Civita Institute Board of Directors

Nancy Josephson, President
Nancy worked for the late Professor Astra Zarina as Teaching Assistant for the Architecture in Rome programs I and II in 1984-85. She earned her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1988 and was a co-recipient of The Kinne Traveling Fellowship for the video production Outside the Walls – Sequential Experience in Rome's Modern Quarters. She has practiced architecture in New York City and the Pacific Northwest, and led development of award-winning facilities in K-12 education for the Northshore and Bainbridge Island school districts. She is currently Manager of Capital Projects for the Mukilteo School District. Nancy brings previous board experience as past-president for the WA Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International and the Cherokee Owner's Corp. in Manhattan. She has been a director for NIAUSI/ the Civita Institute since 2008 and Treasurer from 2011-18.
Iole Alessandrini, Past President, 2016-2018
Born and raised in Italy, Iole is an artist who has been living in Seattle since 1994. She received her diploma in Fine Arts from the First State School of Fine Arts in Rome and earned two master's degrees in Architecture: one from the University of La Sapienza in Rome and the other from the University of Washington in Seattle. It is the intersection between these two creative expressions – art and architecture – through which her work moves. She is 1996 NIAUSI Fellow, Civita Institute director since 2000 and President, 2016-18. View her work here.
Ann Hirschi, Secretary 
Ann is an architect and alum of both the UW Italian Hilltowns  and Architecture in Rome programs. She is one of the four founding members of ARCADE magazine and was awarded the Victor Steinbrueck Chair (a Thonet!). She is a former NIAUSI Fellow (2007), an urban forester and currently serves the Board as chair of the Archive Committee.
Liz Jamieson, Treasurer 
Liz is an architect, with a MArch degree from the University of Washington. She has participated in feast planning and food preparation for the last five Annual Civita Institute Fundraisers and joined the Civita Institute Board in June, 2014.  She appreciates fast motorcycles and garlic. 
Rob Corser 
Rob is an architect and educator who has worked in the US, Italy and most recently at ARUP’s Advanced Geometry Unit in London. Educated at the University of Virginia and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he has won numerous academic and design awards including Harvard’s 2003 Peter Rice Prize for the integration of engineering and architecture. Design Intelligence magazine named him one of the “30 Most Admired Educators” in the US for 2013. He taught at Syracuse University and the University of Kansas before joining the faculty at the University of Washington where he teaches design studios and digital fabrication courses and leads the Collab|Fab studio. His recent book, Fabricating Architecture–Selected Readings in Digital Design and Manufacturing, was published by Princeton Architectural Press. Corser’s work, and that of his students, has earned several AIA awards and has been exhibited widely, including at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
Stephen Day, AIA
Stephen, principal and founder of Stephen Day Architecture PLLC in Seattle, is an architect and developer focusing on the revitalization of historic buildings and cultural properties; an awardee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award, of Historic Seattle's honor award, and a Washington SHPO honoree. Working with Astra Zarina in Rome as a student, and later as her teaching assistant in Italy, was a profound experience that still resonates in his life and work. Stephen was honored to be the NIAUSI president for 6 years during a pivotal time for the organization, leading the efforts in transferring the Civita properties and collections, and in furthering the long-held goal of of establishing The Civita Institute in Italy for fellowships, residencies, research and education, centered on these remarkable historic properties. 

Anita H. Lehmann
Anita is a registered architect in the state of Washington. She is also a teacher and an artist. After receiving training at the University of Washington, she has taught freehand drawing in Rome, Civita and in Seattle. She currently offers small group classes in drawing, painting, and design. Her other skills include architectural design, graphic design, community planning and design illustration. Prior to receiving the 2013 Civita Institute fellowship, Anita was a graduate student teacher at the University of Washington Rome Center, in Rome, Italy in 1985. “Drawing is about attempting something beyond language and beyond representation. I connect with the world and experience life. Mine is the hand of a practiced artist who has spent thousands upon thousands of hours honing my tool. My pencil is a baton; the goal is to wield it as effortlessly as most people breathe. I strive for humor, humility, work ethic, and confidence.”


Sharon Mentyka  
Sharon is a graphic designer, educator and writer practicing in Seattle with a BFA in Communications Design and an MFA in Creative Writing. For the past 15 years, she has been a principal of the graphic design firm Partners in Design in Seattle where she specializes in book and public information design for cultural and public organizations, as well as been an adjunct professor at both Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Her historical fiction book Chasing at the Surface published by Westwinds Press for readers aged 9-12 received the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) in the Children’s category. Think Smart, Be Fearless: The Story of Bill Gates, the first of two picture book biographies forthcoming from Sasquatch Press, will be published in 2019. As the 2012 Astra Zarina Fellowship recipient, Sharon created a series of storytelling maps, using visual means to create an 'atlas' designed to envision Civita through multiple lenses, some of which might include culture, geography, food, history and the built environment. The visual results of her fellowship and her contemporaneous notes can be found here on her design blog. 
Plamena Milusheva 
Plamena is a multi-disciplinary designer who has been investigating the relationship between design and technology for the last ten years. Trained as an art historian and architect, her focus has been on the potential for technological advances to impact built environments at multiple scales, from design process to physical experience. After finishing her Masters of Architecture at UC Berkeley, she took a detour from architecture and spent several years in the Seattle tech and fabrication community at the local maker space Matrix Create: Space. Her entry back into architecture was as the research and development coordinator for Olson Kundig Architects where she was responsible for advancing research efforts and the incorporation of new tools and technologies. In 2016 she joined LMN Architects as part of their internal research group LMNts. There, she has been combining her interest in electronics, digital fabrication, and software to push the practice of architecture through research, development of prototypes, and collaboration with other industries. She focuses on interactive environments and how access to new and future technological developments has the potential to impact the role of architects and how people understand and engage with spaces. 
Photo credit: Adam Hunter/LMN

Clark Pickett
Clark has been a long-time supporter and member of the Board.  He joined in 1999 to introduce and work specifically with Professor Astra Zarina and Tony Costa Heywood on their proposal to donate the Civita property to NIAUSI. He served as Board President from 2003-2006 and, along with several board members helped Civita obtain the coveted World Monuments’ Fund 100 Most Endangered Site Designation in 2006.  It was, however, his studies under Astra in Civita and Rome that inspired his passion for Italy and its cultural relevance to design issues of today.  Professionally, Clark is a Senior Associate and Interior Architecture Design lead at NBBJ working around the world on projects from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to currently leading the interior architecture practice in the London office.