Laspau staff member Aline Santos named Harvard Hero

CAMBRIDGE, MA, April 3, 2019 – Laspau is pleased to announce that Aline Santos, our Operations and Systems Coordinator, has been named a 2019 Harvard Hero for her outstanding contributions. Her work has been integral to Laspau’s effective adoption of new technologies and streamlining of our operations and systems.

Harvard Heroes is an annual program held each spring to celebrate high-performing staff from across every School and the Central Administration with both local and University-wide recognition. Being named a Harvard Hero is an honor of great distinction – only about 60 Heroes, or ½ of 1% of eligible staff, are named each year, with selection based on 11 important criteria. These staff members are nominated and/or selected by their peers and departments for their leadership, teamwork, adaptability, innovation and exceptional contributions. (For more information about Harvard Heroes, see the program website.)

Laspau looks forward to celebrating this achievement with Aline and the other Harvard Heroes at a university-wide event in June. 

 

 

Laspau Announces New Leadership for Board of Trustees

Laspau is pleased to announce the election of new leadership to its Board of Trustees.  At the annual meeting, held last November in Cartagena, Colombia to coincide with the Higher Education Summit of the Americas, Laspau elected Christine Scott Nelson as the new Chair of the Board, Ned Strong and Mauricio Lopez Obregón as Vice Chairs and Clark Bernard as Treasurer. Former Chair of the Board Jeff Coburn ended his term after serving on the Board since 2010, and serving as Chair since 2012. Treasurer John Knutson also ended his term as Treasurer, which he served in since 2014.

Board Chair Christine Scott Nelson

Newly-elected Board Chair Christine Scott Nelson has been a member of Laspau’s Board of Trustees since 2015 and is a Founder of Cornerstone Research, a consulting firm that provides expert testimony, economic, and financial analysis to attorneys in all phases of commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings. She received a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, a master’s degree from Boston University, and a master’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She has also studied in Spain, Argentina, and Germany. In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, Ms. Nelson serves on the board of Cornerstone Research; the board of Second Nature, the supporting organization of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment; and the board of De Novo, a legal services and counseling provider. She also serves as a Trustee of Allegheny College, co-chairing the college’s current capital campaign.

Laspau to hold inaugural Higher Education Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia

Laspau has announced that it will hold the inaugural Higher Education Summit of the Americas on November 16th and 17th, 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia.

The Summit will convene 100 leaders from government, business, and higher education to re-envision the role of the university in Latin America and the Caribbean to advance its relevance and impact in 21st-century society. These leaders include university presidents and vice presidents, government ministers and secretaries and business leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through this milestone event, Laspau aims to harness the collective knowledge of leaders, bridge collaboration across government, business and higher education sectors, and articulate shared priorities for transforming higher education in the region. Over the course of two days, leaders will discuss societal challenges in relation to academic research, international trends, and system-wide practices for cultivating innovation ecosystems and knowledge-based societies.

The summit will include sessions on Reinventing the Role of the University in Latin America, The University as a Driver of Economic Growth, Innovating Education to Educate Innovators, Utilizing Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to Scale Innovation in Higher Education.

One of the Summit’s keynote speakers, Dr. Julio Frenk, the President of the University of Miami, sees the Summit as an opportunity for “sharing our strategy to become a hemispheric university by engaging with other institutions of higher learning form the region to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Over the past 50 years, Laspau has collaborated closely with governments, foundations, nonprofits and educational institutions across the Americas. The organization currently manages several longstanding scholarship programs for partners such as the Fulbright Program of the U.S. Department of State, the Organization of American States, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, among others. Additionally, over the past ten years, Laspau has helped hundreds of universities across the region to improve their quality and effectiveness by connecting them with the latest knowledge and pioneering faculty in the field through programs to strengthen teaching and learning, enhance the quality and impact of education, and promote innovation and academic leadership. The Higher Education Summit of the Americas represents the nexus of these areas of work and seeks to further strengthen and promote meaningful collaboration across higher education, business, and governments throughout the Americas.

At the conclusion of the Summit a compilation of innovative ideas, practical actions, and proposals obtained from the various sessions will be published for the good of the entire region.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Alberto Bustamante, Director of Education Industry for Latin America and the Caribbean, Microsoft
  • Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT
  • María Marta Ferreyra, Senior Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank
  • Julio Frenk, President, University of Miami (View Welcome Video)
  • Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University
  • Eric Mazur, Dean of Applied Physics, Harvard University
  • Richard K. Miller, President of Olin College
  • Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education (View Welcome Video)
  • Jamil Salmi, Tertiary Education Expert
  • Cecilia María Vélez, President of Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano

This event is by invitation only. Additional information can be found on the event website at www.laspausummit.org.

