Andy Fuller | April 5, 2020
Paolo Mazzara ’23 moved to the U.S. from Italy with his family two years ago, a move he said was part of a long-term family plan. His father studied in the states as an undergrad, and always intended to bring his family here from their home in Monza, a city roughly the size of South Bend about 15 miles north of Milan. He came to Notre Dame after a productive conversation with an alumnus, and a visit to campus during which he observed the statue of the Blessed Virgin atop the Main Building resembled the Madonnina atop the Milan Cathedral.
Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mazzara finds himself connecting with his Italian roots more often. But it’s not just sentimentality. He’s playing a role in securing crucial personal protective equipment for Italian healthcare workers by breaking down the language barrier that has at times slowed interactions with the World Health Organization.
It started not long after Notre Dame announced the suspension of in-person classes on March 11. Mazzara was settling in at home in Stamford, CT, when he overheard a phone conversation his mother was having with a friend who works at Zucchi Hospital, a facility in greater Milan. The region including Milan and Monza—the Lombardy region—is the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in Italy. More than half of the country’s deaths are in that region alone.
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