Business Italian Style

Montclair State University Students Interview Local Entrepreneurs for the Newspaper La Voce di New York (Fall 2014)

Why study Italian on our campus? What class-related projects can show Montclair State University students the professional relevance of Italian Studies in our area? In the fall semester of 2014, students in the Business Italian course, taught by Dr. Enza Antenos, and a student completing a Coop Ed in Italian under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Fiore had the unique opportunity to take part in a project called "Business Italian Style" whose main aim was to actively link the study of Italian to the Made in Italy sector in NY and NJ.

 First episode (Design)
Second episode (Fashion)
Third episode (Art)
Fourth episode (Food)

Launched by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, this project is the result of a collaboration among the Italian Program at Montclair State University (Department of Spanish and Italian), an Italian-language online newspaper based in New York City called La Voce di New York and a film production company based in New Jersey, Art Motion PictureEighteen students were split up into four groups by sector (food, design, art, and fashion), attended preparatory workshops with experts in the field (Maurita Cardone of La Voce di New York and Giuseppe Malpasso of Art Motion Picture), researched their specific topic and created a set of questions in Italian for the interviewees (two per sector). The interviews took place over two days in both New York City and New Jersey, and were a wonderful opportunity for the students to really experience the world of design, food, fashion, and art, through seeing the interviewees in their own workplaces. 

Integrated into a Fall 2014 class in Italian (ITAL 321 “Commercial Italian”) taught by Dr. Enza Antenos, the project entailed the production of four video-interviews which paired up business people active in various Italocentric sectors in NY-NJ (Design, Fashion, Food, Art): Federico Materazzi (Executive Vice President, Americas Poltrona Frau Group); Gaetano Pesce (Designer and Architect, NYC); Cecilia Alemani (Director, High Line Art, NYC); Laura Mattioli, (Founder, CIMA, Center for Italian Modern Art, NYC); Sabbia Auriti (COO, The N Beverage Group, NJ); Melissa M. Daka (Chef and Owner of the Sicilian restaurant Eolo, NYC); Alberto Milani (CEO, Buccellati, NYC); and Tiziano Zorzan (Fashion designer).

The result of group work (4-5 students per group), the articles were written in Italian and the video-interviews were produced in Italian with English subtitles. After an initial illustration of the course in a lecture titled "The Business Video-Interview: Goals and Strategies" by Maurita Cardone (Deputy Editor, La Voce di New York) and Giuseppe Malpasso (cinematographer and founder of Art Motion Picture), held on Sept. 15 on campus, the students developed the questions out of the materials provided by Prof. Antenos on Italian business and specific Italian companies. Maurita Cardone secured the contacts for the interviews and supervised the interviews' content editing during the semester. A CHSS Cooperative Education opportunity with Art Motion Picture was offered to a student with proven experience as camera/audio operator, basic knowledge of Italian (two semesters) and enrolled in an Italian class in the Fall semester (Jarrett Strenner, School of Communication, under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Fiore). This student worked hand in hand with a recent alumnus of Montclair State University (Omar Portilla, Filmmaking Program, class 2014). Their shooting and editing work was supervised by Giuseppe Malpasso who gave an in-class presentation on content and video editing in November 2014. The entire team communicated via a blog on WordPress and via Google Docs.

In terms of academic goals, the project has allowed students to use specialized Italian language, both written and oral, in real-life business contexts while developing professional skills (journalism and filmmaking). The students gained exposure to a cross-section of business sectors thus equipping themselves with “real world” experiences (communicative strategies; negotiation skills; knowledge of local Italian markets/production; familiarity with regulations in the E.U. and U.S. markets for Italian products) that will doubtlessly be useful for future job opportunities nationally and internationally. In particular, the project made students more aware of the multiple uses of a B.A. in Italian in commercial areas where knowledge of Italian culture and language is crucial to success.

Indirectly, the project also gave visibility to businesses with an Italian connection. Their successful experiences are at the heart of the attention and respect Italy enjoys as a G8 country, which in turn enhances interest in the study of Italian language and culture among students who may also be majoring in other disciplines such as Media and Communication, Business, Arts, Nutrition, Design, etc. 

Designed by the Inserra Chair (Dr. Teresa Fiore), the project was supported by the Inserra Endowment linked to the Chair. For information contact: inserra@montclair.edu

This project confirms the dynamism of the Italian program’s course offerings and the interdisciplinary nature of its vision. The goals of the project are closely aligned with the University’s 2011 Strategic Plan including increasing real-world work experiences for students via internship and co-op opportunities.
Goal 1 Objective F: real-world learning and cooperative education experiences (p. 9) and Objective G: co-curricular activities (p. 9);
Goal 2 Objective B: off campus partnerships and new modes of instruction (p. 11);
Goal 3 Point B: Innovative approaches to regional issues (p. 13);
Goal 4 Objective E: Dynamic approach to learning a language (p. 16);
Goal 5 Objective G: Acquaint public with MSU projects (p. 21).