Family, Work and Doctoral Studies

[vc_row][vc_column][mpc_button preset=”preset_2″ url=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.laspau.harvard.edu%2Fscholarblog%2F|||” font_preset=”default” font_size=”12″ font_transform=”none” font_align=”inherit” title=”SCHOLAR AMBASSADOR BLOG” background_color=”#ffffff” border_css=”border-width:2px;border-color:#165a5a;border-style:solid;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:6px;padding-right:10px;padding-bottom:6px;padding-left:10px;” margin_divider=”true” margin_css=”margin-top:25px;” hover_font_color=”#ffffff” hover_background_color=”#165a5a” mpc_tooltip__preset=”mpc_preset_28″ mpc_tooltip__position=”right” mpc_tooltip__show_effect=”slide” mpc_tooltip__font_preset=”mpc_preset_22″ mpc_tooltip__font_color=”#f7f7f7″ mpc_tooltip__font_size=”12″ mpc_tooltip__font_line_height=”1.7″ mpc_tooltip__font_transform=”capitalize” mpc_tooltip__font_align=”center” mpc_tooltip__text=”UmVhZCUyME1vcmUlMjBTdG9yaWVz” mpc_tooltip__background_type=”gradient” mpc_tooltip__background_gradient=”#a01e24||#e62824||0;100||118||linear” mpc_tooltip__border_css=”border-width:1px;border-color:#a01e24;border-style:solid;” mpc_tooltip__padding_divider=”true” mpc_tooltip__padding_css=”padding-top:3px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:20px;”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By: Dr. Abrilene Cynthia Johnston-Scott – Organization of American States (OAS) fellow from Jamaica, pursued Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University.

The Scholarship

When the recession hit the global economy in 2008, I was completing my first semester in a doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University. Because of financial constraints, I had to take a leave of absence from the program. Despite this, I remained committed to finishing my doctorate and fortunately, I was introduced to the Organization of American States scholarship program by a former colleague at the College where I worked in Jamaica as a teacher educator. I immediately made contact with the Ministry of Finance in my home country and got further details on the scholarship. I applied and attended an intense interview in 2009 lasting about 40 minutes.

After seven months on leave of absence from the university, I received a call from Washington, D.C. informing that my scholarship application was approved for the prestigious Organization of American States (OAS) program to complete my doctoral degree. This was like a dream come true! I was able to get back on board and complete my doctoral work in two additional years with the unprecedented support from my esteemed professors, remarkable scholarship advisors at Laspau, my ardent academic advisor at Nova Southeastern University and my family.

Work, Family and Online Study

Pursuing full time job, full time studies and full time family is not a piece of cake! In relentless pursuit of my doctoral degree, I demonstrated grit, determination, very high level of self- discipline and met all deadlines. This was fundamentally how I was able to succeed. I had to carry a full teaching load as a lecturer throughout the duration of my studies due to the fact that there was no leave of absence possible since my doctoral program was conducted online.

The demands of the children were great. I managed with strong support from my spouse, family and a child care provider. The commitment of these persons held my  family together until I completed my program. To them, I am still indebted.

Throughout my program, I shared in information-rich online learning communities with international students and professors from diverse backgrounds. This international space was ideal for the development of connections, tolerance and respect for divergent views that were useful for my cognitive and affective development. I remembered that the discussions and debates were intriguing.

With my husband at the graduation ceremony

The Challenges

One of greatest challenge studying online was slow internet connectivity in my home country at the time. My computer froze many times during online chat sessions, frequent power outages, and slow connections were like lingering nightmares. I had to listen to the recorded classes to catch up. Through it all I developed persistence and learned to tackle the challenges at hand.

I remembered breastfeeding my daughter while browsing through the online libraries to find scholarly articles to complete assignments. The most challenging aspects however, were the times when my children were ill with very high fever and having deadlines to meet. I had many sleepless nights and missed opportunities to see my daughter go through her early developmental milestones, like taking her first steps and saying her first words.

