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The American University of Rome Alumni & Friends Magazine

WOLFTRACKS TEAM Laura Estrada Prada Harry Greiner

Editor and contributor Co-editor

Camille Allen Amy Baldonieri Katherine Bemis Naima Borgese Faith Carrie Coolidge Ellie Johnson Susan Kaesz Ophelia Luchin Mark Ozella Carla Valentine Yesenia Serna Madelaine Tersigni

Copy-editor Contributor and copy editor Contributor and copy editor Contributor Contributor Contributor and copy editor Copy-editor Contributor Contributor Contributor and copy editor Contributor Contributor





MEET THE BOARD: Robert Krapf




MEET AN ALUMNUS: J. Robert Simmons


MEET AN MA ALUMNUS: Nicholas Mascia


Class Notes


Class Notes with a Twist!


The AUR Times


Introducing: The Alumni Council


Upcoming Events


It’s Our Fiftieth!


Aumni Businesses


Donor Honor Roll


Give Back to AUR


Summertime... and the living is easy


Summer Hangouts in Rome

Summer is here again and as I look through the 2017 Summer Issue of Wolftracks, I can’t help but smile a little. It seems like just yesterday, I was brainstorming on the new structure of Wolftracks with Harry Greiner over a beer. And yet, so many things have happened since then. This past year has been exciting, challenging and surprising in many ways. The Alumni and Development department has grown, and so has Wolftracks. In fact, working for AUR’s Alumni department in this time of great change is like setting up a garden: we planted, we have to water and care for it every day and slowly, but surely, we are starting to see the flowers and fruit. With still a lot of work ahead of us, it gives me great joy to see what we have achieved and it is with much anticipation that we welcome our 50th Anniversary and all the exciting events and developments that it will bring. As we get ready for a little Roman beach and the welldeserved vacation time, I am glad to have put together this issue with the many contributors that helped me. So enjoy... (it’s a good beach read, I promise).

Laura Estrada Prada Alumni & Development Coordinator Art History, ‘16



ROBERT KRAPF Robert J. Krapf, Esquire is the immediate past president of the Richards, Layton & Finger law firm, located in Wilmington, Delaware. Krapf’s belief in the importance of proper training and education for lawyers has motivated him throughout his career to be involved in numerous legal educational programs. For the same reason, he takes part in various legal discourses in his professional community by way of writing and publishing articles. Krapf is a Delaware native who completed his B.S.F.S. at Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service in 1973. After graduation, he went on to complete his M.A. in History at the University of Delaware and later completed his graduate studies in History at Georgetown University. In 1983 he received his J.D. from the Delaware Law School of Widener University. Krapf served on the Board of Trustees of The American University of Rome from 2003 to this past June. Because of his dedication to AUR, Krapf was named Trustee Emeritus of the Board after the end of his term.



Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to Italy...

ow has AUR changed since you first served on the

Board in 2003? I am a Delaware native, born in Wilmington, Delaware. My father’s

Aside from the location and the name, there is not much that has not

family, all good German Lutherans (with pastors in the family over the

changed for the better. AUR has always provided a good education

three or four generations in the U.S.), came to Delaware from the Kassel

and an intimate educational experience, given the size of the student

area of Germany in the late 19th Century. The German-American

body, faculty-to-student ratio, and physical setting. We continue to

immigrant experience was part of my upbringing. Our church was still

attract excellent students, but now more of them. We have always had

holding services in German at the time I was born. America is a culture

excellent teachers, but now more of them. Both the Auditorium and

of immigrants, a reality that is sometimes lost in today’s public discourse.

the Library were added to the campus during my time on the Board,

Except for time spent in Washington, DC at Georgetown University,

as well as the via Carini facility. And now we even have the Wolf Den.

I have lived in Delaware all my life. My undergraduate degree is from

I have served with four Presidents, each having his own vision and

the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, which fostered

strengths and each adding something new and better to the school,

a great interest in cross-cultural interaction. And I spent a number of

though Richard’s contributions have been the most visionary (and

years at the University of Delaware and Georgetown University pursuing

dramatic). The Board has expanded in number and in geographic

graduate degrees in History with the goal of teaching at the college level. It

diversity, which has added to the depth of experience that the Trustees

was later that I went to law school.

can bring to their work. The administration and staff has experienced Since law school, I have been working as a lawyer in commercial real

considerable turnover in this time, particularly in senior positions; but

estate. I have always believed in the importance of training and education

the spirit and energy one now sees is lightyears from what one saw

for lawyers and have been involved in many legal education programs

in 2003 - even among those who were at AUR then. It may be that

around the country as well as writing articles on various legal topics.

having hung together through some very trying times forged solid

Moreover, I have seen in the new lawyers I have hired over the years the

bonds that, once AUR emerged from those serious challenges, the

benefits of a solid liberal arts education, as it gives them an intellectual

survivors (if I may call them that) were rejuvenated.

curiosity, a broad cultural framework for viewing the world, and the right tools for good communication skills. I’d add that those who also spent

What do you see for AUR in the future?

time studying abroad developed the social skills for successfully dealing The future for AUR is all potential. If the university continues the

with the challenges of working and living in another language and culture.

developments in the curriculum and in the community that are now

As to Italy, I had always enjoyed it as a travel destination. My wife Jean

underway, the sky’s the limit. I see a larger student body with more degree-

is 2nd generation Italian-American on her mother’s side (from Gradoli

seeking students, a campus that properly reflects and enhances what AUR

and Acquapendente in Lazio), though her Nonna would only speak

is all about, a dynamic faculty, academic programs that will train and

Italian when she didn’t want the grandchildren to understand what she

inspire our students to be leaders in an international community, and

was saying to her friends. Also, in my professional career I have worked

a cohesive and solid administrative and operational team to make the

with some wonderful lawyers in Italy, including one who became a good

magic happen.

friend. And a classmate and friend of Jean’s is a writer living in Le Marche.

What is your favorite Italian dish?

What inspired you to join the AUR Board of Trustees?

Favorite Italian dish? For an I-could-eat-it-every-day dish, I would have to

I was asked about my interest by Vice-Chair of the Board, Andrew

say cacio e pepe. Boring, I know; but I’m a boring guy.

Palmieri. I had known Andrew for a number of years through various law organizations, and he was aware of my School of Foreign Service

Tell us a little about the fact that you know how to play spoons!

background and enthusiasm for cross-cultural education, and for

Ha! Trick question. When I was young, I loved music (still do) but was

teaching generally. I was already experienced in serving on a number

hopeless at playing the piano or pretty much any instrument. In my late

of charitable and cultural boards, including some addressing public

teens I picked up the harmonica, though not well, and thought perhaps

education initiatives. At that time in AUR’s history, the Board was seeking

a simpler, non-technical instrument might serve me better. One of my

to increase the number of qualified Trustees drawn from the business

mother’s uncles played bones(apparently a talent often found in the

community. I guess they thought I would be a good fit. My service on

Eastern Shore Maryland). In the cafeteria at Georgetown University there

the Board and working with AUR has been one of the most satisfying

were no bones but there were spoons. So I started a musical career that

experiences of my professional life. I am sorry it is coming to an end, but

apparently has made itself known even in Rome.

all good things must.




LAURA PROTA Photo above: Prof. Prota and her family on a day-trip in Kenya


hat led you to AUR?

It was a lucky chance. I was in touch with Maria Grazia Quieti

complicated city. It’s chaotic, a little dirty. But because my research

and she was looking for someone to teach a course on Food

interest is underdevelopment, Naples is my favorite city in Italy.

