Deanna Peterangelo ’16, ’17 (T5)
Deanna Peterangelo ’16, ’17 (T5)
Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.
“Being a Lisio Prize recipient is more fuel for the passion; I may have graduated and completed my Take Five program, but my exploration of Italian culture and language has only just begun.”
With your pre-med, neuroscience, and psychology focus, why did you want to do a Take 5 in Italian language and culture?
I had heard about Take Five since my freshman year, however it was only in my junior year that I started to seriously consider the opportunity. I wanted to use the extra year to broaden my horizon outside of the sciences and explore my own heritage. With my family having been long since removed from our Italian roots, I felt the Take Five program was the optimal opportunity to reconnect.
How did that year, and the time in Italy, shape who you are today?
My time during the Arezzo program was unparalleled to anything I had ever done. Although my goal was to get a taste of Italian culture, I walked away from that semester feeling as if I was connected to something so much greater than myself: a whole history that spanned some of the greatest moments of humanity. It made me appreciate that culture, be it Italian or American, is constantly evolving from the influences of the past, and moving towards the future.
Can you tell a story about a unique experience that happened to you over there, or perhaps about something you learned? Or, what was your favorite experience over there?
I truly enjoyed watching the goistra or joust. It is a tradition in the city of Arezzo to have two jousts a year, and we were lucky enough to be there for the one in September. The whole day was a festival; everywhere you walked you either saw people in traditional medieval garb or sporting their quartiere (district) pride.
To me, it was the ultimate marriage of past and the present: a place where time was irrelevant and only the Italian spirit mattered. The sport itself was quite the spectacle with the crowds cheering and the knights of each quartiere attempting to get the highest score on their wooden adversary. Our student group felt like we became part of Arezzo, and fully engaged ourselves in the traditions of the city. To top it off, our quartiere won the joist—Go Sant’Andrea!
What is that draws you to Italy and Italian studies? Why do you love it?
My initial interest to study Italian came from my personal desire to connect with my heritage, but it has since expanded beyond that. My time particularly in Arezzo, and continued with my studies at UR, allowed me to see the beauty of Italy from many angles. I found myself in awe of the ingenuity of Roman architects, in love with the in depth stories behind the renaissance works, captivated by the not so distant turmoil that fills the Italian history books, all the while experiencing the rich culture and language of Italy today. And of course, I could never have enough pasta!
What did it mean to you to be the Lisio Prize recipient?
It is an incredible honor to be a Lisio Prize recipient! It was certainly unexpected as well. Since I first began my personal and academic exploration of Italian language and culture, I repeatedly felt as though I was only grazing the surface of my incredible heritage.
I needed to dig deeper, and the more I found, the more I wanted to share my findings with others. I would tell my friends about the beauty of the Tuscan landscape or about the romantic stories of the Roman Empire. Although I am born and raised American, I am proud to be of Italian descent and I want to share that part of myself.
I feel that this prize is also a testament to my professors who inspired my passion, and would particularly like to thank Donna Logan and Professoressa Stocchi-Perucchio for their encouragement throughout my journey. Being a Lisio Prize recipient is more fuel for the passion; I may have graduated and completed my Take Five program, but my exploration of Italian culture and language has only just begun.
Global experiences build cultural literacy, foster understanding, and change our perspectives. To learn how you can support a cultural exchange program, contact Lisa Hall, Executive Director, College Advancement, at (585) 273-3619.
—Kristine Thompson, December 2017