Transformational Experience

Currently, I lecture in Education, Philosophy and Research Methods at Bethlehem Moravian College in Jamaica. One of the greatest impacts of my education was the role I played in conceptualising and nurturing a research culture at this College. This role involved my contributions in reviewing the College vision statement to include a focus on research, the training of faculty to adequately supervise students’ action research papers, taking students to multiple research conferences, hosting research conference at my College and allowing students to present their papers at this conference. I created and used a Research Blog to further stimulate discussions on issues/topics in educational research which was also novel and effective in building this culture.

This experience impacted my career interest and teacher education in Jamaica as my dissertation focused on improving students’ collegiate experience by creating greater opportunities for co-curricular involvement. My dissertation paper was presented in multiple research conferences in Jamaica.

The doctoral program has bolstered my cognitive development including my reasoning abilities, critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, information literacy and collaborative skills and spirit. I benefitted immensely from my involvement in extensive research work which has helped to shape my worldview of education and my approaches to students’ learning, their collegiate experience and development.  I became the youngest faculty member with a doctoral degree.

In all of these aspects, the experience of earning a Doctor of Education degree was extremely transformational for me and has allowed me to give back to the field of Education in Jamaica.

With my husband and children

 

[vc_row][vc_column][mk_mini_callout]Disclaimer: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

[/mk_mini_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3392″ img_size=”70 x 70″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_padding_divider size=”10″][vc_single_image image=”3393″ img_size=”350 x 100″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Fulbright Scholar Dr. Jacques Clerville Is Applying Epidemiology To Improve Haiti’s Public Health System

Dr. Jacques Clerville is a former Fulbright scholar and Haitian primary care physician, with a master of public health in epidemiology from University of South Carolina, Arnold School. Today, Dr. Clerville is Haiti’s chief assistant of infectious diseases epidemiologic surveillance within the Ministry of Health and Population.

While Jacques Clerville was writing a medical prescription for a patient in the town of Les Cayes, he felt his work environment tremble for a few seconds. It was the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010. Although Les Cayes was spared, thousands of people in Port-au-Prince lost their lives or were completely homeless. And that was not all, the aftermath of the earthquake led to a major consequence: an outbreak of cholera devastated the island almost 10 months later causing many deaths. As a physician facing these unprecedented challenges, Dr. Clerville began to see the need to deepen his knowledge in epidemic diseases.

In seeking to more effectively help the population, Clerville joined Doctors Without Borders, which established a cholera treatment center in Les Cayes. “This experience completely changed my perspective on health care and public health. I realized that I was limited with my skills and clinical knowledge,” he says.

It was then that Clerville applied and was later selected among the ten best candidates to attend a year-long intensive training program in Infectious Diseases and HIV, funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) and in a partnership with the Université Notre Dame d’Haiti.

“Since then, I have seen epidemiology as a means to provide evidence-based information to improve medical and public health practice, particularly in Haiti where there is a lack of scientific literature.”

Born in Les Cayes, Dr. Cleville moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he earned a medical degree from the Université Notre-Dame d’Haiti. After he completed his seven-year program with one year of social work, he started working in his hometown as a practicing primary care physician.

After the earthquake, he applied for a Fulbright scholarship through the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to pursue a master’s degree in public health in epidemiology. “The Fulbright scholarship allowed me to pursue one of my dreams, which is to study in the United States.” Accepted at three universities in the United States, Clerville chose the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina (USC), because he knew it was one of the best public health programs in the country. At USC, he studied in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, participated in global health conferences and adapted his course with a focus on public health surveillance systems.

Clerville completed his degree, returned to Haiti and, most importantly he has been able to apply what he learned in the work field. “The Fulbright scholarship program is the stepping stone that helped me get a leadership position at the Ministry of Health and Population in Haiti.”, he says. Recently, Clerville has been involved in monitoring and evaluation, conducting site visits and overseeing the Epidemiological Surveillance Officers. He also has been attending project management-related workshops to increase capacity and success in health-related projects.

With the knowledge and skills he has acquired, Clerville dreams higher: he wants to teach Epidemiology at the university level. Indeed, he carries a lifelong mantra that he is fully committed to helping the Haitian people and making a difference into their lives by improving the health system.

Dr. Clerville is lecturing on how to analyze and display epidemiological surveillance data to Epidemiological Surveillance Officers (OSE) at the Ministry of Health and Population in Haiti.

