Ph.D. Student: Carla Costa is an agent of change

 Carla CostaCarla Costa is an agent of change. She has spent one year at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Portugal, and continues her graduate education at Carnegie Mellon in ICTI’s technological change and entrepreneurship Program.

Costa is from Caldas da Rainha, a small town 60 miles north of Lisbon, and comes to the Carnegie Mellon|Portugal Program with a wealth of knowledge about government, consultancy, biotech business incubators, and university entrepreneurship offices. Her research interests focus on the intersection between innovation, entrepreneurship, and regional economic development.

Costa’s goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the role played by universities in regional industry development, company and industry agglomeration mechanisms, and the role played by country-specific characteristics in those relationships. To this end, she is studying the roles played by university professors’ and graduates’ preferences, entrepreneurs’ preferences and the role of universities in the creation of knowledge-based companies. “I would ultimately like to do some consulting and I may want to teach as my career matures,’’ she says.

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Costa praises the program, and is quick to add that the courses are challenging. She also comments on the culturalshock of first coming to the USA from Portugal. “The pace is fast and often frenzied,’’ she says.

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But Costa says she is adapting. For example, lunch is a big meal in Portugal. But in the USA it is often skipped or lasts only a few minutes, according to Costa. Still, she praises Carnegie Mellon’s multicultural environment for making her feel more at ease in a new culture. “It is an amazing environment and I want to continue to learn and grow, and the program affords me that opportunity,’’ she says. Costa has already visited several USA cities including Seattle, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

October, 2009