Faculty Profile: Carla Amann

Jaclyn Cohen

“Languages were always part of my life,” Lecturer in Italian Carla Amann said of her knowledge of Spanish, Italian, French and English.

Born in Italy, Amann moved with her family to Argentina where she lived for 10 years.

“We always spoke Italian at home so we had a very language-filled household,” she said.

Her father was the primary influence in her life, cultivating her love of languages.

“My father had a lot of interests, languages especially,” Amann said. “He always said, ‘Don’t ever not learn a language.'”

Amann went on to attend Harper College, now SUNY Binghamton, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in French and later a Master’s degree in Spanish. She completed her advanced degree requirements while pregnant with her first daughter.

“I decided that if I didn’t do the courses before I had a baby, I would just not go back to school,” Amann said.

After obtaining her degree though, she focused on raising her three daughters. When her children entered school, Amann began teaching French and Spanish at Hamilton Central School District.

“I had always enjoyed teaching, but I wasn’t enjoying the younger students anymore so this worked out perfectly for me,” Amann said of her move from Hamilton Central to Colgate. “There’s more freedom at the college level, and college students keep one’s mind sharp. Teaching at this level also allows you opportunities to do more things with the students.”

Even before her tenure at Colgate, Amann was active at the University.

“I had worked with the Italian program from the time that Italian became an entity at Colgate because students would be rotated to my house for conversations,” she said.

In addition, she was one of the original members of the Italian club.

“At the time we had a very small but very active Italian club,” Amann said. “We would have dinner with professors and we would get together and converse in Italian.”

This club has grown since then due to the expansion of the Italian program at Colgate.

“There’s a much bigger Italian club now because there are more courses and more people taking Italian,” Amann said. “I think that there is a lot more being done.”

Some of the activities sponsored by the club include movie screenings and dinners. Last semester they held a successful dinner and are currently planning for their participation in the international fair.

Amann has also been very involved with the international program as a whole, specifically Community Friendship, in which she acts as a host family for international students.

“We have had some students in the past whom we’ve gotten very close to,” Amann said.

Additionally, Amann has also been working to create an extended study program to take her students to Italy for about three weeks after classes end.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind that it should be part of the Italian teaching for students to practice what they’ve learned,” she said. “I would like for them to feel that their knowledge is not just something that you read in a book, but that it’s life.”

This project has been put on the backburner, however, due to health issues. Amann has been undergoing chemotherapy, which has limited her involvement. The Colgate community has been a very supportive and encouraging atmosphere for Amann.

“It is my involvement and interaction with my students that keeps me going, as well as the support and friendship of my colleagues,” she said. “I’ve yet to miss a class.”