Thomas Angelo Scholarship

            I am very thankful and honored to have received the Thomas Angelo Honors Scholarship.  This scholarship helped lessen the financial burden for my family and made it easier for me to attend Plus3 Costa Rica.  Once again, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Thomas Angelo Honors Scholarship and Plus3 Costa Rica provided.

            Plus3 Costa Rica was an amazing experience.  Not only did I become an expert in the coffee industry, I also learned about Costa Rican culture.  Costa Rica is the unique location for Plus3 because every student stays in a homestay for the full two weeks.  I am grateful that we did this because it allowed me to truly understand Costa Rican culture and lifestyle.  Every day we ate breakfast and dinner with our host families, where we exchanged questions and knowledge about the similarities and differences between life in the United States and Costa Rica.  Also, we walked from our houses to the University every morning, which showed me how Americanized Costa Rica is.  From seeing McDonalds and Taco Bell to witnessing the rush hour traffic, at times I felt like I was back in the United States.  Aside from our time with our host families, we either visited a coffee plantation or attended a lecture on an aspect of the coffee supply chain.  We visited six coffee companies in total.  These companies mainly focused on one aspect of the supply chain, whether it be growing and washing seeds, roasting and packaging, or selling.  The steps of the coffee supply chain include: growing and picking the coffee cherry/bean, washing and drying the bean, roasting the bean, packaging the roasted bean or ground coffee, and finally selling the finished product (and within each step companies have to be concerned with storage).  I enjoyed learning how a red cherry turns into a cup of coffee. 

            As mentioned above I learned a lot during my time on Plus3 Costa Rica.  Other than learning about the coffee industry and Costa Rican culture, I realized the importance of being an expert on the product you are working with.  Every company we visited is successful, and I learned a large reason behind this is that every employee knows a great deal about the product, from raw material to finished good.  I am grateful I learned this because I will try to become an expert on the products I work with in my future jobs, which will hopefully lead to success. 

            Plus3 Costa Rica increased my interest in business and has made me want to study abroad again.  My future academic goals at the University of Pittsburgh and PittBusiness include continuing my pursuit of a double degree in Finance and Mathematics-Economics.  Also, I plan to take full advantage of my leadership in Phi Beta Lambda, as I hope to better my leadership qualities and the organization.  Another goal of mine is to receive an internship abroad next summer, either in Prague or Australia.  On top of these goals, I hope to continue my success in the classroom over the next three years at Pitt.

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