Systems for the Master’s Program. I was quite busy at the time,

It’s not a big city so you get to know people very quickly and it’s

writing a paper that was eventually published in the Journal of

quite pleasant to live near the seaside. It’s a city that teaches you

Economic Geography, one of the top-ranking journals in my field.

a lot about relationships, about informal ties, about how to deal

I was a bit scared at first: teaching is a real challenge! Besides, I

with things that are not always straightforward.

teach economics, which is generally perceived as an arid subject, so sparking the curiosity of students is not always a simple task. What I like the most about teaching is the opportunity to stay touch with young brains and new generations. I learn a lot from students and it is very beneficial for to maintain this contact and

I grew up in Napoli and stayed there until I was about 20 years old. I then went to Bologna to complete a Master’s degree in Economic Development. After a year in Bologna, I did my internship in Vietnam for three months. I moved back to Italy and lived in a very rural area of the Cilento National park for

understand the world through the eyes of young minds.

about four years. This was, paradoxically, the most “diverse” experience I had. It was not geographically far, but certainly

Tell me about Napoli…your home.

emotionally far from what I knew and was familiar with. It was Napoli… Well, it is a very contested environment, it is a very

then that I realized I wanted to specialize in rural development. I


got a scholarship to study in Sydney where I lived for about eight years. My research used Social Network Analysis to study rural markets in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam. I spent two years in Vietnam conducting field research and tracing all exchanges of land, labor and rice between farmers and rice companies in two rural communes. After that, I moved back to Italy. And here I am! Did you really feel Cilento more unfamiliar than Vietnam? Yes, absolutely, at the time I felt it further away from Vietnam. Cilento is one of the biggest national parks in Europe. Remote and difficult to reach, it developed a characteristic social and economic environment. Just in the last 20 years the place lost Garment workers commuting from rural areas to factories in Cambodia

about 50% of its local producers. When Italian industrialization boomed in the 1960s’ most men emigrated to work in the factories in Torino, or as casual workers in Europe, US, and Australia. The

of times in the alleys of Hanoi. But Vietnam is a very comforting

peasant economy remained a business for the elders. I recorded

country. The Vietnamese never really “lick their wounds”: they are

hours of stories from these elders...mostly women. I remember

always looking for ways to improve, and are greatly optimistic. So

I was impressed by their narration. Listening to their stories

it’s fascinating to see how much they have done in these years.

was like watching a movie: amazing characters, landscapes and unique plots. It was then that I learned what oral history really

I go back to Vietnam quite often. Primarily because I have projects

means. When I arrived in Vietnam, I found many communalities

there, but also because I love it. There is something quite striking

between the stories I heard in Cilento and those I heard in Vietnam

about Vietnam and it is that there is great dignity in the Vietnamese

and Cambodia: despite the huge cultural differences, the rural

rural areas. It is almost impossible to find extreme poverty.

economy has patterns spanning all over the world.

How have your life experiences shaped your path as a scholar?

Vietnam is a fantastic country. I went there and the first time I arrived, there was a monsoon. The city was flooded, it was raining cats and dogs. It was ten years ago, and at the beginning it was quite tough – a strong cultural shock. Vietnam back then was different. After 9 pm, there were no lights, for example. I got lost millions

Originally, I was fascinated by diversity. I had a sort of Orientalistic thought about the world. I found rural areas characteristic in many ways. But then, spending a lot of time in these places, I realized that what interested me most was not the apparent diversity, but the relationships that I saw in these communities. This is when I decided to use social network analysis - the formal study of human relations- into economics. How do relationships make us different? How do we relate to people in different ways, depending on the environment? So, my work now, is basically that of tracing and analyzing human relations. In my research, I have looked at three main relationships: trade, labor and land. I trace the relationships inherent to these types of transactions. What is an economic transaction? It is not only the exchange of money. Meeting someone can be an important economic transaction because they might help me find a job or might serve as contact in the future. We use relationships to survive and expand. Everything is channeled through these relationships. You can be very powerful because you surround yourself with people that are weaker than you, or you can be even more powerful because you surround yourself with people who are even more powerful than you are. Many of our achievements are shaped by the people we know and surround ourselves with.

Rice trading boats on the Mekong River delta of Vietnam



J. ROBERT SIMMONS Study Abroad, Spring 1990



Robert Simmons first learned about the American

University of Rome when he noticed a flyer on a bulletin board at The City University of New York (CUNY) campus in his hometown of Staten Island, N.Y. The idea of living and studying abroad for the first time was very appealing for Simmons, who was interested in pursuing a career in business management. Little did he know at the time what a life-changing moment that would turn out to be, for less than a year later, Simmons had the opportunity to attend the American University of Rome as

foreign students, the food and being away from home,” he says.

a visiting student, with a full scholarship from CUNY. “It was

“AUR enabled me to better think out of the box and helped me

the start of my being a more independent person with a worldly

appreciate other cultures.”

perspective,” he enthuses. After attending AUR, Simmons returned to New York and The international business course Simmons took with an AUR

graduated cum laude from Columbia University with a degree

professor who was a Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy

in Change Management and Organizational Behavior. He later

in Rome is what sparked his interest in pursuing a career

earned a Master’s Degree in Business from Baruch College.

in international trade. “The professor was able to bring the textbook to life by providing concrete examples based on his

Today, Simmons, who speaks Russian and Italian fluently,

personal experiences,” he recalls.

is based in Washington, D.C., where he is president of Alter Modus International Corp., a development and information

Simmons later served as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S.

technology company that launches projects (both publicly

State Department overseeing programs relating to agriculture,

and privately funded) led by local entrepreneurs in developing

democracy, anti-corruption, commerce and trade, as well as the

countries. More than two decades after his experience at AUR,

environment in Afghanistan, Namibia, Central Asia and Iraq.

Simmons continues to credit the program for putting him

“AUR opened my eyes to these opportunities and possibilities,”

on a path to success. “At AUR I learned about international

he explains.

trade and business, which is exactly the same area that my company specializes in,” he says. “AUR helped me have a better understanding of the world.”

An internship organized for Simmons by AUR at the American Express office in Rome was also enlightening. “My internship was fabulous and I learned a great deal,” he says. Simmons’ experience at AUR, which also included the opportunity to travel throughout Western Europe, was extremely fulfilling. “I enjoyed the exchange I had with the

Robert was interviewed by Faith Carrie Coolidge. Faith is a personal finance, luxury lifestyle and travel journalist based in Manhattan and a member of AUR’s Board of Trustees.




NICHOLAS MASCIA M.A. Food Studies, 2017

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hy did you choose AUR for your Master’s?

work experiences, I was able to leave an impression with my supervisors. They then decided to hire me as a consultant (in

I wanted to apply my Finance Degree (BA from Villanova

November 2017). I feel positive about the future and my career

University, 2015) in an area that was both of interest and

within the international development scene.

importance to me. My mother and grandmother were born into rural poverty (in Calabria, Italy). They escaped it by leaving

What are your job duties at FAO?

their home and emigrating to a new country (USA). I wanted to work on projects that help people in similar situations as

I’m a consultant in RuralInvest Support, a division of the

my family members and alleviate rural poverty. I now work in

Investment Center (TCI) which covers all areas of the world. My

a division in FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the

team works with each service and is not limited to any specific

United Nations), where the goal is to support investments in

area. RuralInvest is a free multilingual methodology and toolkit

poor, rural areas.

designed to help with the preparation of sustainable agricultural and rural investment projects and business plans. The toolkit

What were the most important skills you learned at AUR?

has a strong presence in Brazil, Kenya, Mongolia, and Tanzania. Our future projects will be in Rwanda, Mozambique, Niger,

The Master’s Degree enhanced my knowledge in a specific

Bangladesh, Laos, and the Philippines.

field that was, for the most part, only available to me at AUR. Also, during the Master’s program, I learned to write lengthy

TCI’s main line of work involves designing large development

documents, which was something not done in my Business

projects funded by an international bank (e.g. The World Bank

School. As far as skills are concerned, I don’t think I learned

or International Fund for Agricultural Development). Within

any new skills. Rather, I was able to fine-tune skills already

these large projects (for example $100 million) there are funds

acquired, such as an ability to condense and understand lots

for small business holders and farmers. These can be subsistence

of information; time management and the ability to meet

farmers looking to sell their products or entrepreneurs trying

deadlines; communication skills; and ability to work in teams.

to scale up operations. The funds going to individual farmers can be as little as $1,000 or as high as a few $100,000. TCI

How did your AUR internship contribute to your professional

staff cannot analyze all these mini-projects, so that task is


given to local people hired as economists or financial analysts. However, TCI staff noticed that many of the local people had a

AUR facilitated an internship for me within FAO (Oct.

low capacity to perform this work. Therefore, RuralInvest was

2016 – April 2017), which led to my current job. Due to the

created as a toolkit to teach how to perform financial analysis. It

knowledge learned at AUR and my previous academic and

has a methodology and a software to achieve that goal.


