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BRASCON Recap

BRASCON 2018

The third BRASCON (Brazilian Students and Scholars Conference) was held at Ohio State on June 23 – 24, and was a great success! Previous hosts of the conference were Harvard (2016) and University of Southern California (2017).

Opening remarks were given by Gifty Ako-Adounvo, PhD, assistant vice provost for global strategies and international affairs at Ohio State. Ako-Adounvo emphasized Ohio State’s internationalization efforts and highlighted the importance of the Global Gateways, including the Brazil Gateway, whose team helped bring BRASCON to Ohio State.

The first day included three keynote speakers sharing their experience in industry, innovation and science. José Pires, innovation leader, led participants through an engaging activity; Duilia de Mello, PhD, vice provost at the Catholic University of America, talked about her experience working at NASA; and Joana Felix, PhD, from Harvard, told her emotional and inspiring trajectory to overcome prejudice and poverty. There was also a panel discussion on ways to bridge leadership, entrepreneurship and science, with Marcio Resende, PhD, associate professor at the University of Florida, and Roberto Alvarez, PhD, executive director of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, of which Ohio State is part.

“I met amazing people! In particular, two great women scientists inspired me with the impact they are having in the world: Joana Felix and Duilia de Mello," said Paula Dalcin Martins, PhD, Ohio State alumna and BRASA’s (Brazilian Students Association) president. “It’s incredible to see resilient, passionate and determined women doing what I want to do when I am a professor! Thank you BRASCON for the opportunity to work with you all!"

The second day included a keynote from Ulisses Mello, PhD, director of research at IBM Research, and presentations by Jane K. Aparecido, academic relations and alumni community manager at the Brazil Gateway, on the collaboration strategies the office has in Brazil; by Martins on how to engage those interested in Brazil on campus; and Kessia Cericola, Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, on how to diversify collaborations in Brazil.

The conference brought around 60 scientists and graduate students from all over the United States to the Ohio Union, and Ohio State students won best presentations, oral (Martins) and poster (Ivan Susin Pires).

For the first time in BRASCON, there was also a cultural presentation. Students, Armond Wimberly and Nicholas Vermilye, who had just arrived from their music education abroad in Salvador (Bahia) played famous Brazilian songs. After the event, attendees went on a tour around campus.

"Hosting the conference at Ohio State is very important for its internationalization efforts, because it will raise awareness among Brazilian students, scientists and entrepreneurs about Ohio State as a top American university, which will certainly enhance recruitment, partnerships and research in Brazil," said Aparecido.

Many Ohio State departments helped bring BRASCON to campus. A special thanks to: Department of Microbiology, Department of Chemistry, Department of Math, College of Engineering, Center for Latin American Studies, Global Gateways and BRASA.