Here is information on what some of the past Italian students are doing. If you would like to send the department updated information, we would be happy to include this in the alumni/ae page. Please send any information to the Italian department coordinator, Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Gruber '11
I currently work at B&B Hospitality Group in New York as Assistant to Mario Batali. I work closely with Mario’s Director of Communications to field appearance requests and media inquiries regarding Mario’s restaurants and product lines. Though I don’t speak Italian on a daily basis, I’m surrounded by the culture and vocabulary of Italian food, and... I get to eat all'italiana every day! My independent study with Professor Saiber on the history of the pig in Italy and its representation in Italian literature and culture was great practice for the research and writing about Italian ingredients and recipes I now do for Mario.
Kara Wilson '11
I am working as an English Teaching Assistant for the Austrian-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Commission) in southern Austria. I use Italian all the time since moving to Austria because I live about thirty minutes from the Italian border. There are many Italians in Klagenfurt, where I live, and I have made some great Italian friends. In the near future I hope to live in Italy!
Tiernan Cutler '11
I'm currently living in Florence, Italy where I am studying to receive my Masters of Arts degree in Graphic Design at the Florence Institute of Design International. While my classes are actually taught in English, Italian is central to the rest of my world. I'm attempting to juggle two jobs - school secretary by day, bartender by night, while also playing on an Italian women's soccer team. For my secretarial work I was even given the thrilling task of translating Italian Furniture Design textbooks into English! Got to love that Passato Remoto! I'm in the process of designing my own website to display my portfolio, and ideally I would like to find a job with an Italian design firm here in Florence for a year or two before returning to the States.
Turner Kufe '11
I am currently working in Boston in a hematology/oncology research lab at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and I am planning ot enter medical school in the fall of 2013. Though I majored in Biochemistry at Bowdoin, I studied Italian for four semesters during my junior and senior years. Taking Italian at Bowdoin was a refreshing break from the sciences, and I loved learning the language and about the wonderful culture. Over the past year I've been fortunate enough to spend time in Rome and ski in northern Italy around Cervinia - finally putting my Italian to good use! Italian language and culture are two things that I have become truly passionate about, and I have continued to foster these interests since graduating.
Carina Sandoval '10
I am currently working as a housemaster for the international residential program at Windermere Preparatory School in Florida. I live and work with high school students who come from countries as diverse as China, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, and Italy (!). I have brought with me a deep appreciation for language and cultural exchange that was nurtured at Bowdoin.
Eric Ardolino '10
As the great-grandson of Italian immigrants, the role of Italian culture was definitely a present but partially unexplored aspect of my upbringing. My parents made sure to uphold the traditions from thier Italian-American childhoods, especially the focus on the importance of family, food, and the importance of appreciating the little joys in life, or "dolce far niente". I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Italy twice during middel school and high school, so that was really my first taste of what soon would be my love affair with Italy and the Italian language.
When I arrived at Bowdoin, I had no doubt in my mind that I would take courses in Italian. I had learned Spanish in high school and knew that I loved studying language, but I wanted to learn a language that I could feel close to, that I could make a part of my life. Soon, the Italian Department became a home away from home. Professors Saiber, Gavioli, and Rein made Italian classes something to look forward to. Before I knew it, I was on my way to Italy for a semester to study at the Universita' di Bologna. Here I immersed myself in the culture and improved my language skills. The experience was unforgettable in all ways. But it was one other experience while abroad that best describes the impact that studying Italian had on my life. With my parents, I traveled to the small town where my great-grandmother was born. When we entered the town hall I was able to fluently speak with the town officers to retrieve her birth documents. It was at this moment where I realized how influential learning Italian at Bowdoin was in connecting me with my roots. Now that I am in medical school, I am studying something completely different than Italian, but I know that the cultural education and connection to my ancestors that I was afforded while at Bowdoin will be an integral part of who I am for the rest of my life.