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My responsibilities are mixed. I work with TCI staff to ensure

seamstress in a sweatshop. My grandmother’s sister still lives in

RuralInvest training is included in these large projects. If it is

Calabria. She and her husband are still living off the land. I went

included, we execute the training and then we perform coaching

down last November to help them with the olive harvest.

afterward; someone from the training will contact us asking for help on a project they are working on. The other day, for instance,

I will never forget AUR for…

I was on the phone with someone in Tanzania analyzing a banana The warmth and kindness I received during my illness. After

farm plantation that wanted to expand its production.

being operated on for a herniated disc, AUR and faculty were We also train people within FAO and its offices around the world. Currently, we are organizing a training in Bangkok for our Asian regional office. I am also overseeing the new software version.

extremely helpful and accommodating. They worked with me to ensure that I was able to complete the degree on time even with the roadblocks that occurred.

There is a list of issues and bugs in the software that need fixing. I am working directly with the computer programmer to explain the issues, come up with the proper solution, and then test.

Without AUR I would never have … ... been able to get my foot in the door at FAO.

Software development was something I did prior to the masters. What’s unique about the M.A. in Food Studies at AUR? Tell us a little more about your family history, which motivated you to help people in poverty.

The concentration of food experts puts you in the presence of people working in the field. If they cannot help you find a career

My mother and grandmother were born in Chiusa, a village in the municipality of Mammola, in the province of Reggio Calabria.

then, at the very least, the exposure to their experiences should foster ideas about where your future can lead.

They left for Brooklyn, New York in the 1970s. My grandfather got a job in construction and my grandmother worked as a

Nick harvesting olives on his family farm in Southern Italy

AUR MA Field trip to a vineyard

Nick’s grandmother’s house

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CLASS NOTES Nicole Fersko Communication, 2016

Graduating from AUR in 2016 with such a broad degree in Communications and a concentration in Writing opened a lot of doors for me, but it also lead to some unclarity as to what direction to go in. I graduated panicked and uncertain of what to do next. So I took the first job I came across working as an Au Pair in Venice. The fact that I would be in Venice had a lot to do with accepting the job. I then came across a paid internship opportunity at the Peggy Guggenheim museum and applied as an intern, but due to bureaucratic reasons I didn’t get hired. I then started working as an intern in a nonprofit organization in Trento promoting a newly developed app using various social media platforms. Not my thing. Staying in front of my computer all day to tweet was the last thing I wanted to do. Feeling stuck in the smallness of Trento I moved to Paris for a month where I worked as an intern for a film festival. This time around the context was inspiring and interesting, but I was yet again on the

bit hopeless. I received a call from an independent film house

computer all day. Apart from the three days we hosted the film

asking me to work with them on a short film they were shooting.

festival, I helped interview the directors. While all this was going

I immediately said yes even if it was unpaid. I learned a lot about

on, every Thursday evening I was also attending “Paris Lit”, Paris’s

what goes into the production of a film. When that ended I was

anglo-saxon open-mic night. A former AUR student was very

still doing my private English lessons, and sending CVs around. I

involved and introduced me to the literary scene of Paris. By the

then received a call from Museion- Modern and Contemporary

end of my time in Paris I was asked to feature and read some of my

Art Museum of Bolzano saying that they wanted to meet me for

work throughout the night. It was during this trip that I realized

an interview. A few months later I started working for them as an

I wanted to be in the action rather than behind it. A few summer

art mediator - doing creative and interactive laboratories for kids

months went by being unemployed and I was starting to feel a

in both English and Italian. I am in a creative, educational, and cultural environment. I am learning so much about education in art, and I am myself producing my own artwork. I can safely say that after trying out different paths, for now, this one feels right to me. So, out of all this, if there is any advice I can give to recent graduates who maybe feel stuck or unsatisfied, it’s that sometimes you have to keep trying out different fields to see where your place is in the work world. And, if you don’t get that dream job, you never know when another similar opportunity will come around. Also, that time you spend being unemployed is never a waste of time because it is valuable in getting to know yourself better and growing on a personal level.

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CLASS NOTES Jordan Cass Business Administration, 2016

Jordan Cass is living in South Africa and is the Project Coordinator for a new boutique car dealership, Cargo Motors Exclusive. After AUR, Cass (who is South African/Italian) was doing an internship with Imperial Auto, the largest auto retailer and distributor in South Africa, with around 90 dealerships selling all the major vehicle brands. After his internship ended in Polokwane, the company offered him the position as the project coordinator at their head office in Bedfordview. His first project was to open a new dealership selling pre-owned Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Edenvale. The new dealership opened on June 1 and, within weeks, had sold five cars. “I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given and look forward to ensuring this project’s continued success,” said Cass. By the way, he did his senior Business capstone thesis on Mercedes Benz – a fact he says that helped him get his internship because he already knew about the company and the direction they were heading. In addition, he relies every day on the skills he learned from his student assistant job in AUR’s business department. “Life is about managing your time and effort. By working and studying at the same time, it teaches you to balance your time and prioritize your tasks,” he said. Cass would really appreciate it if the AUR community could help him spread the word about the new dealership by liking and sharing the Cargo Motors Exclusive Facebook page.

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CLASS NOTES Gina Fava Study Abroad, 1991

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Gina is a relentlessly loyal Sabres and Bills fan. She graduated from the University at Buffalo and later earned a law degree but it was her experience studying at the American University of Rome that spurred her interest in writing heart-pounding thrillers. Gina lives with her husband and kids and their dogs, Lupo and Siena, in New England. She loves making pasta with her family, watching LOST, reading other people’s suspense novels, and roaming Italy to hunt down her characters’ favorite wines. Gina, an author of suspense novels and a feature writer on travel, Italian culture, art, wine, cooking, books, and cinema has written a new book, Un Momento: A Taste of Italian-American Pastimes, a non-fiction collection of essays and recipes for release in the midst of Italian festival season. Un Momento is Gina’s first nonfiction book, which combines abundant research from a lifetime of traveling throughout Italy, her decade of experience as a wine and spirit vendor, and her heart-warming memories of family and the traditions and recipes they share. While covering such diverse topics as bocce tournaments, Christmas Eve’s Feast of the Seven Fishes, informative checklists for study abroad students, St. Anthony’s Festival, and Italian superstitions, the book’s time-honored recipes are expertly paired with superb wines by her husband, a sommelier and Master of Italian Wines.

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Kelsea Brennan Communication, 2008


hear my name being called as I’m trying to find the

entrance to a café I’ve never been to and there’s Kelsea with her bright smile, a hot pink top, and her workout shoes. It’s my first time meeting her and we’re about to go on a hike at the Tuscolo in the Frascati area, where she’s lived since 2011. She thought it’d be a good way to show people that living in Rome doesn’t just mean city center and food, even though she says they’re the two main reasons she moved here. We drink some coffee and have a cornetto before heading out for our little adventure. After just a few minutes together, it feels like we’re old friends. “Can you tell I’m American?” she asks as we hop into her SUV. Kelsea is from Kennebunk, Maine and moved to Italy to attend AUR.


