Name: Megan Biondi
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department: Languages and ESL
School: Liberal Arts
Office: Emeriti Hall, EH 132
Education: D.M.L., Middlebury College Language Schools
M.A., Middlebury College Language Schools
B.M., The University of Denver
Professor Megan Biondi, educator of Italian and Spanish at County College of Morris (CCM), grew up in an Italian family. While she was young, she started to pick up Italian dialects, and this is where her love for languages began.
“Italian wasn’t offered in high school, so I took Spanish instead. In college, I learned standard Italian, and I studied in Italy during my undergraduate years.”
Biondi first visited a small city in Italy called Viterbo during her undergraduate years to play clarinet in an opera festival. “It was totally sink or swim with the language,” she says. “I had only taken one year of standard Italian before going there. It helped a lot to just be totally immersed in the language while being there.
After visiting Viterbo, Biondi studied in Milan where she took courses in English and in Italian. “It helped me learn a lot about the language,” she says. “And I just fell in love with the culture even more.” She also studied at the University of Florence, Italy while working on her master’s degree.
For her dissertation, she combined her love for music and language. Titled “Incroci e rapporti con la letteratura: Dall’opera verso un ideale di musica assoluta,” her dissertation analyzes the role and importance of the orchestra in 19th century Italian melodrama, as well as the development of pure instrumental music in Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in constant comparison to the Italian literary movements of the corresponding periods.
While Biondi has visited many parts of Italy, she has never visited a Spanish speaking country. “There are so many places I’d like to go to. Argentina being one of them. There are a lot of Italians in Argentina, and I think the combination of cultures is interesting.”
Teaching at a smaller community college is something Biondi was looking for when she moved up north from the Carolinas, where she taught for the first five academic years of her career at the University of South Carolina.
“I wanted my students to know me as a person,” she says. “I wanted something smaller, where I could have a better chance to get to know my students and my colleagues. That’s why I find that working at CCM is a better fit for me.
“I love the material I teach, so seeing my students fall in love with these languages over and over again is amazing. You never forget the magic of when your students are first learning and everything clicks for them.”