Annie Wasserman

Class Year: 

2017
Hometown: Santa Monica, California, USA

School: 

Harvard Westlake School

Language: 

Italian

Why Huntsman?

Annie grew up in Los Angeles after being adopted from Guangzhou, China before her first birthday. From a very young age, she exhibited a passion for learning about other languages and cultures; her mother and nanny spoke Spanish with her when she was young, which she further pursued in middle school. During high school, she added French due to her love of the culture and the language’s beautiful sound, and soon after, she began studying Italian as well. Annie’s language abilities were cultivated by immersive opportunities abroad. After her first year studying French, she spent the summer at the American School in Switzerland, taking courses in French and Italian—and enjoying many hikes in the Alps! She later returned to France to complete a homestay in Annecy.

Annie’s involvement back in Los Angeles speaks to her international perspective equally as strongly. She was the editor in chief of Foreign Outlook, her high school’s foreign language literary magazine, and also served as president of her high school’s Model United Nations program. Outside of the classroom, she interned with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art during her junior and senior year as an interpreter in the risk management department. She was able to put her Spanish, French, and Italian skills to use translating contracts that the museum made with places such as the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, the Centre Pompidou, and the Pitti Palace.

Ultimately, Annie was drawn to the Huntsman Program because she saw it as a way to apply her passions for language and math in a real world setting: “It brought my two interests together in a unique way that no other program offered,” she says. Italian was the natural choice for her target language due to her desire to study in Italy – somewhere she hadn’t yet done an immersion – as well as her interest in attending the prestigious Università Commerciale Lugi Bocconi.

The Huntsman Experience

Annie’s favorite course thus far at Penn has been Italian 300: Word and Image in the Italian Renaissance. Having previously taken an art history course in high school, she found that this class elucidates the interconnectedness between writing and art that she hadn’t previously studied in depth, let alone in Italian. She’s considering further pursuing her passion for art through an individualized concentration in Art Management, but is also interested in studying finance as well.

Outside of the classroom, Annie is already quite involved. She recently joined Social Impact Consulting (SIC), an organization that does pro-bono consulting projects for non-profit organizations in Philadelphia. She’s also the marketing manager for Wharton MENA, which allows her to pursue her interest in the Middle East—one that she acquired after studying the Maghreb during a French literature course. Annie’s other main commitment is her role as a representative on HSAB, the Huntsman Student Advisory Board.

In fact, Annie cites the community as her favorite aspect of the Huntsman program. Coming in, she had heard people talk about the tight-knit international community, but didn’t anticipate how true this statement would prove to be. Moreover, she was surprised by how willing the upperclassmen are to help and how they serve as a valuable source of mentorship and advice.

Looking forward

This coming summer, Annie is planning on taking a few required courses at Penn during the first session before spending July in Paris at Sciences Po taking courses in economics and political science—including one on French debate that she’s particularly excited about! While she’s not certain of what she hopes to do after graduation, Annie explains that the strong alumni network has been helpful in giving her a better idea of what potential career paths are out there. Moreover, she feels that the Huntsman Program has equipped her with her valuable life skills – like managing finances – which, when coupled with the chance to pursue international work experiences, provides unparalleled opportunities all over the world.