Student Spotlight: Maria Melo Sciencia

Maria Melo Sciencia
Meet Maria Melo Sciencia, a graduate student from Sao Paulo, Brazil studying agronomy.
November 8, 2022

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Major: Agronomy 

Anticipated Date of Graduation: December 2022 

Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln? 

It started with an opportunity as a research scholar back in March 2020. I graduated from college in 2019 and was looking for some international experience. 2020 was a great experience – despite the pandemic – and I started my master’s degree right after, in the spring of 2021. It has been a very good time, full of responsibilities, learning, achievements and personal/professional growth! 

What is your favorite thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?  

I believe that UNL brought opportunities to my life that I could not have found in other institutions. The people I work with, and whom I have met in the last three years have always been very friendly and supportive as well. So, I believe my favorite thing is the combo of opportunities and people. 

What about diversity and inclusion is important to you when you think about your CASNR experience? 

There is a huge international community at the university, which amuses me. Being part of such an inclusive and diverse community makes our life not too harsh, I would say. I am far from home, but while I am in Lincoln, I am able to refill my energy, eat some Brazilian goodies, speak Portuguese and have a good time with my Brazilian friends. I believe other international people feel like this, and having different communities make the University such a special place to be! 

Exposure to cultural differences is a huge part of college. What activity have you recently participated in that is different from what you are used to in your culture? This could be something you read, listened to, watched, eaten or otherwise taken part in. What did you learn from this activity? 

I believe the moment I most faced cultural differences was when I took ENG 887, my first class in my master’s degree. All the students were from somewhere in the world, and we could interact through the activities on Canvas. I could learn about some of their hometowns, food and hobbies. It was a great experience. 

What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why? 

I loved the genetics series AGRO 815 A, B and D given by Dr. Katherine Frels and Dr. Blaine Johnson. Understanding the “behind the scenes” of a winter wheat variety made me realize how bright this research path can be! The instructors were fantastic and love their careers as plant breeders – which, in my opinion, is an excellent differential when teaching!  

What are your plans post-graduation? 

My post-graduation plans include moving to the southwest Minnesota area this fall, where I will be looking for jobs in the ag industry! 

What's life like outside of school?  

I like to spend time outdoors during summertime with friends and family, visiting places around Sidney, NE or traveling in the country while spending sunny days at the lake or golf courses.  Wintertime is also full of good indoor moments with games, movies, crafting and good food and drinks with family and friends. I also try to visit my relatives back home twice a year!