Three Brazilians are currently researching and studying in Columbus thanks to the outreach and global reach of The Ohio Program (TOP), housed under FAES International Programs, under its new director, Dr. Luis Cañas. US-based students may know TOP’s outbound program that allows them to intern internationally in the fields (often literally the fields) of horticulture, agriculture (dairy, swine, equine, crop production, machinery), oenology and turfgrass sciences in Australia, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, the UK or beyond for 3 to 12 months. The TOP inbound program has brought students from over 100 countries to several US states for internships in private industry. TOP gives volunteer companies in the US access and opportunity to engage with a diverse group of interns from major international universities, through career development funded by these companies’ support of the OSU mission to educate the world. In short, these host companies give of their time and resources to make the world a better place by training the future of the agriculture industry.
TOP also exposes these international students to OSU for a 1-day orientation before heading to their individual sites. This is supplemented by a few more days around campus and Columbus later as many of them take part in Cultivate, a horticultural conference, run by AmericanHort, held every summer at The Greater Columbus Convention Center downtown. TOP organizes seminars at Cultivate at which representatives from companies like Syngenta and OSU administrators give career advice, including resumé writing and developing an elevator speech. These often help participants land jobs or graduate school spots in their home countries. But the time they spend talking with OSU faculty and getting a glimpse at their labs leads many of them to apply and return to Ohio (Columbus or Wooster) as masters or Ph.D. students. This is the case of 3 Brazilians:
Fabiano Colet spent his TOP internship with Knox Horticulture in Winter Garden, FL. Being from the state of Brazil furthest from the equator, Rio Grande do Sul, he did not enjoy the heat in central Florida. But he did enjoy working on various plants from germination through the seedling stage. When touring OSU’s campus, he thought “I wish I could have studied here” thinking that the internship, which fulfilled a requirement of his undergraduate agronomy program at Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, would be the final step in his education. But back in Brazil, he decided to contact OSU’s Laura Lindsey, Associate Professor of Horticulture and Crop Science. She is now his advisor for his master’s, and he plans to continue for the Ph.D. with her.
Wanderson Novais earned a bachelor’s at EARTH University in Costa Rica. He did an internship in Sandusky at Corso's Horticulture, working with over 150 plant species. He is now a Ph.D. student in the lab of Alex Lindsey, Associate Professor of Horticulture and Crop Science, where he is excited to help Ohio farmers via research on minimizing the effects of flooding on corn yield. He shares with Colet the opinion that Americans are generally more direct than Brazilians but was surprised by the tendency of many of his internship coworkers to “put sugar on it” when speaking, attributing this to Midwesterness. He attributes his internship experience to the ease with which he was able to use English in his graduate program.
Vinny Cervilieri received a degree in agronomy from the Universidade Federal de Lavras. His TOP internship was with Speedling Incorporated in Ruskin, FL where he bred peppers, carrots and tomatoes among others. He is now a master’s student in the lab of Guilherme Signorini, Assistant Professor in OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. Having held several positions in Brazil promoting integrated pest management and biological control, Cervilieri is building on his experience in research, education and extension, to contribute to the adoption of sustainable agriculture.
These are just 3 examples, from a single country, of the echo effect of CFAES’s The Ohio Program (TOP) which has opened doors for over 15,000 young people, from Ohio or from around the world, over the last 42 years.