Student Club Leader Spotlight: Marilù Ciabattoni, Class of 2021

December 16, 2020

I started pursuing my BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing at John Cabot University in Fall 2018. I’m from Ascoli Piceno, Italy and I expect to graduate in Spring of 2021.

From my very first semester at JCU, I started sending my poetry to The Matthew, which is JCU's student-led Newspaper Club, for publication in what used to be their hardcopy monthly issue. However, I had never thought about joining, probably because of the shyness that held me back.

When I became more confident about myself and my skills, I told a friend of mine who was already part of the Matthew that I wanted to join at the beginning of Fall 2020. I do not regret my decision at all. In doing so, I was mostly motivated by my desire to be more involved in the JCU community before my graduation, and hopefully use my writing for non-academic purposes. That's how I became a Staff Writer and Copy Editor at The Matthew in September 2020, while I’m still contributing with my poetry in the Creative Voices section.

Becoming a Student Leader in JCU's Newspaper Club

Thanks to my leadership position in the JCU newspaper, I certainly learned to communicate more effectively with my teammates and our Academic Advisor, Professor Elizabeth Macias-Gutiérrez, whose feedback really helped me improve my journalistic style and voice. So far, I conducted three interviews for our issues: I wrote about Professor Carlos Dews’s role in the transition to remote teaching during the Spring of 2020 and about Giacomo Di Capua’s green activism for the November issue, and I recently interviewed student Giordana Nicoletti about her year abroad in Tokyo, Japan for our December issue. Having a conversation about their experience taught me valuable lessons on how to tell their stories through my own writing style.

Challenges for the Newspaper during the Pandemic, and How to Overcome Them

The main challenge I and The Matthew Team had to deal with due to the COVID-19 pandemic was figuring out how to move our content to an online platform. Before I joined, they used to print copies of each issue and leave them all around campus, apart from sending a PDF to all students by email. This year, we were forbidden from having any type of hardcopy material and releasing it all around campus, so we created a website using WordPress, where all of our contents can be viewed on Honestly, I believe The Matthew looks more beautiful than ever in its current form. We also created a brand-new Instagram profile, where we post regular updates on our submission deadlines and issue releases. One tip I would give to anyone who wants to overcome similar obstacles caused by the pandemic is being as flexible as possible and taking advantage of all the opportunities that technology offers.

The Outcome of being a Student Leader at JCU

What I gained from joining a student-led club at JCU is probably a sense of practicality, meaning how I can employ the skills I’m learning by pursuing a Literature degree in a real-world setting. This gives me a lot of freedom because, as I said, it’s not solely about expressing myself in a purely academic manner. This experience also taught me how working in a real magazine feels like, a career that I may decide to pursue after graduation. Simply seeing my articles come to life on our Matthew website rewards all the effort I put into it. Once again, I believe joining was the right choice for me and my personal development.


Marilù Ciabattoni

Class of 2021

English Literature Major, Creative Writing Minor

Hometown: Ascoli Piceno, Italy

Are you interested in earning your American-accredited degree from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy? Contact JCU's Admissions Office today at

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