Joanna Zotti

JoannaDouble Major: Italian Studies and Art History

When I first came to Rutgers, I declared Art History as my major. From my earliest classes, I found art of the Italian Renaissance to be most fascinating. I had taken Italian courses throughout high school and was placed in 131, but I never thought I would end up majoring! After freshman year I was not only pleased with the instruction and content my Italian courses, but also noticed how knowledge of the Italian language augmented my study of Art History. For me, the two subjects meshed together perfectly. After all, when you think of Italy, some of the first things that come to mind—after food and wine—are the beautiful monuments and paintings that have been produced by Italian masters. By sophomore year, I declared a second major in Italian.

During the spring of my junior year I decided to study abroad in Ferrara, Italy. What appealed to me most about studying in Ferrara was the program’s emphasis on cultural immersion. Ferrara was the perfect city to improve in my Italian: I lived with a host-mother, enrolled in courses taught entirely in Italian, and made Italian friends. My months in Ferrara were some of the happiest and most fulfilling. Now, I am just a few short months away from graduation. This past year I have been writing a Senior Honors Thesis in both the Art History and Italian departments regarding a 16th-Century Italian female sculptor. The two majors have truly come together to provide me with a wonderful academic experience at Rutgers. Following graduation, I will be going to Italy for the summer to volunteer at an Oratorio (parish- affiliated summer camp) in Cesano Maderno, a small town outside of Milan. I will be staying with a family that hosted me when I did the same program last summer! At the Oratorio I will act as a animatore (camp counselor) and engage the attending Italian children in various activities. It will be a wonderful opportunity to improve my language skills while again immersing myself to daily Italian life.

In September, I will be going to Venice to participate in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection’s internship program. The PGC program is for both Italian and international students, geared towards recent graduates who study art history or related disciplines. The ideal candidate is someone at an early stage of their career (a new postgraduate like myself) who could glean the most from the internship experience. One of the prerequisites for interns is a degree of proficiency in Italian, something I found to be an attractive factor in my decision to apply for the program. The opportunity to gain firsthand experience with how a museum is run while also making use of my Italian language skills seems like the perfect opportunity for someone with my background and scholarly interests. I thank my Professors in the Italian and Art History departments for providing me with a strong educational foundation and for all their help in my time at Rutgers. Un abbraccio! -Joanna

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