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The D.I.V.E. Board of Directors is elected every 2 years and is made up of a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 9 members. The Board of Directors is assisted by a Consultant Committee and both undertake to coordinate the various activities of our association.

Board of Directors

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Cristina Campassi


Cristina brings a hybrid-fusion of Northern and Central Italian heritage: born and raised in a Piedmont family, she lived in Tuscany until she came to the States in 1995. She has been an enthusiastic member of the DIVE since 2016. Professionally, she is a radiologist specializing in the diagnosis of breast cancer who has practiced in academia and in the private sector. Her call to medicine has prompted her to engage in legislative efforts with the State of Maryland and to volunteer locally, in Italy,  Nicaragua, and Peru. Her son and daughter have followed their parents' footsteps and devote themselves to Asclepius discipline as well. Her passions, in addition to her profession and her family, are the arts, outdoor activities and dancing,  that she considers not only a form of expression, but also a discipline and brain gymnastics.


Cristina is thrilled to embrace the wishes of other members and lead common interests in harmony.

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Cristina Cassetti

Vice President

Cristina was born and raised in Rome, from Sicilian parents. After her PhD in virology, she moved to Bethesda in 1993 to conduct research at the National Institute of Health (NIH) on infectious diseases and vaccines. After various positions at the university and at a pharmaceutical company Cristina returned to the NIH to manage research programs on emerging viral diseases. Since 2019 she is the vice-director of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) at NIAID, a team of about 200 scientists and doctors with a budget of $ 2B per year to support research on infectious diseases. During her career she has received various awards, including the “Scienza Madre” award of the Spallanzani Institute and the honor of "Officer of the Italian Republic" conferred by the President of the Italian Republic. Cristina has two children of whom she is very proud: an aspiring veterinary daughter and an aspiring international economist son. In her free time, Cristina loves spending time with family and friends, cooking and doing outdoor sports, especially cycling and skiing. For several years Cristina was a beekeeper and taught a course in bee biology at the Montgomery County Beekeepers Club.

Cristina has been a DIVA since 2005 and, thanks to this association, she has developed deep and lasting friendships that enrich her life with joy, adventure and “Italianness”. She applied as a candidate for the Board with the desire to contribute to this important association and support other Italian women living in the area.


Elena Tassi


Elena was born and raised in Milan. She has lived in Washington, D.C. since 1996, is a proud mom of a big 19 year old boy, Marco, and has been a member of the DIVE since about 2007. Graduated in Biological Sciences, she has a career as a scientific researcher in the field of molecular oncology. She is currently involved in the management of oncology clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute (NIH) in Bethesda.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, biking, listening to music, taking long walks and spending her holidays on tropical beaches. She loves cats, good food, good wine and conviviality with friends. She has a great passion for Latin American dances and in particular for salsa that has a special place  in her heart.


Elena continues to be part of the DIVE  board of directors to contribute in keeping this group of special women and friends alive and vibrant.

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Sandra Colombini Hatch


Sandra Colombini Hatch is from Modena and has been in the US permanently since 1987. She is an MD by training and her interest in biomedical research brought her to the United States where she has studied leukemias, HIV, and cancers associated with HIV/AIDS. In the second half of her career, she dealt with funds for research and for the training of young doctors who want to pursue academic careers. She is married to an American originally from Massachusetts and they have a 30-year-old son. Both love Italy and Italian culture. Her interests are public health, cooking, international affairs, and politics.


For “Le DIVE,” Sandra has been coordinating the Book Club with Maura Bangara for several years. She is also a member of the “Divina Pasta.” As a member of the Comites DC, she will work to improve the relationship between the Italian Community and the Italian Embassy. She has been a member of the DIVE for more than 10 years. Her motivation to actively participate in the DIVE lies in the organization's strength of maintaining and expanding the Italian culture, offering a variety of events, and relying on a wide array of interests and skills of its members. Therefore, she is glad for this opportunity to contribute to the well being and growth of this organization.

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Nicoletta Nencioli

Media and communications Expert

My name is Nicoletta Nencioli Aiken. I have lived in Washington for more than 25 years, although I initially came for a 3-5 years stay. I am married to an American husband and I am originally from Treviso to which I return every year to find myself at 'home'. I have wandered around for a while: Rome for 14 years, then New York and finally Washington. As I have always enjoyed listening to stories of varied humanity and telling stories, I landed in journalism. I have been a journalist for over 30 years working for different media and in the last 20 years I have been a correspondent in Washington for Ansa News Agency . I like cross-cultural communication: I try to tell a little about Italy to the US and to “explain” America to the Italians. I am also a teacher of Italian language and culture.


I have been a member of the Dive since 2004. At our meetings over the years, I have met women who have now become true friends. I look forward to welcoming new friends to this association that makes many of us expats feel 'at home'. As a board member, I hope to contribute by promoting our activities and organizing interesting events.

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Luisa Malaguti

Social Events for Children

From the city of Modena, she is a freelance journalist and communication expert for events, institutional and private companies since 2004. Subsequent to her graduation in Modern Literature with History and Art minors at the University of Bologna, her Master degree in Milan, and her pursuing several pertinent projects in Italy, Luisa landed in the United States at the end of 2021 with her husband and her two children. Every day she continues to grow thanks to the teachings of her two children as she alternates between their upbringing and her professional activities, mainly as a copywriter, with her motherland, Italy. A lover of art, literature and reorganization, she is passionate about “biodanza”, which she has been practicing since 2006 and has been teaching after her graduation at the Bologna Training School.

As soon as she arrived in Bethesda, Luisa enrolled in the D.I.V.E. to create new connections, especially with other mothers with DIVINE children.

Advisory Committee

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Maria Luisa Sylos Labini


Maria Luisa has lived in the United States for about forty years. She was born in Tolmezzo, in the province of Udine. She graduated in literature with a concentration in Italian literature at the University of Trieste. In Trieste she met her husband Andrea, they have two daughters and two beautiful grandchildren. In the United States, Maria Luisa has been teaching Italian as a foreign language at the State Department, GWU and many other language schools in the Washington area for more than twenty years. Her passion for many years has been painting on porcelain, she is completely dedicated to this art and she paints and teaches to keep alive this beautiful and ancient art of which she also has a vast collection.


Maria Luisa has been part of DIVE with enthusiasm from the beginning and, over the years, has been part of three boards of directors.

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