A Conversation with Minerva Student Isabella

Meet Isabella, a student in the Class of 2025 | Oct 13, 2021

Quick Facts

Isabella Freitas

Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil


Intended Major & Concentrations
Natural Sciences


Why did you choose to attend Minerva?
Throughout high school, I received informative emails from Minerva since I participated in many scientific olympiads. Still, I did not know how to apply at such a young age, and I did not even think I could be accepted. However, in my last year of high school, I became more engaged with the application process, and I started to understand that this dream of getting accepted in Minerva was possible. But I specifically decided to apply and attend Minerva because its principles match my goals in many ways: the global experience, in-depth learning, emphasis on curiosity and tackling challenges, and the principle of “making the world your campus,” which encourages independence, autonomy, and making your own path.

What are you looking forward to experiencing at Minerva? What do you hope to accomplish?
There are many things to learn and experience at Minerva, but I am really looking forward to learning the skills necessary to become a great scientific researcher, which involves critical and creative reasoning, essential to scientific thinking. In addition, I am also excited about the different global experiences that can not only shape my professional career but myself as an engaged individual in the society we live in.

What is your favorite part of the Minerva community so far?
My favorite part is the diversity of the Minerva community. There are people from many countries and cultures with different identities, personalities, and tastes. There is no way that you would not identify with at least some of them: there is always a place to feel listened to and welcomed. Another thing is that there is always company and support for the most unusual situations: do you want to go for donuts at midnight? Just send a message in the group chat, and you can find someone to go with you! Even though there is a lot of diversity among students, I feel a sense of belonging and unity that makes this an incredible community.

How did the Brazilian Astronomy Olympiad support your path towards university?
Participating, engaging, and winning medals in OBA, the Brazilian Astronomy Olympiad, not only opened doors to university in a way that showed my academic excellence but also helped me to define interests and the career I want to follow. In this sense, my participation in OBA is an essential feature of my resume, both when applying for Minerva, and for possible future opportunities. Finally, OBA’s Olympiads encouraged me to learn more about Astronomy and Astronautics. It was definitely the starting point for my love for astronomy, physics, and scientific research, which I will now pursue during my academic years and plan to follow as a career.

What skills and knowledge did you gain from your experience as an olympian?
I learned to recognize what I know and what I do not know, but most importantly, how to improve my existing skills and how to find out what I am still missing. I also learned valuable techniques which helped me solve difficult questions and made me want to push the boundaries of my knowledge and always look for new challenges. Finally, participating in scientific olympiads taught me that there is still much to discover and that I can actively engage and help with this discovery.

How has Minerva’s need-based financial aid policy had an impact on your experience?
Most universities in Brazil are public and accessible for everyone, so that is definitely a big contrast from most US universities. However, Minerva’s need-based financial aid model is inclusive and accessible because it depends on the family’s financial situation, allowing students from all over the world to experience the program. When I was first starting to get to know Minerva, I thought I would never be able to afford it. Still, when I learned more about the financial aid process, I realized that it can be quite affordable and welcoming.

What advice would you give a prospective Minerva student from Brazil?
I would say that the application process is entirely different from university admissions in Brazil, and it can seem really daunting at first. Still, looking for more information and becoming more engaged with the process is totally worth it. I thought it was almost impossible, but it is not! The process is fair and not only accounts for your grades but also your interests, your drive for challenges, your achievements, and how you think. Another thing is that Minerva is not for everyone; there are a lot of challenges: being away from your family, speaking another language, moving to different countries, sometimes working and studying at the same time, and having a completely different educational model than what you are used to. However, if you are ready to face these challenges, Minerva is a unique and incredible place to grow both personally and professionally, in which all hard work will pay off.

If you connected with Isabella’s story and are seeking to learn creatively and inquisitively around the world, begin your application to join Minerva.