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Student of the Month

Each month, one Student of the Month will be selected. Check back often! The essay question for May is:

What is your all time favorite movie and why?

Please send a brief essay and a photograph of yourself to bswbexperience@iie.org by Friday, May 1 in order to be considered as a winner.

Winners receive a certificate and a letter of congratulation, and winning essays will be featured!

Marcos Vinicius de Souza

February 2015

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Marcos Vinicius de Souza
Field of Study: Chemical Processes
U.S. Host Institution: Miami University
Institution in Brazil: Faculdade de Tecnologia de Praia Grande

My favorite class this term? I could name a few. However, as only one should be mentioned, let us make Chemistry in Modern Society the number one. This class is intended to raise the awareness of how chemistry can be applied to our present context and guide us through the way toward a more sustainable world.

The continuous exploitation of the Earth's natural resources has led our planet to a state of instability, making the term "sustainability" a major concern for the present and future generations. That's what I most like about it: It is a subject that provides me with knowledge that can help me apply the conceptual contents learned in college to make the planet Earth a better place to live in!

Green Chemistry has been developing powerful alternatives to generating products that are less harmful to the environment in a way that the used materials produce less waste and turn into innocuous products at the end of their useful time.

I believe Chemistry in Modern Society will certainly broaden my horizons about the world I inhabit and inspire my future decisions as a chemical process student. That is why I'll strive to make the most of it.

Marco William Paulo Da Silva

January 2015

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Marco William Paulo Da Silva
Field of Study: Software Engineering
U.S. Host Institution: Savannah College of Art and Design
Institution in Brazil: Universidade de Brasilia

What is my New Year's resolution? Even though It might sound insane, I will change the world. This exchange has been changing my conception about many aspects, but the most important is that it is opening my mind and providing me a new point of view about the world. So, why not really change somehow this year, rather than just make the same unachievable cliché plans?

I could say once more, as most people always say, "Next year? I will start going to the gym, I will drink less coffee, I will surely study harder, I am going to find the love of my life, it is going to be the year I am going to become rich, and so on."

Instead of making self plans, though, this year I want to be more friendly, helpful, cooperative, kind, peaceful, amiable, selfless. I want people to feel loved. I will embrace any chance I get of helping someone out; feeding homeless people or those who do not have a good (or even any) financial condition, giving advice when possible, or even just hearing someone out to make that person feel better.

When talking about changing the world, people think it requires too much of them, when actually it's just about loving each other. Having a better world is something that everyone wants, although unfortunately it is not everybody who gives some effort to make it happen.

Love is indeed what is missing in today's world. If at least each person who reads this essay makes a good difference in someone else's life, it is already a good beginning. Also, love being spread, come what may, it is going to make you feel better as well.

Isabella Gama Dantas

April 2015

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Isabella Gama Dantas

Field of Study: Geology

U.S. Host Institution: College of Charleston

Institution in Brazil: Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Norte

“I looked on, I thought, I reflected, I admired, in a state of stupefaction not altogether unmingled with fear!” claims Jules Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). This quote represents what I feel when I face challenges during my graduation regarding mere mathematical problems or some actual geophysical data. In this line of reasoning, three weeks ago I challenged myself and sent a brief request to a lovely professor at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, which made these past few weeks definitively the craziest ones that I have ever had. Being part of the EPS at Harvard always loomed large in my mind, mostly because of its outstanding faculty and the multidisciplinary nature of its seismological study of Earth although I thought that they would never accepted me since I am just a mere Junior student. However, my fascination for my field of study is greater than my insecurity, and fortunately has made things happen.

I grew up in Brazil with a life-long passion for math, Brazilian geology, and my father’s career extracting minerals. My passion has been sustained by an array of science courses, over the past three years, ever since my first day of class when my Geophysics professor appealingly explained how P-waves and S-waves spread through the Earth’s interior. Indeed, I would like to see myself communicating my passion for all things environmental, as my father did for me, and contributing to science. And so, I could not be happier since in this summer I will be exploring the research conducted by the seismology laboratory at Harvard, a panel which revolves around my favorite subject of all: earthquakes.

