By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Like many Americans with Italian roots, Ashton Fiucci ’15 was enchanted by Lo Stivale long before setting foot on its shores. As a child, she loved singing Italian songs with extended family members, and as a double major in Italian studies and Spanish at Dickinson, she dug in to her foreign-language classes with the gusto once reserved for her grandmother’s fragrant, home-cooked meals.
Fiucci recently put that passion and skill to the test, first as a Dickinson study-abroad student in Bologna and then through an internship with g/s/i (Gender/Sexuality/Italy), a new peer-reviewed journal investigating gender identities in Italian politics, culture and society. She was the only undergraduate to serve on the international editorial staff.
“It’s an incredible opportunity, and she did a tremendous job,” said the journal’s editor and co-founder, Associate Professor of Italian Nicoletta Marini-Maio, who notes that although Fiucci began her study of Italian language just three years ago, she had no trouble keeping pace. “She’s detail-oriented, analytical and very talented in writing and languages.”
Fiucci admits that it was intimidating at first to communicate with noted scholars in a non-native tongue, but she enjoyed working as part of an international staff and reading new research. She also got a close-up view of the academic publication process, picked up digital publishing skills and learned subject-specific vocabulary words.
The highlight arrived when Fiucci translated an article by renowned Italian filmmaker Susanna Nicchiarelli. “It was especially exciting because I just saw her film Cosmonauta in my film class with Professor Marini-Maio,” she explained.
Marini-Maio plans to enlist Fiucci’s help again as the editorial board prepares for the journal’s second issue. Fiucci feels certain that the work will further prepare her for graduate school and beyond, just as she’s sure that a near-future return to Italy—for study, teaching, work or just simple enjoyment—is in the cards.
“I’ve wanted to study Italian for as long as I can remember, and it’s been an amazing experience,” she says. “The [Italian] people, language, food and lifestyle are all irresistible.”
Published August 21, 2014