Allegheny College’s faculty helped Lauren Ottaviani ’18 nurture her knack for learning languages, for Shakespearean studies and for singing. Now they are celebrating Ottaviani’s Fulbright award to teach English in Belgium starting in the spring of 2020.
“Lauren will make an ideal Fulbright Scholar. Prodigiously bright, mature and responsible, she graduated summa cum laude from Allegheny in only three years, earning the English Department prize for best senior project and chairing the student Honor Committee at a time it undertook a review of its policies and practices,” says Jim Bulman, Henry B. and Patricia Bush Tippie Professor of English at Allegheny.
Ottaviani will be placed at the University of Antwerp, where she will teach and assist with English literature courses. “In addition to designing lessons for students, I will also be taking a course on Flemish to better understand the local language and culture,” says Ottaviani, who is from Zelienople, Pennsylvania.
She is currently in Great Britain attending Durham University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in English literature. “I will be completing a dissertation on the formation of collective memory and its impact on female identity in Shakespeare’s first tetralogy and will be presenting my research at a medieval memory conference at the University of Basel this summer. I will move to Antwerp upon completing my degree in the fall,” says Ottaviani.
While at Allegheny, Ottaviani was involved with the choral program and was a member of the College Choir and Chamber Choir. She also participated in Opera Scenes and took voice lessons with Carol Niblock. She was on the Honor Committee and served as co-chair.
“In comparing my experiences as an undergraduate to those of my course-mates at Durham, I realized how much I benefited from the extended attention which Allegheny professors give to their students,” says Ottaviani, who was an English major and French studies minor at Allegheny. “The Allegheny English Department provided me with invaluable skills for my continued study of literature — both in my courses and during their office hours, my professors pushed me to deepen my analyses and sharpen my writing skills.”
Ottaviani says she enjoys being overseas. “A highlight of my Allegheny experience was my participation in choir, which helped me so much to grow both as a singer and as a person. My first trip abroad was with the Chamber Choir on our tour to New Zealand in 2017 — it’s fair to say that my interest in traveling internationally began with the Chamber Choir and the remarkable cultural insights we had together on tour,” she says.
“She clearly ranks among the top 10 students of the more than 4,000 I have taught during my 40 years,” says Professor Bulman.
Ottaviani is one of about 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2019–2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.