Melissa Marino selected as future leader of NIAF on Campus

592B0CF1E47C450A98EE1111F5662E27Melissa Marino has been selected by the National Italian American Foundation to join the Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) Fellow Program. Melissa Marino is a Santa Barbara native receiving a BFA in Theatre Performance and a BA in Italian Language and Culture at Chapman. She studied abroad in the spring of 2015 in Milan, Italy, and loved all of the amazing gifts and culture Italy had to offer–so much so that she eventually declared a second major in it. In 2016 she received Chapman University’s Italian Studies Council Academic Excellence Award. She is also the Vice President of the Italian Club on campus, where she truly enjoys helping the Chapman community grow. She will be graduating in the Spring of 2017.

Though there are numerous Italian American social, fraternal, linguistic and academic organizations on campuses throughout America, there has never been a unified strategy to their organization and management. In order to address this absence, NIAF has created NIAF on Campus, a NIAF Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) Fellow Program. This initiative aims to support the engagement of future generations of Italian Americans in the leadership of our community by designing a unified, grass roots, and collaborative strategy between NIAF and university Italian groups all over the country. Together with the other fellows, Melissa Marino will lead the discussion and design of a new “NIAF on Campus” strategy and support its the implementation for many years to come.

Congratulazioni Melissa e un grosso ringraziamento per la tua dedizione ed entusiasmo!

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La Serata – Join us this fall

Open to all who want to improve their language skills, learn about the Italian culture, share their talents, speak with native speakers, and socialize with members of the local community and other students!


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A Journey to Sicily: Immersion in Taormina (summer 2017)

Chapman Italian Studies is launching a new travel course in Taormina, Italy, next summer. Students interested in participating can contact Dr. Pacchioni at

16-0476-taormina-travel-poster_webSicily presents a prime opportunity to experience cultural hybridization at its best and most beautiful. Due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean basin, the island of Sicily has been invaded over the centuries by many civilizations from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines and Arabs and later to the Christian kings of Europe, each leaving a mark on the culture and traditions of the island inhabitants.  This cultural and linguistic immersion experience will be based in the archeologically rich and elegant town of Taormina, considered an unmissable stop on the Grand Tours of the 19th centuries and since then visited by many important artists and filmmakers. Students will engage in a rich curriculum integrating daily linguistic coursework, excursions to sites of naturalistic and artistic importance, and cultural activities familiarizing them with traditional and contemporary aspects of Sicilian life.

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Earthquake emergency: a message from the National Italian American Foundation 

A major earthquake has devastated several villages in the mountainous area between Monti Sibillini and Gran Sasso, where the regions of Lazio, Umbria, and Marche meet. As we send good thoughts and prayers to the victims of this disaster, it’s time to consider the importance of community and mutual support. The many photographs of victims attempting to reconstitute the warmth of community in this time of crisis in the piazzas and other places speaks loudly of the need we all have for each other.073937788-4ec4254e-81d6-4470-9c73-b78cdde07b32142132555-e85d49d8-d5e9-4070-9455-557e9442eb2d

Especially moving is a video of a girl being saved from the ruins of a building. May this tragic experience lead to a greater respect for the sacredness of human relationships and for better living conditions in the future.

Below is a message from the National Italian American Foundation for those of us able to provide support.

” As many, if not all of you know, yesterday morning a large part of central Italy was struck by a devastating earthquake. This tragic disaster has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, and words cannot convey the deep loss that has affected so many of us. Our hearts and prayers are with them and the rescue workers who are frantically trying to save the remaining victims trapped under the rubble. Please help the National Italian American Foundation, and our partners throughout the Italian American community to raise funds for our Italian family.

To help in ANY amount, please visit Every last penny of your generous donations WILL be put towards the relief efforts in Italy.

In the short 24 hours since the earthquake, NIAF staff has been working fervently around the clock. We are in contact with local authorities as well as the Embassy of Italy to finalize the details of the relief fund, and as soon as we have any updates as to the specific project we will be funding, we will share them on our website and social media. Our Italian American community can do a great deal of good in the coming days and weeks, and we hope you will be a part of this effort.

Please pass this link along to as many friends and family as you can and please join in our prayers for our Italian family. Best,

NIAF Staff,
Julia Streisfeld, Assistant Director of Programs
The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)
1860 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Direct: 202/939-3114
Main: 202/387-0600
Fax: 202/387-0833
On the web at “

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Dr. Pacchioni delivered a talk at Spalding University’s MFA Creative Writing Residency Program in Rome


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Seeking new opportunities for CU students at Università Cattolica of Milan

Last week Dr. Pacchioni visited Università Cattolica in Milan and met with staff of the International Education office to discuss study abroad and exchange program developments between Cattolica and Chapman Italian Studies.

