For my last two years at the University of Pisa, a professor from the University of Texas, Dr. Warren Roberts was a Fulbright Exchange Professor at the University of Pisa. He liked my work and asked me to come back to the University of Texas upon completion of my doctorate. Which I did, even though my professors of American Literature and Spanish and Latin American Literature wanted me to work with them. I decided to accept Dr. Roberts invitation and intended to go back to Pisa after some Research in American and British Literature in the Humanities Research Center, that was being created by Dr. Warren Roberts and Dr. Harry H. Ransom. My marriage to William W. Wells, a lawyer, changed the course of my life and career.
When I was granted the Fulbright Fellowship for Research in the State Central Archives in Rome, I received a letter from the Fulbright Commission in Washington, saying that I was the first person they knew who had received the Fulbright both ways!
In the early 90’s, I was President of the Central Texas Fulbright Association. I was also, for two years, on the Fulbright Scholarships Committee.
In the years between my return to Italy and when I came back to the University of Texas, I held some interesting positions thanks to having been a Fulbright recipient. I never asked for a job, I was offered several and I accepted some, which helped me a great deal, with experience in various fields, mostly teaching but not exclusively.
From the very fist time I received my Fulbright, the Director of the USIS (United States Information Service), in my home town, Trieste, made it clear to me that I was not going to only dedicate my time to my studies, but that I was an Ambassador of my country and that it was my responsibility to represent it well. I was asked to talk about my country, my family, my school, my interests and I did all, talking to students, the Rotary Club and more. Yes, I was conscious of my responsibility, as I was when back in Italy. I was invited to talk about my experience in American University. So, I feel that I fulfilled all my Fulbright responsibilities.
Maria Xenia Wells Zevelechi – USA 1955 & Italy 1991