Joseph Parodi '06
Spanish major, secondary education minor
Teacher and Chair, Marianapolis Preparatory School
Joseph Parodi entered Saint Anselm College undeclared and convinced he would end up picking a major at the last minute. But one day in Spanish class, it was a passion, and not just the vocabulary, that clearly translated for him.
"All of a sudden I just realized that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life," he says. "I'm a really social person, and I think I've always liked languages because that means there's more people I can talk to."
He was recently named to the National Language Service Corps, a Department of Defense organization of multilingual volunteers ready to assist with national emergencies requiring skilled translators and interpreters.
"When I heard about it, I thought to myself, this is something I can do," says Parodi of his decision to apply. "With this thing that I'm good at, I can help people."
He was also named the chair of the modern languages department at Marianapolis Preparatory School in Conn., where he has taught Spanish since graduation. Teaching allows him to share his love for language and learning with a new generation of students.
"An experience I have frequently is when people find out I'm a Spanish teacher and they say, 'Oh I took Spanish in high school, but I don't remember any of it'. I know this, so every day while I'm teaching the tenses and vocab I'm also very mindful that there are other things I'm teaching them at the same time, like how to think well," he says.
Parodi credits traveling as key to both improving his foreign language skills and preparing him for life after college. He fondly remembers traveling to Honduras for a Spring Break Alternative trip junior year and studying abroad in Spain the next summer.
"I think everyone should learn a language and, if they have the opportunity to, study abroad," he says. "Living in another culture can be a valuable experience for every student."
He wants to make sure he pays these experiences forward. Parodi brought a group of his students down to his SBA site in Honduras and plans on bringing another group to Italy in March.
But the most unusual place his travels have taken him is television. Parodi appeared on an episode of Jeopardy in 2008. "I've watched Jeopardy with my parents since I was four so it was like a lifelong dream being realized," he says. "It was the most fun I've ever had in my life."
Story by Samantha Glavin '14