She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Communication and a concentration in Film and Digital Media. She is now married

wanted someone with a journalistic background.” Prior to the

with two beautiful children and is currently working at the

ESA, she worked for three years at Vatican Radio as a broadcast

European Space Agency as their Earth Observation Editor.

journalist – a job she got, incidentally, after being an intern there during her senior year at AUR. She tells me that working

“I was convinced they would never hire me!” she says, “I’m not

with scientists has helped her learn as she goes. “When there’s

much of a science-oriented person, but it’s okay because they

something I’m unsure about I just knock on someone’s door and they’re always happy to help.” Aside from being the presenter of their Earth from Space Programme, Kelsea has also interviewed six astronauts and several scientists during her six years at the ESA. She calls this her expertise, because she makes sure to do her research, learn terminology and really understand what they’ll be talking about during the interview. She has such a great camera presence that I can’t help but ask if she’s had previous experience in front of the camera. I discover that she was a child actor and dancer, and even graduated a year early from high school so she could move to New York and pursue a dancing career – which she later decided wasn’t for her. She admits that speaking clearly and slowly for the camera comes from her time at the Vatican Radio. The only person with stage fright as we prepare to record 21 Questions is me – I’m behind the camera. “Ready?” I ask her to which she responds, “I was born ready!” And I couldn’t agree more.

At work as ESA Web TV Producer (and presenter)

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The AUR Times Summer 2018


AUR TAKES NEW YORK CITY: Alumni Reunion 2018 By Laura Estrada Prada


his year, AUR took the Alumni Reunion overseas. With

camera, Colin awarded this year’s award to Matthew Ripsom (Business Administration, 2015) for his dedication and active engagement as an Alumnus.

New York as our backdrop and the stunning Villa Aurelia as the venue precedent, we had to find a location that was adequate. Thanks to Jonny Pollack, one of our Board Members, more than

We were also honored to have Joan Carpenter join us for the evening. Joan was the former wife of one of AUR’s founders, David T. Colin, and a key player in the beginnings of the University.

75 Alumni were lucky enough to spend the evening of May 19th at splendid Soho House. The 2018 Reunion saw familiar Alumni faces and new ones:

Anastasia Safarian (Business Administration, 2008) officially launched one of the most important Alumni initiatives of the year: the Alumni Council (see pg. 26-28 for more info on the Alumni Council).

we were delighted to welcome graduates from as far back as the early 1990’s, who were all excited to reconnect with AUR. Our captivating MC for the night was our very own Jonny Pollack, who introduced President Hodges as he told the

The party was great, the food was delicious and the company was delightful. In fact, at 10 pm, when the event was over, a group of Alums headed over to a club to continue the celebrations.

attendees all about AUR’s future vision. David Colin, Jr. was once again present to award the David

Next year, we are back in Rome for the 50th... so start making plans for May. Mark your calendars, as we are already working on the 2019 Reunion!

T. Colin Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. After an engaging narration of how his father never put down his Leica

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By Carla Valentine

he rose and jasmine-scented garden of Villa Aurelia

provided the perfect backdrop as 67 graduates and two American philanthropists were honored at the 31st Commencement Ceremony of The American University of Rome, May 25. This year’s class showed the spirit of AUR’s diversity, representing 25 nationalities from Canada to Venezuela, Germany to Ghana, Kosovo to Pakistan, and Japan to Papua New Guinea. Class representative Noy Dragushansky said AUR represented “the world we want, a world in which you feel comfortable

speaking to everyone. It’s the world that Dr. Martin Luther King once dreamed about; ‘the day when people will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’” M.A. graduate Beth Ann Goldoff thanked her classmates for being “a source of inspiration and support” and “for sharing this year-and-a-half full of challenges, beauty, stress, writing, more writing and the incomparable joy of living in Rome.” Honorary degree recipient Dr. Charles K. Williams II, a renowned archeologist, who has given an art collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, told the graduates they were

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fortunate to have studied at AUR, describing it as “a laboratory of life that you do not get in America…that you probably only will get in Rome.” U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Lewis Eisenberg, introduced his longtime friend and honorary degree recipient, Joseph J. Plumeri II, former CEO of Citibank, North America and the international insurance company Willis Group Holdings. His philanthropy includes multi-million-dollar gifts to The College of William and Mary, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and New York Law School. “All the degrees in the world are meaningless unless your passion goes into some purpose that makes the world better,” Pulmeri said. “The world has become very technological. But the things that really matter --imagination, vision, passion, purpose, heart – you can’t Google. You’ve got a great degree, you’ve got wonderful credentials, but if you want to be compelling, if you want to do things that no one else has ever done…do it with your heart.”

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- 22 -

June 9, 2018: AUR at Rome’s Pride Parade One of the most vibrant and thriving groups at AUR is our recently established LGBTQ+ club. They proudly represented AUR at Rome’s Pride Parade. Flashing rainbows and marching for equality and love, the AUR cohort included students, faculty, staff members and friends. Madeline Tersigni (LGBTQ+ Club, President) and Ophelia Luchi (LGBTQ+ Club, Secretary) kindly provided Wolftracks with their comments on the event.


L’Amore è Amore s a native New Yorker and now Roma resident

Pride day is a day I look forward to every year, and in fact it is

I was no virgin to Pride. Participating in Pride parades has been

my favorite day of the year. Hundreds of thousands of people

a regular event in my family for about as long as I can remember;

in a city gather to celebrate the most beautiful thing on earth:

so that being said I already knew what to expect: tender calves,

love. I had been looking forward to Roma Pride for quite some

blisters for days, and more than anything else a lot of fun - and

time and it is safe to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

this year was no exception. However, it was all the more special

Residing in San Francisco, California, my expectations for

because of how involved the University was. It was so wonderful

Pride parades and festivals are naturally quite high seeing as it

to see the AUR banner in a sea of rainbows and to experience

is the “World’s Gay Mecca.” Not to say that I had particularly

such a powerful event, which represents equality and inclusivity,

low expectations going into it, but I wrongly assumed that the

with my fellow classmates and the faculty members of the

experience would not be as fulfilling. I was very mistaken.

school. This year was definitely the best Pride yet!”

Immediately upon my arrival in Piazza Della Repubblica, I felt a rush of warmth and happiness, like the same feeling you’d have if you saw someone you loved or returned to your

By Madeline Tersigni

childhood home. I felt like I belonged and that my presence there was meaningful. Being half Italian, half American and also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I found that it was probably the most desirable location of a Pride celebration that I could attend. Italy is not particularly known for its extensive LGBTQ+ community yet the spirit in the people that day was outstanding and life changing. Never have I ever felt more accepted as a person and I sincerely hope that it will be a longstanding tradition for AUR students and faculty to attend because I want everyone to experience the pure bliss that we had the priviledge of feeling that day. By Ophelia Luchin

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AUR ENDS THE SCHOOL YEAR WITH A BANG: 4th of July atop the Gianicolo


By Ellie Johnson t AUR, we like to make the most of our cross-cultural

identity and those within our community, up on our corner of the Gianicolo, immerse themselves in the Italian way of life. Every now and then, however, we yearn to bring a taste of the USA to Rome, and no other celebration allows us to do this quite like the 4th of July, the quintessential American holiday. We have always celebrated July 4th as a community, but in recent years we have thrown open the gates to welcome all those who wanted to join in the festivities – and 2018 was our biggest year yet! Excitement built as the preparations began and a range of tools, decorations, and machinery arrived on campus – easily the most interest was stirred by the six large beer kegs that were rolled through the garden! Staff and students worked together to transform the main campus and within a few hours the

At 7 o’clock, the first of the 4th of July-ers started to arrive, and

garden was a sea of red, white and blue.

before long the garden was buzzing with the biggest crowd it has ever ccommodated, made up not only of our own students, faculty and staff, but also people from all over the world who were in Rome – some living in the city, some here for a holiday – who had heard about the party on the Gianicolo and wanted to join in the Independence Day spirit. We were delighted to welcome back some familiar faces, as a strong cohort of alumni returned to celebrate the holiday. Among these was Mike Botula, a Communication alumnus of 2004, whose jug band “No Funny Stuff ” kept partygoers dancing, singing and laughing all night long, giving a ragtime twist to many party favorites.

