Friday, January 27, 2012

U.S. universities selected to host scholarship winners from Brazil

Last year, Brazil's Ministry of Education acted upon an apparent need to increase the number of their country's students studying abroad in science, technology, engineering and math also known as the STEM fields. With one of the world's fastest-growing economies, Brazil sees support for STEM fields as critical to sustaining its development. UNO is one the first U.S. universities to host students who have earned these scholarships through the Science without Borders initiative.According to the Institute of International Education,The Science without Borders program is a joint effort of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology that seeks to strengthen and expand the initiatives of science and technology, innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers. The program also encourages highly qualified young researchers and professors to visit Brazil.

Over the next three years,75,000 to 100,000 Brazilian students will study overseas under full-ride scholarships, and a significant number of those will likely come to the United States. The Brazilian government's goal is to send its best students to the best schools in the world.UNO was selected after Admissions Advisor Julie Soper made a recruiting tour through Brazil last Feb. and was later allowed the opportunity to meet with Brazil's higher education leaders at a June conference in Washington D.C.Soper was in Brazil for three weeks and traveled to six different cities to take part in various education fairs around the country. She explains that she had the opportunity to represent UNO, with the aid of a translator, in front of thousands of new members of the academic world. The fair in Sao Paolo alone saw attendance of almost 17,000 students. At two of her stops, she was fortunate enough to be joined by a UNO alumnus native to the area, providing her not only with another capable interpreter, but also a means by which the students she met could gain some real insight into life at the university from one of their own.

As of this semester, International Studies and Programs is hosting three students who have begun their studies in computer science, biotechnology and computer engineering. The students involved in the one-year program will complete the spring semester, intern at a local company in their respective field during the summer and attend classes again in the fall before returning home. Ideally, another group could be recruited to begin this fall for two semesters of study and end their time in the states with an internship next summer.Looking ahead, the University of Nebraska will be hosting a delegation of Brazilian universities and government representatives at the end of Feb. This trip will allow them the opportunity to monitor the progress of their students here, along with the twenty-nine currently at UNL, and hopefully lay the groundwork for possible partnerships that would facilitate growth in numbers in semesters to come.Soper believes that building cultural, academic and economic ties with Brazil will be critical for UNO and Greater Omaha.These days, Brazil is on the tip of everyone's tongue, whether it's about economics, politics, sports, or music,Soper said.We want to be a part of that excitement.

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