Meet Our Team

Natalie Milbrodt
Natalie Milbrodt
Role: Director

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2010

Queens neighborhood: Sunnyside

I moved to New York City in 2005. I had friends in Astoria, so I lived there first, followed by Flushing where I moved in 2009 for graduate school at Queens College and where I founded the Queens Memory Project. After that, I continued my tour of the borough by living in Long Island City, Jackson Heights and finally, in 2013, I settled in Sunnyside where I’m surrounded by good friends who live a walk or short bike ride away. Now 15 years into my Queens adventure, this vibrant and peaceful place feels deeply like home.

I believe that the historical record is a fabric that grows stronger with every thread of personal narrative we add to it. The similarities and contrasts between one person’s lived experience and another’s gives us a fuller and richer understanding of a time and place that used to exist. A fabric so strong is hard to destroy. Many voices together bear witness to the truth of our lived experience and that is what I believe we should preserve. I try to stay focused on the people I most want to serve, the descendants of the people we interview today who will come to our collections in 50 or 200 years from now, wanting to better understand themselves by understanding the lives of their ancestors.

Meral Agish
Meral Agish
Role: Community Coordinator

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2019

Queens neighborhood: Kew Gardens

My family first arrived in the States in the 1960s and ’70s and set down their American roots in Jackson Heights. My parents moved to Flushing after they got married, which is where I was born and raised. Now, I live in Kew Gardens, where I’m raising my daughter to be curious about the many people, neighborhoods and cultures of our home borough.

When I talk about the Queens Memory Project, I always emphasize how this collection is made up of people’s stories and that anyone with a connection to Queens can be a part of it. We all have a story to share, whether it’s through an interview or personal photos or other mementos. Each story that’s added to the collection enriches the historical record of Queens and deepens our understanding of our families, friends, neighbors and ourselves.

Lori DiBella Wallach
Lori DiBella Wallach
Role: Outreach Coordinator, Queens College

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2014

Queens neighborhood: Flushing

My connection with Flushing is Queens College — where I work, bringing Queens Memory to the students, faculty and staff of this diverse and vibrant community. I also spent several years here as a graduate student, earning my Master’s in Library Science. And of course, Flushing is home to my beloved New York Mets! 

I think Queens Memory is a valuable way to both capture the stories and perspectives of current Queens residents and to connect those stories with the past and future of the borough. Queens is a dynamic locale that has seen significant changes over the decades and will likely continue to evolve and transform. It’s important to preserve the first-hand accounts of the people experiencing these shifts to achieve the fullest understanding of history.

Dacia Metes
Dacia Metes
Role: Digital Archives Manager

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2013

Queens neighborhood: Forest Hills, Jackson Heights

I’ve lived in Forest Hills for 5 years. My father grew up in Jackson Heights, so I have a family connection to the neighborhood.

History isn’t just big events and so called “important” people. It’s the lived experiences of every person. I’m honored that the people of Queens trust us to collect and preserve their memories and family histories.

Josselyn Atahualpa
Josselyn Atahualpa
Role: I'm the Program Coordinator. I support with back-end work and coordinate volunteers.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2018

Queens neighborhood: Corona / Jackson Heights

I love that it feels like home.

I want people to be able to tell their own stories and for those stories to be preserved for future generations to come.

Aimai Reporter
Aimai Reporter
Role: Metadata & Digital Archives. I do other tasks as needed - the most fun is posting images from the QPL Digital Archive to Instagram when I have the chance.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2016

Queens neighborhood: Sunnyside

People I love are in Sunnyside.

As someone who has worked with archives and digital collections around NYC for the past 8 years I can see the need of working to collect stories from regular people of diverse backgrounds – especially in a world changing time like we are going through now. Too many of our institutional collections represent the past “establishment” culture of the time and leave out stories of women, people of color, and the working class. We need stories from everyone!

Grace de Sagun
Grace de Sagun
Role: Digitization Supervisor

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2013

Queens neighborhood: Hillside - Jamaica area

I basically grew up in Jamaica. My family & I moved here when I was in the 3rd grade. I finished high school at Hillcrest and Associates in La Guardia Community College. I started as an intern at Queens Public Library while finishing up my associates degree until I graduated at New York City College of Technology. I basically spent all my adult life in Queens. Most of my families and friends live around here.

