Member Spotlight: Rosa Cuppari (SFS ’17)

Reinitiating the grand tradition of Member Spotlights, this week I interviewed Ms. Rosa Cuppari!

Q: Let’s talk Philodemic to start out. When did you get involved in Philodemic?

I started coming mid-October of my freshman year. So not immediately. I joined the Triathlon Team first and they had spins on Thursday nights, but then I converted. I think it was the “Abraham should have killed Isaac” debate. (Note: the official title of the debate was “Resolved: Abraham should not have led Isaac to the slaughter.”)

Q: Is there any debate you remember from your time in Philodemic that you particularly enjoyed? Or is there a genre of debate that you particularly enjoy? 

So I did enjoy the bioethics and the science-related debates we had, and I do wish we had a couple more of them. I also think that larger, moral questions, are great, like the Abraham and Isaac debate, which was really about how far is too far for an idea. I think those broader, universal and philosophical questions draw me the most, because people have been discussing them for centuries, and we have two hours, so we can’t really run out of things to say.

Q: Have you ever given a speech that you found particularly memorable? Is there a speech that, if we looked in the records, we could say “this is the encapsulation of Rosa Cuppari”? 

I think the best speech I’ve ever given in my life was about whether politics is broken or whether politicians are just corrupt. I gave my speech, and at the end, there’s an Italian proverb about politics that I said in Italian and then repeated in English. It was the first or second speech I had given, and it’s the only one people remember because they were like, “who’s this new girl who speaks Italian on the floor?” So ever since then I’ve tried to be more Italian in my speeches.

Q: Let’s talk life outside of Philodemic. You’re majoring in STIA. Is there a particular area of technology that you’re interested in?

I’m on the Energy and Environment side of things, but focusing on food and water security. Also hopefully focusing on the Middle East. I think that’s an important topic for them.

Q: You’ve studied abroad in Jordan before. And you mentioned to me earlier that you’re in the middle of applying for a Fulbright to go back to Jordan. 

I am! So it’s actually along the lines of water, not necessarily water security, but I want to study the water sanitation and hygiene in refugee camps. And I have great news, because UNICEF officially sponsored me! Which means I have someone to help me arrange focus groups, logistics, transportation to the refugee camps, and it also makes me a lot more credible to have UNICEF on my application.

Q: What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken at Georgetown? Or who’s your favorite professor?

Favorite professor is hands-down Mark Giordano. He’s a lot of people’s favorite professor. He’s the one that roped me into the World Bank a while back. He’s the head of the STIA department and he’s been my informal and formal advisor for the past few years. He’s also been helping me with the Fulbright application, so he’s just recommended me for a bunch of things. And he’s also just very informal; he assigns news articles, so he ties things to the real world. He’s a practitioner, which I think is reflected a lot in his teaching. He has a Ph.D. but he came into Georgetown after working in the water field, broadly speaking. He’s been in Sri Lanka, he’s worked across the world, he has tons of experience, and again, he’s just a really down-to-earth guy who will remember random facts about you.

Q: To sum up, can you answer for me the question “Who is Rosa Cuppari?” Let’s do it in one sentence, but you can use a lot of semi-colons if you need to.

Rosa Cuppari is an American in Italy, an Italian in America, who enjoys the Great Outdoors and burning calories as well as consuming as many as possible, preferably through homemade goods, and welcoming people into her life! I don’t know how accurate that is, but, you know.

Thank you to Rosa for agreeing to sit down for this interview, and best of luck to her on solving the world’s water problems!

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Bonus Photo!

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