Blending the writing skills of an English major with the interests of an art & art history minor, Greta Musacchio ’14 works as an arts/entertainment immigration paralegal at Traffic Control Group in New York, N.Y. Working directly with the artists, their management companies and the NYC artist unions, she puts together petitions for work visas that will allow foreign musicians, actors and artists to come to the U.S. to tour, work on projects or promote their work.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts approach helped you along your career path?
As an English major and art & art history minor, I have always wanted to find a way to keep the arts and creativity as a part of my professional life, and the skills I honed at Dickinson gave me the ability to write well, communicate well and think complexly. After working as an intern at an art publication and then as a paralegal at a personal injury law firm, I was hired as a paralegal at a law firm that specializes in obtaining work visas for artists looking to come in to the U.S.
Dickinson’s liberal-arts approach equipped me with the knowledge and foresight to realize that it is in fact possible to find a job that combines a wide range of interests and skills. The education I received continues to help me stay calm, confident and perceptive while navigating my early years in the workforce.
What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson?
The study abroad program was by far the favorite thing I was involved in through Dickinson. I spent my junior year in Norwich, England, at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Dickinson made the logistics of my decision and my year abroad very easy. I was able to transfer English credits from my UEA classes to my Dickinson English major requirements, and I felt that the experience did not interrupt the progression of my degree at all. I got to live in the UEA dorms with British flatmates, took classes with British classmates and felt completely immersed in the culture. I love that I can say I lived in two countries before even graduating from college.
What jumps out as a great memory from your time at Dickinson?
One of my greatest memories from my time at Dickinson was having dinner at my senior seminar professor’s house the night my classmates and I submitted our senior thesis projects. After months of nights (and mornings, lunchtimes and afternoons) spent in the library together, hunched over our laptops or searching for books on our niche topics in quiet corners of the stacks, we were able to all come together again to eat a delicious meal, enjoy fabulous drinks and chat for hours. Having all gone through the experience of the thesis project and having read, commended and constructively criticized each other’s work for months, we had become incredibly tight-knit. The people I became close with during the senior seminar are still some of my very best friends today.
How do you stay involved with/support Dickinson? Why do you think it’s important?
I’ve stayed enmeshed in the wonderful network of alumni and current students. When I was looking for a new job this past fall, instead of looking at online postings or reaching out to recruiters, my first move was to reach out to my senior seminar professor, Professor [of English and John J. Curley '60 and Ann Conser Curley '63 Faculty Chair in Global Education] Wendy Moffat, and asked who she thought would have some valuable advice on the type of job I was looking for.
I have also made myself available to chat with current Dickinson students who are looking to work in a field similar to mine. One of my favorite parts of Dickinson is how close-knit the community is, so I think it is incredibly important to help guide those with the same aspirations as myself.
How did you get interested in your work, and what about it excites you most?
I had a desire to work in the legal field while also working in an environment that was creative and fast-paced. I am excited that I get to work with clients whom I greatly admire. My very first day, I got to work on Van Morrison’s petition for his upcoming U.S. tour!
What is the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging part of my job right now is dealing with the implications of our current political climate and how they relate to immigration law. With a new president, new executive orders and a new national approach to immigration and immigrants in the workforce, our clients are becoming increasingly scared that they will lose their privileges to travel and work in the U.S. It is certainly a tense time to be working in the immigration field, but I also feel it is one of the most important times to be doing so, and I am grateful that I am able to do my part every day to help deserving artists share their work with America.
What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?
A few months after graduation, I signed a lease for an apartment in New York City before I had a job lined up. I knew New York was where I wanted to be, and I had to trust that I would be able to find a job. A week or two later, I was offered a position as a case manager at a law firm, where I handled 9/11 victims and their families’ government compensation claims for the losses they suffered due to the tragedy. I now had my New York apartment and a job helping the people of this new city I was going to call home. I don’t think I will ever forget taking that risk and then having the luck to have it all work out.
If you could have dinner with anyone famous, living or dead, who would it be?
Hillary Clinton. And she can/should bring her dogs.
You just built a time machine: where and when do you go?
2015: We didn’t know how good we had it back then! 2016 was a trip, but I am cautiously optimistic about the rest of 2017!
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I wish I were able to see all of my friends from Dickinson every day. There was nothing better than living a few minutes’ walk from all of my favorite people.
Published April 4, 2017