Giovanni Santamaria

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Architecture and Design
Joined NYIT
Giovanni Santamaria

Giovanni Santamaria has been teaching continuously at NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design since 2008. More recently, Giovanni joined the National Screening Committee for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. This federally funded program sponsors U.S. students to study and teach in foreign countries. NYIT has several Fulbright Scholars on our faculty, and Giovanni’s role on the screening committee gives him a unique perspective from which to advise NYIT students who may be interested in pursuing a Fulbright grant. Learn more about the Fulbright Program's U.S. Student grants.

Read more, in Giovanni’s own words, about his journey from the south of Italy to the center of New York:

Growing Up and Getting Educated

I grew up in a small town in the south of Italy. I was lucky enough to meet extraordinary teachers who taught me, most of all, passion, motivation, and the value of knowledge.

I moved to Venice to study architecture at IUAV. I got my Ph.D. in Architecture and Urban Design at Politecnico di Milano, and after a few years of intense work in teaching and research, doing projects around Europe, I came to NYIT.

Why This Career Path?

I have never left the academic world since I started studying. I strongly believe in the value and responsibility of this job in relation to each one of my students, and towards our society as well. I am still a dreamer, and I do my best to make my dreams a reality.


When I came to New York for the first time after completing my Ph.D. ten years ago, I knew I wanted to be part of this city, with its several cultural dimensions and the open range of possibilities of doing-being-thinking!

My reasons for joining NYIT are the following:

  • Previous connections with some of my NYIT colleagues, whom I respect and admire.
  • The heterogeneity of the students.
  • The chance to work on international projects.
  • The location of the school.

Roles, Responsibilities, and Plans

I teach at several levels (graduate and undergraduate) and in several years (from the first to the final thesis).

I am the coordinator of the 4th year studio with my colleague Beyhan Karahan.

With my colleague Janet Fink, I organize the movie/lectures series, “Cities and the Image of the City.”

I often work with students in community projects, including design competitions in New York and Italy.

With my colleague Michael Schwarting, I am responsible for the international exchange agreement with Politecnico di Milano. This program brings to NYIT an average of 50 students per year to participate in a design workshop. NYIT students often travel to Milan as well.

I just completed my first year of service as a member of the National Screening Committee for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and I expect to continue in this role.

My Work with the Fulbright Program

This was my first year as part of the National Screening Committee, and I had a very interesting experience which I would absolutely repeat again. It has been challenging and inspiring to be able to see what academia is capable of because of the energy, strength, and sharpness of motivated students and researchers. I just wish there were more opportunities to talk about the results of the Fulbright Scholarship program among students and researchers.

Memorable Moments

My most memorable moments have been related to teaching summer classes abroad with NYIT students and colleagues. These foreign trips have been incredible for me professionally, and also from a personal point of view! Biking through the Scandinavian landscape or walking through monasteries in the south of France are learning experiences I’ll never forget!

The Best Part of My Job

The relationships and the work with students are the best parts of my job. It can sometimes be difficult or frustrating, but it’s still the best part of this job. I love to see my students growing intellectually and discovering what they would like to be, as well as dealing with their potentials and limits. It’s both energizing and challenging, for them and for me, all at the same time.

What Inspires Me

  • The chance to be part of the process of change in this society through the small contributions from my work.
  • The possibility of helping my students to know and understand a bit more every day and to do much better in the future with what I have given them today.
  • Passion for all the discoveries and the understanding of the wonderful and miserable things about the world, and about myself, that my mind is not yet aware of, and passion for what still could come!