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To keep our guests fueled up throughout the evening, we combined the best of both worlds: the Italian porchetta and the classic American hamburgers with fries. The Moretti beer was free-flowing. and there was plenty of cotton candy and popcorn. The music, dancing, food and face painting continued in full swing until No Funny Stuff broke into a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. While guests joined in with the National Anthem, a certain Film and Digital Media Professor, Brian Koperski, and Communications Director Harry Greiner, snuck up to the terrace of Building B with a case of explosives to treat us to the highlight of the evening: a magnificent firework display over our beautiful campus. The fireworks were followed by the ultimate American treat: apple pie, fresh from our favorite American eatery, Homebaked, thanks to the hard work of Jesse Smeal. It was our biggest and best 4th of July to date, but we can expect even greater things from the 2019 party, as it will coincide with our upcoming 50th Anniversary celebrations. Mark your calendars – that party is not one to be missed!

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Intoducing the...



- 26 -

The Alumni Council, consisting entirely of active alumni, aims to support the university’s continued growth and development, in addition to promoting alumni fellowship.


The Alumni Council is a project that AUR has been working on for the past couple of years. The reason behind its conception is to increase Alumni involvement with AUR, as well as to create a group of engaged individuals who can liaise between the Alumni Community and AUR’s upper management.


The Alumni Council was officially launched at the 2018 Reunion in New York City. Current council members started their term on July 1st, 2018.

New members of the Alumni Council join through a nomination process. Nominees are voted on by current Council members and then approved by the University President. If you are interested in becoming part of the Alumni Council or would like to nominate one of your fellow Alumni, contact the Alumni Office at


- 27 -

WHO Chevonne O’Shaughnessy Business Administration, 1989

Bliss Holloway (Council CHAIR) International Relations, 2004

Clifford Curda Business Administration, 2014

Mia Pezzanite Italian Studies, 2008

Mitchell Henderson Business Administration, 1999

Matthew Ripsom Business Administration, 2015

Madelaine Kuns Bruschini Communication, 2008

Anastasia Safarian Business Administration, 2008

Marvin Mathew Study Abroad, 2012

Salvatore Salpietro Study Abroad, 2002

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50th Anniversary Launch! AUR will launch its 50th Anniversary celbrations this upcoming October during the annual Board Week in Rome. Highlights of the week will include an exhibition about AUR and its history, and an Alumni aperitivo with the Board of Trustees. We will also be launching the 50th Anniversary Lecture series, which will host a year-long calendar of events with high profile speakers. Stay tuned for more details!

2019 Alumni Reunion in Rome! Save the date, start making plans and prepare to head back to Rome for the 7th Annual Alumni Reunion. In 2019, we will be back in he Eternal City, celebrating, reminiscing and raising a glass to the 50 years of AUR! Oh, and don’t forget! If you donate $50 or more, you ill receive a raffle ticket that could win you a flight to Rome for the 2019 Reunion!

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take special care to highlight individual

s the fall semester begins

this year, AUR’s classrooms will fill with eager students who are ready to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge that will allow them to look forward into their individual futures. This, of course, is nothing new for the University. As our students prepare themselves for what may lie ahead, they follow in the footsteps of those students who have

it’s our

details about the students, such as their country of origin, or affiliation with different organizations and important people. They point out the uniqueness of learning in an international setting that was and still is offered at AUR. These images, along with the addition of over 3,000 color images, were taken out of storage, organized and digitalized in preparation for the anniversary. The process of digitalizing the past

kickoff of AUR’s 50th Anniversary, the

has been much more than a large

Alumni and Development department

undertaking. First and foremost it has

was given the task of cataloguing and

been a study. It has provided a way

organizing AUR’s photographic archive.

in which we can collectively better

This task has proven to be challenging

understand our university’s past, so that

and stimulating but most importantly,

we can harness the future.


gone before them. In preparation for the

it has shed light on many stories and many myths.

One of the most wonderful aspects of working on this project has been

David T. Colin, the co-founder and

the moments of reflection that are

first President of the University, was

inescapably brought on by working

also a journalist and documentarian,


and a very meticulous one at that. His

Pouring over countless images of AUR

experience in the field left him with

students wearing bellbottoms and peace

a keen eye for capturing the moment

sign t-shirts while they visit iconic

through the lens of a camera. From

landmarks such as the Colosseum,

AUR’s founding until his retirement,

or Spanish Steps, bring up feelings of

Colin documented the lives and events

nostalgia and create an almost tangible

of the students, professors, and faculty

connection to the past while walking

of AUR. The final product of his efforts

home after a day’s work. This is why, the

is a collection of over 3,500 black and

Wolftracks team is so excited for these

white images. The large majority of

photographs to be made available to the

the images he took are accompanied

AUR community.





by his notes. Hundreds of penciled-in

and typewriter typed descriptions on

We are sure that as you view scenes

almost see-through carbon copy sheets

of students touring Delphi, going to

of paper from 45 years ago, spark the

class in the Roman Forum, or simply

notion that one is not simply viewing

enjoying a gelato while they interact

a place or event from the past, but is

with one another, you will easily relate

actually immersed in that time.

and reminisce about your own AUR experience.

His notations and comments paint a picture not so much of a school, but of an

To start things off, this issue will

opportunity; one that cannot be found


at any other university in the United

favorite part of the academic year,

States or the world. His descriptions


By Mark Ozella Current IR student and Student Trainee for the President’s Office

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Do you recognize yourself or your friends? Help us out by letting us know if you do, or by sharing your own pictures, memories and stories of AUR.

Write to!

- 31 -

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” - Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.

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Since its founding, AUR has been invested in granting its students an education that prepares them for the job market and the real world. Many of our fabulous Alumni have gone on to create jobs of their own, establishing their own businesses across the globe. In this issue of Wolftracks, we have decided to showcase some of the many entrepreneurial stories from our Alums.

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A location-independent entrepreneur Alex Eckhart (BUS, ‘10)


fter AUR, Alex returned to his native San Francisco

roots. He took himself on a 50-day learning journey to the

Bay Area to join the booming tech community and utilize his

Hawaiian-island of Kauai where he became friends with a Web

shiny B.S. in Business Administration. Taking on various special

Wizard and exchanged guitar lessons for coding classes. Thanks

projects such as designing and developing an App for Michelin

to some incredible mentoring, great collaborators and many

starred restaurant The French Laundry, and organizing over

late nights working, within a year Alex was traveling full time

100 events for companies including Apple, Twitter, and Yahoo!

as a location-independent entrepreneur specializing in digital

(thanks to his ResGrad Experience), within a few years his focus

marketing, branding, and web strategy. He has since enjoyed

soon shifted back to the world at large.

this lifestyle while living in Bali, Tuscany, and around the US.

Alex became intrigued by the Digital Nomad community,

His latest focus is the craft of cinematic documentary-style

living and working from far-flung destinations with nothing

video content, featuring wellness culture, organic agriculture,

more than a laptop and a clientele. This seemed like the perfect

plant-based cuisine and consciousness development. His first

combination of his business/tech background and globetrotting

commissioned project was a 10-part mini-series shot in the

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Longevity Blue Zone of Ikaria, Greece. He has since shot with

For me, nothing is more rewarding than running my own

cinematographers in Japan and Ecuador for his media brand

schedule from absolutely anywhere in the world. As you settle

The Natural Traveler.

into your first few months, things can get incredibly stressful, so keeping your freedom in perspective is essential. Treat yourself

His ability to work from anywhere allows him to scout new

to a Wednesday afternoon walk through the park when 90% of

locations, build contacts and experience new cultures while

your friends and family are stuck inside someone else’s world.

servicing clients based in the US, UK, Italy and Belgium.

Taking walks in general has been incredibly powerful for me.

Alex is currently living in the redwood forests of Mill Valley,

Give your mind a break, take in trees and flowers, and let the

California, where he is planning his next shoot, developing

ideas flow in as you move your body. Enjoy the ride.

his clients’ brands, and enjoying daily walks in nature spotting hummingbirds.

