Katie Carlson ’06
- Degree Program(s): Italian and Political Science
Why did you decide to study Italian?
I decided to study Italian for a few different reasons. I love the language and think it is melodic and delightful to listen to. I was introduced to it by my Italian side of the family, who are losing the language due to wanting to assimilate and not seeing it as something that was useful, and was formally introduced in school by my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Kevin Poirier of Matunuck Elementary School. I went on to study it in high school and college. Professoressa Sama was the person who convinced me that it would be feasible to double major in Italian, and I’m so happy that she did.
What do you consider the biggest strengths of the Italian program at URI?
The biggest strength of the program is its professors who are passionate about what they do, and are experts in their area. They bring amazing credibility to the program. They created a wonderful learning environment using a variety of tools.
What kind of study abroad experiences have you had as a URI student?
Before going to URI I had traveled quite a bit abroad, though not in any formal program. While at URI I participated in Professore LaLuna’s study abroad program in San Demetrio Corone in Calabria. It was only for the summer, but I can honestly say I learned more in that time than in my 8 previous years studying the language. I wish I had the opportunity to stay longer in Italy and cement my proficiency.
How are you using your Italian experience at URI in your chosen career path?
I graduated as a double major in Political Science and Italian in May of 2006. In September of 2006 I was hired by GTECH Corporation, who had been recently acquired by Lottomatica S.p.A., a company that runs the Italian lottery and other forms of gaming in the country. A big reason I was hired was because I had submitted my resume in Italian, a project that Professore La Luna had us work on as a part of a class in my senior year at URI. GTECH was very impressed with that. I worked in the public affairs department and was able to use both my political science and Italian education. I translated Italian news articles, correspondences, press releases, and many other forms of communication for the company.
I learned Italian because I loved it, but never thought it would have been as critical to my career success as it has been.
I still work for GTECH, but have moved to Indiana where I am the director of corporate social responsibility and compliance. I am often in communication with my counterparts in Italy, and due to working for a global company I have had many opportunities to foster relationships by understanding and speaking the Italian language.
I learned Italian because I loved it, but never thought it would have been as critical to my career success as it has been. It opened doors for me that would have otherwise been shut, and has enabled me to foster relationships with key people simply because I have a deep knowledge and respect their country of origin and culture.