Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures II

The Mentoris Project


Discover the influence of Italy


Books, podcasts and events

The Mentoris Project   

The Mentoris Project is a series of novels and biographies about the lives of great Italians and Italian-Americans, men and women who have changed history through their contributions as scientists, inventors, explorers, thinkers, and creators. The Barbera Foundation sponsors this series in the hope that, like a mentor, each book will inspire the reader to discover how she or he can make a positive contribution to society and finish any of these books saying, “I can do something great, too.”


What would it be like to meet the man who inspired Thomas Jefferson? Or hike through New Mexico's mountains with Enrico Fermi? Our biographies and novels take you on great adventures. 


Meet the authors of the Mentoris Project book series through engaging conversations with host Dr. Rosanne Welch. Learn about famous Italian and Italian-American artists, adventurers, explorers, educators, and philosophers.


The Barbera Foundation’s mission is to encourage and inspire young people to create a stronger future by supporting educational initiatives that foster an appreciation of history and culture. 



The Special Projects Division of the Italian Studies section of the Modern and Classical Language and Literatures Department, under the direction of Professor Patrizia Miller ( ), has joined with Mr. Robert Barbera and the Barbera Foundation to bring ‘The Mentoris Project’ to the CSUN campus.

Mr. Barbera is a long-time supporter of Italian Studies and the mastermind behind the Mentoris book collection.  The titles feature Italians and Italian-Americans who have made important contributions to the world. At CSUN, Professor Miller is directing the effort to make the titles available to students at large.  Students are encouraged to read the biographical novels which cover history, political science, education, the sciences and technology, to mention only a few disciplines.  The intent is to familiarize our academic community with such influential contributors to the world as Mazzei, Marconi, Sirica, Giannini, Gallo, et alt.  We encourage students to read a title that directly impacts their field of studies as well as Italian language and culture.  Once the readings are completed, and if interested in doing so, the students would be asked to write a five-page report.  The report in MLA Format, would need to include the following:

  • Why the student selected the particular book.
  • How the reading about the subject relates to their field of studies and/or Italian Studies.
  • Was the reading enlightening, inspiring future research? How?
  • A personal assessment of the Mentoris project in general, what is a mentor?
  • Complete the project by February 15, 2020 and submit to Professor Miller via email at
  • Present the paper at the March 10, 2020 Mentoris Symposium.

The reports would be collected by Professor Miller, reviewed by a panel of three faculty members, and finalist(s) would be selected for the Mentoris Award.  The funding for this award is again part of Mr. Barbera’s vision and generosity.

The Mentoris Project titles are available for perusal by contacting Professor Patrizia Miller at

Professor Patrizia Miller
Director of Special Project
Italian Studies Faculty
Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Sierra Tower 401
(818) 677-3581 Office
(818) 677-3467 Messages