Alexandra Brasili '10
I am in the middle of my second year as an Island Fellow with the Island Institute in Rockland. The Island Fellows program places recent graduates in island and coastal communities in Maine to work to address community-identified needs. I have been working at the Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde, a small fishing village at the end of the St. George peninsula. Herring Gut is a nonprofit marine science and aquaculture education center. During the school year I work mostly with at-risk middle school students, using hands-on aquaculture and an entrepreneurial, business-based model to reengage them with school. These students learn academic concepts in addition to running their own aquaponics business and selling tilapia and produce to local markets. During the summer I run a first work experience program for local teens ages 13-15 in outdoor gardens and indoors in our aquaponics facility. I'm planning on continuing my work at Herring Gut as an employee after finishing the Island Fellows program.
Italian was one of the most enjoyable parts of my academic career at Bowdoin. I'm still hoping to visit Italy one day and reconnect with the Italian courses I took at Bowdoin.
Rebecca Podell '10
During my freshman year at Bowdoin I was lucky enough to take a class with Professor Saiber (in the Italian Department, but taught in English) called Mona Lisa and the Mafia. It was a class on stereotypes of Italian culture vs. Italy’s actual cultural reality. I wrote my final paper on the numerous similarities between the comic style of Roberto Benigni and that of Woody Allen, and I was so enthralled with Italy that I spent the summer after my freshman year living and working on an organic cherry and lavender farm in the mountains outside of Bologna. The family with whom I lived spoke barely passable English but we managed, somehow, in broken Englitalian to have conversations about the Mafia and North-South divide, movies, and, of course, food. Besides increasing my vocabulary immensely, I learned how to turn a mound of flour, salt, water and eggs into addictive tortelloni. I came back to Bowdoin and declared a minor in Italian.
I was a Psychology major, but I took an Italian class every semester and I studied abroad in Siena (I like to think I double majored). During my senior year I did an independent study with Professor Saiber on Dante’s Inferno; I encourage anyone seriously interested in or obsessed with Italian to take a course on Dante. After graduation, I moved to Thailand and taught English to 400 fourth, fifth and sixth graders at a public school in the province of Phang-nga. I’m now working at Stanford as a research assistant studying autism and emotions. At the moment, I do not, unfortunately, use my Italian often, but the skills and interests I acquired while studying at Bowdoin remain prominent features of my life, and I will always cherish a bowl of homemade pasta and some ricciarelli.
Diego Rivera '10
After graduating from Bowdoin I moved to Busto Arsizio, Milano for a year. I taught English at a Public High School as part of a program launched by the Italian Consulate in NYC together with the public school of the regione di Lombardia. At the same time, I was offered a wonderful job at two private language schools in Milan, where I worked as a "professore di madrelingua inglese" for several months before making my way to Toronto. At the organization where I am currently working, I was surprised by the importance of knowing Italian and all of the advantages that I had over my co-wrokers. Lately, Canada has received many refugee claimants from the African Horn nations (such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, etc.) as well as many Roma families from different Eastern Eruopean countries (such as Albania, Croatia and Slovenia). Many of these refugee claimants spoke fluent Italian-- the legacy of Italian colonialism. My fluency in Italian has helped me effectively communicate with them and at the same time create a closer relationship with my clients. The Italian community in Toronto is big and powerful, and knowing italian has definitely opened many doors.
I am currently working as a social and support worker at a non-profit organization in Toronto, Canada. I usually provide all kinds of settlement support for newcomer refugees to Canada. During my afternoons, I work at an Italian restaurant here in the East End of Toronto and I get to practice my Italian with my co-workers as well as with important members of the Italian-Canadian community. Moreover, I am in the lengthy process of improving and learning more about Southern Italian cuisine, something that I started back in Busto Arsizio as my napoletani neighbors Luca Billanova and Lucia Billeci inspired me to enrich my life by taking a lot of time and patience to show me how to cook delicious cibo napoletano. Here is the website for the organization where I am currently working: romerohouse.org And the restaurant: tommasostrattoria.com
Sarah Luppino '10
As a Chemistry major and Italian minor, I enjoyed studying these two different subject areas in tandem during my four years at Bowdoin. During my Junior semester abroad, I studied in Ferrara with Middlebury's program. Following graduation, I sought an internship in Padova, Italy, where I worked in a chemistry laboratory for three months. There, I not only built on my chemical synthesis skills, but also had the opportunity to practice and enhance my Italian language skills by carrying out our daily research speaking Italian. This experience was great in that it not only enabled me to explore my two passions simultaneously, chemistry and Italian, but also opened my eyes to the world of international collaboration among the sciences. After working in industry for two years as a staff chemist, I am now beginning my graduate studies in organic chemistry at MIT in Tim Swager's lab. My experiences abroad and my Italian studies at Bowdoin have all demonstrated the importance of international communication and collaboration, and for these reasons I hope to travel and live abroad once again either during my PhD or in later stages of my career.