 

Using the Field of Interior Design to Redesign Physical Schools and Learning Environments

[vc_row][vc_column][mpc_button preset=”preset_2″ url=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.laspau.harvard.edu%2Fscholarblog%2F|||” font_preset=”default” font_size=”12″ font_transform=”none” font_align=”inherit” title=”SCHOLAR AMBASSADOR BLOG” background_color=”#ffffff” border_css=”border-width:2px;border-color:#165a5a;border-style:solid;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:6px;padding-right:10px;padding-bottom:6px;padding-left:10px;” margin_divider=”true” margin_css=”margin-top:25px;” hover_font_color=”#ffffff” hover_background_color=”#165a5a” mpc_tooltip__preset=”mpc_preset_28″ mpc_tooltip__position=”right” mpc_tooltip__show_effect=”slide” mpc_tooltip__font_preset=”mpc_preset_22″ mpc_tooltip__font_color=”#f7f7f7″ mpc_tooltip__font_size=”12″ mpc_tooltip__font_line_height=”1.7″ mpc_tooltip__font_transform=”capitalize” mpc_tooltip__font_align=”center” mpc_tooltip__text=”UmVhZCUyME1vcmUlMjBTdG9yaWVz” mpc_tooltip__background_type=”gradient” mpc_tooltip__background_gradient=”#a01e24||#e62824||0;100||118||linear” mpc_tooltip__border_css=”border-width:1px;border-color:#a01e24;border-style:solid;” mpc_tooltip__padding_divider=”true” mpc_tooltip__padding_css=”padding-top:3px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:20px;”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By: Néstor Isaac Ramos Marchena, a Fulbright MESCyT scholar from the Dominican Republic is currently pursuing Master’s degree in Interior Architecture at The University of Texas, Austin.

I studied architecture in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. Similar to most of my classmates, I aspired to create huge buildings that provoked awe and admiration. While the architect ego was there since the first semester, ironically, the definition of architecture that I always loved since the beginning is the one that involves the term service. I was somehow more attracted to projects with social connotations.

After my first year in architecture school, I started to feel incomplete. I thought I needed to change my major. There was something missing. My professors convinced me that architecture was MY thing and pushed me to stay for at least two more semesters. I did, and looking back today, I can see what worked: The following semester, the studio worked on a project with a heavy focus on the interiors; the design of a museum that celebrated Dominican-aboriginal culture.

I was instantly attracted. I realized that the interiors is what I was more interested in about architecture. After all, it was the closest space to human scale, and what I love most about design and architecture is precisely the possibility to influence people, making them feel good in a space, improving the way they live and work, therefore, improving their lives.

Presenting Final Project at The University of Texas, School of Architecture

I started then to envision design as one of the most powerful tools for human development. Approaching the end of my undergraduate studies, I was more and more certain that a path in interior design was going to be my next step.

In those days, a new education model had been applied in the Dominican Republic, which added four more hours of class per day, totaling eight hours of class. This was greatly criticized due to the lack of infrastructure and facilities that the schools needed in order for the program to be a success. Moreover, the visual characteristics of these spaces created a generic atmosphere, using colors and materials that not only ignored the local character and heritage, but also yielded an aesthetic similar to prisons.

This motivated me to shape my undergraduate thesis project into research on the impact that good design has on students in their educational environment. My team and I thought it was logical to think that if the students were going to spend more time in the school, then the spaces should reflect and respond positively to this extended stay.

We were excited to substantiate that a well-designed environment can have an enormous effect on the learning process of a student, increasing the chances of academic excellence and social relationships. As a result, we proposed a series of school prototypes, according to the population and weather of the region in which they would be installed, resulting in a positive social response to actual problems.

Convinced that through architectural design I could influence and positively benefit the lives of people in my country, and especially childhood and education, I applied for an International Fulbright Scholarship, that I received months later. Thanks to the scholarship, I went to the United States to pursue a Master’s of Interior Design at The University of Texas at Austin. I understood that by getting a deeper knowledge of interior design, through a Graduate Degree, I was going to be able to design better spaces for people.

As a way of continuing my line of interest and as an extension of my previous study, I decided to shape my MDS (Final Master’s Project) into a community center for rural areas of Dominican Republic, that provides educational programs to all the residents in the community. A prototype that can be replicated and adapted to different settlements, allowing variations of layout and materials and that involves the community as part of the building process to create a sense of ownership, pride and appropriation.

