I am tremendously grateful for my experience with the Italian Department at F&M. Professors Scott and Giovanna Lerner in particular became like family to me, as I took enough courses for a major throughout my four years at F&M. I remember that my first college essay was in Italian! I was challenged and pushed to be better with my language and scholarship with each course. The summer after my first year, I received a grant allowing me to participate in the Vicchio Summer Immersion program. Though I was born in Italy and grew up in an Italian-American household, my language skills sky-rocketed and my confidence as an Italian scholar strengthened. Inspired by how much one can learn by physically being in Italy, in autumn of my Junior year I studied abroad again for an entire semester in Padova. There I took a class at l'Università degli Studi di Padova, again, only posssible with the encouragement and rich foundation from working with the department at F&M. After graduating with membership into the Italian Honor Society, Gamma Kappa Alpha, I was inspired to apply to teach English in Italy through the SITE program. For the 2016-17 academic year, I lived in Varese, Italy, and worked with Istituto Tecnico Einaudi and its amazing students. I learned so much about the kind of teacher and mentor I want to be, as well as the kind of woman I wanted to be. How much I grew into myself and recognized my talents and passions can only be reflected in my current enrollment at NYU towards a Master's degree in Italian Studies. I hope to write a thesis on the efficacy of Italian contemporary film in communicating and depicting the realities of social injustice in Italy today. I received a $1,000 award from the department, and I plan to use the funds for field work this upcoming summer in which I can speak with marginalized peoples and perhaps gather footage for a documentary. Being a part of the Italian Department, I gained experiences that truly shaped who I am by reconnecting me with my culture at an age in which I work to discover myself. It was not only the rigorous and fascinating schooling I received, but the support and encouragement from the Italian Department to which I am indebted, for which I appreciate, and by which I am both humbled as well as inspired.