Working on the Queens Memory project is a good source of inspiration. Having an access and exposure in capturing the actual experiences of strength, courage, and life in general of the residents of Queens is another momentous learning experience for me. Being part of the team that archives and preserves the history of Queens and its residents has given me exposures to different cultures and diversity.

Annie Tummino
Annie Tummino
Role: Head of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2010

Queens neighborhood: Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights is diverse, vibrant, and filled with wonderful food.

Queens College is honored to be affiliated with the Queens Memory Project. It’s an amazing resource for documenting the lived experience of our borough and our campus.

Obden Mondesir
Obden Mondesir
Role: Oral History Interviewer

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2018

Queens neighborhood: South Jamaica

I lived in this area for 20 years. I love South Jamaica because it holds a lot of memory for me and I have family there. When I think of my neighborhood I’m more fascinated by its historical totality and how it’s going to change. I love the park near me. I love the communities I’m a part of and want learn more about. I’ve left to live in Brooklyn which at this point has more to offer in my current station of in life but South Jamaica is oasis for me.

Preserving local history through oral history narrative adds nuance to the past that provides or could provide a more equitable narrative which can inform the present and future and honestly be more interesting in the complexity that is understanding human experience. Social history, changes over time, and preservation of it should strive to be a communal extension of the human activity that is remembering and forgetting. I enjoy being an investigator of memory and co creator of historical record and source especially for an area that I grew up in.

Sam Addeo
Sam Addeo
Role: Digital Support for integration with Urban Archive.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2020

Queens neighborhood: Whitestone, Queens

Whitestone is one of the first neighborhoods that I came to know and love in NYC as an adult. I lived there for a few years with my grandparents while going to school at Queens College. The area often gets overlooked, like many other neighborhoods that are furthest from the city’s center, but I usually find these kinds of communities to be the most fascinating for all that they represent. There is a long list of things I love about the neighborhood (think: bocce, green space, and Christina’s) but it’s definitely the people and their stories that make it so special for me.

It’s easy to feel like “history” is a matter of the past and not the present. Moments and projects like this show us otherwise, that our collective actions are not passive and that our individual voices and experiences hold weight.

Regina Carra
Regina Carra
Role: Interviewer and Contributor, Archivist, Colleague, Collaborator, Cheerleader

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2016

Queens neighborhood: Forest Hills

I have lived in my apartment in Forest Hills ever since I moved to New York City in 2015 to attend graduate school and pursue a career as an archivist. The two things I love most about Forest Hills are the shops and restaurants of Austin Street and the flowering trees in the springtime.

Preserving local history through oral history narrative adds nuance to the past that provides or could provide a more equitable narrative which can inform the present and future and honestly be more interesting in the complexity that is understanding human experience. Social history, changes over time, and preservation of it should strive to be a communal extension of the human activity that is remembering and forgetting. I enjoy being an investigator of memory and co creator of historical record and source especially for an area that I grew up in.

Jacqueline Colson
Role: Interviewer

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2017

Queens neighborhood: Kew Gardens Hills

I have lived here for 18 years. I’m a block from Flushing Meadows Corona Park and that’s my favorite part of living here.

I get to document the stories of everyday people. It’s a window into the past and present that allows me to share in the wisdom and experiences of those who lived it.

Jordan Gass-Pooré
Role: Executive Producer of season two of the Queens Memory Podcast, "The Borough We Became: Queens Residents On Life During COVID-19".

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2020

Queens neighborhood: Long Island City

I’ve lived in Long Island City, off-and-on, for nearly three years.

The Queens Memory Project podcast provides communities with the opportunity to share their story on their own terms and in their own words. This is a period of time that will go down in the history books and this podcast will help people in the future to understand the borough’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fran Kipnis
Role: Volunteer Interviewer

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2017

Queens neighborhood: Forest Hills

I lived on Austin Street in Forest Hills as a young child. My family then moved to Plainview, NY on Long Island. I have lived in San Francisco for many years, but now live part-time in Forest Hills to help care for my mom, who is 91. I love the neighborhood!

Queens is such as diverse neighborhood and everyone who lives here has an incredible story. I have been so honored to meet the most interesting and inspiring Queens residents – LGBTQ leaders, artists, community activists, new arrivals, and long term residents!

Naomi Kuo
Naomi Kuo
Role: Artist Collaborator

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2017

Queens neighborhood: Flushing

I love living in Flushing because I learn so much about myself, my heritage, complex transnational dynamics, and community, just through everyday life.