It has been thrilling to be working on this project, that means so much to me on a personal level. Weeks away from graduation, my mind is already bubbling with excitement as it thinks of the many ways I can go back to my country and try to contribute with all the knowledge I have gained here in the United States. And this is one of the purposes of the Fulbright Scholarship: to give back. And it is my intention to give back by doing and teaching.

Doing, through professional practice. I envision myself working to advocate for better designed schools, and better learning environments. It would be my biggest dream to make an impact in my society through design, to not only achieve the aforementioned qualities in public education, but also to demonstrate that designers are not just “decorators”, but activists, agents of change and social development.

And also, by teaching. It is obvious that design and education are both my passions, and there is nothing I would rather be experiencing than the feeling that I am contributing to make our built environment a better place.

Holding the Dominican Republic Flag at the UT Austin graduation

[vc_row][vc_column][mk_mini_callout]Disclaimer: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

[/mk_mini_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3392″ img_size=”70 x 70″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_padding_divider size=”10″][vc_single_image image=”3393″ img_size=”350 x 100″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

BRASCON and the Empowerment of Brazilian Scientific Community

[vc_row][vc_column][mpc_button preset=”preset_2″ url=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.laspau.harvard.edu%2Fscholarblog%2F|||” font_preset=”default” font_size=”12″ font_transform=”none” font_align=”inherit” title=”SCHOLAR AMBASSADOR BLOG” background_color=”#ffffff” border_css=”border-width:2px;border-color:#165a5a;border-style:solid;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:6px;padding-right:10px;padding-bottom:6px;padding-left:10px;” margin_divider=”true” margin_css=”margin-top:25px;” hover_font_color=”#ffffff” hover_background_color=”#165a5a” mpc_tooltip__preset=”mpc_preset_28″ mpc_tooltip__position=”right” mpc_tooltip__show_effect=”slide” mpc_tooltip__font_preset=”mpc_preset_22″ mpc_tooltip__font_color=”#f7f7f7″ mpc_tooltip__font_size=”12″ mpc_tooltip__font_line_height=”1.7″ mpc_tooltip__font_transform=”capitalize” mpc_tooltip__font_align=”center” mpc_tooltip__text=”UmVhZCUyME1vcmUlMjBTdG9yaWVz” mpc_tooltip__background_type=”gradient” mpc_tooltip__background_gradient=”#a01e24||#e62824||0;100||118||linear” mpc_tooltip__border_css=”border-width:1px;border-color:#a01e24;border-style:solid;” mpc_tooltip__padding_divider=”true” mpc_tooltip__padding_css=”padding-top:3px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:20px;”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By: Carleara Ferreira da Rosa Silva – A former Ciência sem Fronteiras/CAPES scholar from Brazil , Carleara holds a Ph.D. degree in Nursing from The State University of New York at Buffalo.

Most graduate students in science have two things in common. The first is the love of science and the dream of making the world a better place through science. The second one is the longing to belong to a scientific community. Brazilian scientists are like that. Even before moving from the United States to pursue a Ph.D., we tried to reach out to one another and created groups where we could share our thoughts and seek for peer support. Laspau does a great job of mentoring us in this process from application to placement at an American university.

After moving to the U.S., we continue to use these groups on social media, as well as the mentorship received from Laspau. The Brazilian Consulate in New York held a meeting for graduate and undergraduate student in New York City during my first year at The State University of New York at Buffalo. It was a great opportunity to meet my virtual friends in person and members of the Laspau team. Gisele Passalacqua (Master of Engineering at Columbia University) and I were invited by Gláucia Ribeiro (Laspau) to share our experiences with Laspau during that meeting. More than sharing the great experience we had, that meeting marked the beginning of BRASCON. I want to share with you more about my experience creating this unique space for Brazilian scientists studying in the United States.

What is BRASCON?

BRASCON, the Brazilian Students and Scholars Conference, has a mission of empowering Brazilian scientific community in the United States. BRASCON was born from the combined efforts three Laspau-sponsored graduate students in the United States. At the meeting at the Brazilian Consulate, Gisele had this brilliant idea of gathering graduate students, and I joined immediately. She posted the invitation on our facebook group, and Vanessa Dias (Entomology- University of Florida) and Camila Zanette (Pharmaceutical Sciences-University of California-Irvine) joined us.

