I am an individual with a very unusual linguistic and cultural background. I grew up in NJ amid a rustic form of Venetian spoken at home and first brought to the Bronx by maternal grandparents, who are Italian immigrants. My grandmother has inspired my love of both Italy and the peninsula's rich tapestry of regional cultures. I received a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to study dialectology at the University of Venice in 2006-2007. After that very fruitful and memorable year of linguistic and cultural dialogue, I went on to graduate study at the University of Chicago, where, even in an Introductory Italian course, I was able to reach all my students with Italy's very diverse history.