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Presenting our 2017 Massimo Bonavita/ U of M scholarship winner!


In honor of our co-founder, Massimo Bonavita, and in keeping with our mission to promote Italian language and culture, our $3,000 scholarship offers students majoring/minoring in Italian at the University of Minnesota the opportunity to spend one semester in Italy.

 The winner of this year’s scholarship is Sohrab Rostami

 Sohrab is a senior at the University of Minnesota where he had the opportunity to expand his knowledge of the Italian language and literature.  He enjoyed reading the written works of some of the greatest Italian writers; among his favorites are Italo Calvino and Giovanni Verga.  Furthermore, taking a course about the history of Italian cinema has given him the opportunity to know better the history of “il bel paese” by means of film and not only through literature.

 This fall, he will study at the University of Bologna where he hopes to take courses in Italian literature, cinema, and history, as well as in sociology. While in Bologna he will also write his senior thesis for the Italian major at Minnesota: it will analyze the role of the Camorra in the quartet of novels written by Elena Ferrante.

 This will be Sohrab’s second visit to Italy. Years ago, Sohrab spent time in the city of Napoli, where he enjoyed le sfogliatelle and where he was able to see his favorite soccer team, I Partenopei.  This time he looks forward to venturing further south to the regions of Calabria and Sicilia in the hope of deepening his knowledge of the Italian peninsula.

 After Sohrab concludes his studies at the University of Minnesota, he hopes to relocate permanently to Italy, where he will be close to Italians and will speak the language every day.  

 We congratulate Sohrab and look forward to reading about his learning adventures in Italy!

2017 - Presenting our St. Cloud State scholarship winner 

Ciao! My name is Jessica Gehrke, and I am in my first year in the Higher Education Administration  doctorate program at St. Cloud State University. I am very grateful to the Italian Cultural Center for their  2017 scholarship to study at the University of Macerata for two weeks as part of my doctorate program. This  is my first opportunity to travel overseas, and I am thankful for their support to help make a life-long dream  to visit Italy a reality. I look forward to not just seeing, but experiencing Italy through this immersive course,  and growing personally and professionally as is only possible through an opportunity like this.

I have been fascinated by Italy since I first learned about the country and the Italian composer Vivaldi as a child through a musical tape. (His music is still among my favorites!) I have learned more about Italy throughout my education, often through music classes, and through friends who have traveled there, hearing wonderful things about the culture, sights, and food. I am excited about this opportunity to now travel to Macerata, experience Italian culture, and learn about Italian higher education. 

I currently work for the 360 Manufacturing & Applied Engineering Center of Excellence at Bemidji State University as the Communications Specialist. 360 collaborates with educators and industry to recruit, educate, and train workers in advanced manufacturing. which is a statewide consortium of colleges. Prior to working at Bemidji State, I worked for a non-profit organization in marketing communications and completed my Master’s degree in Communication at Washington State University. I look forward to applying what I learn about Italian culture and higher education as I complete my degree and continue my career in higher education. Jessica will submit blog entries during her trip to Macerata in May of 2017.  Be sure to watch the ICC website, and share her experience!  

The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
 528 Hennepin Ave | Minneapolis, MN 55403 | (612) 295-4111 

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