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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

CAPS Evening in Siena

For two days last week, students who studied abroad last summer brought a little bit of Italy back to University of Massachusetts Boston for the “Evening in Siena” event.
The event was hosted by graduates of the of Advancing and Professional Studies course “Food and Culture: The Italian Experience.” taught by Vetri Nathan.
Students who took the course got to spend two weeks in the medieval Tuscan city of Siena studying the food and culinary practices that so wholly shaped a culture. Then they were able to put their studying to the test by taking culinary courses in a local bakery taught by Chef Angelo Guida.
For their final projects, the students were to research various aspects of Italian culture and prepare a visual presentation to display for the event Vetri dubbed, “Evening in Siena.”
Final projects varied from exploring the history of bread-making and how it encapsulates traditional Tuscan ideals to exploring the differences in dining experiences between American and Italian restaurants. Students were given free rein on whatever topic they chose to explore, and each of their own passions was able to shine through their projects.
Finance major Courtney Gunn and her partner, Andrea Tassinari, focused on a price comparison between food sold in American markets and food sold in Italian grocery stores. They did this by meticulously collecting receipts while grocery shopping in Italy, and then performing the appropriate currency exchange to adequately compare.
The two were able to come to the conclusion that not only do Italians eat better, they also eat much more cheaply.
For painter Odeh Kraskian, the format in which she would present her final project was easy: She would paint. Scattered throughout the Campus Center First-floor Terrace were easels featuring abstract still lives of key Italian ingredients and lush landscapes of the sprawling Tuscan countryside. Odeh was able to capture the essence of the ease and fluidity of Italian lifestyle through her brushstrokes.
For the students themselves, the event was a chance to reminisce and reconnect with everyone who took part in the course.
“It was bittersweet coming together in a way because this was the last time all of us were forced to meet up and work together. We’ve all managed to stay in contact, but it was sad that the course was finally drawing to a close,” student Shannon Herrmann said.
When they weren’t presenting their projects to the people passing by, the “Food and Culture” students could be found surrounded by the TV that played Shane McKenna’s final project on a loop.
For the two weeks the students were in Italy, Shane meticulously captured every moment on his camera, then he made the images into a class documentary. The film showed photos of the students furiously chopping vegetables during the culinary classes, walking awestruck through the streets of Rome, and simply enjoying the “dolce vita” of Italian culture.
For the two days of the event, the “Food and Culture” students were able to reminisce about their time abroad and share with other students and faculty their experiences.
“It was a really interactive experience,” Herrmann explained. “People were able to ask questions, look at our projects, and watch our class video documentary. It was nice getting to relive the course again, but also to get to share it with other prospective students who might take it too.”