We worked as a team building the foundation for BRASCON and learned in the process that more than a gathering place, BRASCON should be a space for professional development, networking, and peer review for research. We wanted to learn from the Brazilian scientists that preceded us and build the path for the generations to come. At that point, Gisele, Vanessa and I were supported by Gláucia in planning the first BRASCON. Our team of four slowly became the solid workforce of over 20 volunteers from different fields placed in 14 universities in the United States.

The Conference

The first BRASCON took place at Harvard University, March 12-13, 2016. Drs. Miguel Nicolelis, Marcelo Gleiser, Cristina Caldas, Leonardo Maestri and others joined us and shared their experiences with the 120 participants at BRASCON 2016.

BRASCON 2017 took place at the University of Southern California, March 11-12, 2017. Drs. Roberto Alvarez, Angela Olinto, Marcus Dutra e Melo among others shared their experiences as keynote speakers and panelists with 120 participants. The Cia. De Talentos hosted a workshop for professional development.

The third edition of BRASCON will take place on June 23-24, 2018 at Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio. Confirmed speakers include Drs. Joana D’arc Felix, Duilia de Mello, Jose Pires, Roberto Alvarez, and Ulisses Mello.

BRASCON offers both a personal and professional growth experience. We receive reports from students who have gotten internships, research collaborations and met new friends at the conference. Some students who presented their research at BRASCON were able to later translate their work into a start-up company.

For those interested, we encourage you to join us and support BRASCON by helping us spread the news or even by joining us at the conference as a speaker, sponsor or presenter at the Opportunities Fair. We also encourage other students studying abroad to look for these types of opportunities to connect and network with one another. It has been a long road but is has been worth it!

Thanks and Acknowledgements:

Thank you Laspau for supporting us since the beginning! Currently, I am the only remaining from the BRASCON original head team. It takes a giant amount of work to make the conference happens every year, and it would not be successful without the work of a brilliant team. Karin Calvinho (Rutgers University) and Pedro Tonhozi (University of Kansas City-Missouri) are the left and right arms in the battle to keep BRASCON alive. I am grateful for our collaborators from 2016, 2017 and today Sara Dumit,Valdir Barth, Pedro Val, Raquel Rocha, Karina Esparza, Jessica Akemi, Fernanda Gushken, Tassia Pereira, Flavio Cruz, Silvia Nishioka, Cristiano Reis, Luiz Felipe Ungericht, João Vogel, Guilherme Rosso (Rede CSF, now Emerge) e Frederico Menino.  Thank you to our partners from  BRASASciBrCOURB. Thank you to Paula Martins from BRASA OSU, Jane Aparecido, and Luke Barbara from Brazil Gateway, Dr.  Roberto Alvarez for your mentorship and the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. for the support.

[vc_column][mk_mini_callout]Disclaimer: This blog is not an official site of the program sponsors. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the program sponsors or partner organizations.[/mk_mini_callout][/vc_column]

New school, new life, new challenges

[vc_row][vc_column][mpc_button preset=”preset_2″ url=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.laspau.harvard.edu%2Fscholarblog%2F|||” font_preset=”default” font_size=”12″ font_transform=”none” font_align=”inherit” title=”SCHOLAR AMBASSADOR BLOG” background_color=”#ffffff” border_css=”border-width:2px;border-color:#165a5a;border-style:solid;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:6px;padding-right:10px;padding-bottom:6px;padding-left:10px;” margin_divider=”true” margin_css=”margin-top:25px;” hover_font_color=”#ffffff” hover_background_color=”#165a5a” mpc_tooltip__preset=”mpc_preset_28″ mpc_tooltip__position=”right” mpc_tooltip__show_effect=”slide” mpc_tooltip__font_preset=”mpc_preset_22″ mpc_tooltip__font_color=”#f7f7f7″ mpc_tooltip__font_size=”12″ mpc_tooltip__font_line_height=”1.7″ mpc_tooltip__font_transform=”capitalize” mpc_tooltip__font_align=”center” mpc_tooltip__text=”UmVhZCUyME1vcmUlMjBTdG9yaWVz” mpc_tooltip__background_type=”gradient” mpc_tooltip__background_gradient=”#a01e24||#e62824||0;100||118||linear” mpc_tooltip__border_css=”border-width:1px;border-color:#a01e24;border-style:solid;” mpc_tooltip__padding_divider=”true” mpc_tooltip__padding_css=”padding-top:3px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:20px;”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By: Blanca Esther Romero Pino – Fulbright Faculty Development scholar from Venezuela and currently a Master’s degree candidate in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Arizona State University.

