Carnegie Mellon University

Jan Vairo

Jan Vairo

Senior Lecturer of Italian

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Education: MA University of Pittsburgh


I prefer to consider myself a facilitator in the classroom where I am not simply dispensing knowledge but assisting the students in acquiring the language. They have the tools and I guide them through the process of language acquisition. My responsibilities in the department include teaching all levels of Italian. My joy in teaching is encouraging the students in the language-culture connection. I believe that understanding the culture of a nation allows one to comprehend the how and the why individuals behave the way they do and this leads to an increased understanding and acceptance between peoples of different cultures.

My particular interest lies in the translation of religious materials, biographies and the like. I have done several biographies about Monsignor Celona for the order of the Sisters of Reparation; an interesting translation regarding Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684): The First Woman in the World to Earn a University Degree by Francesco Ludovico Maschietto; and for me the most important work was a translation of a work into Italian of the life of Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald “A Prophet for the Priesthood” by Fr. John Hardon, which will initiate the process for the cause for sainthood of Fr. Fitzgerald.

Besides my translations I find it very rewarding to be teaching at Carnegie Mellon not only because of the highly motivated students but also because of the camaraderie that exists in the department.

  • Translations regarding religious sources
  • Elem. Italian I & II
  • Intermediate Italian I & II
  • Italian film (in English)
  • Italian Culture (in English)

Department Member Since 1992