishing company.
As the daughter of immigrants, Nancy appreciates and loves her heritage and is interested in Italian genealogy, history, culture, and language. She is a member of the National Italian American Foundation and enjoys traveling to Italy each year. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Lynn Sorbara has been a member of AMHS for a number of years. She served briefly on the Board of Directors in 2008, but was forced to resign for family reasons. In 2002, she made a presentation at an AMHS general membership meeting on “Finding and Fighting Diseases in the New World of Bio-Terrorism.” She earned her doctorate in Molecular Pharmacology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Since 1991, she has worked at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Currently, she is Program Director in the Division of Cancer Prevention. Lynn is the Past-President of the DC Chapter of the Catholic Alumni Club and is a board member (term to 2015) of the Washington Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America.
Carmine James Spellane was born and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, to which his maternal grandparents emigrated from Molise. He has lived in
Washington, D.C. since 1969, first as a student at American University, then as a 40-year communications professional, mostly for the trade union movement. Carmine was the Media Director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for 21 years before his
retirement in 2015. He has served on the governing boards of several organizations devoted to communications and education. Since his retirement, Carmine taught for a semester at John Hopkins University’s D.C. campus, taken classes in playwriting and acting, and continued his two-decade love of horseback riding, an interest he shares with his wife, Susan Noon and their daughter, Nora Spellane. He has had a lifelong interest in the culture, history and music of Italy and the Celtic and Nordic nations where he has roots on his father’s side.
Peter Bell is a lifelong resident of the Washington, DC area, growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is , on his mother’s side and has lived on Capitol Hill since 1974. He is retired from the Federal government with over 35 years experience as an auditor and financial manager with three different Federal agencies. Currently he heads his own consulting and training practice, providing support for the needs of the affordable housing industry. He has been a member of AMHS for four years.
Mr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Clark grew up in Utah and has lived the last ten years in the District of Columbia. He works as chief financial officer for a small government contractor holding an MBA degree and CPA designation. He is the single father of three children, 24 and 17-year old sons, and a 21 year-old daughter who all live with him. In addition to the AMHS, Jeff is a member of the Lucchesi nel Mondo Tuscany Club, and in 2011 served as the Secretary of the Festa Italiana Foundation. He claims Italian heritage through his 6th great grandfather who was a native of Naples and immigrated to New Orleans in the early 1700s.
Jeff previously served on the Board and was the AMHS Treasurer from 2014 through 2015.
Lucio D’Andrea is a native of Roccamandolfi in the region of Molise. He immigrated to the United States in 1948 along with his brother Joseph and mother Candida to join his father, who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of his secondary school education, he enrolled at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1957 with a bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering and a commission as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Following his military service, he moved to Wyoming to work for an oil company. He later accepted a position with the Federal Power Commission in Washington, DC. He served in a number of government agencies and in 1986 he accepted an appointment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to serve as Senior Economic Officer with the Economic Commission of Europe (ECE) in Geneva, Switzerland, becoming deputy director of its Energy Division. He retired from the ECE in 1983 and entered private practice as an energy consultant.
During his long professional and military career, Lucio received numerous awards and recognitions. One which he is particularly proud of is the “Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy,” which he received in 1972 for his involvement with the Italian Cultural Society in promoting Italian Culture in the Washington, DC area. He has maintained a steadfast commitment to the promotion and development of Italian culture, traditions and values. His pride in his heritage was demonstrated when he took the initiative to establish the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society of the Washington DC area. He remains active in the Italian-American community by also being a member of Order of the Sons of Italy, National Italian American Foundation, Council for the Promotion of the Italian Language, and Committee to Represent Italians Abroad (established by the Government of Italy). Continuing his commitment to the promotion of Italian culture, Lucio recently established the Italian Heritage Society of St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, Virginia, the parish that the D’Andrea family joined in 1969, when they settled in the area. Lucio is married to Edvige (Pitassi) D’Andrea, a native of Pacentro, in Abruzzo. The have six children and seven grandchildren.
Dick DiBuono is retired from a 45-year long practice as a Civil Engineer: 5 years for the State of California Department of Water Resources, 33 years with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and 7 years as president of Richard J. DiBuono, LLC, an engineering consulting firm.
Active in civic affairs all his adult life, he is a past-president of the Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia and longtime member of the Institute’s Board of Directors. Among his many voluntary duties for this Society, Dick has served both as Chair of the Board of Directors and as President. He is experienced in genealogical research, tracing his paternal Molisani ancenstry back to the late 1600s and his maternal Marchegiani ancestry back to the early 1700s.
Dick currently also serves as a volunteer genealogical librarian at the Annandale Family History Center. He is the father of Jeffrey DiBuono of Marlborough, Massachusetts, and the grandfather of Matthew and Michael.
Ennio was born in Rosello, province of Chieti in Abruzzo, and came to Washington, DC in 1963 with a Diplomatic Visa and worked in the Embassies of Peru, Brazil and Venezuela. In 1967 Ennio began work with the World Bank, embarking on a career in the computer field, first in the operation of large computer mainframes as Assistant Manager of the Joint Computer Center of the Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and later as an Information Officer, administering the Local Area Network of the Computing Department.
Ennio retired from the World Bank after 31 years of service, and dedicates his time to his many hobbies and enjoys taking trips to Italy, especially to his beloved Rosello. Ennio is one of the founding members of the Society and has served as the 1st Vice President-Programs, 2nd Vice President-Membership, Chairman of the Gala Committee, Editor of the AMHS Notiziario, and more importantly, Ennio was the second President of the Society, serving over 2 terms. Ennio is devoted to the Society, and is particularly proud for helping put the Society on the path that it is today by formalizing the Society’s relations with the Abruzzo and Molise regions, and establishing the Scholarship program.