During this amazing summer, I will work in an exciting project that I chose, develop my research skills under the supervision of a reputed scientist, network with the most influential people in seismology, and learn more about geophysics. On a more basic level, I will have the opportunity to become better acquainted with the essentials of conducting research in geophysics. I intend to test my basic understanding of my field of study and, in particular, I am also eager to learn new programming languages and software. Handling coding and modeling geophysical data fascinates me since they are a mix of direct and indirect contacts with nature.

People may say that traveling is the best way to spend the summer, but I disagree. I have been to more than fifteen states in the U.S. and no travel plan could excite me more than how I feel right now. I am certain that this experience will make a huge impact not only on my professional life, but also on personal goals, furthering future goals in ways not anticipated.

In order to excel professionally in my area and to end my exchange period in the U.S. impeccably, there is no better way than spending these 75 days conducting this delightful research. Living in the U.S. during this period has given me sufficient time to think about my future and my goals, and what exactly leads people to success. As a result, I came up with this simple word that has made everything works out: Passion."

Leonardo Rander Asse Junior

March 2015

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Leonardo Rander Asse Junior
Field of Study:Pharmacy
U.S. Host Institution: Wayne State University
Institution in Brazil: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

"With great power comes great responsibility," said Uncle Ben to the young Peter Parker, who eventually became one of the most encouraging Marvel superheroes in my opinion: The Amazing Spider-Man. Actually, I have to confess that Peter and I have a lot in common; for instance, the love for sciences such as chemistry and applied biology. Moreover, since my childhood, when I did not know what science was really meant to be, I used to pretend I was a great inventor/scientist. Eventually, I grew up and faced myself in front of a huge decision. I had to choose what was supposed to be my profession until the last of my days. As one could imagine, that was definitely not an easy decision to make.

At that time, I was unsure about which major should I embrace of these three: psychology, medicine (psychiatry), and pharmacy. What I was sure about was that I wanted a major/profession that allowed me to interfere and to enhance the treatment of a significant disease. Basically, I wanted to help people and to be involved in a health sciences atmosphere.

After considering the pros and cons of each pathway elected by me, I concluded that I wanted to make a contribution into people’s lives from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Preferably, I did not want to have direct contact with patients. Moreover, I have a strong passion for chemistry, as mentioned briefly before. Suddenly, I had all the pieces of the puzzle, and when I put them together, there was no doubt that pharmacy was the right choice for me.

Therefore, after further reflection about my right professional path, I recognized I had to work for a pharmaceutical company. I wanted to be involved in the development of new and revolutionary medicines that would eventually cure people. This is why I study pharmacy and this is also why my dream job is to be a senior scientist in a far-reaching pharmaceutical company.

Giovana de Andrade Resende

December 2014

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Giovana de Andrade Resende
Field of Study: Medicine
U.S. Host Institution: University of Southern Indiana
Institution in Brazil: Universidade De Uberaba

What are my plans for winter break? I am going to come back to my "normal" life. It is time to go back home.

This experience for me was amazing, the chance of studying abroad for one year and a half was a dream come true, when the truth is even better than dreamed. I met people that I will never forget, real Friends for life, Americans and non-Americans, and I have been to places that I never thought that I would be able to visit in such a young age. Some people ask me where I liked most, but it is impossible to decide: Miami, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, and even my small Evansville, each one has its own unique beauty.

I have been asked a lot recently if I want to go back to Brazil, and the funny part is that I am always responding in a different way. There are days that I say "Yes!" with conviction. Other days I say "No! Definitely not!" The truth is that a big part of me doesn't want to stop living this dream, while another part is ready to see my family and come back to the old life and realize another big dream of becoming a doctor.

I learned so many things here: a new culture, a new language, new subjects, and I will go back a different person than arrived here. I love my country, but I fell in love with the United States. I will miss having four seasons in a year. I will miss the advanced infrastructure, which is especially evident at the University. I will miss how secure I felt here. When I left Brazil I knew that I would end up going back home, but now I cry because there is no coming back soon.

In conclusion, the answer for this question is that, willing or not, this winter I am going to the Brazilian summer. Taking with me a huge suitcase of great memories.

Isabelle De Carvalho Von Randow

December 2014

Intensive English Program Winner

Name: Isabelle De Carvalho Von Randow
Field of Study: Geology
U.S. Host Institution: State University of New York, Plattsburgh
Institution in Brazil: Universidade Federal Do Espirito Santo

In my winter break I want to get my feet wet, to try something new like how to make a real ginger man, and a traditional "kissing ball". I want to ski for the first time, to explore the beauty of Adirondack Mountains, and visit Lake Placid in NY where the Winter Olympics of 1932 and 1980 were hosted. After I become a friend of Santa Claus in -30º surrounded by all this snow I definitely want to go to a warm weather, because I miss so much the sun! I can see myself jumping the waves of the sea in Miami, FL.

