Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, forced to resign last year amid a sex scandal, is expected to seek that office again in February when new elections are held.
The caretaker government of technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti was dissolved on Friday.
Monti had been appointed in the wake of the Berlusconi resignation to save Italy from a financial crisis.
The BBC’s Alan Johnston reports from Rome.