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TTU News

Brazil was more than just an exciting vacation destination recently for three Tennessee Tech University students.

Leslie Sanders of Putnam County, Sara Beth Smith of Williamson County and Matthew Talley of Blount County spent six weeks learning about the various geographical, geological and cultural features that have shaped the nation.

As participants in the federally funded U.S.-Brazil Consortium on Mineral Technology and the Environment, they earned class credit by studying at two different Brazilian universities, the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Among the highlights of their stay was taking a four-day field trip to a pegmatite mine and visiting Rio de Janeiro and the island beaches of Salvador. Each described the trip as a “wonderful experience that provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“The condensed program was actually a way of attracting greater participation from American students,” said Dr. H. Wayne Leimer, a geology professor at TTU who is involved with the consortium.

Students typically spend one to two semesters studying in Brazil and are provided a stipend to pay for airfare, visa and living expenses. The program is open to students of all majors interested in learning more about the geology, geography, society and culture of Brazil, and participants receive advanced, in-depth language preparation.

In addition to the TTU students who participated in the six-week program, New Mexico Tech — the lead U.S. agency for the collaborative student exchange program — sent four students, and TTU is currently hosting six mining engineering students from Brazil.

Those students are Arthur Kis, Felipe Fernandes, Luciano Araujo, Karina Barbosa and Rodrigo Faria, all from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, located in Belo Horizonte, and Fernanda Finco, from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, located in Porto Alegre.

But the spring semester of 2005 could be the last time students from any of the four participating universities will be able to participate in the program because it’s in its fourth and final year of federal funding.

“It would be unfortunate if more students didn’t take advantage of this program before it’s too late. It’s the kind of opportunity that just doesn’t come around again,” Dr. Leimer said.

For more information about the program, call Dr. Leimer at 931/372-3522.