Alum Wins Fulbright Research Award for Italy

Laura D'Amico '18

Laura D’Amico ’18 (photo by Zach Frazee)

Laura D’Amico ’18, who majored in biology with a minor in dance studies, has won a 2023–24 Fulbright US Student Study/Research award for Italy. The fellowship is highly competitive and the first Geneseo award to Italy. 

D’Amico will study and create work in Bologna, Italy, with the arts organization Anfibia, a multidisciplinary, dance-focused collaborative program supporting performing arts research. She and a small cohort will learn from a series of rotating artists-in-residence from companies across Europe. She will also teach a series of movement meditation workshops for locals and guests of Italy Farm Stay, an organic tourist farm in Abruzzi National Park between Rome and Naples. 

“Spending an academic year with the Anfibia artist program will challenge every single part of me. I will be given specialized attention and mentorship in building a well-rounded career in creating and performing,” she says. “This opportunity also puts me in a better position to later pursue a certificate in Gaga Movement Language in Tel Aviv, Israel.”

D’Amico, who grew up in Clifton Springs, NY, earned an AAS in veterinary technology from Alfred State College. In 2014, she volunteered with local veterinarians in Haiti and later served as a research technician for the US Department of Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech. 

Starting in 2018, D’Amico spent two summers in Italy working in children’s summer camps across the country as a TEFL-Theatre and Play certified English tutor, and later as an organic farm worker at Italy Farm Stay. 

“I feel that sharing my unconventional background is imperative in describing my path forward in creating a life in which I can celebrate and substantiate the concepts we cannot easily quantify or qualify in this world,” she says. “I was put on this Earth to make art to communicate to humans the realities about how animals are treated prior to reaching their plates.”

During the past five years, D’Amico has continued her training with Garth Fagan Dance at the Summer Movement Institute and with Geneseo adjunct dance instructor Nicolette Ferguson. Since January 2021, she has studied in Gaga Labs and is presently a freelance artist in the Rochester area, performing, creating, and leading workshops in contemporary dance. She recently received a 2023 New York Choreographer’s Initiative Grant, sponsored by NYS DanceForce under the New York State Council on the Arts.

After her Fulbright experience, D’Amico will apply to the teacher training program for Gaga Movement Language and is considering master’s degree programs in dance therapy or choreography. She will also continue to build her non-profit organization, Artists for the Animals, which educates audiences about agriculture and animal welfare through all mediums of art.  

Fulbrights at Geneseo

The Fulbright Foundation provides grants for individually designed study or research programs, graduate degrees, or English teaching assistant programs in many foreign countries. In five of the past six years, Geneseo has been named a Fulbright Top Producing Institution by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in its annual article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

D’Amico is the fifth awardee of the seven semifinalists so far in this year’s Fulbright competition, joining Julia Grunes ’23 (Israel), Abdul Sanderson ’20 (Kyrgyzstan), and Bryan Gilman-Orozco ’23 (Colombia), along with alternate Samson McKinley ’23 (Taiwan). An award to North Macedonia was declined. D’Amico becomes the 50th Geneseo alumni to win and accept a Fulbright US Student award.

The 2024–25 Fulbright US Student competition application is now open to students and alumni. The program is administered at Geneseo by Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships Michael Mills, who can be reached at and 585-245-6002. For more information about the Fulbright and other nationally and internationally competitive scholarship and fellowship programs, visit Fellowships and Scholarships

—Michael Mills