Southern exposure

Aug 4, 2010

Exposing students to a new culture broadens their horizons. Dr. Arnaldo Mazzei wants to open Kettering University's first-ever cultural and educational exchange in South America in his home country of Brazil.

Kettering University’s cultural exchange program may soon have a Latin flavor if Dr. Arnaldo Mazzei gets his way. Mazzei is working with the Department of Liberal Studies and Cultural Immersion in Brazil (CIB) in conjunction with the Universidade Santa Cecilia in Santos, Brazil, to start a Brazilian cultural exchange at Kettering.

The CIB program is a two-week cultural immersion experience in Brazil similar to a study abroad program, run in collaboration with the Council of Researches in Education and Sciences (COPEC).

It is based in Santos City, Sao Paulo State, and includes visits to businesses and universities as well as cultural activities. During visits to the universities, visiting students will have class time and work with Brazilian students in laboratory setting on a collaborative project.

“The program includes classroom time to give the students more than just a cultural experience,” he explained. The classes will be offered through the University of St. Cecilia and will involve faculty from both Kettering and St. Cecilia universities.

Mazzei would like to have the program qualify as a for-credit course at Kettering.

Dr. Claudio da Rocha Brito, Electrical Engineering professor at the Universidade Santa Cecilia and COPEC president, visited Kettering in June when he traveled to the U.S. for the American Society of Engineering Educators Conference. Dr. Melany Chiampi, also an Electrical Engineering professor, joined him to tour Kettering and meet with faculty and administrators including Dr. Luchen Li, professor Liberal Studies and International Programs coordinator, Dr. James McDonald, department chair for Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Karen Wilkinson, department chair for Liberal Studies.

“Experiencing another country with the help of those who know it best is far better than visiting a country as a tourist,” said Wilkinson.  “A cultural exchange program can enrich our students’ understanding of another part of the world.  This is so important that we should work to make these opportunities available to our students,” she added.

Some U.S. universities that are already participating in the CIB program include the University of Pittsburgh, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Cincinnati.

Contact: Dawn Hibbard