Alumni Spotlight: Alessandra Mazzocchi

| Thu, 11/30/23
Alessandra Mazzocchi, an alumna of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics.
Alessandra Mazzocchi, an alumna of the Florida State University Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Photo by Nathan Burchiel.

Alessandra Mazzocchi is an alumna of Florida State University’s Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, part of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, she earned a master’s degree in Italian studies, and in 2021, she earned her second master’s degree in digital humanities. Mazzocchi is an Italian native who studied abroad at FSU after earning a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages, literatures and modern cultures in 2016 from the University of Turin. Her undergraduate dissertation centered on audio-visual translations from German to Italian. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, Mazzocchi is an associate account director for LinkedIn where she renews and expands businesses accounts.

Tell me a bit about your background, where you’re from, and what brought you to FSU?

I am from Italy, so I grew up studying and learning different languages. My undergraduate studies focused on foreign languages, and I loved every second of it. A longtime goal of mine was to study abroad, and I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a teaching assistant in the U.S. after one of my own TAs in undergrad pursued a graduate degree at Ohio State University. I began researching U.S. universities, finally narrowing it down to six. I ultimately chose FSU, partially for the Florida weather. Being an international student searching for schools online, there was just something about the iconic Westcott Building that also drew me in.

What inspired you to pursue two master’s degrees? Why did you choose digital humanities and Italian studies?

I earned my first master’s degree in Italian studies because I wanted to study my own culture and language from a foreign perspective. The program also allowed me to teach my language and share my culture with students, which I really enjoyed. In many ways, Italian studies helped me get my foot in the door at an American university, and I eventually found a passion for digital humanities. I love the technology world and the humanities, so finding a program that combines the two was an incredible opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about your current position as an associate account director for LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is one of the smaller “big tech” companies, so I can be fully immersed in the big tech world while still operating in an environment with small business values. If I have a question, I am always able to find someone willing to answer it, which is one of the most important things when you are starting your career.

What inspired you to pursue professional/academic opportunities internationally?

Being abroad helps you hone the ability to speak another language, which is an invaluable skill, but it also helps you learn to approach the business and academic worlds in different ways. I also do not want to live in one place my whole life, and there are so many opportunities everywhere. I am currently based in Dublin because that is where most of the American tech companies have their European headquarters.

How did your time at FSU prepare you for professional success?

Coming to the U.S. as an Italian, FSU opened me up to a new way of thinking. Both FSU and the experience of studying abroad gave me confidence in my ability to aim high and achieve my goals. I would not be where I am now without the connections I made at school, and FSU opened a lot of doors for me.

Tell me about an impactful experience during your time at FSU?

The Italian Society allowed me to share my culture with others who were interested. If I was able to spark any curiosity about the Italian way of life, I consider that a big win.

For me, FSU is not just a university or my “study abroad experience.” My journey at FSU really is all about the people I met along the way who became my friends for life. I met my best friend in a class where she was also a TA. She recently came to Ireland with her daughter to visit, and I still return to Tallahassee when I can.

Are there any faculty or staff members who inspired you?

Assistant Professor of Italian Beth Coggeshall is amazing. She specializes in Dante Alighieri’s works like “Inferno” and the “Divine Comedy,” which are foundational for learning about Italian culture. I was a TA in an Italian language course, but Professor Coggeshall also wanted me to be a TA in her undergraduate course on Dante’s works. The way she explains concepts is incredible, and the class allowed me think about texts I was already familiar with from a variety of different perspectives. Professor Coggeshall inspires me because of the passion she pours into her research and lectures.

The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics faculty were all incredible. Associate Professor of Italian Irene Zanini-Cordi was particularly welcoming during the application process and as I navigated moving across the world into a different culture with an unfamiliar education system. Everyone opened their doors to me, metaphorically and literally. During hurricanes, they even offered their homes if I needed somewhere to take shelter.

What was your favorite place on campus?

I am a swimmer, so my favorite place on campus was the Leach Recreation Center. It became a safe space for me to destress, but it also became a meeting place where I was able to be with friends. The Doak Campbell Stadium is also just incredible.

What advice do you have for current students?

Live it. Fully experience and take advantage of everything FSU has to offer. I cannot stress how important office hours are. If you go to office hours, professors and TAs remember you. Also, get to know your international peers. I can almost guarantee, especially if it is their first semester, that they feel so lost and could use a friend.