QC grad Italy-bound for Fulbright research

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A recent Queens College graduate is about to pursue her research on Naples, Italy, in the years following World War II as a Fulbright scholar in that city.

Jackie Aiello, 23, of Glen Cove, L.I., earned her master's in English language teaching from Queens College in May 2008.

Her degree comes right on the heels of a bachelor's degree program at Barnard College, where she wrote two theses on Naples during the postwar period when American forces had liberated the city and remained for two years, and the other about Neapolitan poet and playwright Eduardo de Filippo, who wrote about the occupation from the Italian point of view.

Aiello is to leave Friday for Naples to get settled in the city before she begins work Oct. 1 as a Fulbright English teaching fellow, a project which will allow her to continue her research in the setting where it all happened.

"I'm assigned to two schools, a technical institute and a liceo classico [a high school where classical studies is the focus], where I'll do cultural presentations," Aiello said.

But she said the teaching is only meant to be part-time, the same for the research.

"Even in the application, they [the Fulbright committee] encouraged me not to focus too much on my research project," Aiello said. "In January, we have to give an update on our progress, and another at the end of the year. They're going to want us to get involved in the community, and I assume we'll write about that."

The application process for the prestigious Fulbright fellowship took Aiello the entire 2007-08 academic year, with the application and references due in October, she said.

"In January, I found out I'd passed the first level, and at that point it's 50-50 whether you get it. And then I found out in May" that she had been selected, she said. "I was applying for jobs with this always at the back of my mind. Everybody was right that it was impossible, but I'm so glad it paid off."

For Aiello, spending a year in Naples is a sort of return home — her father grew up in nearby Sorrento, and she was born in Italy and returned as a child.

"I spent several years in Italy in elementary school. It was a small town, where there were 50 students in the K-5 school," she said.

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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