Giovanni Santamaria has been teaching continuously at NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design since 2008. He has served as a member of the Fulbright Scholarship Program's National Screening Committee and taken numerous groups of students on summer study abroad trips, but his most satisfying moments come when he sees his students growing and learning.
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.
Why New York Tech?
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 New York Tech are the following:
- Previous connections with some of my New York Tech 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 New York Tech an average of 50 students per year to participate in a design workshop. New York Tech 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.
My most memorable moments have been related to teaching summer classes abroad with New York Tech 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!