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Brazilian STEM Program Expands Horizons for Students

December 4, 2012

By Dale Long

Rose-Hulman has gained a distinctive Latin flare this school year with the presence of 17 Brazilian students on campus through the South American country's new Science Without Borders (SWB) program.

             Brazil Group
  International Experiences: Students from throughout Brazil are enjoying a year on campus through the Science Without Borders program. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

They are among the approximately 2,200 Brazilian undergraduate students studying in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields-part of Brazil's ambitious initiative to send up to 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students overseas to the best technology schools in the world by 2014.

Eight students arrived on campus last spring and were joined by another nine students this fall. Each are spending three quarters studying in areas of electrical engineering, computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering. They will also participate in summer internships with  U.S. companies before returning to Brazil to complete their degrees.

"These top-notch students had a number of choices, and they chose to study at Rose-Hulman," says Luchen Li, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Global Programs. "They were attracted by the excellent quality of education offered at Rose-Hulman and our welcoming community."

The Brazilian students have adapted quickly to life on campus and in America. They have lived in residence-hall rooms with other Rose-Hulman students, participated on intramural teams, have had meals at homes of faculty and staff members, and fellow students have loaned them business suits for internship interviews. Several have also taken a spring break trip to Florida and have travelled to see Niagara Falls, New York City, and Washington, D.C. They also were featured on a regional NBA television broadcast while waving a Brazilian flag to support Indiana Pacers basketball player/Brazil native Leandro Barbosa.

"It has been an amazing experience," says Luis Pelaez Covatti, an electrical engineering student. "It is going to be hard to leave."

Danielle Cunha, a chemical engineering student, adds, "We expected this to be a good experience, but it has been much greater. Every day I'm impressed even more with the quality of Rose-Hulman and its caring atmosphere."

To return the hospitality, the SWB students hosted a campus cookout this fall with Brazilian food and music, and a special Brazil Day is being planned on campus by the visiting group on February 9.