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CMU Portugal Orientation Day welcoming the 2020/2021 new students

The CMU Portugal Program held its 2020 Orientation Day on October 11th at the  Fundação Luso-Americana (FLAD) to welcome the eight new Dual Degree Ph.D. students and offer a look at what they can expect from the next years under the Program. Joining the group were other 6 Ph.D. students and 6 alumni, that participated onsite or online to share their CMU Portugal Dual Degree experience.

The session started with a short opening from Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues, CMU Portugal National Directors, and José Moura (online), CMU Portugal Director at CMU,  and FLAD’s Administrator Elsa Henriques that so kindly welcomed this event.

Afterwards, each student had 5 minutes for a brief presentation on their Ph.D. research project starting with the 2020/2021 new students: Afonso Amaral who joined the Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy; Latifah Almaghrabi and Pedro Valdeira, Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Afonso Tinoco and Nuno Sabino Ph.D. in Computer Science;  Daniel Ramos in Software Engineering and Patrick Fernandes in Language Technologies. These presentations were followed by the 2019/2020 cohort of students: Neil Metha (ECE), Diogo Cardoso (ECE), Maria Casimiro (SE), Rudolph Santarromana (EPP), Luís Borges (LTI); and Alex Gaudio (ECE) who started his Ph.D. in 2018/2019.

The session continued with testimonies from successful alumni that shared their journey with CMU Portugal, pieces of advice, a broad perspective on the pathway to a dual-degree. The alumni groups included: Alexandre Ligo who is a Research Scientist at University of Virginia and graduated in Engineering and Public Policy (2018); Zita Marinho a CMU Portugal alumna in Computer Science/Robotics (2018), who currently works as a research scientist at DeepMind; Ricardo Cabral, who works as Senior Engineering Manager at Facebook and completed his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2015); Susana Brandão, a Data Scientist at NOS who graduated in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2015).

At the end of the session Ricardo Marques, currently responsible for the Program’s Alumni Chapter, spoke about the Chapter and invited all students to join the Alumni group.

The Group shared experiences about life at CMU and in Portugal, different cultural approaches to academic life, internships opportunities, challenges and many benefits of being a CMU Portugal Dual-Degree Ph.D. candidate. The overall message from our alumni: “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

The event’s goal was to allow the students to learn more about the Program, meet their peers, and share their Ph.D. work. This was also an excellent opportunity to meet the National Directors and the CMU Portugal Coordination Office staff that will support them throughout their Ph.D.

At the end of the day there was still time for a coffee break where participants could network and share contacts in a more informal environment.