Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rihanna launches college scholarships for international students

By [1] - Rihanna, CC BY 2.0,
In a May 9 Instagram post, musician Rihanna announced the launch of a scholarship program to help citizens or natives of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, and Jamaica attend college in the United States.

Selected first-year students will receive between U.S. $5,000 and U.S. $50,000, with the ability to renew annually until the recipient has earned a bachelor's degree.

Read more at NPR.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Radford celebrates Brazilian students' success

Charlene Dandrow (left), associate director of the Language and Culture Institute at Radford University, takes one last group photo with BSMP students in front of the Radford planetarium in the new Center for the Sciences building.
On April 28, the Language and Culture Institute at Radford University held a farewell celebration for the 13 students of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program who attended the LCI@RU pre-academic intensive English program in July and then went on to complete an academic year in mostly STEM-related coursework at Radford University.

"We are so fortunate to have hosted the BSMP students this academic year at Radford University," says Charlene Dandrow, associate director of the LCI@RU. "When I first met the BSMP students, I was truly impressed by their high caliber and motivation. I believe this U.S. educational and cultural experience has equipped them with the essential skills and knowledge to enable them to be successful at their upcoming summer internships, and more important, when they return to their Brazilian universities to complete their undergraduate studies in their respective STEM fields. I wish them all the best of luck!”

Mateus Lopes says goodbye to Radford
professor Karen A. Ughetta.

Students and their majors

  • Michael Alexandre Da Silva Sampietro, Computer Science
  • Isabela Romeiro Simoes Cintra Rosa, Computer Science
  • Joao Henrique Goncalves Veras, Computer Science
  • Mateus Alves Gomes, Computer Science
  • Diego Menezes Bonfim, Biology
  • Igor Reginato Dulgher Araujo, Information Systems
  • Lorenna Rocha Reis, Chemistry
  • Ana Carolina Pereira Pla Nutrition
  • Marcela Ribeiro Basso, Statistics
  • Renan Luigi Martins Guarese, Computer Science
  • Diego Vitoriano Da Silva, Computer Science
  • Mateus Lopes Teixeira, Information Systems
  • Phillipe Alcantara Fonseca Lopes, Information Systems
For their summer internships, most of the Brazilian students have been invited to conduct research at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Some of their research topics

Marcela Marcela Ribeiro Basso and Renan Guarese:
Our research is called Research in Construction and Testing of Adaptive Monte Carlo Algorithms with Applications to Financial Risk Management. This research will develop new Monte Carlo algorithms that automatically adjust the sample size to reach the desired error tolerance. These algorithms will also employ variance reduction methods. Their effectiveness will be demonstrated through various option pricing and other financial risk applications.
Diego Vitoriano da Silva:
I’m going to Illinois Institute of Technology, and I'll be conducting research on Integrated GPS and INS Embedded Systems. In other words, it's basically an implementation of INS (inertial navigation system) technology to work along GPS (global positioning system) when the latter fails in systems like Raspberry Pi's (2, 3 and 0), Beagle Bone Black, etc., which are small computers.
Mateus Lopes Teixeira, Michael Alexandre Da Silva Sampietro and Isabela Romeiro Cintra Rosa:
We’re going to IIT to do a research in Information Search and Retrieval at IIT. A brief description is that will the focus will be on three critical issues in modern search engines, namely volume, velocity and veracity. We will explore parallel and distributed solutions for text and multimedia retrieval.
Mateus Alves Gomes:
I will be doing research in Cloud Platform for Internet of Things at IIT. I will be performing hands-on research, which may include learning and applying new laboratory methods and concepts and/or developing and applying software/hardware programs to generate data relevant to this research. I will also attend regularly scheduled seminars that augment the faculty-mentored research, covering topics such as engineering ethics, safety, communicating research findings and project results. 

Paul Currant (right), director of Radford University's International Education Center, watches the BSMP farewell celebration. 

