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Ohio University student and alumna win Fulbright awards to Latin America

ATHENS, Ohio (May 26, 2006) -- Two Ohio University students have won Fulbright awards to Latin America. Tod Imperato, a master's student in Latin American studies, will travel to Chile to serve as an English teaching assistant. Carly Witmer, who graduated in November with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, will spend the 2006-07 year in Quito, Ecuador, studying the indigenous art movement Indigenismo and creating paintings influenced by that movement.

Tod Imperato photo by Rick Fatica"I'm thrilled about having been chosen to live and work for a year in Chile as a Fulbright winner" Imperato said. "In addition to the opportunity to work with the staff of a Chilean university to construct an English language curriculum, it will afford me enough time among university students to do solid research on student group activities."

Imperato, who will graduate in June with a master's degree and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, will serve as an English teaching assistant at a university in Chile. He will also study the activities of university student groups and their perspectives on international trade and globalization, along with Chilean history and literature. Imperato earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Carly Witmer is the second student in two years from the College of Fine Art's Department of Painting to receive a Fulbright award. While in Ecuador, she will study culture at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales and create artwork with Quito-based artist Oswaldo Viteri. She will visit museums in Quito and Guayaquíl, and attend weekend markets run by indigenous artisans at Otoavalo. Witmer will also volunteer to work with craftswomen in a rural village. 

"The Fulbright fine arts competitions are fiercely competitive, and Ecuador awards very few grants in those categories," Clodfelter says. "Carly Witmer's painting award is a rare honor."

Carly WitmerShe has studied abroad in Australia and recently spent several weeks in Mexico working on her Spanish skills, volunteering at a social service agency and painting. Her artwork, which has won the Dean's Special Talent Award and funding from the Provost's Undergraduate Research Fund, has been displayed at Ohio University, in Cincinnati and in the Athens area.

Before coming to Ohio University, Imperato taught high school Spanish, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and volunteered with a non-government organization in Bolivia. Witmer is proficient in Spanish and has served as a volunteer Spanish teacher in the Athens public schools.

"Tod's teaching assistantship is very impressive, as are his plans to study student groups in Chile, where students have had important impacts on national events through the years," says Beth Clodfelter, Ohio University's U.S. Student Fulbright Program adviser. "Tod's success highlights Ohio University's strong program in Latin American Studies, as well as the TEFL certificate program of the Department of Linguistics." 

Fifteen Ohio University students were recommended to the final round of competition in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year. So far this year, 12 students have been offered Fulbright awards. This sets a record for the highest number of Ohio University students to be offered awards in this prestigious competition. 

"It's great to receive recognition for all the work that goes into the (Fulbright) application," Witmer says. "It means a lot to me that Ecuador was able to look at my project and that they see the project as worthwhile. Professionally this will help me to develop a personal style in my artwork. Working with artists in Ecuador is going to be priceless."

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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