Il Postino Fall 2023

Below you'll find Dr. Vettore's introduction to the Fall 2023 issue of Il Postino, the Graziadio Center's semesterly newsletter. To read the rest of this semester's issue, visit the Il Postino tumblr page!

A Letter on what’s new at the Graziadio Center

Dear Friends of Il Postino,

Welcome back to the 2023-24 Academic Year!

Things are slowly getting back to normal on campus: classes are mainly being held face-to-face, which means students are back in the classroom talking among themselves before the lessons start. What’s not to like?

Before we look at the present and future, a quick note about the near past. At the end of May our short-term scholar, Chiara Sala, went back to her alma mater studiorum, the Università Statale di Milano, to defend her MA thesis on the teaching of Italian to Spanish speakers at Cal State Long Beach. She passed with flying colors and earned a full mark cum laude. Congratulazioni, Chiara!

During the summer, some twenty students took advantage of our summer study abroad program in Recanati and spent four full weeks of class in this beautiful, little city in the middle of the Marche region. They greatly enjoyed the experience and came back galvanized and ready to continue their studies in Italian at CSULB!

The success of the Recanati program is the cause and effect of the increase in both Majors and Minors in Italian. In fact, this issue of Il Postino features interviews with some of our new Majors: Antonina Campbell, Sarah Chokr, and Rhonda Hunt del Bene. They will each share their experiences and passion for Italian. Each one of them has a story, and we are very happy to host their thoughts and enthusiasm on these pages.

Students, thank you for your contribution to Il Postino –– we wish you the best for this semester and your overall academic career.

Next semester, two more students transferring from other universities will join this cohort, bringing the number of majors to seven. This is a comforting sign that things are changing for the better, given that during the pandemic there was only one student majoring in Italian.

Majors and Minors alike were kind enough to dedicate some of their precious time to volunteer at the International Street Fair in Orange, to help the Orange Lodge of Sons and Daughters of Italy sell Italian products and food at the Fair.

This renewed enthusiasm in all things Italian has provided a new lineup of officers for Club Italia. They are active with the Tavola italiana (held the first and third Wednesday of each month at 4:30pm in the Graziadio Center) and are also preparing an Italian pizza event featuring three Italian cuisine experts, two of which are from Rimini, and one from the United States!

On the MA front, we are delighted that Diana Aizenstein and Cristina Galvan will take their comprehensive Master’s exams at the end of the semester and will graduate. It gives us a bittersweet feeling to say goodbye to them, but we are also glad to welcome Hilary Stern and Elizabeth Poirier, who have been admitted as graduate students this semester, and Caitlin Craig, who joined the MA program last semester.

Benvenute, Hilary, Elizabeth, and Caitlin, and in bocca al lupo, Diana and Cristina, for the next phase in your careers and lives!

You can read our new MA students’ profiles on this issue of Il Postino.

Anyone interested in declaring an MA in Italian can read the flyer below for more information.


For our faculty and alumni spotlight we are glad to have been able to interview two alumnae of our MA program: Francesca Ricciardelli and Alessandra Balzani. Francesca is currently a USC Lecturer of Italian and pursuing a PhD in Linguistics at the Universitat Popeu Fabra, in Barcelona. Alessandra is an Instructional Program Coordinator for the Clorinda Donato Center and a lecturer of Translation Studies. Their interviews will no doubt inspire our students and friends of Il Postino alike, as they allow us to take a deeper look into their academic careers as teachers and scholars, but also as unique human beings who are exploring languages and cultures.

In addition to the Pizza event organized by Club Italia, the Graziadio Center will host a handful of events during this and the next semester featuring:

A talk and performance by Sicilian-American Singer, Michela Musolino (Cantu: A History of People in Song); an event on the Blue Zones organized with the Little Italy of Los Angeles Association (LILAA); a presentation by Dr. Ilaria Tabusso-Marcyan on her recent book, The Cultural Roots of Slow Food. Peasants, Partisans, and the Landscape of Italian Resistance.

Finally, renowned scholar Serenella Iovino (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) will talk about animal presence in the works of Italo Calvino.


We will provide you with the details about days and times of these events soon; please check your inbox and your social media accounts for flyers!

This is all for now–– I wish you a beautiful and productive Fall 2023 semester!

A presto!