Spring 2020 Awards

Chithra is a Junior studying French and Linguistics.

What the faculty say:

“Chithra is a superlative student, earning one of the highest grades in my Introduction to French and Francophone Studies class. A fine linguist, Chithra is now also demonstrating her literary skills in my Aix-program Director’s course. Very motivated, always prepared, endlessly conscientious, she consistently earns high participation grades in any group for her eager, enthusiastic involvement in every class discussion… A recent paper for our Aix course (completed and submitted in the midst of frantic preparations for her forced and sudden return to the US when the program was abruptly closed) probingly explored the manipulation of gendered stereotypes in the protagonist’s progressive assumption of her own identity.”

“Chithra’s spoken and written work is perceptive, and she has a gift for respectful and productive debate with her peers, which she often continues energetically after leaving the classroom. One such conversation in our medieval cultural history course was about the way that the West periodizes history, and the role colonialism played in imposing this periodization on other cultures. Chithra takes pleasure in the critical engagement with ideas for their own sake… Chithra’s love of learning, wonderful sense of humor, and enthusiasm make her an absolute joy to have in class.”

This text appears when someone is browsing using assistive technologies.
Jade is a PhD student studying French and Francophone Studies. 

What the faculty say:

“Jade is an outstanding student who has also demonstrated a particular talent for serving the department as GSO representative and as the French Club Coordinator. It has been a privilege to watch her grow in her studies and her community building over the past few years.”

“Although she’s primarily a literary scholar, Jade is also a fine linguist. She excelled in our History of French course, where she always had an insightful question to ask or a striking comparison to suggest across a variety of languages. Her enthusiasm for medieval Romance has also led her to become a dedicated contributor to the Old Occitan Reading Group. In the context of the undergraduate program, I have been fortunate to benefit even further from Jade’s energy and creativity on outreach projects such as the FRIT booth at the First Thursdays Humanities Festival.”

“Jade writes with a rare synthetic force, often bringing new light to even well known passages. Moreover, she an inquisitive mind, coupled with diligence, which has lead her, among other things, to become fluent in Italian.”

Renata is a PhD student studying French Linguistics.

What her colleagues and faculty say:

Renata has been a supportive peer and an active student leader throughout her studies here. Most recently, she volunteered to interact intensively with each of the candidates for our Assistant Professor position in French Linguistics, even though she will not be here to benefit directly from this hiring process! On very short notice, Renata also provided invaluable and timely feedback to the hiring committee by synthesizing comments from her fellow students. She’s always happy to step up when needed.” 

Renata is a very worthy recipient of this award. She was instrumental during the department's external review, organizing meetings between the DGS and the grad students, and she has continued to make herself available to the new DGS, offering her willingness to help in such matters as organizing meetings with the grad students, collecting feedback on initiatives, etc… She is a reliable presence in the visits and lunches with guest speakers and prospective students… Overall, she has a very positive attitude and is regularly supportive of the department in many ways big and small.”  

“In addition to representing FRIT by co-running the organizational committee for [the foreign language] Share Fair, Renata has served our department as acting F200 course supervisor, and as our GSO representative…  In addition to this, she ran a French Linguistics Brown Bag Series … [and generally she] has done so much to build community and solidarity amongst the graduate students.”

Grace is a Junior studying Secondary Education.

What the faculty say:

“Grace is an outstanding student. She brings confidence and inquisitiveness to her coursework, and although her critical thinking shines through each assignment, her research skills are particularly exceptional. Grace’s final paper in our cultural history course examined a scene of medieval silk production in Yvain, a romance of Chrétien de Troyes. In this excellent essay, Grace contextualized the fictional scene in the realities of this luxury industry in Paris, showing that the exoticized depiction in Yvain reflects the gendered nature of silk embroidery by foreign and itinerant women artisans. This just one example that demonstrates the consistently high caliber of her writing and thinking.” 

“Grace’s performance in two extremely different courses with me—Critical and Creative Writing in French and Introduction to French and Francophone Studies—has been exemplary.  Whether imagining the emotional ‘autobiography’ of a hand-crafted doll in the Mathers Museum or analyzing a disturbingly violent, erotic Baudelaire poem for an oral presentation, Grace unfailingly demonstrates insight, passion, commitment, and eagerness for challenge… Her perceptive and meaningful contributions to our class discussions consistently took the discourse to a new level; yet, a scrupulous team player, Grace was invariably attentive to and respectful of other points of view.”


Italian AI Teaching Award Winner:

Pantalea is a PhD student studying Italian.