Ennio is married to Emma, a native of Vasto (Chieti), Abruzzo. They have a son, Roberto, a daughter, Daniela and 2 grandchildren, Sebastian and Sofia.
Helen has taught English at Gonzaga College High School since 1983. She co-founded Italy, In Other Words, a writing workshop based for 5 years in Abruzzo. She co-founded and organized Let’s Blog Abruzzo, a conference to encourage Italian and Italian-American bloggers to write about the region. Currently, she is a co-founder of the Abruzzo Blogger Community.
Ray LaVerghetta is a second-generation Italian-American born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His paternal grandparents were born and grew up in Vasto, in the province of Chieti, in Abruzzo. His maternal grandfather was also born and raised in Vasto, Abruzzo, while his maternal grandmother called home Pizzone, a small mountain town originally part of Abruzzo but incorporated into Molise, province of Isernia, in 1861.
Ray graduated from Loyola University in Maryland and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Linguistics at Georgetown University. He divided his career between academia and government (DoD). In the academic world, he taught at Georgetown University, Loyola University, the U.S. Naval Academy, the National Cryptologic School, the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, and Howard Community College. In government, he worked as a linguist, writer, and analyst, focusing on European issues of interest to a broad swath of U.S. Government policymakers. He retired in 2013 and is now working part-time as a government consultant and adjunct professor at Howard Community College. In his spare time, he is working on a language documentation project targeting one of the latin-derived languages that was spoken in Italy (and still is by some older residents) prior to the dominance of Italian.
Ray is married to Michele and they have two daughters, Gabriella and Maria.
Jim is a third generation Italian-American; his grandparents were born in the region of Calabria Italy and immigrated to the US in the early 1900’s. Jim and his wife moved to the DC area from West Virginia in 1970. He has college degrees from Fairmont State University, West Virginia University, and George Washington University and he is retired from Northern Virginia Community College. Jim has three sons and four grandchildren.
Albert Paolantonio was raised in Alexandria, Virginia, and has remained in the Arlington area for most of his adult life. He graduated in 1983 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and then started working for the Department of Defense as a Budget Analyst. In 2014, he retired after 32 years of service!
He has studied the Italian language on Sundays for about 20 years at Casa Italiana, and is a lover of all things Italian. His grandfather moved to the Boston area from Roccasicura (Isernia) in Molise in 1913. He has visited there several times, as well as many other towns in Molise, and throughout Italia. His interest in the Abruzzo Molise Heritage Society began shortly after the club began in 2000. He has been a member since, and enjoyed discovering more information about the two regions, and, in the process, has developed some very close friendships among the Society. He has supported the Society over the years in various capacities, and, at this time, is very interested in bringing his passion for the Society, and Italia, to the next level as a board member. He is also interested in Genealogy, and has a variety of other active interests, such as travel, exercise, gardening, and socializing with family and friends.
Sarah Scott is second-generation Italian-American; her mother’s family is from Poggio Picenze, Province of L’Aquila, Abruzzo. Her father’s career in the United States Navy enabled Ms. Scott to travel throughout Italy and live in Naples for several years. Although Sarah was born in New Jersey, she traveled extensively with her Navy family.
Sarah most recently lived in Texas while completing a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Dallas. She holds degrees in Economics, Finance, Political Economy, and Public Policy. She relocated to the Washington, DC area in May 2010 to work as an International Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Since moving to the Washington DC area, Sarah has become very involved in the local Italian-American community. She is also a member of Lucchesi nel Mondo-Tuscany Club, National Italian American Foundation, and Italian Cultural Society of Washington DC. Sarah is the Organizer of Passatempo, the first Italian meetup in Washington DC., which hosts 10-15 events each month such as Italian language conversation groups, happy hours, and Italian-language movies (with English subtitles).
A native of the Washington, DC area, Jonathan’s maternal grandparents are from the small town of San Pio delle Camere in the comune of L’Aquila in Abruzzo. An interest in his Italian roots inspired him to study Italian as a student at the University of Richmond, which led him to study abroad in Perugia and Ferrara. After graduating, he returned to Washington and worked as an ophthalmic technician for six years in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
His passion for Italian culture led him to complete a Master’s degree in Italian Studies at Georgetown University. Currently, Jon works as the Italy Programs Manager for CET Academic Programs, a provider of study abroad programs for college students.
Lourdes Tinajero joined AMHS through her association with Holy Rosary Church, where she assists as a catechist for young children. The parish and her love of Italy, the Italian culture, language and cuisine are “a piece of heaven.”
Ms. Tinajero serves as a Program Manager and Analyst at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Her primary duties include the development and management of program initiatives, particularly those concerning resource management and communications. Prior to her role at GPO, Lourdes served as the Director of Legislative Policy and Government Relations for the Cuban American National Council, a national non-profit organization providing direct services to individuals in the areas of education, healthcare, housing, and civic responsibilities. Other experience includes roles at the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Census Bureau, Community College of Denver, and New Mexico Minority Business Development Council. She has also served as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, AARP, American Social Health Association, and authored publications on higher education, business and industry. Personal interests include cooking, fashion design, and global cultural diversity. A guiding point comes from her paternal grandfather, Antonio Tinajero, who showed that “Education never ends!”
“I’m so proud of AMHS and its continuing growth. I hope to contribute to the Society’s valuable relationships with the Italian and Italian-American community, as well as to the public’s knowledge and love of Italy!”