Fulbright program selects local student

Alyssa D'Addezio has never traveled outside the United States.

However, this summer she will have the opportunity to stamp her passport for the first time, as she travels to England to participate in the Fulbright Commission Newcastle University Summer Institute.

"This is just such a wonderful experience to have the opportunity and the funding to make this possible," D'Addezio said. "When I found out, I was just overjoyed."

Each year, about 50 U.S. and U.K. students are chosen to participate in the prestigious five-week Fulbright scholarship program.

The Fulbright program was created by Sen. J. William Fulbright following World War II to help "promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange," according to the Fulbright website.

Now among the scholars, D'Addezio will attend Newcastle University in northeast England on July 2 and explore the science and medicine program. The course covers genetics, human disease and anatomy.

The N.C. State University Park Scholar will spend about two weeks touring the U.K. and the remaining three weeks in her course of study. The rising sophomore is studying human biology and plans to minor in English at N.C. State.

D'Addezio said she developed her love of science when she was in high school, so she decided to pursue it in college and is looking forward to her studies at the Fulbright institute.

"In high school, I really liked sciences and I thought it would be a good route to try and go in," D'Addezio said. "I was really intrigued with how broad human biology was, and I was really intrigued by the health profession and the massive amount of pathways you could choose."

Among the awards she has received are the Girl Scout Gold Award and the Girl Scout Hornets' Nest 2010 Young Woman of Distinction, and she recently was named N.C. State First Year Outstanding Woman by the National Panhellenic Association.

"I'm thrilled for her," said her father, Matthew D'Addezio. "I think it's wonderful she could be rewarded for all of the hard work she does. None of this comes easy."

At N.C. State, D'Addezio also participates in the Service Leadership team, the Centennial Middle School Leadership Mentoring Program and the University Scholars program.

When her mother, Deanna D'Addezio, first found out about her daughter's placement in the Fulbright summer institute, she said, she rushed out to renew her expired passport.

"We are so ecstatic, her father and I," Deanna D'Addezio said. "We couldn't be any more proud of her."

Like any mother, Deanna said, she is apprehensive about her daughter traveling so far from home.

"I worry about it, but I don't think we should limit any her of prospects," Deanna said. "We want her to get as many experiences as she can."

Next spring, D'Addezio will take her mother's advice and study abroad for the semester in Florence, Italy. There she will enroll in courses like Italian, nutrition and food, and culture.

Deanna D'Addezio said that while the Fulbright summer institute is too short to visit, she plans to travel to Italy in the spring to see her daughter. Her advice to her daughter is to keep an open mind and always be open to new ideas, while her father encourages her to expand her cultural views.

"It's very difficult to see what's over the horizon and what great things you can obtain," Matthew D'Addezio said. "But keep working hard and accept unique and challenging opportunities."

Following her time in England, D'Addezio said, she hopes to act as an ambassador for the U.K. and bring new ideas back to the U.S.

"I really want to have a new perspective and outlook on a different culture and be able to bring that back to the United States," she said.