I have to admit that I was quite "honored" to be at the center of their attention, and a bit jealous that some people have so much time at their disposal to waste on such frivolous matters. Needless to say, it is not for me to judge how people use their time, but I did feel an urge to write up something of my own to properly explain the events of the past few months that lead to our move to Italy.
As I wrote online a while back, I was born and raised in Italy and moved to the United States when I was almost 22 (I was called to serve a LDS mission in California). With the exception of a small parenthesis between my mission and starting college at BYU, I spent nearly 18 years working on an education and enjoying wonderful professional experiences in areas I am greatly passionate about. More recently, soon after receiving my PhD in Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences in 2010, I felt strongly I wanted to pursue a full time career in academia. In addition to my research work in the field of population genetics and molecular genealogy, I began teaching part time courses in the biological sciences at a local college. Together with a deepened love for teaching sciences, I also developed a greater love for the classroom setting and for working with college-age students. This is why, when I learned about a job position with the Seminary and Institute program in Rome, Italy, I gave it serious consideration.
This is not the first time I have been doing work with the Church Educational System. As an undergraduate student at BYU, I took the seminary teaching preparation courses offered to those that are considering a full time career in that field. During that time, I was given the opportunity to teach the Doctrine and Covenants to two classes at the Highland School seminary in American Fork, UT. Next, I taught a Book of Mormon class as a graduate student at BYU. After graduating, I volunteered at the Salt Lake Community College Institute of Religion as a part time faculty for four years teaching courses on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, the Pearl of Great Price and the Old Testament. I interrupted my teaching when I began working at my PhD at the University of Pavia in Italy. However, during my many trips to the motherland, I still provided lectures, firesides, and training at several faculty meetings and conferences, as time would permit. So, it is not like that I have changed my career path "completely"; it feels more like getting re-acquainted with an old love. Fortunately, I am at a point in my life where I can start a new job, while retaining the benefits of what I have done in the past. In other words, I am still planning to be involved with genetic research, collaborations, consultation and publishing as time will permit. I guess this is one of the blessings of not having a TV at home and not being able to sleep much at night!