State University of Campinas graduate receives prestigious American fellowship

Leandro Medina de Oliveira, from São Paulo, Brazil, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Medina de Oliveira earned a degree from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), which is one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with Washington University in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

The McDonnell Academy provides an opportunity for talented international graduate and professional students to join the Washington University community.

Medina de Oliveira Download hi-res image

“It is wonderful to have Leandro as one of the two first Scholars from UNICAMP in the McDonnell Academy,” says McDonnell International Scholars Academy Director James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

“Leandro promises to be not only an outstanding PhD student in physics, but an important part of the international discussion we like to promote among future global leaders in the Academy,” Wertsch says.

Medina de Oliveira, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2011 from UNICAMP, is pursuing a doctorate in physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

While at UNICAMP, he pursued undergraduate research projects in both algorithmic game theory, developing a simulator that both confirmed established results and hinted at novel paradoxes, and in computational geometry, where he made significant progress toward the solution of an open problem.

He also volunteered as a mathematics and physics teacher in Curso Exato, a community project founded by fellow students with the goal of helping economically challenged high school students prepare for rigorous university entrance exams.

He also worked as a teaching assistant for Algorithm Design and Analysis II.

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is a program for future global leaders to obtain their PhD or master’s degrees. Employing an unusual approach, it brings together top scholars from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America to pursue world-class education and research while forging a strong network with one another.

Key to this are partnerships Washington University has established with top universities and corporations around the world with an eye to increasing opportunities for joint research and global education.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are expected to be future global leaders. As such, they are provided not only with a rigorous graduate education, but also with cultural and social activities designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries and critical international issues.

Academy Ambassador

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each Academy Scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University faculty who serves as a mentor and also as an Academy “Ambassador” to the university partner from which the Scholar has graduated.

The Academy Ambassador assists the McDonnell Scholar in academic and professional life and travels annually with the Scholar to the partner university to build relationships between the two institutions.

Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is Medina de Oliveira’s faculty mentor-ambassador.

Ellis has received American Board of Internal Medicine certification in medical oncology. His primary research interests include the identification of genes that affect responses and resistance to endocrine therapy in patients with breast cancer.

He is also a member of several National Cancer Institute review panels, journal editorial committees and advisory boards, and has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as authoring more than 20 book chapters and review articles in oncology.

After earning a medical degree at Cambridge University and doctorate at the University of London, he completed his professional training at hospitals in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ellis visits Brazil frequently and has already been active in building the presence of Washington University at UNICAMP.

The McDonnell Academy

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition and living expenses for the time it takes to get a degree at Washington University. The Academy also provides support for an annual trip back to the Scholar’s alma mater. Many of the Scholars reside in two fully equipped and furnished apartment buildings near campus.

Funding is provided through a sustaining endowment gift from John F. McDonnell, vice chair of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Additional support comes from 22 multinational corporations, foundations and individual sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the Academy’s Corporate Fellows.