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Italian: Alumni News

VINCENT PELLI (’12), Minor in Italian

Vincent Pelli is a 2012 graduate of The College of New Jersey and was very active in the Italian Department during his time at TCNJ. He enrolled in various Italian courses at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. In 2011, he spent a summer in Rome, Italy at the American University of Rome. Apart from academics, Vincent was a very active member of the TCNJ Italian Club including spending his senior year as President. He considers his greatest achievement in the Italian Department to be the creation of �Italian-American Heritage Month at TCNJ� which was aimed at erasing bias and stereotypes toward the Italian-American Culture. This program was designated at TCNJ’s �Outstanding New Program� from 2011-2012. Vincent is currently a 6th grade Social Studies teacher in the Montclair Public School System. He also teaches an Introduction to Italian Language and Culture course as part of the district’s after-school program. Vincent hopes to give to his students what the Italian faculty at TCNJ has given him; an ability to foster respect, appreciation, and understanding for new cultures. He wishes Professor Wright, Professor Anichini, and Professor Grianti as well as all TCNJ students of Italian the best of luck in their academic and personal endeavors.
 AMY MOROZ (’12), Self-Designed Major in Italian
 I recently graduated in 2012 with a dual major in Finance and Self-Designed Italian. I made the decision to to develop a self-designed major to advance my linguistic proficiency and to gain a superior understanding of Italian culture; with particular attention to the Italian economy. Within my finance curriculum, I exercised the Languages Across the Curriculum Option (LAC) to integrate language learning within my business courses. In the spring of 2011, I studied abroad in Siena, Italy, which helped to solidify my proficiency in Italian. Throughout my studies I realized that the importance of global cultural understanding can not be discounted; especially considering all of the undeniable links between economies. By developing an in-depth understanding of the Italian economy and its progression into the Euro, I have been able to take a very unique approach to learning finance. I am currently a finance analyst at JP Morgan Chase & Co. working in Production & Infrastructure Management within the Investment Bank. My background in Italian undoubtedly helps to differentiate me among my peers, especially in today’s job climate. My independent study and research has aided me in developing a holistic understanding of the economy. Within the next few years I have plans of working abroad in Europe. I believe that my decision to study Italian has fueled my appreciation for International business, which has undeniably magnified my opportunities within the realm of finance.
CRISTINA MIRISIS (’11),  Self-Designed Major in Italian
 I graduated in 2011 with a double major in Spanish, and Italian and Linguistics. During my time at TCNJ I studied in Turin, Italy twice; first, during the summer of 2009 and subsequently during the Spring 2010 semester. I also spent a month in Bologna, Italy during the summer of 2012 independently researching Italian historical linguistics. I am presently in my second year of the master’s program in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Minnesota, where I am also pursuing a graduate minor in Italian. Last year I taught a second semester beginning level Spanish course and this year I am teaching an intermediate level Spanish course. In addition to my teaching, I also conducted an experimental study on second language learners’ acquisition of Spanish stress, which I will present at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium later this month at the University of Florida. After completing my masters, my goal is to continue on to the PhD program and continue researching Spanish phonology and second language acquisition. Thank you to all of the professors in the World Languages Department for preparing me so well for the rigors of Graduate School!
SARAH BURDICK(’12), Self-Designed Major in Italian
 “I switched my major three times before calling the World Languages Department home. Dr. Simona Wright’s intensive courses prepared me phenomenally for my semester abroad at the Universit� per Stranieri in Siena, a small town located in Tuscany where few people speak English fluently. I was thus forced to rely on my Italian, which improved dramatically in the first month alone. Upon returning, I joined a freelance website and was able to find translation jobs easily; I worked as a virtual translator for an Italian-based financial firm for three months and later translated an entire website from English to Italian. During my last semester at TCNJ, I took Italian 370 with Dr. Federica Anichini not because it was a requirement, but because I wanted to continue learning and improving my Italian. I now work as the Marketing Director of a tour company that specializes in food and wine tours to Italy, and we have just forged a partnership with the New York food emporium Eataly to promote their travel brand. Had it not been for the preparation and education I received in the Italian Language Department, I would not have had the confidence to make connections throughout Siena and pursue Italian language jobs here in the United States. One of my goals is to return to Siena to visit and take more courses at the University, and I would someday like to teach Italian at either a school or a language institute.”