What her supervisor and colleagues say:

“Pantalea has been an exceptional instructor since the first semester of her teaching because she genuinely cares about her students… She is sensitive to their needs and modifies her teaching to achieve the learning goals while at the same time not leaving anybody behind. It has been a real pleasure to observe her transformation from a person who never taught to a mentor for her less experienced colleagues.” 

“Pantalea is a fantastic teacher because, among other things, she is a great collaborator. From the very beginning, she made sure that she and I would organize together the whole course M301 on Italian politics… She is a collaborative teacher with her students, too, by really putting them at her level. She works with her students: she provides them with the necessary tools—like vocabulary and historical facts—so that they are able to do in-class conversations among themselves and with her on topics that she finds compelling in the first place.” 

“Pantalea is always happy to help you when you are overwhelmed by your work and she does that without showing off. Moreover, Pantalea is incredibly smart: she has been able to build a great syllabus with awesome ideas and effective pedagogical tools… Her immense culture, generosity, reliability and camaraderie is what makes Pantalea an amazing colleague.”

This text appears when someone is browsing using assistive technologies.
Claire is a Masters student studying French and Francophone Studies.

What her supervisors say:

 “As a teacher, Claire first distinguishes herself by critically reviewing and improving upon existing lessons. She shows strong mastery of important ‘behind the scenes’ pedagogical considerations of sequencing and pacing. Last semester I marveled at her deft handling of a notoriously confusing and often tedious grammar point: the differences between comparative and superlative of nouns and adjectives. Fully in command of her classroom, in her teaching presence, I admire the perfect balance she strikes between being strict but compassionate, seeming to sense the most she can get out of each individual student.” 

“Having Claire on a teaching team is almost like having a personal course assistant. A careful reader and editor, she reliably catches syllabus typos and other glitches before materials have gone out to students; she is consistently the first to provide critical feedback and suggestions on exam drafts; unprompted this semester she proposed an excellent revised syllabus calendar for the unexpected need to move teaching online; finally, she spearheaded the movement to create our fully online final exam. From the high level of professionalism she shows outside the classroom, to her exemplary performance within, Claire is a very deserving recipient of this award for excellence in teaching!”

Lander MacClintock Award Winner:

Preston is a Senior studying Italian and Psychology.

What the faculty say:

“From day one, Preston struck me as an exceptional student who dedicates himself to studying and learning with a real passion. He is one of the best students I have met in my seven years of teaching at Indiana University…

Preston’s work ethic and perseverance are not the only traits that I truly admire in him. What is more important for me is his incredible sensibility and ability to combine different fields of study in order to understand and better analyze the world that surrounds him…His work [in M450] elevated the readings that we did in class to another level, allowing other students to see deeper meanings and the applications to real life… Preston’s knowledge and exceptional sensibility to others allows him to help anybody around him who might be struggling. Preston manages to extend his help so genuinely that everybody accepts it without questioning his motives.” 

“Preston’s interests in social justice, representation of minorities, and gender issues made him a vibrant and vital presence in that [M307] course. He impressed me throughout with his intellectual verve and mature outlook. Even more than that, Preston showed a remarkable degree of resilience... There is no doubt in my mind of Preston’s bright future ahead.”

Mary V. Lèbano Memorial Prize Winner:

Victoria is a Senior studying Italian and History.

What the faculty say:

Victoria was one of the best students in my M450 class (even though she didn’t have any previous experience analyzing Italian literature) because she knows how to work hard, has a real passion for languages and cultures, is an avid reader, and has outstanding skills when it comes to analyzing literary works…She is just a perfect example of an intellectual explorer, always ready to sacrifice whatever is needed to learn more and discover the world. The intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge are the two driving forces that allow her to succeed in any academic environment… Victoria is a great citizen and classmate. She respects others and is always available to help… She is a natural leader who draws people towards her.” 

“Her contagious good mood and sense of humor has always been fundamental for the general atmosphere of the class.” 

Victoria’s intellectual gifts are clear to anyone who encounters her, but she is the furthest thing from off-putting and intimidating to her peers. It is her grace and passion that set Victoria apart, and she raises up her fellow students to engage with her at the highest reaches of the pursuit of knowledge.”

Eneria Ruggeri Memorial Award Winner:

Pantalea is a PhD student studying Italian.

What the faculty say:

“Pantalea is one of the brightest graduate students I ever encountered. Her intellectual acumen and critical capacities, together with her rock-solid understanding of Italian literature, make her an incredibly strong candidate, and an academic success story in the making.” 

“Pantalea is a wonderful scholar, rigorous and disciplined in her approach. In the class she took with me, I was consistently impressed with her high degree of preparation and her mature conception of scholarly research. She holds herself and her community to the highest standard of excellence, yet always remains graceful and kind in her approach.” 

