Board of Directors

President: Mariah McNamara, Cornell University

Mariah is a former DICC parent and has been a board member since 2019. She is an Ithaca native and a graduate of the Ithaca City School District (LACS) with a bachelor’s degree in Art, and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. Before joining the Cornell University Graduate School as their Director of Admissions, Mariah worked for many years as an international student and scholar advisor at Cornell and the University at Buffalo. Mariah joined the DICC board as a way to give back to the center, which has played such an important role in her family’s lives over the last six years. She brings creativity, organizational and technical skills, experience in intercultural communication and programming, and her community connections to the board.

Vice President: Michele Westfall, Liberty POST and Ithaca College

Michele is a DICC parent with children in the preschool and infant rooms. She has been a part of the Ithaca community since 2002- receiving her bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Cornell University in 2006 and a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Ithaca College in 2009. Michele is an early intervention and preschool special education speech therapist for Liberty POST, serving Tompkins, Cortland, and Cayuga counties, and an adjunct lecturer and clinical supervisor for undergraduate and graduate SLP students at Ithaca College. She joined the DICC board in 2018 with the dual purpose of becoming more involved in her children’s childcare setting and helping ensure that DICC is an inclusive place for children with special needs.

Treasurer: Valentina Fulginiti,  Cornell University

Valentina Fulginiti has been a DICC parent since 2020 and joined the Board in December 2022. A native of Bologna, Italy, and a proud member of a tri-national household (Ita/Can/US), she works at Cornell University as a Senior Lecturer of Italian; she currently serves also as the Associate Chair of Romance Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto, an MA in Italian Linguistics, and a BA in Contemporary Literature, both from the University of Bologna. Before entering academia, she worked for many years in Italy as a workshop facilitator for teenagers from underprivileged backgrounds, including first- and second-generation Italians, high school students at risk of dropping out, and incarcerated minors. Steadfast in her belief that multilingualism is the rest state of language rather than an exception, she is passionate about supporting bilingual education and creating opportunities for early second-language acquisition through play and storytelling. Valentina is very appreciative of DICC’s staff and teachers’ focus on diversity and inclusion, and she is eager to give back to this wonderful community.

A photograph of Brittany with one of her children.Secretary: Brittany Griffin, Cayuga Medical Associates

Brittany Griffin is a DICC parent with two children at the center and joined the board in 2022. She recently moved to Ithaca from Brooklyn, NY to be closer to family. Brittany holds a BS in biological anthropology, an MSN in nursing, and a doctorate in integrative medicine. Prior to becoming a nurse, Brittany spent 10 years providing acupuncture to an un/under-insured population in hospital settings and within a nonprofit outpatient clinic. She currently works as a registered nurse in primary care and has a part-time acupuncture practice. Brittany enjoys health education and strives to serve as an ally as students navigate their relationships with health and identity. She appreciates the safe space that DICC creates for its diverse community.

Member: Aubrey Hetznecker, Schlather, Stumbar, Parks & Salk, LLP

Aubrey is a DICC parent and has been a board member since 2019. Aubrey’s husband was born and raised in Ithaca, and Ithaca has long felt like home. Aubrey has a BFA in sculpture, a MA in Art and Art Education, and a JD. Before becoming an attorney, Aubrey was a teacher in Colorado, New York City, and Ithaca. Aubrey is grateful for the dedicated educators and staff members at DICC and aims to support the center in its mission to provide rich curricular opportunities that foster social-emotional development for all children.

Member: Melissa Troiano,  GEM Rehab

Is a DICC parent with a toddler and infant currently at the center. Melissa and her husband Eric recently moved from NW Arkansas to be closer to family on the East coast and for Eric to have his dream job at Ithaca College. Melissa is a long-time geriatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in fall recovery and orthopedic aftercare therapy. Melissa received a BS in Health Sciences and an MOT in Occupational Therapy from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA. She previously worked for Preferred Therapy Solutions and Encompass Health as an Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Director. Melissa currently works for Gem Rehab at Vestal Park Nursing Home as an Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Director.

Member: Alyssa Weber,  Amphenol

Alyssa is a DICC parent with a child in preschool. She was born in Elmira, NY, and moved to Ithaca in December 2022 after a long time away from the Southern Tier. Alyssa holds an MS in environmental health and safety management and currently works as a Corporate Stewardship Manager for an electronics company. She has a background in safety, security, risk assessment, and business continuity for manufacturing. She is currently a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Alyssa loves spending time outdoors with her family, reading, and making art. She joined the DICC board to give back to a community that has done so much for her family.


We are accepting applications for new board members. Apply Now!