Benjamin Le Hay '08
One of the reasons I decided on Bowdoin was its intimate and superior romance languages department: it functioned as a tight-knit community that successfully fostered learning and discussion, with endless possibilities. Although I benefitted a bit coming from a half-Parisian family, I arrived at Bowdoin with basically no Italian skills. I quickly fell in love with my professors and dedicated classmates. I was challenged and supported to explore both the language and culture on campus and then studied at Università di Bologna through the Brown program. It was then that I worked briefly in a showroom and began assisting a fashion editor in Milan. Today, I work as a freelance editor for print and online publications, with a focus in fashion, travel, and luxury lifestyle. I work closely with Italian high-end brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Canali, Brioni, Etro, and Costume National. My job frequently requires me to work in Paris, Milan, Rome, and Côte d'Azur/Monaco. Not a day goes by when I do not greatly benefit from my written and spoken Italian (or French). In fact, my job would not be possible without a solid command of these languages. Moreover, in the rather competitive world of fashion-- and with significantly fewer Italian speakers-- my Italian skills have enabled me a great advantage to win lucrative contracts over other writer/editors. Foremost, Bowdoin instilled in me a passion for all things Italian!
Le Hay Fashion Press: http://lehayfashionpress.com/
Emily Goodridge '08
Since graduating Bowdoin I have worked as a mentor and then program coordinator at Friends of the Children-Boston, a non-profit that matches at-risk youth with mentors. I also worked as a Program Manager at Jumpstart in NYC, which does literacy programming in inner-city preschool classrooms. I then briefly taught at Leadership Prep Ocean Hill, a charter school part of a larger network of charter schools called Uncommon Schools. I am now working part time, doing a hodgepodge of things and very excited to be applying masters programs in theatre education! I loved being an Italian Minor at Bowdoin and studying abroad in Italy. I went on Middlebury's program in Ferrara and all my courses were in Italian at the Universita' di Ferrara! Being in Ferrara, traveling in Italy, and being able to speak another language fluently was one of the best experiences of my life! Studying Italian and abroad in Italy contributed to my confidence to speak in front of others and try new things with courage and an open mind. Communicating well with my Italian friends in Ferrara was challenging at times, and I relied on my theatrical abilities to help me out. And I'm sure my study of Italian will help me teach students theater, and my study of Italian literature will give me innumerable material to work with. One thing I would love to do, for example, is a commedia dell'arte workshop with them!
Zac Milner '07
After graduating in '07, I was lucky enough to receive a Fulbright teaching fellowship in Milan. It was a tough adjustment at first, but after a few weeks I found my niche. My Italian improved, along with my wardrobe. I made new friends who brought me to strange underground clubs and impassioned soccer games, scooting around on their Vespas. I learned (sometimes the hard way) what it took to teach a classroom of twenty-five barely-English-speaking 15-year-old Italians. A group of us teachers even got to appear on Unomattina (Italy's version of Good Morning America). We came on after a segment about pet tricks, for what it's worth.
When I returned to the states I worked for a non-profit in D.C. called the Order Sons of Italy in America. The name sounds menacing but it's just an antiquated moniker for the country's oldest and largest group for Italian Americans. I spent my time helping with charity fundraising, building the organization's website and writing articles for their magazine, Italian America. This past year I went back to grad school - I'm getting my Masters in Communication from the VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, VA.