Students see the sights of Richmond during weekend tour

“Virginia is for Lovers,” and the weekend of April 30-May 1, LCI students Tianyi Li, Jia Liu, Turki Alzahrani, Ibrahim Hamdan, Han Liu, Shirong Kou, Anye Wang, and Shiwei Yu experienced a glimpse of the history and art of Virginia to love.

Accompanied by Pat Turner, Sondra Schreiber, and Bonnie Sumner, the group began its tour on the west end of Monument Avenue in Richmond. From the statue of Arthur Ashe, the first African-American to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon and the first African-American to be ranked No. 1 in the world, to the statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jeb Stuart, the students learned that while Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy, the people of the commonwealth have embraced all who impacted not only the history of Virginia, but also of the United States.

Continuing on the street that becomes Franklin Street, the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University added splashes of artwork and color to the residences.

The first stop was the Virginia State Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson.
The capitol is home to the General Assembly, the oldest legislature continuously operating in the Western Hemisphere. The rotunda houses a life-size statue of George Washington sculpted by French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon. A statue of Robert E. Lee is placed in the old hall of the House of Representatives at the exact spot where Lee, who had resigned his commission with the United States Army, accepted command of Virginia’s military and naval forces. The Governors’ Gallery just outside of the Governor’s Office includes portraits of L. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American elected governor in the United States, and Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, former governors who are now U.S. senators.

After spending time at the capitol, the group headed to Church Hill, the oldest neighborhood in Richmond and the location of historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. Ray, an interpreter in colonial attire, described the building as it would have looked in March 1775, when Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech, which gave birth to the American Revolution. The group learned that three key figures in attendance that day have special epithets for their roles in the Revolution: George Washington, the sword; Patrick Henry, the words; and Thomas Jefferson, the pen. Ray offered a special thank you to the LCI group and graciously answered questions after his presentation.

It had been a busy day, and there was just enough time to check in to the hotel in the historic Shockoe Slip area of Richmond before heading to a canal tour. Cotton, an enthusiastic captain, regaled the group with descriptions of how the canal had been designed by George Washington in order to provide passage for ships west of the fall line in the James River at Richmond. Dressed in period clothing, Cotton had a surprise as he gave each student an opportunity to pilot the boat.

Following the canal trip, Bottoms Up, perhaps the most famous pizza restaurant in the city, was the site for dinner.

Sunday morning, everyone had a plentiful breakfast at Joe’s Inn in Richmond’s historic Fan district. Most everyone ordered the “big breakfast,” which consisted of two eggs, three pieces of French toast, home-cooked potatoes, choice of meat, and biscuits.

After breakfast, the group went to the Virginia Historical Society. One of the special exhibits is "The Story of Virginia," which is a travel through 16,000 years of time. The historical society has the only portrait of the Powhatan Indian Pocahontas. Pocahontas sat for the portrait in England after traveling there with her husband, John Rolfe.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was the final location in Richmond. Here, all had an opportunity to peruse collections on their own.

On the return trip, the group made a brief stop at Appomattox Court House, location of the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant, ending the U.S. Civil War on April 9, 1865.

The trip provided a glimpse of Virginia that most of the students had not visited before. While the students enjoyed what Richmond had to offer historically and culturally, they also had an opportunity to spend time with other students with whom they made new connections.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

LCI@RU students volunteer at Radford's Beans and Rice

Daniel Doolittle (second from left), an AmeriCorps volunteer from Pulaski, Virginia, shows LCI@RU students how to set up the weekly food distribution site. The students (from right to left), Almandhar Al-Rawahi of Oman, Ahmed Khaled of Jordan, Abdulrhman Alalshaikh of Saudi Arabia, and Faisal Aljaber of Saudi Arabia, loaded the trailer with boxes of donated food.
Students at the Language and Culture Institute at Radford University volunteered recently with Beans and Rice Inc. The Radford nonprofit works to improve the economic well-being of low- to moderate-income families through hunger relief, afterschool programs that improve educational opportunity for at-risk children, job creation for low- to moderate-income families, and savings programs that help families buy their first home and children save for education.

The LCI@RU students helped set up the weekly food distribution center and distributed donated food. Read about their experiences below.