Guess what? I also want to update my reading, Truman Capote wait for me with his interesting histories like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "In Cold Blood." What about to explore new museums? I study Gemology and I love to visit collections of minerals and gems.

In conclusion, after a hard work I can't wait to enjoy my winter break without needing to follow the clock's rules. I want to enjoy my coffee with chocolate and listen to the noise of hours going "tick-tock."

Marina Cazilda de Moura Alves

October 2014

Undergraduate Academic Program Winner

Name: Marina Cazilda de Moura Alves
Field of Study: Environmental Science
U.S. Host Institution: Rochester Institute of Technology
Institution in Brazil: Universidade De Brasilia

"There are words like Freedom, Sweet and Wonderful to say. There are words like Liberty that almost make me cry"- Langston Hughes. The words of this poem have significant meaning for me as an international student. Living in the United States for more than one year has made me see the world from another point of view. I have met people from different parts of the world and have learned their beliefs, values, cultures and thoughts. I was also able to work side by side with people from different countries, which gave me a new understanding of how truly diverse this country is. The volunteer work allowed me to become a part of this multiculturalism, and it is what makes me love living in the United States.

As a host country, the United States welcomes immigrants "yearning to breathe free," to quote Emma Lazarus. In her poem "The New Colossus," Lazarus brings the idea that "The Statue of Liberty became a greater symbol of conquest of freedom for incoming immigrants" (John T. Cunningham). As part of the history of the country, the Declaration of Independence states, "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It proves that freedom is part of American history and has always welcomed people from different countries, and this makes the United States a culturally diverse country.

The best example of seeing and feeling this diversity firsthand was participating in the UNICEF club at Rochester Institute of Technology. Through this club, I was able to visit Mary's Place Refugee Outreach in Rochester, New York, and to talk with a lady called Dhan Subba from Bhutan. She asked me several times about the political system of Brazil, and questioned me: "King? King? No freedom?" I told her that in my country we have a woman president and we also have freedom. She said emotionally, "Oh, in Bhutan we do not have freedom, we have a king." On this day I had the opportunity to look in people's eyes, and see that we all are the same, no matter where we are from, what religion we practice or what ethnicity we are. The volunteer work allowed me to become a part of this multiculturalism.

The best experience of my life was studying in the United States and immersing myself into a world of incredible culture, trying to understand people's opinions and respecting them as they are. I have learned a great deal during my time here, and have gained a lot of knowledge in this learning, so I want to apply what I have learned to my future work in Brazil: helping vulnerable populations and environmental refugees in developing countries, bringing back their rights and protection to those who need a better quality of life.

Felipe Souza Teixeira

October 2014

Intensive English Program Winner

Name: Felipe Souza Teixeira
Field of Study: Electronic Engineering
U.S. Host Institution: University of Michigan, Dearborn
Institution in Brazil: Pontificia Universidade Catolica De Minas Gerais

First of all I am very happy to be here in the United States and I have many things here that I am enjoying and loving since I arrived, like the food, the housing, the people who are so nice and patient with me because I am still learning English, and the university. If I had to choose one of these things I would choose the people who are so understanding of me, as I am not fluent in English yet.

I was afraid about this, I always thing something like, "I can't say something wrong because they are going to make jokes about me or treat me badly!" Instead the opposite happened, when people here realize that I am foreign and I am not fluent yet, I receive all the attention and respect. It is actually very common that people here seems interested about the country that I am from and about the culture. They want to know about nice places to visit and what I recommend to do, and to eat in Brazil. Here in United States I am different and this draws attention, which is perfect, because this way I can train my English and become fluent quickly with this new contacts and know more about culture of the United States. Most everybody that I've met here is nice, friendly and I know that whatever I need, I must only ask them and if they can help me they definitely do.

I am enjoying each moment here and improving myself as a person, student and professional. I am doing very well because I am loving this time while I am here, I am learning more than I ever imagined I would learn, I can realize that all this experience will be unforgettable and remarkable in my life.

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