Hope Stockton '07
Since graduating in 2007 I have lived in Boston on and off, working first at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and currently at a small architecture firm that exclusively designs museum, Verner Johnson, Inc. In 2009, I left Boston to pursue a Masters degree in Art History at the University of Oxford. I arrived at Oxford with no particular focus for my studies. Because I had studied Italian, my supervisor suggested I work on Italian art since I would be able to read all of the sources in the original. I ended up writing a paper on Gothic architecture with a focus on Rome, meaning I had the chance to explore in more depth some of the places I loved to see everyday when I studied abriad in Rome. To find a thesis topic, I immersed myself in the University's Bodleian Library collection of manupscripts since studying an object firsthand was an opportunity too good to be missed. Thanks to my Italian studies at Bowdoin, including a really great course on the Divine Comedy, I settled on a 14th-century Italian illuminated Divine Comedy as the topic for my thesis. (For a look at the manuscript and other holdings at the Bodlein, visit http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley). Being able to sit with the manuscript and turn each and every page to explre the illuminations was an incredible experience. However, being able to actually read some of the text itself, including tiny notes scribbled in the margins centuries ago was something I will never forget. I am not sure yet if I'll pursue a further degree, but if I do, I'm positive my Italian studies will come into play in some way!
Tim Kantor '07
I am currently pursuing my doctorate in violin performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. As a classical musician I encounter Italian on a daily basis written in the music, and my knowledge of the language has helped me to form many of my interpretations. I often think fondly of my Italian studies at Bowdoin and the semester I spent studying in Bologna. And I often think of the Dante course when I see the Dante references that abound in everyday life. I was very lucky to return to Italy a couple years ago for a music festival in Courmayeur (a lovely ski town at the foot of Monte Bianco), and I performed throughout northern Italy for several weeks. An interesting anecdote: one of my performances was in the small town of Barbaresco, and while I was there I discovered that this tiny medieval town is not only the home to one of Italy's finest wines but also the hometown of the luthier who made my violin in 1854! I've recently begun a new undertaking - I'm trying to learn Spanish. I'm going to be teaching violin a few times a year in the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo), and my Italian studies have certainly accelerated my learning process!
Kelsey Abbruzzese '07
I live in Boston and work in media relations for an economic development agency, which does financing for nonprofits and businesses around Massachusetts. Previously, I received my master's degree in print journalism from Boston University and was a reporter for the Associated Press.
My Italian helped me in publishing an article about Dante and Longfellow in this year's "Dante Studies," for which I have to thank Prof. Saiber for all her insight and guidance. I also developed a multimedia website in graduate school that focused on Italian grandmothers and their love for food, something that I've continued to explore in my life after Bowdoin as well.
Sandy Davila '06
As a marketing manager for E! and Style at NBCUniversal International, I work closely with over nine regional offices abroad including our Italian office in Rome. I develop and execute marketing campaigns for in-language brands and television series. I also manage the networks' international social media pages and E!'s global websites for the UK, Australia, Germany, France, and... Italy! Most importantly, I apply my Italian language skills on a daily basis when considering taglines, sound bites, music, translations, cultural references or interpreting research data for Italy. My experience at Bowdoin was challending and extremely rewarding, and my Italian literature courses played a significant role in my academic and professional growth.
Emily Glinick '06
Since graduating from Bowdoin, where I did a Student-Designed Major in Theater & Italian, I have been working full time as a professional stage manager for a variety of theatre companies. I moved to New York City four years ago, and since then have had the great fortune of working for New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater and Lincoln Center Theater, amond others. I also recently joined the Board of Directors for a Brooklyn based theatre company, Brave New World Repertory Theatre. I am looking forward to returning to Italy soon - I miss it so much!
Sam Donovan '06
After I graduated, I worked in Boston for two years, then took an "around the world" trip for nine months (with a nice long stop in Italy!). After the trip, I got a volunteer position with Partners In Health in Lima, Peru, where I lived and worked for a year. I am currently living in Baltimore and working on a master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins. Although I haven't been able to practice Italian much since my trip, an internship next fall will take me to Ethiopia, where Italian is still spoken!