Follow Alex around the world and keep up with all his enterprises @

What’s your best advice to fellow alumni who are unsure about taking the leap into starting their own business? Align yourself with others in your future industry before making the leap. It may seem counter-intuitive to spend time with “the competition” seeking the same customers, but in my experience, the knowledge-sharing and referral-flow was absolutely my key to success. An overloaded colleague may just send you your first customer. If you’re in a niche market and proximity truly is an issue, find someone doing what you’re doing in another state or country and provide them with value so the relationship is mutually beneficial. You will constantly be problem-solving and putting out fires, and having someone to bounce ideas off of is invaluable. They’ll likely help you to save time and money as well. As they say, “Your network determines your net worth”. Build a community from Day 1, it’s fun anyway. Alex in Montanita, Ecuador

Alex shooting in Greece

Backstage shot of Alex during the shooting

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Hostel Tevere Giles A. Smith (IR, ‘08)


iles Smith was recently in Rome for a semester and we

re-opened the restaurant with a collaborative project involving

had the pleasure of seeing him again and recording a podcast

our friends and colleagues from The Mad Taco.

with him. So when we were thinking of Alumni to showcase for this new feature on Alumni Businesses, Giles popped into the

I met my wife in Rome upon returning to AUR full-time in

editorial team right away!

2006 and we got married in Rome in 2012. We have a four year old son, Findlay, a five year old French Bulldog, Cleopatra, and

Carla Valentine interviewed Giles for this issue of Wolftracks,

are expecting our second child, a little girl, in November.”

asking him how he went from AUR graduate to hostel owner. About the business “I worked full-time throughout college (all seven years of undergrad) - bartending, promotion, freelance marketing. I

We opened Hostel Tevere in July of 2009 after both my wife and

chose to forego business or law school to move back stateside

I had studied, lived and travelled extensively throughout the

and open the hostel the winter following graduation. We have

2000’s. Both my wife and I have hospitality and service industry

been operating successfully since 2009 and are now in our tenth

backgrounds and were baffled as to why hostels weren’t a more

year owning and operating the hostel and bar, and just recently

visible and plausible option within the US travel industry. We

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are currently a 30 bed hostel, operating with a full-service bar and restaurant four nights a week. We take in guests 365 days a year. We have found a niche within the industry as a comfortable, safe, and convenient option for budget travelers looking to explore the outdoors in the Mad River Valley in central Vermont. We are mainly busy during the ski season and have used this fact to continue to travel and explore the world during the summers when business is slower. Overall, it has been an amazing learning experience and has allowed us to meet loads of amazing people from all over the world. Most importantly, we have been able to open many Americans’ eyes to the hostel experience and environment, shedding a positive light on a lodging style that can be unfamiliar to a lot of travelers. historical perspective. It was an honor to work with and be a

AUR experience

pupil of both these fine individuals and they are two of the many During my time at AUR I worked full-time bartending, tour

reasons that I am forever grateful for my education at AUR,

guiding and running promotions and music shows. I also

(and they would sit and have a beer with us after class at Archi

actively participated in the Model UN group as well as working

to hash out a lecture whenever given the opportunity.)

with the student government to organize and execute AUR’s fall and spring kickoff parties and end of year events. Having already

Ultimately, my time at AUR was a major factor in the path I

received a degree in Business Marketing and History from the

have chosen to follow since graduating. As an alumnus now, I

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I re-entered university at

can say that the changes that have occurred on campus since

AUR in the IR department hoping to gain a better perspective

my departure are all for the better and it is exciting to hear that

and understanding as to the way in which human interactions

the University is growing and settling into its place as one of the

shape not only the political landscape, but the economic and

best university educations in the city of Rome for students from

social landscapes that vary worldwide. Being surrounded with

all walks of life, from all over the world. We look forward to

other students from countries spanning the globe provided a

bringing the whole family back in the spring after what we hope

learning experience and environment that brought prospectives

will be a snowy and successful winter.

from continents the world over, and truly shaped my worldview and how I share my world and experiences with those around

Follow Giles and his family to keep up with all the things


happening at Hotel Tevere @

By far my two biggest influences and mentors during this period were James Walston, my advisor and possibly one of the greatest professors I have ever known, and Bjorn Thomassen. Both of these individuals had a profound and lasting impact on not only my education but my life as a whole. They were deadset upon opening our eyes as students to the real world that we are living in and how to decipher the problems we face as humans today in a globalized world. But they went further than just this. They both gave us the tools to navigate and understand the underlying systems and institutions that shape the spheres of influence and how we as individuals could hope to thrive and shape them ourselves through fact based learning with

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David Silva & Barber Co. David Silva (BUS, ‘09)


Texas native, David moved back to his home

banking, to student assistant positions and the Resgrad program

city, Houston, after AUR. Searching for his career path, he

at AUR, to the wine and food industry, and even my former

worked at an Italian-inspired wine bar called 13 Celsius.

salon work environment. Each experience honed my sense of

In this issue of Wolftracks, David told Kathy Bemis how

service through identifying needs of people, while training my

he went from AUR, to the wine and food industry, finally

personality and my mind-set to be able to engage the public that

ending up as as owner and founder of a boutique barbershop

I now serve as a proprietor and operator in my barber studio.

in Houston. Why did you decide to open this particular business? Tell us a little about your work experience. How did it I have seen for years now that my particular style of barbering

prepare you for your current role?

has been appreciated very much by my patrons. With the My prior experience had always been in the service industry

support of a loyal following, and my family and friends, I

with a few exceptions.

harnessed my desire to unlock my growth potential. I saw this

My work experience spans from

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scissors and a comb I happened to have. After years of honing my technical skill, seeking out the best colleagues in my industry to learn from, and studying and re-studying the fundamentals, I learned to be myself inside of an ancient craft that embraced me as its own son.

business as a well primed pump that needed only to have the growth cap unplugged. By stepping out on my own I have been able to expand to my full potential. You’ve always been proud of and stayed in contact with your Italian culture; how do you do so today in your home and work lives?

How did your AUR education help you in your career?

I live the Italian culture every day at my work and my home.

I would say that the entire experience of studying at AUR

Since returning to Texas from Italy, I sought out the Italian

and living in Rome facilitated a place of growth and identity

community here, which I found lievly and thriving. From

discovery that still fuels my every step in business today.

volunteer opportunities, to personal and business relationship

Every Marketing course I ever took…thanks Prof. Fitzsimmons.

building, I continually foster connections with many Italian

Though I’m not launching any official PR campaigns, the

people, some I now call dear friends in my community. Not

greatest campaign I ever launched was to believe in myself (me,

to mention, my housemate is from Sicily. From cooking to

my brand) and commit myself to delivering an exceptional

conversation, my home is a place of Italian inspiration.

experience. Everything that happens when a customer sits in my chair then speaks for itself.

At work, I have the pleasure of being able to offer a barber experience that is steeped in Italian tradition. The spirit of

What’s your best advice to fellow alumni who are unsure

my service is rooted in the artisanship and hospitable nature

about taking the leap into starting their own business?

I learned from my barber colleagues in Italy. This spirit is

Two things –

kept alive by a relationship I maintain with my professional

1) Fear becomes the sense of respect for things that are done.

inspiration/mentor, Francesco Cirignotta, barber of Milan. My

You need to have courage to fear in order to do great things.

barber studio is a dwelling place that offers simply the things

2) Give yourself total permission to fail miserably. The moment

that I would like to find if I walked into a barbershop. Hence,

you accept and are ok with the fact that this might happen, is

all things of top quality, which come from Italy, except for the

exactly the moment you will be ready to leap.

barber…who is an Italian speaking Texan that sends Italian customers into cultural confusion…they swear that I cannot be

Where can we follow you on social media?

from Texas as I offer them espresso after a haircut.

Instagram: @davidsilvabarber I usually have a pair of scissors and comb in my hands and not

Best beard advice?

the phone, hence you will only find me posting occasionally. But follow and feel free to reach out to me any time.

