Diana DiZoglio CE/DS ’11 Brings Her Sense of Ethics and Justice to the Massachusetts State House

A portrait of Diana DiZoglio.
Author  Amber Celletti and E.B. Bartels ’10
Published on 

At one point when Diana DiZoglio CE/DS ’11 was running for office, a man literally patted her on the head and said, “It’s so cute that you think you can do this.” DiZoglio not only thought she could do it, she has done it: DiZoglio served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019 and as a member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 2019 until January 2023, when she was sworn in as the 23rd State Auditor of Massachusetts.

DiZoglio was born in Methuen, Mass., to a 17-year-old single mother and graduated from Methuen High School in 2001. She waitressed and cleaned houses to pay her way through college, earning her associate’s degree from Middlesex Community College in 2008 and then coming to Wellesley as a Davis Scholar, where she double majored in psychology and Spanish.

“I loved those banners I would see when I would walk or bike around campus: ‘Women who will,’” says DiZoglio. Though she says she suffered from imposter syndrome when she first arrived at Wellesley, she got over that feeling once she spoke more with her classmates and realized other students felt the same way. DiZoglio says she adored her time at the College, surrounded by “incredible women” who supported and challenged her and each other: “Iron sharpens iron, right?”

“[At Wellesley] it was expected that we would succeed, and students would rise to the level of expectations that were set,” DiZoglio says. “To come out of that and be operating in an environment where it was expected that I would fail, that I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish the goals I set, that was a whole different animal.”

When she was frustrated on the campaign trail, DiZoglio says, she drew on the “inner strength and confidence” she acquired while at Wellesley, and she continues to draw on it as she attempts to “shake things up” in the state government.

“Right now we are doing an audit of the state legislature,” DiZoglio says, something that hasn’t been done in over 100 years. DiZoglio and her team are also looking into the RFP (request for proposal) process in Massachusetts; she points out that fewer than 1% of state contracts go to minority-owned businesses. Additionally, DiZoglio will begin an audit of taxpayer-funded nondisclosure agreements and settlements across Massachusetts, especially those that might have prevented potential victims of harassment, discrimination, or abuse from being able to speak out.

“Taxpayers should not be on the hook for funding cover-ups for powerful perpetrators, and they also should not be on the hook for being part of silencing victims of any type of abuse across our state government,” she says. This issue is particularly personal for DiZoglio, who was sexually harassed when she worked as an aide in the House of Representatives and then forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement when she was let go.

DiZoglio says she brings her personal sense of ethics and justice to everything she does in office. She experienced housing insecurity growing up, so she knows firsthand what many of her constituents are dealing with, and she spent many years serving teens and struggling families in her community, working for organizations such as the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, Mass. She loved that work and didn’t imagine herself in politics, but when a position as a legislative aide for the commonwealth presented itself, she began to see that she could have even more of an impact on her community by being part of the state government.

“Don’t limit yourself in what field you think you need to go into to accomplish a certain goal,” DiZoglio advises, remembering that running for office was definitely not part of the five-year plan she had mapped out for herself when she was at Wellesley. “Make sure that you keep your eyes and ears open to different opportunities, even if they seem like they might be a little bit strange. … You have the smarts and you have exactly what you need to be able to make appropriate decisions for yourself as challenges arise. You will have what it takes at the time that you need it.”

To learn more about DiZoglio and other Wellesley alums in office, read “On the Ballot” by Emily Bader ’18 in the winter 2023 issue of Wellesley magazine.

Current Wellesley students and recent Wellesley graduates who are interested in working in the Office of the State Auditor can find more information here.