We would like to hear from our alumni. Please tell us about your memories and accomplishments, and how Italian helped you in your career. You can send any updates and information to eocchipi@drew.edu

MariaMaria Fruci: As a first generation Italian-American, I knew that Italian would be a part of my college career, but never could I have imagined the immense impact it would ultimately have. During my first two years at Drew I spent much time improving my Italian language skills, but knew that there had to be something more I could do. With the help of Professor Occhipinti, we developed a special major for Italian Studies which was finalized during my Junior year. I spent two summers studying at Istituto Venezia  through Drew’s study abroad programs, where I immersed myself in the amazing language, culture and people of my parents’ home country through various courses and excursions. Because of these wonderful opportunities Drew and Professor Occhipinti provided me, I was able to perfect my language skills – something that has proven invaluable in my career. After I graduated from Drew in 2008, I attended Seton Hall School of Law, where I graduated in 2011 and subsequently clerked for the Honorable Garry J. Furnari in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Following my clerkship, I accepted an associate position with the firm of Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster LLC where my Italian skills were a highlight on my resume given the numerous Italian clients the firm was gaining. During my time at the firm, my ability to easily converse in Italian has been instrumental in strengthening the firm’s relationship with many clients and colleagues. This unique skill has made me valuable to the firm, allowed me to stand apart from my colleagues and provided me with many rare opportunities very early in my career.

Sedita3[1]Frank Sedita: When I first arrived at Drew University, I was overwhelmed by the vast menu of courses that I could choose from. However, having previously studied Italian in high school and having personal connections with the culture, I did not hesitate when including Italian on my schedule. Looking back at this decision, I can honestly say that this was one of the best academic choices that I ever made. Choosing to study Italian at Drew provided me with the unique opportunity to study abroad on three occasions in Venice, as well as to design and pursue my own special major in Italian language and culture; all while allowing me to intimately explore and reflect upon a vital part of my heritage as an Italian-American. Drew’s study abroad option in Venice, coupled with the Italian department’s extremely knowledgeable and helpful faculty and array of intriguing courses, ranging in everything from cinema to literature, made my academic growth and deeper appreciation for the Italian language and culture feasible. I also found that studying Italian complimented my simultaneous study of sociology; an interdisciplinary experience that culminated in my composition of an honors thesis during my senior year. These rich experiences have today equipped me with a unique perspective from which to explore, and now teach, a foreign language and culture in a society defined by unprecedented globalization. Immediately following my time as an undergraduate at Drew, I was able to remain a student within the Italian department, as I pursued a Masters in Teaching Italian. This highly personalized experience not only facilitated my further knowledge of the language and culture, but also provided me with vital Twenty-first century pedagogical skills. As a teacher of Italian at the secondary level, I find myself constantly reflecting upon and incorporating these experiences on a daily basis. Overall, I truly believe that studying Italian at Drew made me both a stronger student, as well as person; something I now wish to instill within my own students.

http://www.drew.edu/news/2011/08/22/head-of-the-class

http://www.drew.edu/graduate/studentprofiles/frank-sedita

ToniAnnToni Anne Corsi: I have always had a passion for learning about the Italian language and culture, and at Drew I was able to fully indulge my love of it.  Not only did I minor in Italian, but my participation in Drew’s Language and Culture in Venice, Italy Program for two summers were unforgettable experiences that allowed me to pursue my aspirations of becoming fluent in Italian and afforded me the opportunity to meet my relatives in Italy for the first time. I also served on the executive board of the Cultural Italian American Organization (CIAO) at Drew, during which I coordinated activities to spread awareness of Italian culture. However, it was the guidance and support from the professors in the Italian Department at Drew that shaped my career. These educators were instrumental in my growing interest of learning Italian and desire to explore deeper into the culture, and they allowed me to understand it on a deep level.  They made the learning environment unique and utilized unconventional teaching methods that inspired me to both learn and teach. I therefore pursued and earned an M.A.T. in Italian at Drew and now teach middle school Italian. I also coach a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who compete annually at the Italian Language & Culture Competition at Montclair State University. I use Italian every day on both a professional and personal level. I would encourage all students with an interest in Italian to pursue the minor or special major at Drew!

PeterPeter Ferrari: I graduated in 2009 with a major in Economics and a minor in Italian. While attending Drew, I studied 4 weeks and obtained 8 credits in Venice, Italy during the 2008 summer program. After graduating, I became a Senior Registered Representative at FOREX.com and was the only Italian-speaking representative. Thereafter, I had decided I needed a change of pace and worked on the San Polino vineyard in the Montalcino region of Tuscany, Italy for 3 months. My passion for the Italian language, culture, and country grew even further. Life turned a new page for me with my decision to go back to school for an MBA. Through the University of Iowa, I obtained my MBA in 1 year as part of the CIMBA program based in Asolo, Italy.