Coming to the United States was a great adventure for me. I had never left my country and suddenly, here I was, leaving my family to move to a place I had never been before, with a different language and culture. The fear was there, as well as the excitement, but I was looking forward to this new experience.

The first length of my trip took me to Bloomington, Indiana for the Fulbright Gateway Orientation. I fell in love with the city, and with the campus at Indiana University. In this gateway program, I had the chance to meet the most wonderful people from different countries. I learned about their cultures, and tried to share mine with them. I especially loved meeting other Latino brothers and sisters who were also there, representing the best each of their countries had to offer. Although I was the only Venezuelan in the group, I felt as if all of us came from the same place. The sense of friendship and unity in our group made it rather special. I am glad to say that I made some very good friends in that gateway. I was also lucky that four other Fulbrighters from my gateway were coming to Arizona State University. I would not be alone!

At Arizona State University campus

I started my graduate program at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe campus in the Fall of 2016. The new environment created a bit of a shock for me. Even though I already had a graduate degree from a Venezuelan university, the different dynamics in the graduate programs here in the United States took me by surprise. In all honesty, there were moments when I felt I did not belong, that there had been a mistake, and I was not good enough for my program, and that I was not worthy of being a Fulbright scholar. Fortunately, I was not alone. Other Fulbrighters and international students shared the same concerns, and we found ourselves supporting each other, and encouraging each other to keep going.

My brother once wrote the sentence “Keep moving forward” on his Skype status. I found myself thinking about it more and more, and I decided to take it as my mantra. Whenever I felt like giving up, whenever the stress became too much, I would tell myself: “Keep moving forward, no matter what. Don’t stop. Keep. Moving. Forward”.

With my “little” brother, Mila

And I have found myself repeating that mantra so many times that I am considering getting it tattooed on my arm, as a reminder (I have not done it yet, but soon). Because thetruth is, there are moments in our lives in which we feel that we cannot keep going. We feel overwhelmed with schoolwork, we miss our families, we are in a different environment, a differentculture from ours. It can become too much for any human being. I realized that I could not overcome these feelings on my own. I needed a support system. Thankfully I had my friend Milan.

Milan, a mountain of a man from Slovakia has the biggest heart that anyone can imagine. He is calm and quiet, whereas I am loud and feisty. We met at the orientation in Bloomington, and we became like brother and sister in Arizona. He said I was his “big” sister, which everyone laughed at since Milan is 6’5” and I am 4’8” tall.  Taking time for a coffee in the evenings, or dinner over the weekends helped me relax and recharge my batteries, so to speak.

The latter brings me to another strategy I found to cope with stress: take time for yourself. We all have papers to write and deadlines to fulfill. But we also need to take the time to release tension and stress. I find that sometimes my brain simply refuses to work, that even constructing a simple, coherent sentence is a struggle. When that happens, I just stop, get up and go do something else. I work out, or watch a movie, or read a non-academic book (I am a fan of the urban fantasy genre).

The trick to graduate school is to find the balance necessary to have good academic performance without sacrificing your personal well-being. School will be there, deadlines will be there, the stress and worries will be there waiting for you. It is better to face these struggles with a relaxed mind and an energized body. And remember, “Keep Moving Forward!”

Group photo with Fulbright scholars in front of the White House during the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar on Justice in Education

[vc_row][vc_column][mk_mini_callout]Disclaimer: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

[/mk_mini_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3392″ img_size=”70 x 70″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_padding_divider size=”10″][vc_single_image image=”3393″ img_size=”350 x 100″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Be Like a Proton: challenges and takeaways when applying to graduate school

