National Awards
2020-2021 Award Recipients

2020 Marconi Award Winner: Frank Cardullo, Professor Emeritus

Frank Cardullo developed an interest in technology which ultimately led to a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from Boston University. He was then hired by Link Aviation a flight simulator company in Binghamton, NY as an aerospace engineer fulfilling his dream. He spent nearly 14 years at Link initially contributing to the design of the simulators to train astronauts for the Apollo Program, Skylab and Space Shuttle.  In time, after experiencing a taste of industrial research at Link, he decided that research and teaching was the next step in his career journey. Thus, he began a second career as an assistant professor at the State University of NY at Binghamton. He ultimately became a full professor of mechanical engineering. During this time, Frank gained an international reputation from his research on a control theoretic approach to human control of complex machines such as aircraft, spacecraft, ground vehicles and surgical telerobotics. He has been invited to lecture at 13 different universities and research institutes in the US, Europe and Asia. He is a recipient of the AIAA DeFlorez Award for Flight Simulation and Training. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA, a member and former chairman of their Modeling and Simulation Technical Committee. He completed a seven month appointment as a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, at the School of Aerospace Engineering. Frank retired from full time service and was awarded the title Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering He continues his research, publication, reviewer for scientific Journals and is the principal advisor to one PhD student and serves on two PhD committees. Although “retired”, Professor Cardullo remains restless and seeking new challenges.

2021 Cavaliere Joseph Coccia, Jr. Heritage, Language and Culture Award: Cav. Josephine A. Maietta


Cav. Josephine Maietta has spent her life "Passing the Torch" in exceptional service and outstanding commitment to preserving and promoting the Italian heritage through education and involvement. Cav. Maietta is the President of AIAE (the Association of Italian American Educators) affiliated with Hofstra University. She is a Board Member of IACE (Italian American Committee on Education), the Italian Heritage & Culture Month Committee in New York, I Giullari di Piazza, the Josephine Foundation, ItaliAmerica Foundation, Consultant of the Region Sicilia USEF, and ARPA Foundation of Pisa of which Andrea Bocelli is the Honorary President. Cav. Maietta is also the producer and host of radio talk show "Sabato Italiano" on 88.7 FM WRHU Hofstra University. The student run station was rate #1 University Station in the country. Cav. Maietta's story is the quintessential Italian American story of determination, hard work and commitment to help preserve and promote the best of her native culture. She was born in Castelvetrano/Selinunte, Sicily. Arriving in the US at the age of fifteen she applied herself to all that an American education has to offer. She earned her graduate degrees from Hunter College Graduate School, Fordham University and others in the areas of Comparitive Literature, Foreign Language Teaching, Bilingual Education and Supervision & School Administration. Her numerous awards, proclamations, citations and certificates of appreciation could fill many lifetimes. It is understandable why she was the obvious choice for the 2021 Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr. Heritage, Language and Culture Award. 

2021 Joseph P. Cianci Humanitarian Award: Nick Santinelli


Nick Santinelli has been an active member of the Livingston Chapter of UNICO National since 1999. He has served on many Board of Director positions, including four years as Chapter President. Nick spends an amazing six days a week, about 8 to 10 hours a day, in his volunteer endeavors. In a period of just one month, he delivered over 7,000 lunches and 200 trays of food. Nick also brings toys, clothing, and school supplies to Newark based organizations. He proudly advises that the smile on people's faces and the simple thank you he gets is all he needs to go on. He is truly a remarkable human being.

2021 Louis Attilio DeFillipo An American Hero Award: William Pollock

Bill Pollock grew up in New York City. He was first in his family to go to college. While in college he enjoyed the activities of the Pershing Rifle A-8 drills and competitions in the ROTC. As a new Second Lieutenant, the army sent him to Fort Bragg, Fort Devens, Fort Benning and the JFK Center for Special Warfare training as his permanent duty station. While there he received orders for deployment to Vietnam. due to his specialized training and degree, Bill was assigned to MACV J-311 in Saigon, as a First Lieutenant MACV advisor to the general Political Warfare Directorate (GPWD). Bill was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Vietnamese Technical Service Medal 1st Class for accompanying his counterparts all over South Vietnam on various GPWD missions. 

2021 Basilone Freedom Award: Joseph Vella

Joe Vella is one of the few remaining World War II veterans. He served in the US Navy in WWII as Chief Petty Officer. Joe was awarded the Navy letter of Commendation for heroism while serving in the Pacific. He fought with the fleet in the Okinawa Gunto Campaign Eniwetok and Saipan. He completed 37 years in the US Naval Reserve. At 100 years young he is still active in the American Legion. Joe is presently serving as Vice Commander of American Legion Post 243 and is also a member of the VFW.