BRITTANY OLDEWURTEL(’11),  Self-Designed Major in Italian
 Ciao a tutti! My name is Brittany and I graduated in May 2011. While pursuing my degree as an Italian and Linguistics major, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad not once, but twice in the city of Torino.  It was because of these experiences that I was lucky enough to obtain a 6 month internship with a local Italian company, a few short months after having graduated. Although a full time position was not available for me after my internship was over, I gave the job search in Italy one more try and found an Italian company specializing in manufacturing car parts who was actually looking to hire an American. Since April of 2012 I have been working for that company, Magneti Marelli, as a People Development Specialist for their headlamp and rear lamp division known as Automotive Lighting.  I am a part of AL’s central Human Resources team, which manages all HR departments of every AL offices/manufacturing plant around the world. I get to work with AL employees from 16 different countries, for a total of about 13,000 employees world wide.
I have no doubt that my preparation as an Italian major at TCNJ was a huge advantage in starting my career.  Even though my company was looking for a native English speaker, my fluency and ability to read and write in Italian made me an even more valuable asset.  After all, it is an Italian company!  I have been told by my colleagues that my level of Italian far surpasses anyone’s expectations of where it should be having only studied the language in college, and so I can’t thank praise the Italian program at TCNJ enough for providing me with the skills I needed in order to achieve my goals.
ADAM MAMAWALA (’09), Minor in Italian
My name is Adam Mamawala, TCNJ Class of 2009. After graduating with a degree in communication studies and a minor in Italian, I have gone on to be a professional stand-up comedian, touring colleges throughout the United States. I was recently chosen by comedy website Funny or Die as one of top 30 comedians under the age of 30, and I currently reside in Hoboken, NJ. Despite my somewhat unusual choice of profession, I can definitively say that my experience at The College of New Jersey, particularly my foreign language minor, has helped me tremendously in the professional world. Beyond all of the presentations, beyond all of the group work and in class discussions, beyond all of the papers and writing exercises, what I learned from my Italian professor Simona Wright was far more valuable. Find your passion and once you have, work extremely hard at whatever that passion may be. While at times I would wonder why I had chosen such a difficult minor, I was always amazed by the enthusiasm and passion that Professor Wright exuded for teaching Italian. That kind of dedication and work ethic is what drives me in my career, and I am doing so with a strong foundation that is predicated on the importance of hard work, meeting deadlines, and giving something 100 percent every day. While I never studied abroad during college (my biggest regret), and while I don’t get to incorporate my knowledge of Italian into my everyday life, I am very appreciative of what the department did to prepare me for my current work.
JENNIFER HIGGINS (’10), Self-Designed Major in Italian
 I graduated from TCNJ cum laude in 2010 with a major in Italian Studies and a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and Communication Studies.  I am currently in my second year as a PhD student in the Italian Studies department at Rutgers University where I also serve as the Treasurer for the Italian Graduate Society.  Last semester I was one of the organizers and writers of the first newsletter for the Italian Department at Rutgers.  I was also recently inducted into Phi Sigma Iota, a foreign language national honor society.  My research interests include Italian fascism and feminism, 20th century film and literature, political ideology and theory.  The TCNJ Italian program prepared me extremely well for a PhD program and provided me the tools I needed to not only be accepted but to succeed.  I owe the TCNJ Italian program and Simona Wright many thanks for the rigorous and comprehensive education I received in my four years as an undergraduate.  I feel lucky and proud to be able to continue the tradition of teaching future undergraduates about Italian language and culture as part of my PhD program and my eventual career as a professor.
