David D’Antonio (MS11) Wins Fulbright Fellowship to Teach in Italy

David D’Antonio (MS11) Wins Fulbright Fellowship to Teach in Italy

David D'Antonio

David D’Antonio (MS11), a graduate of the Master of Science in Education program, was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach, study and work in Naples, Italy. In addition to teaching high school and studying the philosophy of education in at-risk schools, he will also work with a community organization on gang prevention and youth advocacy.

Since 2008, D’Antonio has worked as a middle school mathematics teacher and an academic interventionist for youth at risk. His master’s project at SESP centered on teaching self-agency in the inner-city classroom, which he sees as a factor in breaking cycles of poverty and violence in under-resourced neighborhoods.

In a similar vein, his work in Naples as a teacher and community worker will center on working with youth at risk. “I will continue to study the manner in which school mission and values help to define the decisions and practices towards school culture and student achievement. Additionally, I am honored to work with a community organization serving an under-resourced area in Naples through gang prevention and youth advocacy programs,” he says.

“My project in Naples and work with SESP are related to my future goals as well. In the near future, I hope to study educational philosophy and sociology and to develop my understanding of various related sociological-educational dilemmas,” says D’Antonio.

D’Antonio’s interest in working with at-risk youth stems from his experience in an urban, high-needs middle school classroom. “I recognized the importance for at-risk youth to acquire a capacity for thinking critically about their world and for attaining a sense of self-agency,” he says. Because he suspects that this sense of self-agency can be related to breaking cycles of poverty and violence, he has been exploring how to teach self-agency effectively. His master’s research through SESP was an attempt to learn more and test various methods.  

“Furthermore, I am fascinated with the intended and accidental philosophical implications behind the school-wide and classroom-wide initiatives for positively affecting youth who are at-risk,” he says.

D’Antonio had several reasons for applying for a Fulbright. To begin with, he was drawn to Fulbright’s mission to sustain cultural understanding across borders. “To be a part of this mission in an informally ambassadorial way as an educator and a learner is simply an honor and an adventure,” says D’Antonio. “Secondly, to teach abroad is an opportunity that will inevitably broaden the mind to a wider world of experience and instructional strategies.”

Finally, he seeks closer ties with Italy. “My interests in pursuing this opportunity were accented by previous experience visiting family in southern Italy and falling madly in love with the cultural identity and language of the region. While I’ve been restless to return, I want my next visit to be more purposeful and less abbreviated in order to foster a deeper relationship with the culture, the people and the land.”

Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. The flagship program between the U.S. and 155 countries is supported by the U.S. Congress and partner governments worldwide.  

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/27/17