As a Tennis On Campus team captain for Lafayette College, Erin D’Amelio was forced to manage tennis practices, matches, classes, studying, team management, scheduling and, when she could fit it in, a social life.
All of that work will pay off next year when D’Amelio, the winner of a prestigious Fulbright award, spends 10 months teaching English to young students in Malaysia.
“I’m more than excited about this opportunity, I just can’t wait,” D’Amelio said. “I know this experience will be fantastic and rewarding.”
Throughout her time in college, D’Amelio consistently turned to tennis as an escape from her books – a way to get out of the library or the dorm room after hours of studying and into a fun and friendly – yet competitive – environment. The double-major in English and French joined the Lafayette Tennis On Campus squad as a freshman and continued to stay involved as much as her schedule allowed.
“I’ve always had a goal of wanting to play tennis after high school, it was just figuring out the timing,” she said. “Tennis On Campus ended up being all I was looking for. I love the sport, so to be able to continue to play and serve as president for two years, it’s been great.”
D’Amelio said one of her favorite parts of Tennis On Campus was keeping competitive by playing other schools and forming rivalries. She also enjoyed working with her teammates and traveling to off-campus tournaments and events, like Section Championships.
“Those opportunities to play beyond just practice have been important to me and to the team,” she said. “We had mixed results as a team but it’s all been worth it.”
Off the court, D’Amelio committed a large portion of her time and energy to several groups and projects emphasizing literacy and community service. She spent a summer interning with Judith’s Reading Room, a Bethlehem-based nonprofit that donates customized libraries to nursing homes, after-school programs, women’s shelters, and other groups. Through the organization, she teamed with Kirby Hall of Civil Rights librarian Ana Ramirez Luhrs to orchestrate last year’s Banned Books Week on campus, a series of events that addressed the banning of books by schools, bookstores, and libraries across the country. One of these events was a flash mob in Skillman Library that received national media attention from The Washington Post and the New York Daily News.
She will continue her work with Judith’s Reading Room through her Fulbright experience, and will be establishing a library in a Malaysian community and promoting literacy in the area.
D’Amelio, who spent a semester studying abroad in Paris, is a member of Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education (LIME), a peer-mentoring program in which Lafayette students help Malagasy students overcome the language barrier and other disadvantages so that they can pursue their dreams of receiving a college education at an American school. As part of LIME, she spent three weeks in Madagascar in January 2012, teaching high school students about the college application process and helping them get more comfortable speaking English.
For more information about D’Amelio and her scholarship, click here.
For more info on Tennis On Campus and bringing a program to your school, click here.