 ERIN HARDY (’11), Self-Designed Major in Italian and Secondary Education
I graduated from TCNJ in the spring of 2011 with a major in Italian and Secondary Education.  During the fall of my senior year I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Siena for Foreigners, where I was able to practice and refine my Italian language skills. I currently find myself working and living in Milan, Italy. Italy has presented me with numerous job opportunities and I accredit my success to my amazing undergraduate preparation that I received from TCNJ and specifically from the Italian Language Department. There is no greater compliment than having Italians ask me how many years I have lived in Italy, especially considering the fact that I had only been in the country for three months at the time. I currently work in two Italian high schools as a language assistant and teacher. Within a few months of my initial arrival I had found an additional job working in a private international school as a teacher’s assistant; while this summer I was the Director of Studies for an English orientated summer camp, for which I designed every aspect of the didactic materials and wrote my own activity book. This September I successfully enrolled in L’Universit� Statale di Milano, where I will pursue an additional degree in Mediazione Culturale e Linguistica, studying specifically Italian, Spanish, and English.
NANCY TODARO(’08), Minor in Italian
I graduated from TCNJ in May, 2008 with a minor in Italian and a major in Economics.  I took many Italian classes at TCNJ ranging from theater to politics.  The Italian curriculum not only helped me improve my language skills, but also gave me the opportunity to analyze many aspects of the world around me (from domestic politics to contrasting gender roles across nations).  Additionally, I participated in the summer abroad program in Urbino, sponsored by Rutgers University, where I took classes in advanced conversation.   Directly after TCNJ, I enrolled in Villanova Law School.  I earned my JD from Villanova in May, 2011 and graduated with honors.  Since September, 2011, I have been working as an associate in the commercial litigation department at Day Pitney LLP’s Parsippany, NJ office.  My practice involves mostly franchise law, although I practice general commercial litigation as well.  As a junior-level associate, I am responsible for drafting briefs, motions, and memorandum.  Further, I have conducted discovery, including drafting and responding to interrogatories and document requests, reviewing documents, and taking part in deposition preparation.
I have not stopped studying Italian!  I try to continue reading Italian articles and listening to conversational CDs on my way into work.  I’ve always wanted to explore combining my language skills with my legal work.
 AMY EAGLETON(’07), Minor in Italian
 She studied abroad in Siena, Italy in 2006. Amy has traveled to Italy over 13 times in the past 6 years. In 2008, she began teaching Italian to young children between the ages of 2 and 4 at a language studio. She earned her teaching license through an alternate route program, and taught Italian at Point Pleasant Borough High School for 3 years. Currently, Amy is teaching Italian and AP Art History at Red Bank Regional High School, where both she and her husband graduated.
Red Bank Regional High School never had Italian until this year. When the administration decided to bring Italian to their school, they asked Amy to begin the program. She is writing the curriculum and growing the program by relying heavily on her experiences at TCNJ and in Italy. The RBR Italian program has 95 students enrolled. Amy is also pursuing her Masters Degree in Educational Technology through New Jersey City University.It is not without the inspiration of Amy’s professors in TCNJ’s Italian Department that she enjoys these successes today. With so many high school language classes focusing on textbooks, workbooks, and translation, Amy is looking to create a curriculum that focuses on the strength of the teacher�s methodology, technology, cultural awareness, and strong speaking and listening skills for beginning learners. The Italian Department at TCNJ gave Amy an incredibly rich and rewarding language experience which she now can pass on to her own students.
CORINA MAVRODIN (’02), Minor in Italian
Corina is currently completing her PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE) in London, UK.  After completing a year abroad in Seville and graduating TCNJ in 2002, Corina worked with NGOs (Frankfurt, Germany) the United Nations (New York) and the Romanian Senate (Bucharest), where she was foreign affairs counselor to the President of the Senate.  She completed her Master’s in International Relations in 2009 and started her PhD work in 2011, focusing on the Cold War.  While completing her dissertation, Corina is also working for LSE IDEAS, a think tank that was ranked 4th in the world in terms of impact in 2012.
JOSEPH TAMAGNI (’98), Minor in Italian

Joseph Tamagni graduated with an Italian Minor in 1998. He participated in Professor Wright’s first summer session in Treviso, Italy. He also studied for a semester at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland. He went on to teach Italian in a public high school for nine years and earn an MA in Italian. Today, Joseph is self-employed as a freelance videographer and works summers as the bilingual Assistant to the Director of Middlebury College Italian School in Vermont.