Nina Corazzo, associate professor of art and Walter E. Bauer Endowed Chair of History, has been working at Valpo “probably since the Pleistocene period,” she jokes. Corazzo teaches art history as well as freshmen Core.
Corazzo grew up in a family that had a lot of artistic influence. Her mother was a sculptor and her father was an architect. Corazzo’s sister, Michele Corazzo, is also a professor at Valpo and teaches ceramics.
In her undergraduate years, she studied French and Chinese at Indiana University. During this time is when Corazzo really began getting interested in traveling.
“It [traveling] really started when I took my senior year… But then once I was gone, that was it,” Corazzo said. “According to my sister, I ruined my nephews because they have the travel bug too.”
During her senior year of college, she studied abroad in France. After she graduated, she ended up staying in France for another year, where she continued to take classes.
“It was a wonderful experience because then I could take whatever I wanted,” Corazzo said.
Corazzo went to law school for a semester, but decided that it wasn’t for her. After deciding to quit law school, she hopped into her VW van camper and lived in Europe for a year.
“I just roamed place to place trying to figure out what I was going to do and what I wanted to spend my life doing,” Corazzo said. “I realized that I was spending so much of time in museums and maybe that that was a clue.”
Corazzo returned to Indiana University to attend graduate school and obtained her Ph.D.
“When I got my PhD, I spent one-year doing research in England and studied at the University of Canterbury,” Corazzo said. “During that time, I took some courses in film study and theory. At that point I met some people whose teaching I thought was really exciting and different from many of the ways I had been taught. I got a job teaching in Hong Kong.”
Corazzo said she never thought that she would be able to make a living from art history, but now she is happy with her choice.
Corazzo’s favorite part of being a professor is the students.
“I simply love them. I learn so much from them and I so enjoy them. They make me laugh, they make me listen to their music and make me enjoy it and they tell me what movies to go to. It just enriches my life,” Corazzo said.
Another thing Corazzo enjoys about being a professor is teaching Core. When she first started teaching Core, she was sad because it meant she couldn’t teach upper-level art history. After being a Core professor for about four years, she wouldn’t trade her experience.
“I am able to interact with a number of students that I might not get in my art history classes… It’s nice to have freshman year, students who have very limited courses they can take outside their area that I can take them to the museum,” Corazzo said.
Corazzo said that she has also had students from freshman year Core reach out to her in hopes of having her write them a letter of recommendation.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than thinking ‘I could help this person get into grad school or I could help them find a job,’” Corazzo said.
Apart from academics, Corazzo also enjoys when people reach out to her and ask for travel recommendations. Due to getting lots of requests, she has itineraries for numerous places she has been, ready to handout.
However, Corazzo doesn’t think that she should be someone’s role model.
“Then your parents will get mad at you and then mad at me for taking off for a year and living in Europe,” Corazzo jokingly added.