Born and raised in Cortland, New York, Professor Vecchio's background as the daughter of an Italian immigrant set the course for her future studies in immigration history. While a graduate student at Syracuse University, Vecchio procured grants from the New York State Council on the Arts which funded her documentary research exhibit on the Italians of Cortland. The John Ben Snow Foundation and a grant from the Agnelli Foundation funded her dissertation research of Italian immigrant workers at the Endicott Johnson Shoe Factory in upstate New York.
Vecchio's teaching career began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she taught at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Whitewater. In Milwaukee, a Wisconsin Humanities Grant funded her study of Italian immigrants in that city, which formed the basis for her book, Midwives, Merchants, and Laboring Women: Italian Migrants in Urban America published by the University of Illinois Press in 2006.
Professor Vecchio joined the Department of History at Furman in 1996 where she has been an active member of the university community, serving as Chair of the Faculty Status Committee, the Research and Professional Growth Committee , the Faculty Administrative Liaison Committee, co-Chair of the Women and Gender Studies Committee and as a member of many other university committees.
After working as a faculty consultant for the AP U.S. History exam, Professor Vecchio was appointed Chief Faculty Consultant for United States History by the College Board for a four year term, 2001-2005, and also served on the AP US History Test Development Committee
In addition to Italian immigration, Professor Vecchio's research interests include Southern Jewish History, European women's resistance during World War II and local history of the South Carolina Upcountry. She has presented papers at the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Social Science History Society and others.