The excitement was palpable in the University Club of the Indiana Memorial Union the morning of May 5 as B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. graduates in French and Italian gathered with friends, family, and faculty to celebrate the successful conclusion of their studies and commencement of a new chapter of their lives. Undergraduates reminisced about study abroad and posed for photos with friends, while doctoral graduates introduced their professors to family from Europe, flush with the success of defended (or almost defended) dissertations.
The B.A. graduates this year are a varied group, with career plans ranging from interior design to international development.
Courtney Relyea-Spivack (Majors: French and Theatre) intends to pursue a career as an actress, and this summer she will be appearing in two IU Summer Theatre productions: Loves Labors Lost and Persuasion.
Kelsi Genday (Majors: French and Communication and Culture) has applied to work with the Peace Corps in West Africa. She hopes to return to Senegal, where she had a summer internship while an IU student, working at a feminist radio station in Dakar.
Charlotte Jolly (Majors: French and Interior Design) has a job lined up working for an interior design firm in Indianapolis. She is particularly interested in sustainable (“green”) design concepts.
Gabriella DiPalma (Majors: Italian and Art History) will continue her studies in Italian through graduate work at Notre Dame starting this fall. She was one of our five departmental honors students, writing a thesis on the representations of Italian American men in cinema and on stage, under the supervision of Prof. Colleen Ryan.
Other graduates will be returning to Europe to teach English next year.
Mitchell Sigmund (Majors: Italian and English) received a Carol Brush Hofstadter Scholarship to study in Bologna, Italy in 2015-16 and will be going back to teach in Lombardy on the SITE program. He completed an honors thesis under the direction of Prof. Marco Arnaudo entitled “Metropolis in Giallo: Classic and Contemporary Crime Fiction from Northern Italy.”
Grace Shymanski (Majors: French and History) will be teaching English in France next year as part of the TAPIF program. She completed the difficult and unusual task of writing two honors theses, in History and in French. Her French thesis, entitled “A New Meursault: A Comparative Reading of L’Étranger and Meursault, contre-enquête,” explored the perceptions of Arabs in Algeria pre- and post-colonialism and was supervised by Prof. Hall Bjørnstad.
Eight students completed their M.A. degrees in our department this spring, and we also celebrated our four Ph.D. graduates: Flavien Falantin (French/Francophone Studies), Rodica Frimu (French Linguistics), Isabella Magni (Italian), and Jamie Root (French Linguistics).
Family members came from France, Italy, and Moldova to celebrate their achievements. These young scholars have already shown their skills in research and teaching while here at IU, and we know they will make important contributions to their fields of study!