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Talia's Story

Plant biomechanical properties and carimbó music in the Brazilian Amazon

For her MIT-Brazil summer internship, Talia worked in the Brazilian Amazon on biomechanical properties of native plants with Prof. Lauro Barata and researchers at the Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará.  Combining field and laboratory work, she extracted essential oils and resins from a tropical tree that could have novel chemical and mechanical properties.  While there, Talia studied Portuguese and organized ad-hoc English classes for her colleagues at the university.  Inspired by the vibrant carimbó music scene in Santarém, Talia joined a local group, singing and playing percussion in this traditional Amazonian musical style.  Talia is a 2020 recipient of the Fulbright scholarship and is set to return to Brazil —when the pandemic allows— to continue materials science research in the Amazon in collaboration with local researchers and communities.  In the meantime, she begins her Masters and Ph.D degrees in Mechanical Engineering at MIT this Fall.


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“With 100% sincerity, I will tell everyone that Rosabelli and the MIT-Brazil program changed my life. Because of this experience, which Rosabelli worked tirelessly to help me get, I feel empowered and driven to continue this work after I graduate. I feel like everything I do now is more directed to my goals of going back to do research in Brazil, and it may sound silly, but I am more excited to wake up every day to keep working in pursuit of this goal (of course, with a nice cup of Brazilian coffee in hand).”
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Antonio's Story