Vaia, a native New Yorker whose mother left Greece to raise her in the United States, has developed her concentration at Gallatin that looks at the narration of the self, especially in the cases of mistreated and displaced peoples. Vaia has also studied the definition of identity, turmoil, and triumphs in the post-colonial Middle East.
Growing up in Queens, Vaia has been influenced by Hip Hop and has implemented it into her studies on race and ethnicity in America that she has studied with Professor Laurie Woodard. Vaia has also examined classical literature through the Classics department, but has most enjoyed the interdisciplinary Gallatin course, Dante’s World, taught by Professor Antonio Rutigliano. She has fused courses in both ancient and modern texts: she studied ancient Greek and Roman plays and poetry during her freshman and sophomore years, and has most recently explored modern texts through female Greek poets, modern Greek novels, the music of Mikis Theodorakis, and the films of Theo Angelopoulos.
“I learned Greek when I was younger and celebrated Greek Easter and Christmas,” she says, “but I never really explored Greek literature until I came to Gallatin.” Vaia is minoring in Hellenic studies and works at NYU’s Alexander S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies. “Dr. Liana Theodoratou, the director of the program, deeply inspires me to continue my involvement in Greek studies,” she says.
Vaia is on the editorial board of the Literacy Review, and her future plans include submitting work to the Gallatin Review, and continuing to communicate her identity and to empower herself through writing. Her long-term plans are to work with those who have suffered discrimination and to help teach them to raise their voices.