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STUDENTS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT
Angela Kovacs, Iris Comune, Serena Pederiali, Dariell Vasquez, Christina Petrillo, Domenico Lisa, Angela Percontino, Annamaria Grammatica, Alexa Arcaini, Sara Busch, Angelene Agresta, Emilia D'Albero, Stephanie White, Gabrielle Grudza, Angela Emiliani, Thomas Prudente, Alexia Stabile, Sandra Scavuzzo

BIOS OF EXPERTS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT

Enza Antenos, Assistant Professor of Italian (Montclair State University)
An expert in technology-enhanced language learning with publications on topics such as acquisition of elementary Italian, the professional preparation of Italian teachers, and social networking and online collaboration in Foreign Language Learning, Antenos-Conforti is interested in the integration of technological tools through pedagogically sound goals. Providing students with real-life situations beyond the classroom, opportunities to interact both organically and authentically with classmates and native speakers, and to broaden the ways in which they use every day tools to encourage life-long learning are central elements in her teaching. She has pioneered numerous investigations in learning management systems and the personal web (Horizon Report 2009 http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/chapters/personal-web/); mobile-assisted language learning (iPods, iPads and various mobile apps repurposed for language learning); and social media (Twitter, blogging, Facebook). Blogging on open blog hosts has allowed her students to develop different writing styles on a variety of cultural concepts in her content-specific courses, including general linguistics and business as well as courses off site (Florence Study Abroad Program).
See Profile

Maurita Cardone, Deputy Editor, La Voce di New York
Maurita Cardone is an Italian journalist with over ten years of experience in the field. Her articles and videos have been featured by a number of Italian media outlets. She has been a regular contributor to Il Sole 24 ore (The Italian Financial Times) for the past five years, and has reported from New York for the last three. Starting April 2013, she has been the Deputy Editor of the online magazine La Voce di New York, a Manhattan-based daily which chiefly focuses on the local Italian community and its culture. Prior to that, she was an editor for the environmentalist magazine La nuova ecologia in Rome. While working for the magazine, she developed a two-year video-journalism program, which involved high school students filming interviews for a final newscast project.
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/MauritaCardone

Giuseppe Malpasso, Filmmaker, Art Motion Picture
An Italian producer, director, and cinematographer based in the New York area, Malpasso has worked with Italian broadcasting networks such as RAI (the largest television company in Italy), Mediaset, Sky Italia, LA7, and MTV (Italy) as well as international ones: RTL, MTV, National Geographic International (UK), TSI (Switzerland), Seven Network (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand), BBC (US-UK), Discovery Channel (UK), and AP Associate Press (US). His work has been shown at the Venice and Tribeca film festival, and at the MOMA, New York. In 2008 and 2012, he covered much of the presidential campaign in the U.S. He won a Gold Panda Award for Best Cinematography at the Sichuan TV Festival in China for the documentary Last Stop on a community of seniors in New Jersey. Malpasso has filmed several interviews with entrepreneurs from Italy (see the following titles in the video selection below -- Art and Technology Save African Children and Alice in Wonderland). He has taught the course “Art & Science of Narrative Filmmaking” at Saint Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, FL (2010); the Princeton Adult School, Princeton, NJ (2010-13); and at the Manhattan Edit Workshop, New York (2010-12).
Website: www.artmotion.it and www.giuseppemalpasso.com
See video selection

Teresa Fiore, Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies (Montclair State University)
Teresa Fiore is Associate Professor and Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University, NJ. As part of her research, she has published several articles in journals and edited books (Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture) on the topics of foreign immigration in Italy and Italian emigration abroad, including the recent flow of businesspeople and entrepreneurs to the U.S. Besides conducting research and teaching courses on modern and contemporary Italian culture that emphasize the role of Italy in today’s globalized scenario, she directs a regular series of cultural programs that serve both Montclair State University students and faculty and the residents of the NY/NJ area.  Of particular relevance for the project described in this proposal is the Not Just for Techies round table organized in April 2014 in collaboration with the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair, which in focusing on the role of the humanities in the start-up sector spurred interesting conversations on the DIY economy in the NJ-NY area especially with respect to humanities-inflected areas (journalism, etc.) – for a video and articles see Media Coverage of Events (Spring 2014) at montclair.edu/inserra
See Profile