I loved the Italian classes I took at Bowdoin, and studying abroad through Brown University's program in Bologna was an incredible experience as well. The independent study I did with Professoressa Saiber on Dante's Divina Commedia will always stand out for me as one of my favorite classes; and I had an absolute blast playing the part of a feisty Italian housewife in Dario Fo's Non tutti ladri vengono per nuocere for our Italian Theater class. Some advice to current Bowdoin students: if you have any interest in languages in general, Italian culture and/or great literature, don't miss out on Italian classes at Bowdoin!
Lucas Johnston '05
Every college student hopes to find their niche at school whether it is on the sports field, in the studio or in the classroom. In fact, many of us find different places where we feel "at home." I found one of my niche zones amongst the likes of Dante Alighieri, Italo Calvino and Alberto Moravia. My courses concentrated on literature in conjunction with critical reading and writing that helped me develop thinking and reasoning skills I still employ today. Almost more importnatly, from within my Italian courses, my professors pushed me to go beyond the reading. They encouraged me to search out and try to connect with other media and forms of art and culture.
After graduating from Bowdoin, I continued to study Italian and teaching. I did graduate work at both Middlebury College and the University of Massachussetts Amherst. I received a TEFL certification from a school in Rome and then taught in Sassari, Sardegna at a small foreign language school where I was essentially the only teacher leading classes of all levels and ages. I then returned to the States and moved to Boston where I taught at an English language school for foreign students from all over the world.
Throughout my twenties, I had been falling in love with mountain and road biking. I left Boston and took a job as a mechanic in a shop back on my home island of Nantucket to explore my love for the sport and to become completely self-sufficient mechanically. After only a couple years, I am the assistant service department manager and a proficient mechanic. We close our shop during the winter and I spend January and February fulfilling my biking wanderlust out in Arizona and California, and someday hope to return to Italy to ride both its roads and trails.
Happily, I get to converse with the Italians who visit Nantucket during the summer season, and my coworkers like to use me for correct pronunciation of Italian tour riders or stops along the Giro d'Italia. I love and cherish my language ability and the skills i absorbed from the challenging but caring intellectual mentorship I received from my Italian professors at Bowdoin.
Maciek Wojdakowski '04
Italian has played a key role in my life since I signed up for my first language class at Bowdoin. I studied abroad in Bologna twice, once as an undergraduate at Brown University's program, and again while working towards my master's degree in International Economics and International Energy Policy at the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). My wife, who is from Sardegna, and I have spoken only Italian with each other since our first meeting in Italy, so I use Italian everyday.
I work at Power Advocate, and focus on the energy industry and international economics. Reading the Italian press and following current events in Italy have become a part of my daily routine.
Christopher O'Leary '04
At Bowdoin I graduated with a Self-Design Major in Italian Studies. I subsequently pursued an MPhil degree at Cambridge University in Modern and Medieval Languages with a focus on the works of Dante. After briefly flirting with academia, I began working as a journalist, first with the magazine La Cucina Italiana and later as a free lancer for publications including The New York Post and as an online content writer for various Italy-related websites. After this experience I moved to London, United Kingdom and completed an M.A. in Journalism at the London College of Communications and worked for publications including Time Out London.
I currently run 3 restaurants in London – with a focus on online marketing – where I regularly interact with Italians and speak some twisted combination of British English and Italian with my staff. My restaurants include Café des Amis, Grappolo and Little Sicily. If you are ever in town, look me up on twitter with #bowdoinitalian. A good bargain will surely follow. I would actually say that my Italian has never been better, it just needs a few cups of café or glasses of wine to get me back in the zone! Among my professional highlights vis-a-vis Italian was working as an interpreter for an utterly massive ($25m) Indian wedding in Florence, Italy. The wedding was spread over a week and was staged in some of Florence’s more impressive Renaissance palaces. Needless to say that studying Italian at Bowdoin, especially under Professor Saiber, has been a life highlight. Can’t wait to see the day Bowdoin finally has the Major!
