Elizabeth Venditto, UNICO National Graduate Fellow in Italian American Studies, PhD candidate, History major
My journey as a migration historian began as a college student in Indiana when I realized the uniqueness of my childhood in one of New York City's many Italian-American communities. This led me to interrogate how ethnic communities and identities are formed. My doctoral studies in migration history at the University of Minnesota have led me to a broader understanding of world migration history and Italians' role in it. Therefore, I am thrilled to receive the UNICO National Graduate Fellowship in Italian-American Studies to take advantage of the IHRC's renowned Italian-American collection for my dissertation research. My work examines Catholic missionary efforts with Italian emigrants and how they fostered an identity as "Italians" in communities far outside Italy. This grant will enable me to spend a semester working with the records of Catholic parishes, Italian-American organizations, and a wide range of Italian and Italian-American periodicals. Researching full-time in the IHRC will also allow me full participation in the IHRC's lively community of migration scholars and its community programming. As a young Italian-American scholar, I am particularly grateful for UNICO's generous support of the next generation of Italian-American scholarship.