Meet Elise

After graduating with a BA in Italian, Elise Roberts moved to Syracuse to pursue a doctorate in Political Science at Syracuse University. 

Elise Roberts, Kigali, Rwanda.

Elise (right) and fellow student in Kigali, Rwanda

"Love of classical music and a convenient gap in my schedule pushed me to enroll in ITA 100 my freshman year. When I decided to continue with Italian and French it was for the fun of it: I was optimistic that I could use my foreign language skills to study abroad, but resigned to the fact that my Italian would be used for little more than translating Andrea Bocelli post-graduation.

In reality, my foreign language skills have helped me accomplish far more than tracking down the best gelateria in Florence—they have opened the door to countless opportunities in both my personal and professional lives. As an undergraduate, I used my language skills while traveling to conferences with the Model European Union. Studying in Rwanda the summer before my senior year, I was able to use my French skills to connect with local citizens and volunteer with an NGO in the capital city. Before starting graduate school, I spent a semester living in Milan, Italy, working as an English teaching assistant in a high school in the city.

Now, as a doctoral candidate in the political science department at Syracuse University, I often rely on my knowledge of French and Italian for research. Studying post-conflict reconstruction in central Africa, my knowledge of French has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural context of my region of focus, as well as given me access to local sources of information. Knowing Italian and French has allowed me to conduct field research as well: working as a research assistant for the Moynihan Center’s “Global Black Spots” project, I traveled to France and Italy to explore potential nodes of transnational criminal networks and mafia activity. More importantly, learning French and Italian allowed me to connect with people around the world, creating friendships that continue to this day." – Elise Roberts

Meet More Students

  • 8/6/18
    A class of 2018 Advanced Honors Scholar, Psychology major and French minor, Angelique is ready to embark on a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Long Island University.
  • 3/12/18
    "Studying in Peru was undoubtedly the best decision I've ever made and I would encourage everyone to go abroad and be immersed in another culture. It will change you in ways unimaginable."
  • 12/24/18
    "Overall, I'm grateful to have participated in this program. Although it was stressful at times, I enjoyed every minute of it. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who loves working with kids from different cultures/backgrounds and anyone who wants to learn more about the day-to-day life of Italians."
  • 1/3/19
    "I originally wanted to be a Spanish teacher but I changed my mind along the way. However, I still wanted to major in Spanish. I knew the importance of being bilingual and the rapid growth of the Spanish speaking population."
  • 4/23/19
    "I never considered myself to be a teacher in the past; however, it’s the amazing experiences I had by studying abroad in Italy and helping international students practice English through UB’s Chat Room that convinced me to apply. Here at the school, I’d like to thank Dr. Emanuela Pecchioli, Dr. Paola Ugolini, and Dr. Laura Chiesa for teaching me Italian to a level that made this possible. "
  • 3/12/18
    "In light of recent events, I believe it is more important than ever to educate ourselves and each other about people from different walks of life."
  • 2/6/19
    Over Winter Break 2019 Dijana served as volunteer translator with a UB Law School team at the US-Mexican border in Dilley, Texas. She writes: "I learned a lot about the immigration laws of our country, and a whole lot about the lives of Honduran, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan women and children. The whole experience was challenging but absolutely worthwhile. Being able to help some of those women and children that are seeking peace in our country was an opportunity for me to create a stronger and better world."
  • 3/12/18
    "I hope my students leave with a real passion for French language and francophone literature and culture. I’m very grateful to UB for a solid grounding in French!"
  • 1/29/19
    In the fall of 2018 Paige applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Senegal and the Teaching Assistant Program in France. After teaching abroad, Paige plans to get her Ph.D. in Translation Theory to teach & translate francophone literature not traditionally represented in the Western canon. She says, “I am so grateful for the supportive community I found in the Romance Languages Department at UB. Without these professors and mentors, I would never have had the courage to study abroad in France as an undergrad, or to pursue my current goal of teaching English abroad.”
  • 3/12/18
    "Language is a gift. It helps us understand how to build bridges with other people. It’s something we should feel privileged to study. Because the relationships and opportunities you can create with language are truly unique."
  • 3/12/18
    "I come from a small town in New York State, and the first time I visited UB and heard three different languages, I knew it was the place for me!"
  • 5/15/19
    "As my time here in Italy comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on these last three months and feel so incredibly lucky to have had this experience. I could not have asked for a better school and family to have spent my time with. I now consider this tiny, close-knit community to be another home of mine. Throughout my time here I have made forever friends, gained new family members, and have developed a passion for helping students learn and achieve their goals."
  • 3/12/18
    “I will use American football to support health and learning at my placement, and play soccer as well, in order to ensure an equal exchange of culture.”
  • 3/12/18
    "The freedom to pursue my interests in the humanities while satisfying my primary goal of dentistry was due to the flexibility of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures."