Every spring the Italian Studies Program selects outstanding graduating minors. The award stands for consistency and quality of academic achievements, intellectual curiosity, engagement in the Italian experience as well as contribution to the university’s Italian Studies community. The Italian Studies faculty is delighted to announce that this year the recipients of the award are Grace Montgomery and Ayuj Consul.
“My name is Grace Montgomery, and I will be graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance, and two minors in Business Analytics and Italian Studies. Studying Italian at Chapman was my home away from home. In the Italian classes, I was able to make lasting connections and friendships: not only with other students but with the faculty as well. There were two experiences during my four years that stood out. The first was my journey to Sicily as a rising sophomore. I had only taken one year of Italian and barely knew the language; however, I was able to attend a three-week study abroad program that summer. I had a wonderful time, and I have wanted to go back ever since. The other notable experience during my studies was serving as the Italian Club President. As president, my most rewarding experience was successfully transitioning the club to an online format. Our first online event had more participants than ever! It was encouraging to see the Italian community come together during those tough times. I wanted to convey that same enthusiasm for language and culture to other students that I had experienced when I started at Chapman. Today, I am excited when I see fresh faces in the upper-division courses. The club still has a large membership, and the Italian Studies department continues to flourish. After graduation, I will be starting a full-time position with Henkel, a German-based manufacturing company. While this position is not related to my Italian studies, the Italian minor has already helped me in my career. The international cultural analysis of my education has given me an appreciation for other cultures. The awareness of differing cultural practices has helped me adjust to a global corporation and improve my ability to interact with diverse cultures.”
“To receive this award from a program that has become my family at Chapman is an immense honor. When I came here to study Television four years ago, I could never have imagined that I would graduate being able to speak Italian, especially not after my first two semesters where Italian had proven to be my most challenging course. I found that language studies taught something much more fundamental yet often lacking in our society: communication between people and cultures. Instead of trying to learn Italian, I then tried to start communicating with Italy, learning about her arts and poetry, cooking and cinema, history and industry. At every stage, I was guided and encouraged by my professors, especially Dr. Paduano and Dr. Pacchioni who represent a treasure trove of knowledge and energy that is both neverending and contagious. I would like to thank the Italian Studies program for bringing to us a piece of their beautiful country. As a writer, filmmaker, and artist interested in language, history, and cultural exchanges, I am sure that my connection to Italy will continue to give me great wisdom and inspiration in the years to come. In the future, I hope to travel to Italy and further develop this fruitful connection that I have been fortunate to form at Chapman.”