About Siena Italian Studies

Professors and Staff

  • Lavinia Bracci

    School of Translation and Interpreting (SSIT), Rome: Specialized degree in Translation and Simultaneous Interpreting in German and Russian. Università degli Studi di Siena, four year course in Portuguese Language. Università per Stranieri di Siena, Specialization in Glotto-technologies and Glotto-didactics. Lavinia has most recently co-authored a text on the FICCS (Full-Immersion: Culture Content and Service) instructional approach that she has developed with the core team of instructors at SIS for the development of reflective intercultural competence entitled L’educazione riflessiva interculturale: L’approccio FICCS allo studio della lingua e cultura italiana. She has also published several articles on language learning, as well as an Italian language text called Dimmi Tutto!. She co-founded and co-directed the StudyinSiena Program, and is founder and director of Siena Italian Studies and the International Center for Intercultural Exchange.

  • Fiora Biagi

    Università degli Studi di Siena: M.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature. PhD in Linguistics from the University of Siena. Fiora holds the DITALS specialization in teaching Italian as a second language from the Universita per Stranieri di Siena. She has worked as a Professor at the Università per Stranieri of Siena as well as an Italian/English translator. She has most recently co-authored a text on the FICCS instructional approach called L’educazione riflessiva interculturale: L’approccio FICCS allo studio della lingua e cultura italiana and currently teaches Italian language at Siena Italian Studies.

  • Marianna Bolognesi

    PhD in Applied Linguistics from a consortium between the Universities of Torino, Basel, and London. She also holds a M.A. in Applied and Computational Linguistics (University of Pavia). Her research interests are: cognitive linguistics, bilingualism and modeling of the mental lexicon. She has most recently co-authored a text on the FICCS instructional approach called L’educazione riflessiva interculturale: L’approccio FICCS allo studio della lingua e cultura italiana and currently teaches Italian language at Siena Italian Studies.

    Marianna has recently been awarded with a 2-year European Union fellowship for her research on visual and verbal metaphors. She will be conducting her research at the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with Metaphor Geeks and the International Center.


  • Nevin C. Brown

    University of Virginia, M.A. in American Southern History, University of California Santa Barbara B.A . in History. Nevin Brown has built an extensive career with educational organizations in the Washington D.C area such as the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), The Education Trust, and District of Columbia Public Schools. He has most recently worked as Dean of Academic Programs and President of the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, and as Senior Fellow in Postsecondary Initiatives at Achieve. Nevin has published numerous articles regarding higher education, global civic engagement and service-learning. At the IC he acts as a Senior Fellow, contributing to the development of IC initiatives regarding intercultural exchange.

  • Alfonso Casella

    Università degli Studi di Siena: Degree in Law with specialization on the History of the Italian Legal System. In addition to teaching, Alfonso works as a journalist for a local newspaper. Alfonso currently works for the University of Siena and has worked for the European Parliament in France. In 2007 he published a novel entitled Cicoria, which has received critical acclaim.

  • Elena Cellai

    Elena Cellai holds a M.A. in Political Sciences with a concentration in International Relations from the University of Siena and a postgraduate diploma in “Management of EU co-funded projects” from LUISS Business School in Rome. She has 5-years of experience in management of EU co-financed projects under different programmes, such as Youth in Action, Youth, Leonardo da Vinci 2000-2006, Lifelong Learning Programme – Grundtvig, Europe for Citizens, European Fund for the integration of third country nationals and for several public and non-profit organizations in Tuscany. Member of Associazione Culturale Ulisse since 2007, she also cooperates with Siena Italian Studies, teaching the “History of the European Integration” course.

  • Antonella Filippone

    Università degli Studi di Siena: M.A. in Modern Letters with a Modern Languages focus. Antonella holds the DITALS specialization in teaching Italian as a second language from the Universita per Stranieri di Siena. She is President of the Associazione Culturale Ulisse. She worked as a professor at the Universita per Stranieri di Siena for more than a decade. Antonella has most recently co-authored a text on the FICCS instructional approach called L’educazione riflessiva interculturale: L’approccio FICCS allo studio della lingua e cultura italiana and has published several articles along with the Italian language text, Dimmi Tutto!.

  • Alfredo Gatti

    Università Commerciale “L. Bocconi” di Milano: M.A. in Business Administration. Chartered Accountant (Albo Dottori Commercialisti di Milano) and Registered Auditor (Revisore Ufficiale dei Conti iscritto all’Albo Ministero Grazia e Giustizia). Alfredo has an extensive experience of Treasury and Capital Market products gained with Citibank, one of the world’s largest and global Corporate and Investment Banks. He has also strong technical accounting skills and deep working knowledge of Back Office and Accounting systems gained in Caboto (IntesaSanPaolo Group), one of the leading Italian Investment Banks. Alfredo is now Group Finance Controller at the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the third largest banking group in Italy.

  • Antonio Giorgi

    Università degli Studi di Siena: M.A. in Law with specialization in Bankruptcy Law. Antonio spent many years working with Sienese Agricultural Commission and then for the Studio Notarile Coppini, where he specialized in inheritance law. For the International Center he serves as a financial and legal consultant. Antonio currently acts as an administrative consultant for various International Education structures and is also a founding member and Treasurer for the Associazione Culturale Ulisse.

