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Our Ambassadors Program

Our Ambassadors program offers a chance for alumni to remain engaged in the international education network. By joining this program, alumni can contribute to the learning journey of future students who are interested in studying abroad at the Borromini Institute (BI) in Italy. The program offers various levels of involvement, including connecting with prospective students via email or phone, delivering presentations during orientations or study abroad fairs, participating in marketing teams for upcoming events, and more.

The purpose of the Ambassadors program is to enable alumni to share their valuable experiences with students who have a keen interest in international education.


My time in Rome this past summer was eye opening, inspiring and enriching. Every day I learned something new about food, sustainability, media and culture. I learned a lot about myself and the different ways that I take on challenges in the classroom and out in the streets of a busy city. I would recommend this study abroad trip to anyone, no matter what your major is you will find something extremely fascinating about this experience that I would do all over again if I could.
smile, happy, people-2072907.jpgPaige, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Paige attendend the Critical Studies on Food in Italy Summer 2016 Program

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Meet the Borromini Institute Team

Tom Rankin

Borromini Institute Director

Tom Rankin completed his Master’s degree in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Prior to that, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Princeton University and a “Laurea” in Architecture from “Sapienza” University of Rome. Since 1991, he has been residing in Rome, where he is actively involved in design research, practice, and teaching. His focus lies in studying the historical and emerging aspects of the city and landscape as a foundation for sustainable urbanism and architecture.
Tom holds teaching positions at various institutions, including Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (School of Engineering), the California Polytechnic Rome Program in Architecture, and the Iowa State Rome Program.

Pier Alberto Merli

Founder and CEO

Pier Alberto Merli received his degree in Philosophy from Florence University and his Ph.D. in Economics and Social Sciences at Florence University. He is Resident Director for HWS and U of I in Rome. He is also a wine expert and sommelier.

Lindsay Maldari

Program Coordinator

Lindsay Maldari came to Rome to earn her Master’s in Art History with John Cabot University. Rome continues to inspire Lindsay’s life and work on 20th century public monuments, and it is with great pleasure that she now shares her love of the city as a Program Coordinator at the Borromini Institute.
Lindsay works in our offices in Rome on program development and administration.

Lu Yuan, Visual Content Manager and South East Asia Advisor

Lulu’ Yuan

Visual Consultant

Lulu Yuan has a Master’s degree in fashion design and marketing in Italy and China and has been working as a fashion designer for more than 15 years. She is a teacher of art anatomy, an illustrator and a photographer. And, of course, a food lover. She can often be found capturing images and video of our activities for our social media.

A staff member in a green sweater in front of a building.

Erica Cacopardo

Studio Services

Erica Cacopardo has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Development Sciences and International Cooperation and has worked in Italy, Peru and Brazil. In her free time, Erica loves to travel, read, and go to the cinema and museums.

A staff member in a white shirt smiles in front of a tree.

William Fincham


Wiliam Fincham is a student of University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He is majoring in Linguistics and Italian. Coming from a mixed Italian and Scottish background, it has been fun for him helping other young people get acclimated. He is thrilled to have been able to do his part in helping other people experience and see what his mother country is all about.

young man smiling

Kevin Sautron

Social Media Intern

Kevin Sautron studies Global Humanities at Sapienza University. Originally from Madagascar, he has lived for years in Venezia and Rome pursuing creative projects and his passion for sustainability.

See the whole team

Click here to learn more about our staff, advisors and partners