Fulbright-Hays Program

*Please click on the arrows on the right side to read each person's biography.

Nina Ciatto

Fulbright-Hays Program, Poland, 2009

Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program, Azerbaijan, 2008

Nina Ciatto is a New York City public school teacher who has worked primarily with middle school students for over twenty years. Her areas of focus are English language arts, social studies, special education, and social-emotional learning, and she has presented at conferences such as the International Literacy Association’s annual conference.


In 2008, Nina conducted professional development trainings for teachers in Azerbaijan through the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program, and in 2009, she studied in Poland through the U.S. Department of State’s Teach Excellence and Achievement award and a Fulbright-Hays summer seminar. She also wrote curriculum for the International Rescue Committee via the Sandy Feldman Fellowship. Her first book, How to Survive Middle School English will be released in May 2022.

Maria Ellen De Freece Lawrence

Fulbright-Hays Program, Poland, 2018

Fulbright-Hays Program, Brazil, 2011

Maria Lawrence has 21 years of experience in teacher preparation and professional development. Currently, she is a professor of education at Rhode Island College. In addition to teaching science education, she volunteers to promote cultural knowledge about indigenous communities. Maria is Minisink Lenni Lenape.


Prior to joining the faculty at Rhode Island College, Maria was a teacher of science in the local Rhode Island school districts and an industrial chemist. She is also an alumna of the Fulbright-Hays Program where her research in Brazil focused on the history of Brazil’s settlement and indigenous peoples. On a Fulbright Hays program in Poland in 2018, her research focused on the status of Poland’s goals for science, engineering, and technology in education.


Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in physical science from Rhode Island College and her doctoral degree in educational studies from Lesley University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Laura Viana

Fulbright-Hays Program, Brazil, 2010

Global Connections and Exchange Program, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Bangladesh, 2007 and 2005

Laura Viana is an adjunct professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Pensacola State College, Florida and a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.


Laura is an alumna of the 2010 Fulbright-Hays program in Brazil. During her program, she focused on the education of minorities throughout Brazil, with special emphasis on linguistic minorities in Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas. For five years, she was involved in the Global Connections program funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. During this program, she participated in State Department exchanges in Afghanistan (2007), Tajikistan (2007) and Bangladesh (2005), worked on online international collaborative programs, and hosted educators from these countries in Hawaii.


She is also a two-time alumna (2009, 2012) of the East-West Center, an institution for public diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region based in Honolulu, Hawaii and Washington, DC. Laura obtained her bachelor’s degree in international studies with concentrations in Asian and comparative studies from Hawaii Pacific University and two master’s degrees in linguistics, and Spanish-English translation and applied linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.