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Foreign Language Department Will Once Again Feature Fulbright Scholar on Staff

Juan PimientaWINTERVILLE—For the second straight year, Pitt Community College’s foreign language faculty will include an instructor taking part in the prestigious Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program.

Andre Gregory, PCC International Programs and Services Coordinator, announced this month that Juan Pimienta will become the third FLTA instructor to teach at Pitt, following in the footsteps of Valeria Guerra and Xiu-Wen Lin, who taught Spanish and Mandarin, respectively, during the 2011-12 academic year.

Gregory said PCC requested FLTA instructors to teach Spanish, French and Mandarin after looking closely at its foreign language course enrollment. He said the college was ultimately awarded one instructor, though, due to the competitive nature of the Fulbright Program.

“We’re excited about having Juan Pimienta teach at PCC and carry on what we hope will be a long-running tradition of excellence in educating students through a globally diverse faculty,” Gregory said.

A native of Uruguay, Pimienta has three years of experience with teaching non-native English speakers in his home country. His responsibilities at Pitt will include assisting with the college’s foreign language lab, overseeing its Spanish Language Table, and providing cultural presentations, according to Chris DeVille, a PCC French instructor and language lab coordinator.

Fluent in English and Spanish, Pimienta is currently studying Arabic. He says he is excited about having the opportunity to teach at PCC and to “learn about how teachers and professors in the United States establish rapport with students.”

For the past 44 years, the FLTA program has enabled young educators, like Pimienta, to refine their teaching skills, increase English language proficiency and extend knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States while engaging in non-degree studies at accredited post-secondary U.S. educational institutions.

Patricia Baldwin, chair of PCC’s University Transfer and Foreign Language Department, said last year’s Fulbright instructors were “great assets to the college’s foreign language department.”

She noted that Guerra’s and Lin’s interaction with students in the classroom and through workshops and conversation tables gave students an opportunity to learn firsthand about cultural differences and their home countries of Uruguay and Taiwan.

“The experience was invaluable for the foreign language department and our students,” Baldwin said. “Valeria and Xiu-Wen will always be thought of as a part of the foreign language department family at PCC. We continue to keep in contact with them despite the distance between us.”

Since its inception in 1968, nearly 310,000 educators—116,900 from the United States and 192,800 from other countries—have participated in the FLTA program.

Funded by the U.S. government, FLTA currently operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. The process for becoming a participant in the program is extensive for both the applicants and the colleges and universities seeking Fulbright scholars.