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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at the annual conference of the American Association of Teachers of Italian in Naples


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Eat, Cook, Learn! An Educational Culinary Evening with the Bairds

The Baird family generously hosted a cooking class for Dr. Paduano’s course “ITAL 340: History and Culture of Food in Italy” last Sunday. Students had a chance to prepare together a few tasty dishes of “cucina povera” such as gnocchi al pesto and polpettone, while learning about geographical and historical factors shaping the traditional cuisine of Italy. A very big thank you to Joe and Linda for a pleasant and memorable evening together. 


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The academic year ends with a smile for students of Italian

Students of Italian from Dr. Paduano’s classes surprised everyone with a fun and educational show of Italian stories and games at this week’s La Serata. Thanks to all of the participants for their simpatia!

In bocca al lupo a tutti per la fine del semestre e arrivederci all’autunno! 


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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at the annual conference of the American Association of Italian Studies in Baton Rouge


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Sabrina Chapman is selected as outstanding graduating minor in Italian Studies

Each year the faculty of the Department of World Languages and Cultures select outstanding majors and minors in each of the language programs. This year Sabrina Chapman has been selected as outstanding graduating minor in Italian Studies.

IMAG3041_1Sabrina Chapman is graduating this year with a BFA in Digital Arts and a minor in Italian Studies. Coming from a large Italian-American community in New Jersey, and having studied Italian in high school, Sabrina continued her study of Italian at Chapman. Sabrina’s coursework focusing on Italian cinema, literature, and theater was enriched by a semester abroad in Florence. Sabrina is currently working on her animated senior thesis film about a goat, and after graduation hopes to continue to build the bridge between her animation studies and her Italian roots. She is excited to return to Italy one day to learn more, make art, and eat good food.

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The Hidden Relationship between Italian and Italian-American Cuisine

Zachary Nowak, researcher at Harvard University and Associate Director of the Food & Sustainability Studies program in Perugia, delivered an engaging and multifaceted talk to a group of students and community folks this week. The presentation explained the evolution of Italian cuisine in North America vis-a-vis processes of immigration and assimilation, and dynamics of cultural identity and economics, while responding to the audience’s actual experiences with the Italian/Italian-American culinary spectrum.


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Culture shock Italian style! Precious advice from Celia Giacobbi at La Serata

Psychologist Celia Ciacobbi (PhD, California School of Professional Psychology) engaged students of Italian in an interactive and fun workshop addressing challenges that Americans usually experience when living in Italy. While providing useful guidance and cultural information, the evening provided a great deal of language practice for students and community. Originally from Turin, Celia worked as counsellor at the Polytechnic University of Milan where she developed a keen understanding for how to best support American students abroad. Grazie mille Celia!


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Melissa Marino receives the Italian Studies Council Academic Excellence Award

Melissa Marino was selected for the 2016 Italian Studies Council Academic Excellence Award. The award is intended to recognize students who demonstrate outstanding achievements in Italian Studies and who are dedicated at integrating the study of Italian within their career plans. The Italian Studies Council is a philanthropic group whose goal is to bridge higher learning in Italian Studies with the possibilities and needs of the community locally and abroad. The Council aims to support Italian Studies at Chapman and raise students’ awareness regarding the potential applications of their studies in various areas of cultural, artistic, and business entrepreneurship.

592B0CF1E47C450A98EE1111F5662E27Melissa Marino is a Santa Barbara native receiving a BFA in Theatre Performance at Chapman. She studied abroad in the spring of 2015 in Milan, Italy, and loved all of the amazing gifts and culture Italy had to offer. She is now a declared Italian Studies minor in addition to her Music minor, and hopes to continue to be a part of the program until she graduates. Melissa loves coffee, chocolate, and singing.



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Spaghetti & Meatballs. The Invention of Italian-American Cuisine. A lecture by Zachary Nowak

Does food provide a barometer to assess the integration of Italian-American immigrants to the United States? Zachary Nowak, researcher at Harvard University and food culture educator, will address this question while outlining the institutions and events that shaped Italian-American cuisine. The lecture will take place on April 14th at 7:30pm in Argyros Forum, room 209a.



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