I think it’s important to articulate and highlight the stories of people who are not often documented in historical archives, and to learn from the challenges of bridging language and cultural differences. It’s also exciting to contribute to a centralized and accessible resource for future research.

EunWoo Nam
Role: Artist Collaborator

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2018

Queens neighborhood: Bayside, Queens

Bayside was my very first place when I came to NY as an immigrant. I really did not know about this area before coming to the States but soon after I fell in love with its eco friendly environments. Also layers of different cultures crossing the blocks exposed me to understand how life could be diverse and colorful. This cultural situation gave me new perception to see the world and has been inspiring me to create art since then.

I was working on a project called Collective Memory Lane about memory of hometown and cultural landscape in the MFA program in Queens College a few years ago. Around that time, I had a studio visit with the Queens Memory Project team and soon after we collaborated to run the Collective Memory Lane during the Broken Heart week. Since then, We have been organizing various public events for community members. In general, many institutions mainly focus on archiving documentations to organize history of specific fields or areas and then share the result of the research in public. However, we offer situational events in which participants can experience each theme of the project in person. In particular, the character of memory is hard to be define by words and its abstract condition cannot be defined by some academic terms too. So the situational experience through the Queens Memory Project helps people to access the condition of memory more closely and the layers of each experience from individuals create a landscape of our community in that condition too.

Rebecca Rushfield
Rebecca Rushfield
Role: Oral History Interviewer focusing on Queens College

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2015

Queens neighborhood: Kew Gardens Hills section of Flushing in the shadow of Queens College

My family moved there when I was a year old and I’ve lived there ever since.

Meeting interesting people who have interesting stories to tell. If captured, the unwritten stories of daily life and work add to our understanding of history and culture.

Briana Stodden
Briana Kay Stodden
Role: Re-Recording Mixer, Producer

Joined the Queens Memory team in April 2020

Queens neighborhood: Astoria

I’ve lived in Queens for 5 years. I moved here from the midwest and fell in love with the diverse community. Astoria has a small-town, family-friendly feeling but is still close to the bustling city. Of all the boroughs I’ve visited, Queens feels like home.

Like many of our Queens neighbors, when the pandemic came to New York I found myself wanting to find a way to help the community. My work experience is largely in the film and television industry so I sought out ways to use those skills. When I saw the Queens Public Library was looking for help on their Queens Memory COVID-19 Podcast I asked if I could contribute. Working to tell the stories of our neighbors and document such a historic time for our community has taught me so much about Queens’ strength and resilience. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Queens Memory Podcast team.

Anna Williams
Anna Williams
Role: I write, produce, and edit the Queens Memory podcast.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2020

Queens neighborhood: Astoria

I’ve lived in Astoria since September 2019. My husband and I moved here after I finished my Ph.D. in English at the University of Iowa, and we chose it because we love the tree-lined streets, the arts and culture, and the great restaurants.

I think Queens Memory is important because it documents the stories being lived around us at this very moment. Such documentary work is meaningful in the present because it raises awareness of what our neighbors are going through and how we can help better support one another. And it’s also meaningful for posterity because it gives us a unique line of communication with people in the future who will someday listen to and read these stories. I love getting to know my neighborhood in such an intimate way and preserving its stories for future generations!

Jo-Ann Wong
Jo-Ann Wong
Role: Librarian at Hunters Point Library. I assist with helping to bring Queens Memory programs into the local Queens Public Library branches. In addition, I assist with creating virtual programs that can both engage and inform our communities about the Queens Memory Project.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2019

Queens neighborhood: Jackson Heights

I love Jackson Heights, because of the sense of community that thrives in this neighborhood.

I believe that it is important to work with Queens Memory, as the project gives our communities a platform to have their stories heard and added to the historical record. In doing so, we ensure a more diverse and inclusive historical narrative.

Ying Zhou
Ying Zhou
Role: Volunteer

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2017

Queens neighborhood: Fresh Meadows

I lived in Fresh Meadows for over 14 years. It is a quiet and beautiful neighborhood. It is close to the two airports for traveling. It is convenient and accessible to everything: schools, libraries, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, and parks.

I have been a Queens resident for over 34 years. Queens Memory Project has helped me learn more about its diverse neighborhoods and the people who live and work here. I’d love to connect with more people who care about Queens and contribute to make Queens a better place for many generations to come.

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