Ilaria Navarra, the first recipient of the Fulbright-NIAF-Georgetown University Research Lectureship in Education, completed her 6 month scholarship and is returning to the University of Macerata in Macerata Italy to complete her doctoral studies. Navarra is a primary school teacher in Episcopia, Basilicata, Italy. She was awarded the Fulbright grant to study the implementation of the Montessori method in US based preschools and primary grade classrooms.

The Montessori Method is commonly practiced in Europe and is seen as strong educational alternative to traditional education for special-needs students. The method emphasizes active learning, problem-solving, and self-discovery, components of what we recognize as quality early childhood education. While at the GUCCHD, Ilaria participated in a variety of Georgetown U and UCEDD activities. Along with school visits she taught within the GU undergraduate Disability Studies minor, participate in the GU Certificate in Early Intervention program, created a short documentary on the Montessori method and US education system, presented at the AUCD conference, and lectured at the Italian Embassy. When she returns to Italy in March, Navarra will continue her CCHD research at the University of Macerata. Ilaria was especially impressed with the interdisciplinary nature of the UCEDD. This is the first opportunity she had to collaborate with so many different professionals, creating an "incredible and stimulating work environment". Ilaria completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Salerno and spent a year studying communications at the Paris-London University in Salzburg, Austria. She then earned a degree in Italian language instruction at the ca. Foscari University in Venice. She is completing her PhD at the University of Macerata.