Semester at CSUN Students Helps Launch Companies

Semester at CSUN Student

(August 10, 2015) - When Kelvi Oliveira traveled from São Paulo, Brazil to enroll as a Semester at CSUN student, he never dreamed he would spend the summer working with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). LACI has a satellite office at CSUN that advises new clean energy start-ups, and invited the industrial engineering student to a summer internship. 

The position fit right in with Sanca Valley, Oliveira’s business incubator in Brazil, where he and colleagues oversee a portfolio of alternative energy companies they help develop and take to market. 

A native speaker of Portuguese who speaks fluent English, Oliveira connected with LACI @ CSUN through Vanessa Andrade, programs and outreach manager for CSUN’s International Programs and Partnerships program. Oliveira, 24, contacted LACI @ CSUN after Andrade learned about his involvement with Sanca Valley and suggested he submit his resumé to LACI @ CSUN. He so impressed LACI @ CSUN directors that they immediately offered him an internship to conduct research about companies making generators. “I used what I learned at CSUN,” he said. “I also had an economics class so I could understand about companies from other countries, and how things are done here.” 

While studying the United State, he also enjoyed interacting with students, working on group projects and making friends. Talking with English-speaking students in his classes also helped him improve his English, which he studied at the University of Oklahoma before attending CSUN. “When I came to the USA, my English was not as good. I had roommates, and they were Americans, so I learned. I had a lot of conversations.” 

Oliveira also found that university studies in the United States required more work outside the classroom than he was used to in Brazil. “Students in the United States have more homework. In Brazil, we don’t have as much homework, but we take more credits per semester.” 

After returning to Brazil this month, he will pursue studies at Universidade Federal de São Carlos while working at Sanca Valley. He also will continue his relationship with LACI @ CSUN. “We connect online. I like the opportunity to learn about another country and see another vision.”