Iago Bojczuk, from Atibaia, São Paulo, Brazil, is the first student in the ICSP to receive acceptance from four out of five highly prestigious universities to pursue his graduate degree. He will be graduating from the University of Oregon on June 18, 2018, with three honors degrees: Robert D. Clark Honors College, School of Journalism and Communication Departmental Honors, and Cum Laude.
Bojczuk initially hoped to apply to eight schools but due to a lack of funding, he ended up applying to only five: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Columbia University in the City of New York.
The University of Oxford was the only school that sent him a rejection letter. “The rejection made me much more insecure, anxious, nervous about the other decisions to come,” said Bojczuk, “thankfully everything worked out at the end and I received admissions with either full or partial scholarships from Stanford, Columbia, Cambridge, and MIT.”
As the first generation from his family to go to college, Bojczuk didn’t even know the meaning of the word “university” until he was about to graduate from high school. “Although my parents knew very little about what college really was, there was an incommensurable amount of love, tenderness, and high hopes for a prosperous and blissful future,” said Bojczuk, “they instilled me a sense of appreciation for curiosity and provided me with everything they could for my education.”
Selected four times for the Honors College Dean’s List, Bojczuk worked diligently in the last four years in his honors college research, held several jobs, attended multiple conferences worldwide and kept a high GPA just so his dream to go to an Ivy League graduate school would come true. “I am lucky for having had the opportunity to find my true potential while attending the University of Oregon,” said Bojczuk, “looking back, it is rather difficult to assess how transformative these four years have been.” Bojczuk is grateful to his family for all the sacrifices his parents had made just so he could go to college. “I realized early on that education was the only path I could possibly take if I wanted to transform my life and ultimately leave an impactful legacy for others in Brazil,” said Bojczuk.
Starting Fall 2018 Bojczuk will be attending the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) on a full-ride scholarship to obtain a Master of Science in Comparative Media Studies. “It is the only place in the world where I will be able to explore my highly interdisciplinary research interests, situated at the intersection between new media technologies and cultures with a focus on Brazil,” said Bojczuk. He will also work as a research assistant for MIT’s Global Media Technologies & Cultures Laboratory (GMTaC Lab). “I envision bridging areas that are often unrelated and yet grounded on entrepreneurial endeavors: the embodiment of social change,” said Bojczuk, “I cannot think of a place more appropriate to further this aspiration than MIT.” Bojczuk has also been selected for a Jorge Paulo Lemann Fellowship, one of the most prestigious fellowships available to citizens of Brazil studying at the world’s best universities.
In the next 5-10 years, Bojczuk hopes to return to Brazil and continue researching and collaborating internationally. “Since family is the centerpiece of Brazilian culture, I want to be close to my loved ones as much as possible,” said Bojczuk. With his strong interest in fostering change throughmedia-based creations, he envisions himself to one day impact the world as a scholar.” One of my goals after graduating from MIT is to establish a center for new media technologies and innovation in Brazil that will give voice to people who come from underrepresented communities similar to the one I grew up in,” said Bojczuk. He hopes his center will empower the next generations to engage in discussions concerning public policies, educational practices, common humanity, and more inclusive cultural productions. “I am also hopeful one day that I will be able to give everything back to the UO community by establishing a scholarship to support minority students who, like myself, would never be able to change their lives through the transformative power of a college education,” said Bojczuk.
As a goodbye note to ICSP and UO, Bojzuk shared some tips to scholars who are interested in working hard to achieve their long term dreams.
- Having a plan of short- and long-term goals is very important.
- Persistence is key so it is important to have your interests and goals well aligned with your routine.
- Be humble and ask for help! There are good people out there willing to help. Those of us who are first generation also feel discouraged because this seems to be a world in which we are always outsiders. As Michelle Obama recently said, “Going to college is hard work, but every day I meet people whose lives have been profoundly changed by education, just as mine was. My advice to students is to be brave and stay with it.”