Eleven students from across Brazil entered the West Virginia University Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering this semester as a part of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. The program, sponsored by the Brazilian government, is designed to strengthen U.S. and Brazilian institutional partnerships and initiate global learning.

According to Henry Oliver, from WVU’s Office of International Programs, this is the third cohort from Brazil to attend WVU.

“WVU has accepted 64 students into the program, 41 of whom are in engineering fields,” Oliver said. “The students, who are sophomores, juniors and seniors in their programs, were offered scholarships to study abroad for one year, with the possibility of extending their stay to participate in summer courses and research opportunities.”

“We have developed an international reputation for excellence,” said Samuel Ameri, professor and chair of petroleum and natural gas engineering at WVU. “By bringing in visiting students like these from Brazil, not only do they benefit from our excellent programs, but our faculty and students benefit from their unique perspectives as well.”

A total of 64 exchange students in the program enrolled at WVU, with 41 students in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. The Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering welcomed the most students of any program.

“Here at WVU, we are at the epicenter of shale and natural gas exploration, drilling and production,” said Ameri. “We are able to offer all of our students a front row seat and hands-on learning experiences.”

The students in the program are excited to experience everything WVU has to offer. For many of them, coming to WVU means their first experience at a large university.

“Coming from a small university, I am eager to learn from so many professors,” said Rafaela Cuchi, a sophomore petroleum and natural gas engineering major from Joinville, Brazil. “Many of the courses at WVU are unavailable at my smaller university in Brazil so this is a great opportunity.”

To complete their experience, students are required to participate in an academic training program, which involves an internship or research position depending on their major and interests.

“I want to earn my doctorate and teach at a university, so taking advantage of any research opportunities at WVU will be very beneficial to me,” said Davisson Galindo, a sophomore petroleum and natural gas engineering major from Maceio, Brazil.

“Educational opportunities for these students will vary depending on their academic goals, but these experiences will prove extremely beneficial when these students enter the petroleum and natural gas workforce as engineers,” said Ameri.