  • Ana María González

    Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (UEES) B.A. International Business and Marketing. Ana María studied Visual Arts at the Instituto Tecnológico de Artes del Ecuador (ITAE) with an emphasis on painting and sculpting, in her hometown Guayaquil. She also took private courses in Argentina for curation. Ana has exhibited in private galleries and public spaces like the Consulate General of the U.S. in Guayaquil. She currently works as an independent artist, teaches the Studio Art class for Siena Italian Studies and assists students with traveling and visa arrangements during their stay in Siena.

  • Chris Holmquist

    Montana State University: Bachelor of Arts in Photography. Chris leads students on excursions and serves as a liaison for the students guiding them through their daily activities at school, service sites including kindergarten, elementary, and high school english classes. Chris also works as the photography program coordinator at SIS organizing classes with local photographer Luciano Valentini and serves as photographer for the school activities keeping SIS’s social media and website updated.

  • Roni Kennison

    State University of New York at Geneseo: B.A. in History. Roni is a founding partner of Nove Culturae Ventures LLC, based in Avon New York, which collaborates with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange at Siena, as well as Siena Italian Studies to organize study experiences in Siena. After more than a decade in Siena, she is currently based in the U.S. and acts as Director of Marketing and Recruiting and North American Representative for the International Center and Siena Italian Studies. Roni also works as a freelance translator and is a founding member of the Associazione Culturale Ulisse, a Sienese association that works to promote volunteerism and service.

  • Michael Manchester

    Lewis and Clark College: B.A. in Communications. Michael is the Vice-President and a founding member of the Associazione Culturale Ulisse and coordinates service-learning projects in collaboration with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange, Siena Italian Studies, and IPSL Master Program. He has worked as the English Program Coordinator for the Siena public kindergartens for nine years as well as interpreter for the AC Siena professional soccer team. Michael is also a founding partner of Nove Culturae Ventures, LLC, based in Avon, New York, which collaborates with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange to organize study experiences in Siena.

  • Eliza Nash

    Mount Holyoke College: B.A. in Art History, Master from the Università degli Studi di Siena in Oenogastronimic Toursim and Marketing. Eliza, along with Roni Kennison and Mike Manchester, is a founding partner of Nove Culturae Ventures LLC, based in Avon New York, which collaborates with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange as well as Siena Italian Studies to organize study experiences in Siena. She worked as a student affairs coordinator for six years with the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Siena. At the IC she currently serves as a Program Coordinator and works on the development and implementation of future study programs. Eliza is also a founding member of the Associazione Culturale Ulisse.

  • Jules Martin Bella Owona

    Università per Stranieri di Siena, Degree in teaching of Italian Language and Culture, B.A. in Bilingual Studies French/English and M.A. in English Language Studies (University of Yaounde, Cameroon). In Cameroon, Jules has taught in an international school and has worked as translator for a joint venture between a local company and a South African one. He’s a certified examiner for the proficiency test for Italian language of the Università per Stranieri of Siena (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Seconda, CILS). He got involved with the International Center by completing an teaching internship program and a FICCS teacher training course. Today Jules teaches Reflective Writing, Italian, and Religion and Culture in Italy at Siena Italian Studies and directs the International Center’s newest program Siena Italian Studies for China. Jules Martin Bella Owonais among the EUFICCS project teachers actively contributing to the theoretical elaboration of many key concepts. As a teacher mediator for the Reflective Writing course, Jules is also part of the RICA team, which is a working group dedicated to the reflective intercultural competence assessment research.

  • Juan Carlos Ruiz-Coll

    Juan Carlos is originally from Venezuela, moved to the United States, and has been living in Italy since 2010. During his studies at The Ohio State University, he came as a student to SIS in 2009. He is currently pursuing a M.A. in linguistics and cognitive studies at the Università degli Studi di Siena.
    As the SIS Program Coordinator, he is in charge of organizing activities, setting the course schedule, dealing with academic credit transfer, and serving as the main liaison between SIS and the students’ home institutions.
    Carlo

  • Carlo Tozzi

    Università degli Studi di Siena, degree in Italian Cinema and Cinematographic Production He has collaborated with the Siena Italian Studies Program for several years on numerous activities in the cinematographic field. Carlo has directed two documentaries in collaboration with SIS. The first in 2006, “Ricordati che eri stranieri”, focused on the immigrant population in the city of Siena and the second in 2010, “Aquí me quedo”, was filmed entirely in Ecuador and focuses on the Italian migration to that nation. Carlo is teaches the Italian Cinema courses at SIS. He has worked on many Italian short films (“La marea silenzionsa”, 2010, “Due di Tre”, Stefano Lodovichi 2009) and on international films such as “Letters To Juliet”, 2010. His short film, “Incisioni” 2008, was a finalist in numerous national film festivals.

  • Alice Vannucci

    Università per Stranieri di Siena: Degree in Linguistics and Cultural Mediation. Specialized degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. Alice holds the DITALS specialization in teaching Italian as a Second Language from the Università per Stranieri di Siena. She has attended a training course at the International Center for Intercultural Exchange concerning the FICCS instructional approach (Full-Immersion: Culture, Content and Service). During her national community service at ARCI Association in Siena, she has worked as a cultural mediator and Italian teacher with immigrants. She currently teaches Italian language for the Siena Italian Studies Program.

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