Vanessa Villarreal is a Mexican-American graduate student in Italian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she also received a Bachelor’s degree in the same subject. She was born in Los Angeles, California, and has spent most of her youth living abroad in places such as Mexico, Italy and Albania. She speaks English, Spanish and Italian fluently, and she also has a good knowledge of French and Albanian. During her time abroad in Italy, Vanessa met many Albanians and realized she loved the culture and wanted to learn more about it. She began studying the language, doing research on the country, and eventually traveled to a small village called Shirq located outside of Shkodra, where she stayed for one year. It was an experience that changed her life, and it is the reason why she has decided to pursue her dream of helping Albanians become recognized for their wonderful achievements. Her main scholarly interests include: nineteenth and twentieth century Italian literature and culture, women’s studies, the Arbëreshë of Italy and Albanian culture and history. She is currently a Teaching Associate at California State University, Long Beach, where she teaches Fundamentals of Italian for Spanish Speakers. She is also the secretary of Club Italia, a club that promotes Italian language and culture at her university. Before finishing graduate school, Vanessa is planning on writing a thesis that focuses on Albanian women living in Italy.