Military Servicewoman Receives Scholarship to Study in Florence

Marisa riding in a H-65 helicopter over the San Francisco Bay in Oakland, California.

Syracuse student and Coast Guard member Marisa Ashworth is one of the first four scholarship recipients to attend Syracuse Florence thanks to the generous donation of Daniel D’Aniello. Syracuse University has a long tradition of supporting the US military, as does D’Aniello after whom was named the Institute for Veterans and Military Families on the home campus. In October, Ashworth and her fellow grant recipients attended a special ceremony at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence in which Mayor Dario Nardella gifted the keys of the city to D’Aniello.

Where are you from originally? 

I’m originally from Southern California‚Äôs Santa Clarita Valley. 

What led you to join the military? 

I chose to join the U.S. Coast Guard out of a deep-seated desire to serve my country and community.

What did you do and how long did you serve? 

I have proudly served in the Coast Guard for 11 years and plan to continue this commitment. This path reflects my dedication and professional commitment. 

How did that experience affect your life? 

Serving in the Coast Guard has been a transformative journey for me. It has profoundly enhanced my understanding of humanitarian efforts, especially during critical times like the COVID-19 pandemic response. 

Is there a connection between your service and your education? 

My military career has been instrumental in my educational journey, significantly supported by resources and guidance from the Coast Guard and the Syracuse University Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA), and I have to thank the Daniel D’Aniello Foundation. 

What are you studying? 

Cyber Security. In my career, I’ve developed a strong interest in policy and intellectual property regarding technology, with a focus on cybersecurity, which has directed my academic pursuits in this vital field. 

Marisa (far left) with the other 3 scholarship recipients at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

How did your study abroad experience come about?  

My academic journey took an exciting turn when I became a part-time online student at Syracuse University in 2021. The supportive academic environment, along with the OVMA office’s encouragement, led me to be selected for the Daniel D’Aniello Study Abroad Program under the mentorship of Deputy Director Dwayne Anthony Murray. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. 

What are you enjoying the most about your semester in Florence? 

I am professionally immersing myself in Italian culture and daily life. I am benefiting greatly from the unique perspectives of the teaching staff, cultural exposure, language, adaptability, and diverse experiences of my fellow students.