Ana Maria Leal Oliva (Spain), Raffaella Bottini (Italy), Francisco Emanuel Vallejos (Argentina) and Rayane Ferrahi (France) have been awarded a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program grant to serve as teaching assistants in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. While in the United States, they will share their language and culture with the St. Thomas community by facilitating conversation groups, tutoring students, assisting in the classroom and participating in campus events.

Since 2009, St. Thomas has had around 39 FLTA students.

Leal Oliva has a bachelor’s degree in English linguistics and literature, one in Spanish linguistics and literature, and a master’s degree in foreign languages, literature and linguistics. She has worked as a foreign language assistant for the British Council. Bottini has a bachelor’s in foreign languages and literature, and a master’s in English language and literature, both from the University of Milan. She has taught English in Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Vallejos has a Bachelor of Education to teach English at the primary school level and one to teach at the secondary school level. He has taught at both levels. Ferrahi has a bachelor’s degree in communication and is working on a master’s degree in communication.

They are among 400 young educators from 50 countries who are in the United States during the 2015-16 academic year to help internationalize U.S. colleges and universities. Recipients of Fulbright FLTA grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. Fulbright FLTA scholarships are awarded by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and has given approximately 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Since 2001, more than 4,000 Fulbright awardees have been Fulbright FLTAs.

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