[vc_row][vc_column][mpc_button preset=”preset_2″ url=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.laspau.harvard.edu%2Fscholarblog%2F|||” font_preset=”default” font_size=”12″ font_transform=”none” font_align=”inherit” title=”SCHOLAR AMBASSADOR BLOG” background_color=”#ffffff” border_css=”border-width:2px;border-color:#165a5a;border-style:solid;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:6px;padding-right:10px;padding-bottom:6px;padding-left:10px;” margin_divider=”true” margin_css=”margin-top:25px;” hover_font_color=”#ffffff” hover_background_color=”#165a5a” mpc_tooltip__preset=”mpc_preset_28″ mpc_tooltip__position=”right” mpc_tooltip__show_effect=”slide” mpc_tooltip__font_preset=”mpc_preset_22″ mpc_tooltip__font_color=”#f7f7f7″ mpc_tooltip__font_size=”12″ mpc_tooltip__font_line_height=”1.7″ mpc_tooltip__font_transform=”capitalize” mpc_tooltip__font_align=”center” mpc_tooltip__text=”UmVhZCUyME1vcmUlMjBTdG9yaWVz” mpc_tooltip__background_type=”gradient” mpc_tooltip__background_gradient=”#a01e24||#e62824||0;100||118||linear” mpc_tooltip__border_css=”border-width:1px;border-color:#a01e24;border-style:solid;” mpc_tooltip__padding_divider=”true” mpc_tooltip__padding_css=”padding-top:3px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:20px;”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By: Fernando Antonio Rebolledo Uscanga – a Fulbright COMEXUS scholar from Mexico and a PhD fellow in Biomedical/Medical Engineering at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Speaking, writing and interacting in a language that is not your native one is definitely challenging. It is not easy to express yourself with the same freedom that you have when you speak in your first language. The words, phrases, expressions, are all different, and as you learn a new language you have to accept that there is nothing wrong with making mistakes.

Similarly, the process of applying to graduate programs is challenging. There is a long list or requirements to apply to schools. Academic transcripts, Curriculum Vitae (CV), Letters of Recommendation, the intricate Statement of Purpose and lastly, the terrifying standardized tests, which such as the TOEFL iBT and GRE or GMAT exams. These standardized tests are considered the most important part of your application. Well, I will counter this assumption, I think this is wrong. Why? Because graduate schools are looking for unique candidates. The admissions committee reviews the application materials for your candidacy as a whole, which demonstrate the kind of person you are, and what you are going to bring to the program and school. Through your application, the committee can identify your cultural background, your way of thinking, your reasoning and your diverse opinions about key global issues. Most of these characteristics may be conveyed through your Statement of Purpose and through it the admissions team could better understand who you are, how you think, and how you approach problems and solve them.

My recommendation for success in the application process to graduate school is to be yourself.

The standardized tests might seem frightening, but like any other required application component, they represent one part of a whole. The standardized exams do not necessarily measure your intelligence or capability, but rather your effort and how well you understood the rules of testing. Getting a high score does not equate to being qualified or being the right individual to pursue graduate studies. At the end of the day, standardized exams are tricky but a low score doesn’t mean that you would not be able to succeed in a graduate program. Getting a low score is in fact, fairly common. If the first time was a problem, then try it another time, and another and as many times as you need. One strategy I would recommend is to check out free resources that ETS offers online and watch a variety of lessons on YouTube. Remember to stay positive that the next time you take the exam it will be better. As one famous high school basketball coach in the U.S., Morgan Wootten, would say, “You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going”, so keep going. You are almost there. And yes… I took the exam more than once.

Another important factor during the application process is to be prepared with your university search. “Where are you going to apply?” is a common bottleneck for many applicants. “Where do you want to go for graduate studies? Is it feasible? What do you need to do in order to get accepted?” After thinking about all of these factors, it is essential to prepare yourself as best as you can and apply. Reach out to professors (also known as faculty advisors) that you want to work with, share with them your academic interests, ask them questions about the program, and make sure to carry your confidence along the way.

Confidence is so important during the application process to graduate programs because it demonstrates your capability that the admissions committee wants to see in you in order to make decision to whether accept or deny your candidacy to the program.

To restate my recommendation, confidence is shaped by how you present yourself to the committee, how unique you are, and how you can defend your ideas and goals.

Same recommendation goes to those interested in applying to highly competitive institutions. Although my GRE and TOEFL iBT scores were fair, I applied to some competitive graduate programs. I believed in myself and decided to apply even though some people advised me that I wouldn’t get accepted.

I was admitted. My overall application was strong enough to be considered.

Be positive, like a proton.

The process is certainly about how much effort you put in order to accomplish and reach your dreams. Every step that you are walking through is worthwhile. It is a road that will definitely lead you to success. My motto is to “Believe in you, believe in yourself deep down.”

[vc_row][vc_column][mk_mini_callout]Disclaimer: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

 

 

[/mk_mini_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3392″ img_size=”70 x 70″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_padding_divider size=”10″][vc_single_image image=”3393″ img_size=”350 x 100″][/vc_column][/vc_row]