NIABA/NIAF Scholarships

NIABA is one of the funding sources for scholarships awarded by the National Italian American Foundation. For more information about current scholarship opportunities, visit the NIAF website.

Teisha Ruggiero, the 2012 recipient of the NIABA/NIAF scholarship, is currently in her second year at Brooklyn Law School. She joins NIABA with an array of talent and experience that she attributes, in large part, to her family and her Italian American heritage.

Teisha grew up in a small town in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Large Sunday family gatherings and frequent trips into the city, particularly to Mulberry Street where her parents grew up, were the staples of her childhood. Her parents encouraged her to be generous and freely expressive; her brother taught her to challenge herself and the ideas of others. As a result, Teisha was always passionate about her friendships, her studies, and a hobby that she developed on the side -- painting. “All were perfect forums for me to experiment and grow,” Teisha said, “especially as I moved to different cities to pursue higher education.”

When she was 18, Teisha moved to Montreal to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at McGill University. While studying at McGill, Teisha had her first art show. “The diversity and artistic expression that permeated this city as I was studying history and politics was an energizing combination,” Teisha says. “Before I graduated I knew I wanted to keep going.”

A few months after receiving her diploma from McGill, Teisha moved to London to pursue a Masters in Politics and Markets from the London School of Economics (LSE). While at the LSE, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Henry Hardy at Oxford University to collect memoirs of the British political philosopher Isaiah Berlin. In London she was Communications Officer for a European Parliamentary campaign, and she also worked at an Italian restaurant where she met one of the restaurant’s regulars, a British playwright, who commissioned her to paint “the face” of his next play. In between deadlines for school, Teisha traveled with friends and her now-husband to various countries around Europe and North Africa.

After extending her stay in London an extra year, Teisha was anxious to return to the U.S. to apply her knowledge of financial markets and policy. She moved to Washington DC to work for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, where she wrote reports with other analysts for members of the House and Senate.Teisha explains that, “The analysts were mostly former law graduates. I found them to be so impressive and inspiring that I decided law school would be the most appropriate next step.”

Teisha says she is now loving her study of business law at Brooklyn Law School. She externs at the Securities and Exchange Commission part-time, and says that her dream is to work for the U.S. Department of Justice trying cases for tax evasion or white-collar crime.

Teisha notes that, beneath her inexorable career ambition, she will always have her love for art, food, and family. “This probably explains the instant connection I felt with NIABA,” she says. “The NIABA president and members presented my scholarship with an extraordinarily warm greeting and congratulatory lunch. I was reminded immediately of my family’s traditional Sunday gatherings.”

Teisha closes with the observation, "Aside from being extraordinary people, many of NIABA’s participants are incredibly distinguished in law. I hope to be part of this organization for a long time.”


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