As she sat in her room, reading the email opened on her phone, Amanda D’Angelo’s initial reaction was to scream. Naturally that startled the two friends sitting nearby on what until then had been an ordinary Monday morning in May. After a moment, D’Angelo, a member of the Class of 2017, was able to assure them that nothing was wrong. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
“I got the Fulbright grant,” she explained.
The room quickly dissolved into a sea of hugs and happy tears.
A Spanish major on the Heights, D’Angelo is the third Le Moyne student in the past five years to be admitted to the prestigious Fulbright Student Program, which offers research, study and teaching opportunities to recent college graduates, graduate students, and professionals in more than 160 countries across the globe. Founded in 1946 in the shadow of World War II, the Fulbright Program seeks to promote mutual understanding and peace. The award that D’Angelo has been offered, and which she is in the process of accepting, will bring her to the Asturias region of Spain, where she will work as an English teaching assistant in an elementary or secondary school.
The adventure upon which D’Angelo will soon embark is the culmination of everything she has been working toward over the past four years – and even earlier. A native of Lagrangeville, N.Y., D’Angelo has wanted to be a teacher since she was in pre-school. Over the course of her time at Le Moyne, she worked as a student teacher at several schools in Central New York and spent a semester studying abroad and perfecting her Spanish in Madrid. She also enhanced her understanding of the world and developed her capacity to lead by participating in Le Moyne service trips to Jamaica and Ecuador, working closely with children in both nations. These experiences taught the aspiring teacher of English as a second language this critical lesson: “Every student learns. Some just learn differently from others.”
The process of applying for a Fulbright grant was in and of itself hugely instructive for D’Angelo. With the guidance and support of Le Moyne’s Fulbright Program Advisor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Deborah Cromley, Ph.D., D’Angelo spent approximately four months working on the essays that made up the bulk of her application, writing, revising, and revising again. It was an intensive process, but it gave her the opportunity to reflect upon the kind of classroom environment she wants to create – one in which her students view her not just as an educator, but also as an ally, and in which they are able to respect and learn from one another, regardless of any sociological, cultural or economic differences. To that end, D’Angelo is eager to live in a region of Spain that is new to her and to make connections with the people she will meet there.
“My greatest hope for Amanda is that this experience will compel her to reflect upon her values and assumptions as an educator, as a student, and as a human being,” said Cromley, who is an alumna of the Fulbright program. “Amanda is already focused, passionate, and dedicated to her craft, but I believe that the Fulbright program will enable her to look at the world through a different set of eyes. That is transformative.”
D’Angelo plans to attend graduate school to become certified as a teacher of English as a second language, and she said that her time at Le Moyne, including the effort she put into applying to the Fulbright Program, has her well on her way to realizing that dream.
“Over the past four years I’ve found that if you dive into what Le Moyne has to offer, it will take you where you need to go,” she said. “The classes and the community have changed me, and I will be forever grateful for that.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
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Spanish at Le Moyne College