Image: The winners of the ICTF innovation challenge

Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) alumni Marcela Alves and Brenda Miranda, who both attended Arizona State University from 2013-2014, did more than just complete a year of study in the U.S. They came up with an innovative new app, designed to help women around the world called "EmpowerIt." 

Image: Quotation from Brenda Miranda and Marcela AlvesEmpowerIt was designed to promote global collaboration between women-owned businesses. For their outstanding original product, Alves and Miranda were chosen as finalists in the 2015 Women Vendors Exhibition (WVEF) Tech Challenge. The annual challenge was run by the International Trade Centre in partnership with Google and global tech company CI&T.

Alves and Miranda distinguished themselves and their product through this global competition, working to empower women by utilizing their skills and channeling them into a constructive application that can create change. Both women have gone above and beyond throughout their program experience, and continue to do so long after their program completion. While participating in the BSMP, Miranda founded ASU’s Brazilian Club, sharing Brazil’s culture with the campus. As alumni, Brenda was a co-founder of RedeCsF, a networking program to connect BSMP alumni and build discussion with the goal of invoking change in Brazil.

In 2015, 18,000 Brazilian students studied in the United States through the IIE Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP). This initiative, administered by IIE and sponsored by CAPES and CNPq, is part of the Brazilian government's larger effort to grant 100,000 scholarships to the best students from Brazil for study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the world’s top universities. After completion of an academic year including a summer internship, students return to Brazil to complete their degrees and build the future of their home country.