Brazilian Studies Center hosts orientation for Brazilian STEM students

Some 120 Brazilian scholarship students attended an orientation for the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program on the UCLA campus on Saturday, October 5.

Brazilian Studies Center hosts orientation for Brazilian STEM students

From left to right: Kevin Terraciano, Randal Johnson, Anna Laura Scmidt, Vice Provost Kathryn Atchison, Chancellor Gene Block, Ambassador Bruno Bath, Karin Nielsen, Bonnie Taub, Tara Neuwirth, and Van Anderson.*

By Peggy McInerny, Director of Communications

International Institute, UCLA, October 9, 2013 — The UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies and the Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles hosted an enthusiastic group of Scientific Mobility Program (SMP) scholarship students from Brazil for an orientation day at UCLA on Saturday, October 5.

Some 120 students, both undergraduate and graduate, attended sessions at UCLA’s Broad Art Center to prepare them for their studies in the United States. Ten of those students will pursue courses at UCLA; the remainder will fulfill their scholarships at a large cross-section of universities throughout California, the southwest United States and Hawaii. Their orientation sessions covered everything from the requirements of the SMP program to driver’s licenses and internships in the United States.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block welcomed the Brazilian students to UCLA, commending the strategic importance of the program for Brazil and expressing his appreciation for its far-sighted investment in educating the country’s young people. Ambassador Bruno Bath, Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles, told the students that he was very proud of them and wished them great success in their studies.

Director of the UCLA Latin American Institute Kevin Terraciano, a UCLA historian, and Director of the Center for Brazilian Studies Karin Nielsen, a UCLA M.D. who teaches at the Geffen School of Medicine, also welcomed the students and urged them to make good use of their stay in the United States. Nielsen reminded them that she, too, had once arrived as a foreign student at UCLA, where she completed a medical internship and a graduate degree in public health.

Known in Portuguese as Ciência Sem Fronteiras, SMP was launched in 2011 to provide scholarships to 100,000 undergraduate and graduate Brazilian students of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); students in the humanities and social sciences are also now supported by the program.

The scholarships enable students to study at universities abroad for a year or more (up to four years for a full Ph.D.). Upon completion of their time abroad, most students will return to Brazil to complete their degrees at their home universities.

Jointly funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology through their respective funding agencies, CPES and CNPq, the program also offers research and teaching fellowships in Brazil to promising new Ph.D. graduates and established scholars from U.S. universities.

Fundação Lemann (the Lemann Foundation) is supporting both the Brazilian government’s SMP program, as well as its own Jorge Paolo Lemann Scholarship and Fellowship Fund at UCLA. The latter provides partial funding for Brazilian students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees at UCLA, as well as a limited number of short-term fellowships for UCLA students to study in Brazil and Brazilian students to study at UCLA. A representative of the Foundation, Anna Laura Schmidt, attended the orientation day and was on hand to answer questions.

Marco Carvalho, Educational Coordinator of the Consulate of Brazil in Los Angeles, gave the students an overview of the Ciência Sem Fronteiras program and described the geographic purvey of the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles. Additional sessions covered support services offered by consulate, an overview of undergraduate training, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities of scientific research for Brazilian graduate students in the United States.

Additional attendees from the Brazilian Consulate included Deputy Consul Leonardo Valverde, Daniel Valverde of the Legalization Department and Felipe Xavier of the Assistance to Brazilians Department. Among other attendees were Kathryn Ann Atchison, Vice Provost of New Collaborative Initiatives at UCLA; Randal Johnson, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Laura Giles of the Institute of International Education; Eduardo Celtin of the biotechnology firm AMGEN; Rosaly Lopes of the Jet Propulsion laboratory of the California Institute of Technology; and Van Anderson of the UCLA Extension.

A lively reception followed the orientation sessions, after which the students departed to points north, west, east and south to return to their education institutions away from home.

Brazilian Ciência Sem Fronteiras scholarship students with the orientation team from UCLA and the Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles. (Photo: UCLA/Peggy McInerny.)


* Kevin Terraciano, professor of history and director, Latin American Institute, UCLA; Randal Johnson, UCLA distinguished professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Anna Laura Scmidt, Lemann Foundation; UCLA Vice Provost Kathryn Ann Atchison; UCLA Chancellor Gene Block; Brazilian Consul General and Ambassador Bruno Bath; Dr. Karin Nielsen, professor of pediatric infectious diseases, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, physician, UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and director, UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies; Bonnie Taub, chair, Latin American Studies Graduate Program, and faculty member, UCLA School of Public Health; Tara Neuwirth, associate director, American Language Center, UCLA Extension; and Van Anderson, department director, Custom Programs & Corporate Education, UCLA Extension.