Communications Consultant(847) 749-9675
Dan Armstrong has worked with NJCH since 2022. He brings 15 years of experience in communications, primarily in the higher education, K-12 education, and nonprofit sectors in the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions.
His work has spanned media relations, digital communications, and marketing communications efforts at large, small, and mid-size institutions. His work with the media has resulted in earned placements with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NBC’s Today, CNN, and other leading outlets, and his organizational communications efforts have been recognized with multiple statewide awards.
Early in his career, Dan was a newspaper reporter in Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s in library and information science from Dominican University.
Carin Berkowitz, Ph.D.
Executive Director(609) 695-5318
As Executive Director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), Carin Berkowitz establishes the strategic direction for NJCH and serves as a passionate advocate for the humanities across New Jersey. She leads the efforts of NJCH’s Board and its talented staff to explore, cultivate, and champion the public humanities in communities around the state, with a focus upon diversifying New Jersey’s remarkable cultural sector.
Carin joined NJCH in 2018 after having served for eight years as the Director of Historical Research at the Science History Institute, a museum, library, and center for scholarship in Philadelphia. At the Institute, she developed a research center that responded effectively to a variety of constituencies, translating scholarly humanistic inquiry into meaningful and accessible programs in the form of public lectures, conferences, a book series, and a social media presence. She has served as an elected member of the Nominating Committee of the 11,000-member American Historical Association (AHA), the co-chair of the annual meetings of the American Association for the History of Medicine, the AHA, and the Federation of State Humanities Councils; she has also been on the elected governing Council of the History of Science Society and is a current member of the Boards of ArtPride and of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.
Carin has a B.A. in English Literature from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Cornell University and brings her love of interdisciplinary work to her role at NJCH. She has published extensively on the historical intersections of art, science, medicine, and pedagogy, including the monograph Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform and the co-edited collection Science Museums in Transition: Anglo-American Cultures of Display in the Nineteenth Century. When she is not at work, she embraces the joyful chaos of her household, with her two wonderful children and her rescue dogs, and seeks peaceful moments by hiking in wild and solitary places.
Grants and Partnerships Coordinator(609) 695-4303
Sylvester Cruz coordinates NJCH’s programmatic efforts in grantmaking and capacity building. His work at the Council strengthens existing partnerships and cultivates opportunities for new ones by providing support to our grantee and awardee community. Playing a key role in managing the Council’s existing programmatic offerings, Sylvester works closely with current grantees and program partners to ensure that their needs are met, as well as collaborating with other team members to develop new programs that provide vibrant and thoughtful humanities opportunities to the people of the Garden State.
Sylvester is also a doctoral student in the English department at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where he studies the overlap between literary and theological authority in the allegorical poetry of the English Renaissance. He is a first-generation PhD student, a dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of South Africa, and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz. When he’s not at work, Sylvester enjoys playing chess, kickboxing, the outdoors, and exploring the sights, sounds, and flavors of South and Central Jersey.
Nick Gilewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager, Informed NJ
Nicholas Gilewicz serves as the project manager for the Council’s burgeoning work supporting local and community journalism. He provides thought partnership about pedagogy, engagement, and journalism as a humanistic endeavor while assisting NJCH’s collaborators as they innovate new training programs for community reporters.
His interest in developing community journalism arose from his research—which has focused on the social meaning and purposes of journalistic work at moments of intense transformation—and from the wider social concern about the continuing economic stress on such a vital and increasingly threatened democratic need.
He currently teaches communication and journalism at Manhattan College, where he has facilitated student internships with community newspapers in The Bronx, including the Riverdale Press and the Bronx Times. His ongoing research seeks to understand roles of new kinds of participants in journalism, journalists’ articulations of the purposes and politics of journalism, and the dynamic relationship between news and truth. He holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in journalism from Temple University, and a B.A. in humanities from the University of Chicago.
Manager of Special Projects
Amy Liberi oversees special projects and strategic initiatives that serve the humanities community in New Jersey. She manages the Sponsorships program which provides funding for public humanities events and programs throughout the state and broadens the reach of NJCH. She also works on the organization’s thematic initiatives, which includes the new focus on environmental humanities. With an extensive background in event planning, Amy will help to plan annual signature events to bring together the many facets of public humanities in the State of New Jersey. In addition to event planning, Amy brings over a decade of experience in higher education program management and urban planning.
Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Urban Studies from Rutgers University-Camden and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Bloustein School at Rutgers-New Brunswick. She recently completed a certificate in historic preservation from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers-Camden. Outside of work, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two sons who make every day a new adventure. She also enjoys spending time outside in nature, reading books in cozy spaces, and cheering for the Phillies.
Allie Marchesani is an intern at NJCH who supports the programs team. In particular, she coordinates the Community History program and writes the monthly Resource Roundup e-newsletter. She received her B.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology from Lycoming College and is currently a graduate student at Rutgers University – Camden pursuing an M.A. in History. Her research centers on LGBTQ+ history in her home state of New Jersey. Allie is excited to apply her previous work experience in archives and museums to aid NJCH in uplifting the public humanities and engaging communities with their diverse histories. Outside of work, Allie can usually be found scouring the thrift stores of South Jersey for vintage items.
Director of Programs(609) 695-4409
Gigi Naglak oversees and administers programs that serve New Jersey’s outstanding cultural institutions, including grants, Community History, and capacity-building workshops. She joined the staff of NJCH in 2016 after more than a decade in museum education and public engagement. Gigi has a BA in history and theatre arts from Drew University and an MA in Performance Studies from King’s College London.
Outside of work, Gigi is a theatre performer and producer, avid lover of the outdoors, and community advocate. She is honored to work with such thoughtful and creative institutions around the state to examine the past, consider our present circumstances, and imagine the future we wish to create.
Engagement Associate(609) 691-2071
Joseph Szumowski supports the mission and programming of NJCH through development, strategic data collection, and advocacy. He joins the staff after serving as the Supervisor of Visitor Services at the Penn Museum, where he advocated for visitor accessibility and staff equity. Over the past six years Joseph has worked with over 12 different museums and historical sites across South Jersey and Philadelphia and is looking forward to applying that experience of connecting communities with cultural and educational experiences in the humanities.
Joseph has an A.A. in History from Rowan College at Gloucester County. When not at work, Joseph can be found instructing and attending community art classes, going to concerts, and exploring the wilderness.
Operations Director(609) 695-4908
Colleen Tryner supports operations across the NJCH staff, allowing the organization to achieve its mission to serve the New Jersey cultural sector. She joins the NJCH staff after five years with the Alice Paul Institute (API), a South Jersey based non-profit focused on history and leadership. At API, Colleen held several roles, but her final title was Operations Director. In that role she managed the office workflow, bookkeeping, and site maintenance of a National Historic Landmark while being a connection point for volunteers, interns, and other community members.
Colleen is excited to bring her passion for management to NJCH where she handles bookkeeping, office management, procedure development and maintenance, and database upkeep. She has always loved the humanities, graduating from Rowan University with a B.A. in History and Art, minors in Art History and Business Administration, and a concentration in International Studies. Colleen was raised in Gloucester County and remains a South Jersey resident. When not at work, she can be found enjoying board games, tending to her plant children, and enjoying time with friends!