Robiglio Awarded Fullbright Scholarship

Angel Silva, El Vaquero Staff Writer

Garfield Campus ESL professor Deborah Robiglio has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar and will travel to Chile in Spring 2013 under the program, both as an instructor and researcher at a national university.

“I’m still in shock that I actually got it,” said Robiglio. “But I’m really excited.”

Robiglio will be leaving to Santiago, Chile and working at the Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences, or Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, a national university that focuses on the science of education.

“This particular place is an outgrowth of [my research] in that it focuses on pedagogy and teaching,” said Robiglio.

Robiglio will conduct research and hold a teaching position at the campus.

“I’m going to do an action research project with colleagues in Chile,” said Robiglio.

Action research is a system of learning that focuses on how to improve problem-solving strategies in a structured setting — or in Robiglio’s case, how instructors address educational issues in the classroom and how their approaches can be further improved upon.

Action research is different from other kinds of research, because the instructor isn’t separate from the subject that’s being studied, said Robiglio.

“You don’t just end up studying your subjects,” said Robiglio, “you do research in a way that involves everyone.”

Robiglio will teach courses such as self-reflection and management skills, aimed at helping educators to better educate their students and to evaluate their progress.

“These are tools that will last [instructors] a lifetime,” said Robiglio.

One of the reasons Robiglio’s research will take place in Chile is because of the the country’s push to develop a bilingual populace through programs such as the English Opens Doors (Inglés Abre Puertas) program.

“Chile has this national mandate that when every Chilean student graduates, they must know how to read and listen in English,” said Robiglio.

Her expertise in action research and in bilingual strategies will help the Chilean government with that goal.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see this because not many countries require their students to learn a foreign language,” said Robiglio. “They’re the first to take education [to that level].”

The results of her research will be published sometime during the 2013 fall semester.

In order to apply for the Fulbright Scholars program, Robiglio had to write and submit a proposal on her research, receive letters of recommendation and letters of invitation from universities in Chile.

“It was a very involved and tedious process,” said Robiglio.

GCC Board of Trustees member Vahé Peroomian expressed pride in Robiglio for her outstanding achievement.

“I wanted to publicly congratulate Deborah Robiglio for becoming a Fulbright Scholar,” said Peroomian at the March 19 board meeting. “We’re very proud of the college for having such instructors.”

On average, about 800 applicants from across the U.S. are awarded the title of Fulbright Scholar, according to the Fulbright Scholar Program website.

“The best part of it is that I’m a community college professor,” said Robiglio. “It’s just a wonderful validation to the campus.”