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Scholar earns “triple Fulbright”

Scholar earns “triple Fulbright”

She will do research about freedom of expression and deliver lectures in Colombia, Italy and Trinidad and Tobago

August 28, 2023 at 4:30pm

It takes a global mindset to propose conducting complex research and guest lecturing in three different countries. That's exactly what adjunct faculty member Allison Matulli of the department of criminology and criminal justice did in a formal application, and the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program has accepted and funded her proposal to be carried out over the next two years.

FIU is sending six faculty abroad as Fulbright Scholars in the next academic year, during which they will teach and conduct research for one or two semesters. Matulli, on the other hand, will go overseas as a Fulbright Global Scholar, and she will make three separate trips to different places: Colombia, Italy and Trinidad and Tobago. She is the first such awardee in FIU’s long history of encouraging faculty to teach and work in other countries through the program. Nearly 100 have gone since 1975.

Matulli is a former attorney and certified Montessori lead educator who has written a children's book, "Your Freedom, Your Power: A Kid's Guide to the First Amendment," and runs an organization that aims to empower young people to understand their constitutional rights and responsibilities. Colleagues at FIU applaud her work and the investigation she will undertake moving forward.

“I admire her ambition,” says Heather Russell, vice provost for Faculty Leadership and Success. “I look forward to her comparative study’s findings and the resulting recommendations for children as changemakers.” Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Lisa Stolzenberg states that "faculty who receive the Fulbright Global Scholar Award are the torchbearers of knowledge, driving innovation, promoting collaboration and bridging cultural divides.” Assistant Dean of the Green School of International & Public Affairs Carleen Vincent adds that Matulli "is a child advocate at heart who uses not only her legal expertise but also her own experiences as a woman of color to empower our youth.”

Matulli recently spoke about the award and her plans.

What prompted you to apply?
When I worked for the U.S. Department of State at the American consulate in Italy, I gained insight into the power of the Fulbright program, and I knew that it would be my path one day. At FIU, I reached out to Gitta Montoto, Fulbright program campus liaison. She guided and supported me throughout the process and identified the three international host institutions where I will work, all of which have partnership agreements with FIU.

What is your Fulbright project about?
"One World, One Voice" is a study of the freedoms and rights of children through the lens of diverse cultures, ethnicities and races in the countries I've selected. The project will entail my presenting multidisciplinary guest lectures and seminars in the fields of law, education, criminal justice and political science, during which I will connect with potential collaborators for my research. I will poll legal experts, community leaders and educators about their observations on students' rights to free speech. The goal is to produce a children’s book and other materials to engage children in learning more about their country as well as their own rights and responsibilities in a local, regional and international context. I will work to develop partnerships to address the questions around what ‘free speech’ means for local children, parents and families. My research study targets school-aged youth to college-aged students to parents and families. I expect to be in contact with people of various socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures and races to explore the power of diverse human voices.

Why did you choose these countries?
My Fulbright Global Scholar journey will take me on three separate trips. In Colombia, I will work at the College of Law, Political Science and International Relations at the Universidad del Norte. In St. Augustine, Trinidad, I will work at the School of Education and the Department of Criminology at the University of the West Indies. In Italy, I will work at the Department of Economics, Business and Statistics at the University of Palermo. These locations offer an exciting opportunity to work with their dynamic faculty, administrators, staff and students. As an ambassador of the United States and FIU in these countries, I am thrilled to be expanding my global mission and research to empower children to understand laws, know their rights and use their voices.

Fulbright encourages scholars to bring along dependents. Will you?
I will take along my children Santo Max and Eva Skye. Young people do not always know the power of their collective voice. I not only want to change that, but I want my own children to witness my work and find their own paths.

Faculty interested in pursuing a Fulbright Global Scholar Award are encouraged to contact FIU’s Fulbright program liaisons Assefa Melesse ( or Birgitta “Gitta” Rausch-Montoto ( The application deadline for the 2024-2025 award cycle is September 15, 2023.