Born in Jesi (Italy), Jenny Petrucci is an Assistant Professor in First Year Studies.

She has a BA in English and German from the University of Bologna, a MA in Postcolonial Cultures from The London Metropolitan University, and is completing her Doctorate in Education at King’s College London. Her research interests include postcolonial literature, the role of friendship in college transition as well as the first year experience of less represented students in higher education (with a focus on gender, race, and inclusivity).

Jenny is the head of the first year experience at AUR and teaches introductory courses such as the First Year Seminar and ENG 102 (writing from research). She also teaches ENG 202 (writing from theory).


Jenny is a consummate performer, as you'll see from her photographs. But what lies behind the stage mask?

Jenny Petrucci
(This is a performance, we think, and not Jenny's reaction to daily life...)


Q. When were you happiest?

There are two places where (or when) I always feel happy no matter what; the first one is in the classroom and the second is on the theater stage when I act. When I am in one of those two places, I forget everything else.

Q. What is your computer and/or phone wallpaper?

They alternate between my two loves: my 15-month-old son (I am so typical) and my acting. At times I put a picture of Virginia Woolf or bell hooks (two women who inspire me every day).

Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was very young I wanted to be a professional volleyball player ( I ended up competing for 25 years), but later on, once I realized I was not going to make it to the Ivy League, I decided I wanted to be a writer. That did not work out either.

Jenny Petrucci on stage


Jenny Petrucci in First Year Studies
Q. How do you relax?

I go to my acting class or I read…I also love watching shows on Netflix. When I watched the last episode of Dexter I felt my life had no purpose anymore.

Jenny Petrucci loves teaching and acting
Q. Which word of phrase do you most overuse?

I need a drink!

Q. What is the worst job you’ve ever done?

When I was studying for my BA I used to harvest grapes at the end of every summer to make money to pay my tuition. That taught me the value of hard work. I won a prize for the quickest harvester of the season. I am still proud of that.


Q. If you weren’t a teacher what would you be?

I would be a professional actress. I found out about this passion too late in life, but when I am on stage I feel at home. …in the classroom too, but as a former professor of mine used to say, ‘teachers are just frustrated actors’.

Q. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?

That the difficulties in your life could turn out to be amazing opportunities. Fighting is what makes you in the end; not the goal you achieve.


Q. What trait do you most dislike in yourself?

My scarce patience…oh also my feet…I have a size 42 (and a half). You have no idea how hard it is to find shoes that do not look like granny’s shoes.

Q. What trait do you most dislike in others?

I don’t like people who do not eat and drink in the company of others. Especially those who do not drink…they have something to hide.

Q. If you could travel back in time just once, where and when would you go?

I would go back to two years ago, right before my grandmother died; to be able to say a proper goodbye and get some awesome recipes.



Q. If you could bring something extinct or a deceased historic figure back to life, what or who would it be?

I would bring back a few women: Artemisia Gentileschi, Gloria Anzaldua, Virginia Woolf and Maria Montessori. I have so many questions to ask them. I feel that if I could have one hour with each one of them, my life would be much easier and richer.


Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Wine (preferably white). I do not need to say more.

Q. Tell us a secret…

I can write 90 words per minute in shorthand (very useful nowadays).

Still curious about Professor Petrucci? Read her official academic biography here.