Allow the beard to grow, discover its unique characteristics, and consult an experienced barber to give you the most complimentary shaping and grooming/ product tips. Favorite Italian “product”? At the moment I truly enjoy working with Davines hair care from Parma. I specialize in offering hair and scalp problem remedies by working with their Natural Tech shampoo. We know that discovering your gift for cutting hair was a very fortunate coincidence (accident?) What do you imagine your work life would look like now if you hadn’t pursued this talent? I cannot imagine a work life that is not of this craft. I discovered, in my journey, that I am an artisan, and all my prior experience leading up to this discovery helped shape and mold the person and professional that I am today. My path has been more like a calling to something that made sense in the very moment I found it. The realization came about one day, when I was randomly fixing a bad haircut my brother had, with some

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World Threads Traveler & Long Hill Farm Caitlin Bagby (IR, ‘09)


riginally from Bolton, MA, Cait graduated from

transitioning World Threads Traveler from high fashion to

AUR in 2009 with a degree in International Relations. Together

sustainable fashion by pairing her academic training in human

with Sallie Pisch (IR, 2010), she started the James Walston Fund

rights with her love of and curiosity forfashion.

in the memory of the late Prof. Walston. She was the recipient

Today, World Threads Traveler has gained international

of the David T. Colin Alumni Award for Distinguished Service

readership, was recognized as one of the Top Green Blogs in

in 2017.

2017 and became a member of the Ethical Writers and Creatives

After graduating in 2009, Cait took a year off from academia

association. WTT focuses on sustainable fashion, green beauty,

to work for the Baker & Abraham Law Firm in Boston, MA.

and conscious lifestyle with a large portion of the blog dedicated

Later, she graduated from King’s College London with an MA

to eco-education where readers can find articles regarding the

in War Studies in 2011, with an academic emphasis on genocide

fashion industry and covering such topics as child labor in the

studies, human rights, and international criminal law. While in

textile industry, chemicals in clothing, and denim production

London, Cait worked as a risk analyst focusing on the MENA

among others.

region in regard to anti-piracy and terrorism prevention.

Cait is dedicated to discovering, promoting, and encouraging

“During my MA, I focused on Asymmetrical Warfare, Resource

sustainable businesses and practices across several industries.

Conflict, and Crimes Against Humanity. I have also obtained

Her reviews provide her readers with quality information and this

certificates in Peace & Conflict & International Negotiations

has led many people around the world to trust and rely on WTT.

from the United States Institute of Peace.”

In addition to running World Threads Traveler, Cait has grown

Currently, Cait has her hands full with two enterprises: World

her passion for locally grown, organic, and historical variety

Threads Traveler and Long Hill Farm. A long time blogger,

foods into a working farm: Long Hill Farm in Bolton, MA.

it was in 2015 that Cait made the leap to blogging full time,

After spending a year restoring an 1810 farmhouse, she and her

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husband Robert turned their eyes and hands to reinvigorating

What’s your best advice to fellow alumni who are unsure

the dairy farm whose land once spanned six hundred acres.

about taking the leap into starting their own business?

With seventeen acres, in 2017 they begun a specialized farm

It’s scary and can be incredibly lonely but offers a rewardingly

which focuses on historical and heirloom variety vegetables

unique opportunity and experience if you’re willing to go along

from the around the world. In addition to providing free-range,

for the ride. The biggest lesson I have learned both in blogging

organic eggs from their twenty eight chickens, they also have

and farming is that you can’t know it or do it all. There will come

three goats which they use for natural land clearing, in turn,

a time that you need to rely on others and their expertise. By

helping to expand the overgrown lands into usable space. They

including the voices and experiences of others this leads to a

are currently working on installing an orchard which will focus

stronger, more inclusive company.

on unique, one-of-a-kind varieties. Cait’s motto in life is “We only have one life to live. Live it to its

How did your AUR education help you in your career?

fullest by delving into various areas of interest and intrigue. It

What I have come to truly appreciate about AUR is the

is in the marginal overlaps of those areas that imagination and

unparalleled experience which has yet to be matched.

innovation come to life.”

From public speaking, to event organization, a push for independence, culture awareness and sensitivity, the ability to

Kathy Bemis interviewed Cait for this new feature of Wolftracks:

learn not only from some of the brightest professors and faculty but also students from around the world, as well as exploration

Tell us little bit about your work experience before founding

of various topics have all helped in my career. They have taught

your company. How did it prepare you for your current role?

me that being unsure is acceptable; not taking action is not. I am

I have kept my work experiences broad including Editor in

incredibly honored to remain in touch with many of my former

Chief of Politikon, an internationally read social sciences

professors. They have provided guidance over the years, whether

journal under IAPSS, risk analyst focusing on the the MENA

it pertained to their class or not. It would be impossible to nail

region with a focus on piracy and counterterrorism, and

down just one thing about my time at AUR that has helped in

research and executive functioning intern at the UMASS

my career. If you’re open to new experiences such as taking

Boston Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights.

classes not pertaining to your major, traveling on the weekends,

All of these roles have provided a deep appreciation for and

embracing new challenges academically, socially, and culturally,

interest in research, publishing, conference organization and

and generally playing an active role in opportunities both big

public speaking, marketing, and most importantly the ability to

and small that come your way, AUR will prepare you no matter

be flexible and adapt regardless of topic or industry.

what field you choose to venture into in the future.

What was your senior thesis about? Did it help you decide

Where can we follow you on social media?

the direction you’ve taken?

On Instagram @worldthreads &

My thesis was titled The Great Purge & Spanish Inquisition: An

And on facebook World Threads & Long Hill Farm Bolton

Analytical Model of State Terror. I’ve always had a keen interest in human rights. My dissertation was an academic approach and exercise in this field, however, my interests also translated into the blogging world, making the often complex topic easily approachable by the everyday consumer. Why did you decide to open this particular business? My foray into blogging was accidental and one that not even I could have predicted. However, after blogging high fashion as a hobby, I realized there was a gap in the market which was the missing translation of human rights, environmental care, and ethical marketing into more approachable format.

- 41 -


DONOR HONOR ROLL The American University of Rome is grateful to our 2017-2018 Donors for their generous support. Whether giving to support scholarships, fund study trips and capstones, or simply giving with no restrictions, these donations help us to meet our mission to prepare students to live and work across cultures, as skilled and knowledgeable citizens of an interconnected and rapidly changing world. As AUR approaches its 50th Anniversary, we will look to our friends, alumni and supporters more and more to participate in helping us reach new heights to create a stable and secure institution for the next 50 years.

Anonymous (4)

Robert Krapf

Amy and Ken Baldonieri

Madelaine Kuns Bruschini ‘07

Christine Baldonieri

Linda Kelley Kurfess

Gabriel A. Battista

Christine La Carbonara ‘13

Katherine E. Bemis

Dale LeMasters

Stephen A. Briganti

Joseph D. Lonardo

The Cigna Matching Gift Program

Anthony Manganiello

David Colin Jr. and Laura L. Hoffman

The New York Community Trust, Bento Fund

Peter and Faith C. Coolidge

William A. Nitze

Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching

Andrew Palmieri

Clifford Curda ‘14

Gina Pampena

Mark Damato

Frank Placenti

Elizabeth Dibble

Jonathan Pollack

Thomas Duesterberg

Matthew Ripsom ‘15

Guillermo Estrada

Anastasia Safarian ‘08

Forty-One Foundation

Salvatore Salpietro

Rosa Fusco

Kiersten Saltwick ‘14

Maurizia Garzia

Amanda Schulz ‘13

Lindsey Genovese

Edward K. Schwarz

In memory of James A. and Faustina Rone Geraci

Antoun Sehnaoui

Antonio Giordano

Sons of Italy Foundation

The Richard A. and Martha Lynn Girard Charitable Fund

Larry Sonsini

Leila Gonzalez-Sullivan

Neil Boyden Tanner

C. Boyden Gray

The Viola Foundation

Joseph D. Gulino

Tiro A Segno Foundation

Karl Hirshhorn

Debra Tornaben

Richard Hodges

Greg and Catherine Varallo

Bliss Holloway ‘04

Charles K. Williams II

Ayman Zakaria Jomaa

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How can you help? By g iv ing m o n ey , t i m e o r b o t h How to Give Money:

How to Give Your Time:

• Go to to instantly give funds to AUR. It’s fast, secure and easy to do! And you can choose where your funds will go.

