Meet this year’s Italian Studies scholarship recipients

Headshot of the Italian Studies scholarship recipients

We are proud to present some of this year’s Italian Studies scholarship recipients. Your support plays a direct role in ensuring these student’s success. As they graduate and find their place in the community, they are destined to elevate our lives and become an inspiration for life.

Keyara Piri wears black in a corn field

Keyara Piri

Biology, B.S.

Italian Studies, Minor

Keyara Piri is a junior at Fresno State, majoring in Biology with a minor in Italian Studies and plans to go to medical school. Between the time she graduates and the start of medical school, Keyara hopes to take a gap year and travel to do medical research abroad. After obtaining her M.D., she would like to return to the Central Valley and serve as a physician.

It was truly an honor to receive the Italian Studies Award. I am so thankful to you all and Fresno State for the opportunity. With this scholarship, I am able to continue to pursue my biology major and my minor in Italian. With your continued support, I am most looking forward to taking my last course required for my minor, Italian 160T, which will be offered in Italy hopefully next summer. I cannot wait to go visit and experience the rich culture I have had the privilege of learning about for myself.

“It is due to the kindness of donors like yourselves that students like me are able to make their dreams tangible. Thank you for your support. I am beyond grateful!

Lucca Lorenzi in front of the Henry Madden Library

Lucca Lorenzi

Media, Communications​ ​and Journalism- Advertising and Public Relations Option, B.A.

Italian Studies, Minor

Multimedia Arts, Minor

Lucca Lorenzi is a third year Smittcamp Family Honors student at Fresno State majoring in Media, Journalism and Communication with an option in Public Relations and minors in both Multimedia and Italian Studies. He is pursuing a career in both nonprofit public relations and graphic design while promoting the healing power of creativity.

My family immigrated from Italy to the United States in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. About 15 years ago, my family reconnected with our relatives who live in Lucca, Italy. Since then, I have wanted to learn the Italian language and more about Italian culture…This course helped me develop a stronger connection with my heritage, and I cannot wait to recall what I’ve learned from this course when I visit one day. I am immensely grateful for this award…having a scholarship alleviated my tuition fees allowing me to simply focus on the course and curriculum. Once again, thank you so much for your support of Fresno State students.

Alberto Viarengo in Yosemite

Alberto Viarengo

Food and Nutritional Sciences – Food Science Option, B.S.

Italian Studies, Minor

Chemistry, Minor

Alberto Viarengo is a senior majoring in Food Science, with minors in both Italian Studies and Chemistry. Alberto initially started learning Italian to get a better understanding of his heritage. His great-grandparents immigrated from Italy and his family continues to stay in contact with their cousins in Turin, the capital city of Piedmont in northern Italy.

Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career as a food inspector for the government. As a lifelong learner, Viarengo also wishes to continue his education after Fresno State. 

To those who donate, thank you so much for the award for Italian studies. This was a huge boost for my spirits, both for the financial help …, as well as for the emotional support…” said Viarengo. “Now I am entering my senior year, and looking forward to both graduating school as well as visiting Italy with my family and meeting the cousins who are there, with whom we have been in contact for three generations.

Alexia Beck sits in front of a lake.

Alexia Beck

Biology, B.S.

Italian Studies, Minor

Alexia Beck is a senior at Fresno State, majoring in Biology with a minor in Italian Studies. A passionate athlete, Alexia started her swimming career in high school and even helped to create the first ever swim club at Fresno State. Inspired by her love of the water, Alexia’s future goal is to become a marine biologist. 

Being enriched with the culture and habits makes me feel closer to the ‘Old Country.’  My grandparents migrated here from Lucca, Italy, Bisceglie, Italy and Calabria, Italy.

I am minoring in Italian, and I am thankful for your sincere generosity to have afforded me this chance at furthering my knowledge of Italian culture and completing my minor. The Italian Studies program is a unique way for students such as myself to broaden the Italian culture within them and I hope this program can live on and continue to be available for others. Grazie Tutti!

Alexis Richard at the Grand Canyon, with photo tilted 45 degrees sideways.

Alexis Richard

Nursing, B.S.N.

Italian Studies, Minor

Alexis Richard is a sophomore at Fresno State, majoring in Nursing with a minor in Italian Studies. Alexis said the Italian Studies Program has changed the way she sees the world and language.

Because of the award, I will be able to finish my Italian minor and be further encouraged to learn other languages. Going into the nursing field, language is very important, so I feel ready to jump into diverse spaces and positions. Thank you for funding this award and supporting the Italian studies students!

Karly Guerrero in a field of yellow flowers

Karly Guerrero

Animal Science – Science Option-Pre Veterinary Emphasis, B.S.

Italian Studies, Minor

Karly Guerrero is a junior studying Animal Science, with plans to attend Veterinary School and ultimately become a Veterinarian. She is actively involved on campus within various clubs, as well as undergraduate research activities within the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department, and is also pursuing a minor in Italian Studies.

I have always been fascinated by Italian culture and how it has shaped our world in its own way. Being able to be a part of the Italian Studies program at Fresno State is allowing me to deepen my understanding of global culture…I think that having these opportunities to study culture are essential to our understanding of the world as a whole… This wouldn’t be possible without the support from donors such as yourselves, and so I truly am forever grateful for your generosity and kindness. You have left such an impact in my own life, and I thank you for that! It is because of kind individuals such as yourself that I get to further my education and knowledge of the world around me, and I am so grateful.


Several additional award recipients preferred not to be named.

If you are interested in creating a scholarship for the Italian Studies Program, please contact Moon-Ja Yunouye at 559-278-8341.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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