In describing how the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program affected his life, Sanderson Santos would not say just significantly – he would say it completely changed it. Through the program, which provides scholarships to undergraduate students from Brazil to study in STEM fields in the U.S. for one year, he studied Production Engineering at Kansas State University, and took summer courses at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, in close proximity to Silicon Valley. For Sanderson, the impact of this opportunity was twofold: he expanded his global view by living with an international community, and he was able to merge his old ideas on creating connections between Brazil and other countries with new ideas on innovation and entrepreneurship that he was exposed to in the United States. This combination motivated Sanderson to get involved in projects that positively influence the Brazilian society.
In the U.S., Sanderson faced a different reality from Brazil. The United States exposed him to a macro society formed by immigrants from many nations. In his micro society, formed by Americans and international students, Sanderson learned from and became friends with people from five different continents. These experiences helped him to better understand cultural nuances and differences, and strengthened his international communication skills.
While he focused on Production Engineering at Kansas State University, at Stanford, Sanderson also took classes on entrepreneurship and technology trends. At the beginning of the program, he had no idea how he would match what he learned with his overall goals. However, in Silicon Valley he met influential people in his field such as Mark White, an experienced attorney with international agreements that led to contracts between startups worldwide and companies like Microsoft and Google, and Bel Pesce, a young Brazilian entrepreneur who commands one of the most successful startups in Silicon Valley. Mr. White and Ms. Pesce inspired Sanderson and helped him to contextualize knowledge gained during his academic program with skills learned outside the classroom.
Now, after building connections and understanding the “rules of the game” in international business, Sanderson has begun work on two projects that he hopes will help form linkages between organizations in Brazil and the United States. The first project intends to help Hospital Varela Santiago, located in a low-income region of Brazil, which works to treat children with cancer from low-income families. The American organization contributing to the project will be Heart to Heart International, a 20-year-old charity that donates medical supplies worldwide. Sanderson’s second project is to create a joint venture between two large companies in the technology and entertainment fields.
Sanderson feels that the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program helped him to improve not just as a professional, but also as a person. He is proud that he can give back to his community and is happy because he feels like he is working to return to the Brazilian people some of what was given to him. Sanderson strongly believes that each of the students in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program has an important role in our global society, and should work hard to build a better Brazil, free from poverty and corruption, which will grow at the same pace of the rest of the world.
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