Student Spotlight September 2016
Flavia De Sousa E Castro Rossetti
Flavia graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2010. She then earned a specialty certification in Development of Human Potential within Organizations in 2012. Both of these degree programs were completed at the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Flavia is now in the second year of the Master of Science degree program in Human Resource Leadership and expects to graduate in Spring 2017. She is currently developing a thesis project and working on her literature review.
The master’s program that I am currently enrolled in brought me to the University of Louisville. In particular, the program combines research with practical experiences which is what drew my attention. For me, being able to apply the content of the course enhances my learning process.
My research theme is leadership, particularly women’s leadership. The overall idea of my research proposal is to identify themes in the leadership literature and verify the implicit gender stereotype. In addition, I want to verify the recommendations that are provided to women and to human resource (HR) managers to address the barriers faced by women aspiring to leadership positions. Lastly, I want to verify to what extent women from other ethnicities and races are represented in the women’s leadership discussion. This area has always intrigued me; I was already interested in studying and reading about this subject before enrolling in the master’s program. The fact that there is a gap of women in higher leadership positions always bothered me. Also, as an HR professional and as a woman, I was able to observe many decisions being made in organizations based on gender stereotype rather than on performance.
My grandmother inspired me to study this field. She had a successful career as a prosecutor in Brazil; however, she faced many barriers related to her gender as she began to achieve success. Probably, if I just told her that I am studying women’s leadership and the barriers faced by women, she would understand easily.
As an HR professional, I had the opportunity to get in touch with diverse leaders during my career, and one thing that always got my attention was the fact there were fewer women than men in top leadership positions. Moreover, I was able to observe discrimination and personnel decisions made based on pre-conceptions of gender and not on performance. In addition, being a woman made me feel closer to conflicts experienced by women in relation to gender, such as the conflict of roles (career versus the traditional role of a woman as a mother, wife, and homemaker). I always felt that HR has an important role in facilitating the change of mindset, and in promoting a work environment with equal opportunities. For me, this master’s program and the related research are opportunities to further my knowledge of these themes, in order to be able to contribute change to the female work experience.
I have received a scholarship from the International Center and Student Services from the University of Louisville, one-time merit-based award for spring semester, 2016.
I think the research foundations and the best practices I am learning will change the way I approach an issue or develop a project within an organization. I feel that I have to have a better understanding of my role as an HR professional, and I have more information of how to find valid and reliable material/ instruments to apply in the field. HR decisions can change people’s lives, so I hope that after this course I will be able to contribute to my field by making decisions in the fairest way possible and by providing equal opportunities for people.
Keep learning and working to support the development of people and to promote an equal work environment.
I feel proud of myself for coming from a different country to work towards a Master’s degree, and at the same time for being able to adapt to a different culture, learn, and produce good work.
The program and the faculty. Even after having worked for seven years in the field before the program, being able to learn new things is amazing. In addition, I appreciate all of the resources that the University provides such as the writing center, the library, and the health promotion office. These resources have definitely helped me to have a better experience as a graduate student.
As an international student, I think the biggest challenge was to deal with all the personal changes, while at the same time learning and producing competent work in my second language. My advice would be to use the University resources, such as the writing center and ask faculty for help. They always have great tips on how to develop good work. In addition, if you are an international student, the University has people from all over the world, so try to find other international students or people from your home country. It is always helpful to exchange experiences about living abroad.
My parents, my sister, and my dog live in Brazil, so technology is essential in my life to keep my family close. In the USA, my boyfriend is my family, and I would say that his family already adopted me as part of their family.
Favorite book: Lean In, from Sheryl Sandberg. This is an easy book to read, and I think it helps engage women to achieve higher levels in their careers.
Favorite quote: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...” – Dori from Finding Nemo. I know it sounds silly, but I love this quote. It always makes me laugh and keep going, even in difficult moments.
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I would probably be trying to learn another language. I would love to have time to do that.