BRASA to host nationwide conference

BRASA Connect will provide organization members with workshops and presentations aimed to help with post-graduate careers. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Brazilian students from around the country will meet at the Marshall Student Center from April 15-16 for the first Brazilian Student Association (BRASA) Connect network conference.

The event was designed for students to make connections in their fields of interests. Sessions will be structured in different ways, such as panels, workshops and presentations where attendees will interact with professionals. 

Other Florida universities are taking part in organizing the conference, such as UF, UM, Rollins College and the University of West Florida. BRASA Connect Co-Director Guilherme Pettenati De Moraes said there was no doubt USF should be the school to host the conference since it has the largest BRASA community in the world.

“Four out of the five people who started the idea of creating this conference, including myself, are USF students, so it was determined from the start that it should be hosted here,” he said. 

There are more than 9,000 BRASA members nationwide, and USF’s chapter is the largest in the country with around 300 members, according to Pettenati De Moraes. 

USF was the first local BRASA chapter to host the Brazil Florida Student Conference in 2019, which had eight guest speakers, three workshops and a career fair. The same conference was supposed to occur in 2020 and 2021, but the ongoing pandemic disrupted the plan. 

Pettenati De Moraes said the Brazil Florida Student Conference was a different and smaller scale conference. BRASA Connect will provide several more resources through a variety of guest participants as means to provide the Brazilian student community an opportunity to make connections.  

“I always felt that our BRASA had the potential to build something huge,” Pettenati De Moraes said. “That’s what we are planning on accomplishing with the BRASA Connect Conference.” 

The opening lecture will occur in the Oval Theater from 9:45-10:15 a.m. on April 15. It will be followed by simultaneous events such as the engineering and health studies workshops as well as the investments panel happening in different rooms at the MSC.

Speakers who specialize in distinct areas such as business management, engineering, sports and investments will participate during the conference. 

Several well-known guest members such as Vice President of International Sales and Marketing of Universal Parks and Resorts LatAm Marcos Barros and former CEO of Orlando City Alexandre Leitão are already confirmed to participate in the conference. 

Although all events will be held in Portuguese for the conference this year, there are plans to make BRASA conferences accessible for people who don’t speak the language, according to Pettenati De Moraes. 

With the spaces allotted, the conference is designed so around 400 students from Florida and universities across the country can participate. However, Pettenati De Moraes expects more than 90% of attendees to be Florida residents. 

Students can buy tickets on the BRASA website. All of the weekend events are included with the purchase of a ticket. Ticket prices will increase after a certain number of tickets are sold, according to Pettenati De Moraes. The limit was not specified by the time of publication.

Pettenati De Moraes and BRASA’s public relations specialist and freshman advertising major Maria Luisa Alvarenga said the plan is to make the conference a yearly event. 

“Even though I will no longer be at USF [next semester], we are planning and hoping that BRASA Connect will continue to take place every year at USF,” Pettenati De Moraes said. 

Pettenati De Moraes said how his personal experiences resulted in his determination to make BRASA Connect a reality. 

“I watched a friend of mine get an internship at J.P. Morgan and then an actual job there as a result of the connections he made as a BRASA member,” he said. “I hope that this conference will generate opportunities such as this one for other Brazilian students.”

The creation of BRASA Connect gave some BRASA members, such as Alvarenga, an opportunity to be involved in the planning of a large event. 

“Being someone who is contributing to the development of an event that aims to inspire the next generation of Brazilian students in the U.S. and help students here that look for a future both here and in Brazil is simply amazing,” Alvarenga said.