• E-mail Laura Estrada Prada at or Amy Baldonieri at and find out where we could use your help and let us know the types of volunteering you are interested in (events, fundraising, student mentoring, student recruitment). Or call us! +39 0658330919

• Send us a check P.O. BOX for U.S. Postal Service deliveries The American University of Rome c/o Bank of America-Lockbox Services P.O. BOX 841229 Dallas, TX 75284-1229

• Come visit us! Stop by anytime and we will gladly accept your gift in person (and probably send you off with some cool AUR swag).

• Wire transfer Account name: The American University of Rome Bank: Banca Popolare di Sondrio, Branch 21 Rome Address: Via Famiano Nardini 25, 00162 Rome, Italy Account: 104-0003010-VAR-USD IBAN CODE: IT14 O056 9603 221V ARUS 0003 010 Swift /BIC: POSOIT22

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it’s summertime... and the living is easy By Ellie Johnson


s the summer sets in and the temperatures rise, those in Rome seek an escape from the baking heat of the city center. Some flee to the lakes, some go to the sea, others settle for the shade of the trees at one of Rome’s many parks. Here we present you various options for some respite from the rays‌

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3 1


One of the major perks of Villa Borghese is that you have a plethora of options as to how to get around inside the park. Visitors can rent bikes, tandems or golf carts; those gifted with coordination can explore the park on rollerskates; children can take a ride on a pony; the


lake in the center of the park rents out boats to row around and take a closer look at the Tempietto di Esculapio. The Borghese park also boasts one of the best views of Rome from the Pincio terrace, overlooking Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo. Throughout the summer, the park hosts an outdoor cinema festival, screening everything from animated childhood favorites to independent international cinema. An added bonus is that the screenings are in the evening, so it is cooler – take your insect repellent though!





Head southeast of the city center and you will reach one of Rome’s largest and wildest parks. Within a matter of minutes it seems that you are in the middle of

All who come to AUR must be familiar

the countryside, with rolling hills and

with Villa Pamphili. At a stone’s throw

woodland stretching out before you

from the university, it offers the perfect

until the Alban Hills in the distance. Any

antidote to the chaos of the city. Plenty of

weekend in the summer, the park is filled

peace and quiet and, most importantly,

with groups of picnic-ers and barbeque-

shade can be found in the rolling hills

ers – and those in the know pick up their

and Roman pines. Villa Pamphili is the

lunch fresh from the market, tucked

largest landscaped park in Rome, and

away at the far end of the park. The

you can easily lose yourself among the

Caffarella also holds a hidden gem: the

fountains and sculptures as well as the trees.

ancient Nymphaeum of Egeria.

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any Romans lament that the beaches near the capital are not as beautiful as those in other regions, however, when the Roman heat hits and you need to escape to the spiaggia, these are the best options – and they aren’t half bad!




Ostia is the go-to beach of choice for many in Rome, as it is the closest and easiest to reach, only an hour’s train journey away. While it is not known for being the most beautiful beach, it has all the necessary elements to meet your beachy needs. A trip to Ostia can be combined with a visit to the ruins of Ostia Antica, the port city of ancient Rome – which has plenty of pine trees to shelter you from the sun.



At Sperlonga you have three great elements combined in one: the old town of Sperlonga, which could be mistaken for a Puglian village, with its narrow alleys of whitewashed walls and all the charm of a seaside town. The town leads down to a long stretch of sandy beach, lined with bars where during the summer parties carry on late into the night. At the far end of the beach lie the incredible ruins of the villa of the emperor Tiberius, whose colossal sculptures can be seen in the adjacent museum.

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Santa Marinella is a little further away from Rome, but the extra effort is worth it! The waters are clear and blue, the beaches offer stretches of white sand, and the nearby town is charming. It also has a long tradition of being a spot for sunning and swimming. In antiquity, Santa Marinella was the site of Aquae Caeretanae, a Roman bathing resort.






At just over an hour outside of Rome, Bracciano offers the perfect respite from the Rome’s high summer temperatures.

l a ke s

Drop down to the large volcanic lake, and you can take a trip out on a peddle boat or row-boat, and you can take a dip in the fresh, clear water. Heading up into the city, you can visit the medieval castle of the Orsini-Odescalchi which overlooks the town and offers a fantastic



view of the lake below. At this high point, you can cool off by wandering around the turrets and battelements while taking in the stunning panorama.


The neighbor of Lake Bracciano, Martignano is the perfect place for those who seek a total escape from the hustle and bustle of Rome. The lake is still


Another lake that is just a short train ride from the center of Rome is Castel Gandolfo. This picturesque town is home to the Pope’s summer residence, and the impressive Apostolic Palace and adjacent Barberini Gardens which are open to visitors. From the town you can enjoy a spectacular view over Lake Albano, and along the waterfront are kiosks from which you can rent canoes, kayaks and

very much under the radar compared to Bracciano, and it is also part of a nature reserve, which means that there is no road traffic and the whole area is a haven of tranquility. The abundant greenery and clear clean water are more than enough to cleanse you of the city dust, and you could easily spend the whole day just relaxing by the water. However, there is also plenty to offer for the energetic and the outward-bound, including sailing, horseback riding and mountain biking.

peddle boats.

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Summertime in Rome has always been one of the preferred seasons by Romans. The great weather invites outdoor activities and the bars and pubs start colonizing the sidewalks as early as May. As the temperature and humidity rises, the people of Rome seek refuge in cool, hidden gardens or a beautiful terraces. The Roman summer is the time to indulge in delicious appetizers and a compulsory spritz, surrounded by greenery even in the heart of the city. There are many outdoor clubs in which to toast the summer under the starry sky of the capital. Here are some suggestions for you.

DOMINA 2018 @ BORGO RIPA Hosted within the beautiful Borgo Ripa structure, a historic dwelling that belonged to the Doria Pamphilj family in the 1600s, Domina is one of this year’s preferred summer spots. The Borgo is less than 10 minutes away by foot from Piazza Trilussa. If you are looking for a magical place to have a drink or an aperitivo with a quality buffet, then you are in the right place. An elegantly illuminated garden and good music welcomes those who wish to experience a little green, right in the heart of Trastevere. LUNGOTEVERE RIPA, 3 (TRASTEVERE) MON – SAT, 7.30PM – 2AM

BUTTERFLY A great location in a secret garden in the heart of Rome, a few steps from Ponte della Musica and Renzo Piano’s Auditorium, Butterly is a mixology bar, restaurant, jazz line-up and music venue open every day until late. The court is dedicated to plethora of musical genres, creative performances and events. The venue also has an “enchanted garden”, which is reserved for dinners, drinks, and aperitivi. VIALE DEI GLADIATORI, 68 (PONTE MILVIO) OPEN NIGHTLY, 7PM-3AM

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FERIA ON THE LANIFICIO ROOFTOP When the heat of the city becomes unbearable, there is nothing better than spending a pleasant evening on the Lanificio roof, accompanied by lovely breeze and good music. Formerly a wool-mill and factory, Lanificio is a year-round hotspot of Roman night-life. This year, Lanificio re-opened their terrace with a new “island on the roof � theme they appropriately called Feria! Indulge in the pirate island scenery with live music, dj set, cocktail bar and a sushi corner. All this and much more, as Feria offers different events every week. VIA DI PIETRALATA, 159 (NOMENTANA) OPEN DAILY, 6.30PM-2AM

THE SANCTUARY ECO RETREAT The Sanctuary proposes an eco retreat without having to leave the city. A 1000 square meter park, this eclectic space is perfect for a daily yoga class, an evening out with friends or a romantic dinner. A multi-sensory experience and an innovative space within the ruins of the Trajan baths, The Sanctuary offers a timeless place to take refuge from the rest of the world and connect with your inner self, with nature or with others. VIA DELLE TERME DI TRAIANO 4A OPEN TUESDAY-SUNDAY, 6PM -3AM

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Wolftracks Summer 2018 - Vol. 11 Iss. 2  

Summer is here again and as I look through the 2017 Summer Issue of Wolftracks, I can’t help but smile a little. It seems like just yesterda...

Wolftracks Summer 2018 - Vol. 11 Iss. 2  

Summer is here again and as I look through the 2017 Summer Issue of Wolftracks, I can’t help but smile a little. It seems like just yesterda...