Joseph Mayo '04
Saluti from Italy
Hmmm, where to begin? I'm an office manager for an IT and communications firm in northeast Italy, so yes, I use my Italian a lot you could say! If I had to put a number on it, I'd say I use Italian about 90% of any given day. Of course that changes due to work related stuff as my company is specialized in the healthcare industry we often deal with foreign pharma companies, hospitals and doctors/professors. Our copywriter is the only other person in the office who speaks English (he's Italian but got his degree in London), so most of my watercooler talk and lunch break banter is in Italian. Having said that, sometimes I'll spend an entire day writing in English or translating something from Italian to English (never vice versa. If there's something that needs to go from English to Italian, the copywriter does it. It's quicker and more professional in our opinion!). One of my favorite areas to work on are the E-learning courses we've developed in collaboration with various government healthcare agencies for Continuing Medical Education (CME). For example, in the last few days I've been translating a paper which will be presented at an international congress on a course we co-developed here on skin ulcers. Last month, I started translating work on a course on dementia which will be brought to the U.S.A. in the near future.
At home, my wife and I speak exclusively in Italian, but we are studying ways to integrate English into the household in order to create a trully bilingual atmosphere for our future children to grow up in. Probably the method which will best fit our situation is One Parent One Language (OPOL). It should lead to some interesting dinner conversations!!!!
Here's a link to our company website http://www.openview.it/index.php/cms/it/home. (It's not entirely tanslated in English. Some of the headers, etc are still in Italian)
Here's an April fool's joke my colleagues did on me last year during the last half hour of work. I apologize for my little swear at the end, and yes, it's normal for people to walk around with video cameras, so I didn't think anything of it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMHw3CDJB3c
Maggie Fritz-Morkin '03
I'm currently finishing up a Ph.D. in Italian at The University of Chicago. I work on medieval literature, urban studies, and the interplay of medicine and literature.
Katie Semro '03
I loved studying Italian at Bowdoin. I actually started with a literature class - Mona Lisa & the Mafia - my first year. It was so fascinating, I took another Italian lit class & then finally Intro to Italian Language my junior year - alongside an independent study on Italian Futurism. The Intro course with Professor Rein was fantastic and prepared me well for spending the summer in Padova doing an intensive intermediate Italian course through Boston University.
When I graduated, I came to the UK to do a masters in philosophy, but took a couple of Italian language evening courses just to keep up with Italian. I married a Brit and stayed in the UK. After we married, I started my own business designing and making wedding stationery. My Italian came in handy as I did many invitations for Anglo/Italian weddings! I still love Italian language and literature and the memories of studying them at Bowdoin.
Lindsay Harris '00
I started studying Italian at Bowdoin as part of my major in art history: I wanted to learn basic Italian skills before leaving Maine to study Renaissance art in Florence for a semester. It wasn't until I returned to Bowdoin for my senior year - and Prof. Saiber's first (!) - that I fell in love with Italian language and culture. Her enthusiasm, encouragement, and support made all the difference. She helped me figure out ways to pursue my passion for both Italian and art by doing an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where I managed to stay on for a year beyond my intended three-month stay. From there, internships at a contemporary art center in Prato, outside of Florence, and at Christie's auction house in Rome followed, as did my fluency in Italian and understanding that I wanted to develop a career in the art world. I moved to New York to start graduate school at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and my language skills quickly opened up avenues for practical art world experience and academic research. These included working as a research assistant for exhibitions on collage, photography, and, eventually, contemporary art at the 2007 Venice Biennial, as well as spending three years in Rome to complete my doctoral dissertation on photography and architecture in Italy in the early twentieth century. After finishing my Ph.D. in the history of art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, I now work in the Department of Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, where I continue to use Italian on a regular basis for exhibition research and my own scholarship. Since graduating from Bowdoin, knowing Italian has led to many unique and wonderful opportunities, most importantly the lifelong friendships I've made with fellow Italian-enthusiasts along the way!