Meet Alumna and Assistant Director of Student Services Federica Bocco

Hailing from Naples, alumna Federica Bocco is Assistant Director of Student Services at JCU. She graduated in 2018 with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Humanistic Studies. Federica is also a freelance journalist and author.

Federica Bocco
Federica Bocco

Tell us about your educational background.
I attended a liceo classico in Naples. My original background is humanities-oriented, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. This sort of education gave me the tools to navigate an American liberal arts education with no issues, despite its different approach.

What brought you to JCU, first as a student and then as a staff member?
I chose to pursue my higher education here before I even decided what field I would major in. The chance to be immersed in such an intimate, culturally rich community in the heart of Rome intrigued me enough to convince me to come. After graduation I returned as a staff member in the Student Services office to be an active part of JCU’s mission, to mentor our students, and to constantly learn from them.

What does your role entail?
I oversee the clubs and organizations together with my colleagues and organize extracurricular activities for students. In the Fall 2022 semester, with the help of student leaders we organized over 300 events, which correspond to more than 20 opportunities per week for our students. Every semester is different, and we value our student feedback to improve our offerings. Over the last year we’ve created several professional growth opportunities by sending our students to conferences and festivals in various fields, the latest of which was the International Journalism Festival in Ferrara.

How does the Student Services office support and guide JCU students?
Our office believes that teaching continues outside the classroom so the opportunities we offer are a safe space for students to grow and gain experience. Clubs give them a taste of responsibility because students have to run micro-organizations that function as real-world NGOs. Our office is also responsible for trips so that students can explore Rome’s surroundings, as well as for athletics activities, through which they gain self-awareness and experience true teamwork.

Last year, by popular demand, we reactivated our Performing Arts Company, which I had the honor to oversee along with a talented industry professional. In only 10 weeks, we assembled a show that brought together degree-seeking, visiting, MA and ENLUS students along with staff.

This year you published two print guidebooks with Lonely Planet and an array of articles for many renowned publications like Insider, Time Out, and more. What advice would you give to aspiring journalists?
Once you have an idea, do your research, and let the words come out. I’ve found, in my career as a journalist and an author, that that’s the only way to move forward. I often don’t know where I want to start, but I have a clear picture of where I want to end. You can always write your way back to the start. It might not be a solution applicable to everyone’s writer block, but for every short story I’ve ever created I’ve always started with the very last sentence.

My advice for aspiring journalists is to put yourselves out there. Start publishing, don’t wait for that fancy internship at your dream publication. Find your area of expertise and start pitching smaller websites. Look for opportunities, self-publish on a blog if necessary so you have something to refer to when approaching editors. Check the “pitch us” pages of magazines you want to write for and find the editor’s contact to pitch your idea. Start while you’re a student, it’s never too early! Obviously, you can’t do any of that if you don’t spend time reading and researching what other journalists are doing in the publications you want to write for.

How did your Communications studies help you in your career?
Studying Communications helped me to see the media from the inside. I have always enjoyed all branches of the major offered by JCU: media studies, film and television, journalism, social media, marketing, and public relations. Communications is a dynamic field, and I appreciated how broad and inclusive my studies could be. I can certainly say that I still treasure all the knowledge I gained and use it every day in the multifaceted aspects of my dual career as a higher education professional and a journalist.