Our Summer '23 Interns

The Foundation is excited to welcome our 2023 class of summer interns. This talented group comes from various universities and hails from around the country, with diverse family histories. Using their educational experiences, they will support our mission to preserve and restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!

Lucy Bernstein is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Born and raised in NYC, Lucy is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Anthropology and Creative Writing. She is interested in history, memory, and creative expression, and hopes someday to create art that tells stories. Lucy’s great-great-grandparents immigrated through Ellis Island from the Soviet Union and her great-grandfather immigrated through Ellis Island from Mogador, Morocco. She is so excited to be working at a site of living history alongside a team committed to important archival work

Claire Hunt is the Communications and Social Media Intern at the Foundation. Claire grew up in California and currently attends Barnard College, where she is double majoring in English and Gender Studies. At Barnard, Claire is the Communications Chair for the Columbia Queer Alliance and writes for the Columbia Daily Spectator. She hopes to pursue civil liberties law after graduation. Among many reasons why Claire is excited for this internship opportunity is that she recently discovered that her great-great-grandparents passed through Ellis Island.

Retta Karpinski is the Fundraising and Membership Intern at the Foundation. A rising college senior, Retta studies physics and philosophy at Brown University. Originally from San Diego, CA, she is fascinated by U.S. immigration patterns, the concept of American exceptionalism, and her own family history. Retta has worked in emergency medicine. When not learning about nonprofit operations and strategy, you’ll find Retta playing ultimate frisbee. Much of Retta’s family hails from western Europe, apart from of her great-great-great-great grandfather, Henryk Hermenegild Karpinski, who immigrated from Warsaw in 1874.

Nico Kossakowski is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Nico is a rising sophomore at Pomona College. He is a prospective history and anthropology double major. This summer, Nico is excited to engage in a research project focusing on how official language in the ship manifests reflects attitudes towards immigration in the early 20th century. He grew up in New Jersey and comes from a Colombian-Peruvian-Polish family.

Fiona O’Reilly is an intern at the American Family History Immigration Center on Ellis Island. Fiona is a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University, with a prospective double major in History and Latin American Studies. Fiona grew up in Brooklyn, attending the High School of American Studies. At Wesleyan, she is involved in Students for Justice in Palestine and is a research assistant for the Center for the Study of Guns and Society. Fiona’s personal connection to Ellis Island deepens her commitment to its mission, as her great-grandparents, Henryk and Wiktoria Buchholtz, embarked on their journey from Poland to Ellis Island about 100 years ago. Inspired by her own family’s history, Fiona is excited for the opportunity to assist other families in uncovering their roots.

Gemma Oshiro is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Gemma grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and is a rising junior at Fordham University where she is double majoring in French and International Studies. She is also on the pre-law track and hopes to work in the field of international law. Last year at Fordham Gemma served on the school’s AAPI committee and is looking forward to studying abroad in Paris in the fall. Gemma’s mom is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines and her dad’s family comes from a line of Japanese immigrants who settled in Hawaii. Due to her own personal connections to immigration, Gemma is ecstatic to be working at Ellis Island and looks forward to helping people connect to their own stories regarding family history and immigration.