Alumna Advances Global Higher Education Access and Opportunity as Vice President in Brazil

February 26, 2018

“I believe that my training at the GSE, which fostered the continual pursuit of greater knowledge, is what sets me apart from others in my field in Brazil,” stated Dr. Carolina da Costa. “While at the GSE, whenever I had a new idea, Professor Clark Chinn always encouraged me to read more about it. Professor Chinn’s mentorship was instrumental in my developing a well-rounded set of reasoning and research skills, which prepared me to be a reflective practitioner.”

Dr. Carolina da Costa (Ph.D. 2007) has always been interested in education and the impact it can have on one’s life. Having grown up in Brazil she is keenly aware of the tremendous disparity between wealth and opportunity that exists globally. She always knew that she wanted to work to address this disparity. As Vice President of Insper Institute, she is constantly thinking about how to foster diversity and create relevant and impactful educational experiences for students. Dr. da Costa is also the co-founder of and professor at the Leadership and Innovation Center, the Director of the Entrepreneurship Center, and the Academic Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Insper. 

Insper is a non-profit higher education institution, committed to advancing excellence, diversity, innovation, and impact in education. In her current role, Dr. da Costa is responsible for over 100 faculty members and 2,500 students. She works with high schools to build an early community college experience in order to create equality in the access of resources. She also works to share resources to contextualize math and science to solve real world problems.  

“I believe that my training at the GSE, which fostered the continual pursuit of greater knowledge, is what sets me apart from others in my field in Brazil,” stated Dr. da Costa. “While at the GSE, whenever I had a new idea, Professor Clark Chinn always encouraged me to read more about it. Professor Chinn’s mentorship was instrumental in my developing a well-rounded set of reasoning and research skills, which prepared me to be a reflective practitioner.”

Professors Angela O’Donnell, Cindy Hmelo-Silver and Richard De Lisi were also mentors who helped Dr. da Costa develop a strong foundation in innovative research methods. She credits Professor William Firestone for teaching her educational policy. The GSE faculty and staff impressed her with their genuine desire to improve education opportunities for all students. 

“My peers at the GSE were equally instrumental in my leadership development,” said Dr. da Costa. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with high caliber peers who were committed to improving education. They included Ellina Chernobilsky,  Debra Ackerman, Cecilia Martinez, Weiling Deng, and Melinda Mangin.” 

Her scholarly interests include leadership thinking, problem solving, and systemic critical thinking in governance. These interests support her passion to bring forth innovative solutions to empowering more high school students to pursue higher education. Her vision is to help Insper become a university of the future, which creates relevant experiences for a diverse student body. 

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