Brooke Borgognoni, a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and public relations in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was selected to represent the University of Arkansas at the National Italian American Foundation’s 42nd Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C.
Borgognoni was one of 10 Italian-American student leaders selected to attend a celebration of culture, education and pride.
“I got the chance to meet other Italian-Americans who are already in the professional field. I was given the opportunity to engage in intriguing conversations with them about culture and their current professions,” Borgognoni said. “I met people who created Italian-American podcasts and hosted their own cooking shows.”
The gala enabled Borgognoni to also learn innovative strategies for promoting the Italian-American culture at the University of Arkansas.
“The culture is so important to Arkansas. In fact, Tontitown was founded by Italian Americans,” she added.
Borgognoni spent some of her time at the gala conversing with other students from various universities about their efforts in promoting Italian-American culture on their campuses.
“I was able to connect with people who have the same passion that I have for the culture,” she added. “I even met with board members from the foundation to discuss plans that I have for promoting Italian-American culture on my campus.”
She plans to host two events at the U of A based on Italian-American culture and one in the local community of Arkansas. The events will be funded by NIAF.
According to Borgognoni, her desire to learn more about Italian culture was fueled after in-depth conversations with her parents and grandparents about their heritage. She said she feels that learning things about where you are from is important to where you are going.
“Studying a second language could benefit anyone,” she said. “I encourage other students to look beyond where they are and try to embrace multiple cultures. It is nearly impossible to visit any city in Northwest Arkansas without meeting people who are from other countries or who speak multiple languages.”