Colin Powell School
Beyond Borders: A Journey from Brazil to CCNY
Embarking on a transformative journey that transcends borders, our featured alumna shares an inspiring narrative of perseverance and purpose.
Where are you from and what is your background story? I am originally from Brazil. I came to NYC to learn English because I had previously earned my BA in International Relations and noticed that I needed to experience life abroad to learn English and develop my career journey with opportunities. After a while in the US, I came across the Master's program at CCNY and knew this should be my next step. I did not have the financial means to study in a master's program but when I saw how supportive CCNY was toward its students I felt motivated to pursue my degree there. I am very grateful for the Colin Powell Fellowship because it gave me the means to pursue my dreams and taught me skills that I will take with me throughout my whole life.
What brought you to CCNY and to the Colin Powell School?
What brought me to CCNY and the Colin Powell School is the diverse student body benefiting from similar programs I was interested in. I also felt connected to the friendliness and openness to International students offered by the university. In fact, looking back, CCNY was the only school where I felt comfortable being a foreigner as a student.
What is your passion or purpose behind pursuing what you did at City College?
I grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I was exposed to inequality issues, and knew I should do something about it. When I saw the CCNY’s strong programs towards economic development and active social engagement, I knew this would be a place where my passion for social and economic development would be supported and flourish.
Briefly, how has your career unfolded? How did City College and/or the Colin Powell School help you to get where you are in your career?
The Colin Powell School has an amazing team. They were very supportive from the time I started the Economics program all the way to the end. I participated in various mentoring meetings, at one of which, I met an alum who not long after divulged an opening at the World Bank to the Colin Powell students. I expressed my interest in the position to Debbie Cheng and she put me in contact with the person that announced the position to the School. Not long after, I got the job, and was very happy and grateful for the Colin Powell School and Debbie support.
Do you have any significant memories or accomplishments from your career or time at City College / Colin Powell School that you would like to share?
I loved presenting my fellowship project to other Colin Powell Fellows, this inspired me to pursue a career in teaching, that is still to come but I know the spark came from this experience. I loved how the professors were always very supportive and understanding. Also, how the Colin Powell School always made me feel at home even though I was far away from my real home in Brazil.
Do you have any advice you could give to current or future students?
I would say that they should always pursue their dreams regardless of whatever obstacles they face. I remember going to an imposter syndrome session organized by the Colin Powell school and leaving the event feeling empowered in a way that my behavior shifted in every interview I had after. I think current students should take more advantage of all events and programs offered by the Colin Powell team, they are extremely important and could define your career just as they did with mine. Lastly, for the international students, I would advise them to engage as much as they can, they will build an amazing network that will last for the rest of their lives, and they can also feel more at home, just as I did.
What is your current profession/position?
I am a short-term consultant at the World Bank in Brazil's office, in the Social Protection and Jobs unit.
What are your future aspirations for your career?
My goal is to study for my PhD and start teaching development economics at the university level. Additionally, I want to work on improving my community by engaging in research that supports public policy centered on combating inequality in our society.