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From Brazil to Beloit

Rafaella Pavarini de Souza’25, a first-year student from Brazil, wants to use Beloit’s engaging, eclectic, and student-centered education to prepare her to establish her own consulting business.

Rafaella Pavarini de Souza’25 attended Escola Germinare, a selective private high school in São Paulo founded by the Brazilian multinational corporation, JBS, the world’s biggest meat producer and distributor. While the school excelled at teaching students the nuances of business administration, the school’s curriculum was sorely lacking in the arts and other extracurriculars, de Souza says.

She was researching American colleges when she first came across Beloit. Of all the colleges she applied to, de Souza chose Beloit for its international relations program — her intended major — as well as the college’s close-knit community, affordability, and the hundreds of activities, clubs, and organizations it offers.

Rafaella’s favorite class this semester is International Politics with Pablo Toral, a professor of international relations and environmental studies. “He teaches us theories like realism, Marxism, and liberalism that teach us how the world works and how to approach it with different points of view,” Rafaella says. In the future, Rafaella wants to be a consultant and work within an international organization like the United Nations.

As part of Beloit’s Advanced Mentoring Program (AMP) for students in their first and second years, Rafaella is also taking Classical Mythology with Professor Lisl Walsh, who teaches in the critical identity studies and classics departments. She enjoys being mentored by Professor Walsh because “she shows us her real sides. She is always natural and open and we don’t feel pressured by her, at least not in a negative way. She talks about real issues like anxiety and mental health and although she is a highly regarded person, we feel comfortable around her.” More than that, Rafaella says, “all the professors here have an individual approach and they really care if you’re learning. I’m not just a number.”

In addition to her classes, Rafaella is also in the first cohort of CELEB Fellows, a group of students whose initiative, interests, and accomplishments showed significant potential success in entrepreneurship and business during the application process. Fellows receive personalized guidance and support from CELEB Director Brian Morello’85, a professor of entrepreneurship. Rafaella wants to use CELEB’s TV and Media Lab for her (still undecided) entrepreneurial project.

Rafaella has made new friends from Bangladesh, Germany, Spain, New York, California, and Wisconsin. She likes living in a dorm with her friends and attending events on campus like the Student Involvement Fair, an event every fall for students to learn about campus clubs and organizations. A guitarist and singer, Rafaella also wants to join the student-run acapella group, Bits & Pieces, with her roommate.

“I’m trying to explore everything and meet as many people as I can. I’m loving it. It’s been perfect so far,” she says. “Everyone accepts who you are at Beloit. As an introverted person, it’s hard to feel comfortable in places that you’ve never been before. I don’t worry about other people judging me here. I think everyone so far has taught me something. And I think that’s the point of this place.”

More than 5,000 miles from home, Rafaella misses her cat, Kadu, but remains connected as head of social media strategy for her aunt’s pilates studio back in Brazil. She even hopes to start a vlog for her Brazilian friends who are curious about her life at Beloit.

Rajvi Thakkar’21
September 30, 2021

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