“Pantalea joined our program with a strong historical and philological preparation and an impressive roster of publications in medieval and early modern studies. Through curiosity and humility, during her time at IU she has broadened her preparation to include all periods of Italian literature as well as cinema and media; she has further honed her methodological skills in manuscript studies and history of the book; and she has enhanced her interdisciplinary and cross-cultural interests.”

Mario and Katrina Vangeli Award Winner:

What the faculty say:

Giorgio is a remarkably gifted intellectual with a passion and enthusiasm that never cease to inspire his community to reach higher. He combines scholarly rigor with an unrelenting pursuit of knowledge; no matter how large or small a point, Giorgio will not rest until he knows what he wants to know. He does it all with a smile on his face; the joy that he derives from teaching and study is always evident and he remains a truly uplifting force in our community.” 

“Giorgio came to IU with a degree in classical studies and a thesis focusing on ancient philosophy. While critical animal studies are his main interest, Giorgio’s intellectual curiosity is much broader and encompasses all periods of Italian literature, media and popular culture, which he analyzes through a comparative and theoretical lens. Particularly notable and promising is the way his work combines sound historical and philological research with sophisticated theoretical thinking.”

Olga Ragusa Award Winner:

Francesco is a PhD student studying Italian.

What the faculty say:

The Olga Ragusa award is awarded for scholarly commitment and ability, and no-one deserves this award more than Francesco Samarini. Francesco is a great all- around graduate student, as proven by the fact that he is a past recipient of the AI teaching award and the Ruggeri Award, which takes in consideration teaching as well. However, when it comes to scholarship, his devotion is absolute: almost each one of his term papers has been turned into a refereed journal article. His range is broad and has a natural transcultural approach, as proven by the topics of his publications on subjects as diverse and as religious poetry after the Counter Reformation; American TV series in Italy; Philip Roth and Italian culture; Italian Pop music; baroque poetry; Italian cinema; and Italian comics.” 

“Francesco joined our program with a remarkable training in all of Italian literature and, for a scholar of his age, an exceptional record of publications. Even more remarkable is the fact that he has never allowed his superior preparation to turn into arrogance or complacency; rather, he has embraced the challenges and opportunities of a new academic environment with openness and curiosity and he has interacted with students, peers and faculty with collegiality and a genuine respect.”


Quentin Hope Award Winner:

Abigail is a Senior studying Supply Chain Management.

What the faculty say:

“Abigail is a serious student of French and a deeply committed study-abroad participant, having spent a summer in Québec and an academic year and a summer in Aix-en-Provence. During her sophomore year she excelled in our French grammar class, mastering the smallest details along with the larger concepts and always aiming at perfection in both her writing and conversation. Returning to IU as a senior, she led our conversation courses both semesters. This award recognizes her service to our French program as well as her outstanding academic achievement in many courses, both at IU and abroad.”

Peter Cannings Prize Winner:

Charlène is a PhD student studying French Linguistics.

What the faculty say:

“Charlène is a brilliant young scholar whose keen insights and great power of analytical thinking reveal the promise of a successful career in linguistics. In addition, she always manages to make time to support and be involved in the intellectual and social life of the department.” 

“It’s always a pleasure to have Charlène in a class – she’s smart, creative, dedicated, and always manages to look like she’s enjoying things even when working on a particularly thorny syntax puzzle – or perhaps because of those thorny syntax puzzles. Her dissertation takes a very sophisticated look at some fascinating L2 French data at the syntax/semantics interface and is sure to make a lasting impact on the field.”

John K. Hyde Award Winner:

Abigail is a Senior studying Biology.

What the faculty say:

“Abby is a generous classmate and a skillful researcher. The breadth of her studies, from biology to chemistry to French, has not prevented her from diving deeply into her intellectual passions. A bright and poised student, Abby impressed me with her resourcefulness and her ability to rise to any challenge, from creative writing to the successful pursuit of a carefully focused research question, such as the Viking influence on medieval French maritime practices. I congratulate her on her upcoming graduation and look forward to hearing about the great things I know she will accomplish in graduate school and beyond.” 

“As a sophomore in our Advanced Grammar class, Abigail did outstanding written work and could always be relied on to keep small groups on task and speaking in French. She has gone on to excel in every French course she has taken IU and on our summer study-abroad program in Paris. As a biology major, Abby has specialized in the now-crucial area of infectious diseases, conducted research in Belize, and volunteered in health care and health education in Indiana.” Indeed a well-rounded student!

Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society Initiates:

  • Anthony Brescia
  • Isabella Castillo
  • Nathaniel Esten
  • Natalie McClelland
  • Kathleen Tellus
  • Kayla Vivace
  • Natalie Mardoian