Today I'm a Humanities professor at Berkeley City College and a scholar of Italian and Italian American Studies--there is no doubt that my undergraduate work in Italian at UC Davis put me on the path to an academic career. In addition, the language and culture skills I honed as a UCD undergrad also helped me, before and even during graduate school, to land jobs teaching Italian and interpreting.
I had many inspiring experiences as an Italian major at UC Davis—some of them with professional implications, some more personal. Getting to know my professors well and learning about their research, tutoring first-year Italian students, studying in Siena for a summer, etc., all had a profound impact on my sense of what it means to be an academic. At the same time, the UCD Italian Department sharpened my language skills to the point that comprehension and expression were no longer the primary challenges; this gave me the confidence to immerse myself in European culture in a more direct, unselfconscious way.