We are thrilled to welcome four incredibly talented young professionals as our first class of interns at The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. They represent an array of universities and areas of study, and bring their own rich, unique family immigration stories. This summer they will directly support our mission to preserve and restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!
Check out their stories and stay up to date with their time at the Foundation by following us at @StatueEllisFdn
Jonah Demel is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Jonah is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University double majoring in Law, History, and Society (LHS) and Spanish, with a minor in Philosophy. This summer Jonah is creating a new training module to introduce visitors to the breadth and depth of the Foundation’s record database. Jonah grew up in New York, attending Hunter College High School. At Vanderbilt, Jonah is involved in the school’s Hillel and pre-law fraternity. Jonah’s family immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, and he is excited to connect others to their own stories through his work at AFIHC.
Riley Dominianni is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Riley is from Kalamazoo, Michigan and attends Fordham University, studying History and French. After graduation, Riley hopes to work in the museum business, potentially as a curator or a researcher. This summer Riley is researching the colorful stories within Ellis Island related newspaper articles, from the time of the island’s operation. Riley is ecstatic to work at Ellis Island, specifically in honor of her great-grandmother Catarina Varano, who bravely passed through Ellis Island just over 100 years ago.
Dana Ebralidze is an intern at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Dana is a rising junior at Fordham University double majoring in Urban Studies and English. This summer Dana is working on a research project that tells the stories of people from underrepresented communities that came through Ellis Island. Dana’s parents both came to the United States from Russia and as a result, she is strongly connected to the immigration stories from Ellis Island.
Cynthia Nahhas is a Communications and Social Media Intern at the Foundation. This summer Cynthia is curating social media content and building brand awareness on multiple media channels. Born to an Armenian family, Cynthia grew up in Syria and Lebanon where she obtained a degree in Media and Communications from the American University of Beirut. Upon graduation, she began pursuing a master’s degree in Media, Culture, and Communications at NYU. Cynthia’s family was displaced from their village in Western Armenia to Syria due to the 1915 Armenian genocide, and have since immigrated from Syria, to Lebanon, and now to the United States. Cynthia is passionate about the work done at Ellis Island, for it is inseparable from her research interests and lived experiences.