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Glendale Community College Professor Deborah Robiglio awarded Fulbright

ESL instructor will travel to Chile in spring 2013 to teach and conduct research

March 12, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

A Glendale Community College faculty member who specializes in English-as-a-second-language instruction has been named a Fulbright Scholar, a prestigious appointment reserved for the brightest minds in American academia.

Deborah Robiglio, who teaches English to non-native speakers at the college’s Garfield campus, will travel to Santiago, Chile in spring 2013 where she will work as a teacher trainer and researcher at a major university for one semester.

“It is a mental exercise as much as it is a physical one,” Robiglio said. “It is a great opportunity to be able to represent a community college.”

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Alfred Ramirez, interim administrative dean of continuing and community education at Glendale Community College, said that Robiglio has been a standout since she arrived on the Garfield campus and that the Fulbright came as no surprise to her colleagues.

“Her professional demeanor, along with a genuine sense of caring and commitment, is evident in her collaboration with her peers and her students,” Ramirez said. “Debbie’s recognition is especially significant to our non-credit programs because it validates the fact that all of our Glendale Community College instructors are of the highest quality.”

A first-generation American — her parents emigrated from Argentina — Robiglio was raised in Southern California speaking Spanish at home and English at school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from UC Santa Barbara in 1992 before pursuing a career in journalism.

Assigned to the education beat at The News and Observer, the marquee newspaper in North Carolina, she was a frequent visitor at local schools.

“I was very interested in what I saw, especially with children because it just looked like a very warm and positive environment,” Robiglio said. “That is really what drew me to education, the notion of being able to help people.”

She decided to leave journalism, relocating to Las Vegas where her parents were living at the time. With the demand for bilingual professionals soaring, she found work as a substitute teacher and was eventually recruited into a teacher prep program that allowed her to work while also earning her master’s degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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