Featured Students

Featured Student: Joao Pelosi


  • Name: Joao Paulo Bonora Pelosi
  • Year:  Senior
  • Major: International Studies
  • Hometown: Dracena, Brazil
  • Quirky Fact: I speak four languages
  • Favorite thing to get (food/drink) on campus: Chicken wraps and orange juice
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: Prisoners, with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Favorite movie: Butterfly Effect, with Ashton Kutcher
  • Best book you’ve read recently: Sailing the Water’s Edge by Dustin Tingley and Helen Milner
  • Favorite book: I don’t have a specific favorite
  • What you like to do on campus: Anything related to sports and socialization



Tell us about yourself:

My name is Joao Pelosi, I’m actually from Brazil so, for short, people just call me J because it’s a lot easier. I’m a senior this year and an International Studies major with a minor in marketing, which I plan on making a double major, or join the MBA program, so I might have to stay another year or more. I have lived on campus for four years in Hart College. I’m in a fraternity, and this is my second year serving as the vice president for the Model United Nations club.

What made you come to Murray State?

In 2012 I was an exchange student at Graves County, which is twenty minutes from here, and that is how I got to know the area. I went to visit some colleges; I went to UK and I ended up coming to visit Murray. Murray State told me that they had a scholarship available, so as soon as I got back home I applied for that and got it. In August 2013, I came back, and I was like, let’s try this.

Who have you enjoyed working with?

I love doing stuff with my fraternity, and we do a lot of community service. We actually have an event going on today at six where we are going to go help at Calloway Middle School. I enjoy doing that a lot. I work at the Economics and Finance department in the business building. I love the people there and the teachers are very nice. It’s a lot different when you get to work with the teachers on a daily basis, you talk to them and see them outside of class.

Who inspires you in life?

My parents, definitely. The efforts that they are making to keep me here, to get a better education than some folks back home. I could never repay them for that. Also my host family—when I was in high school here—they hosted me for a year. Every time that we have a break that I’m not allowed to stay in the dorms, they always welcome me back. I stay with them for Christmas and Thanksgiving. That’s another thing that I would never be able to pay back, and I’m very grateful for everything that they do.

What made you choose the major you did?

I was always interested in learning languages and cultures. I came to the US for the first time when I was very young; it was when I used to play tennis, and I went to Orlando for a tennis camp. I was sixteen and when I got there I was in touch with people not only from the US, but from everywhere in the world. I just knew that I wanted to do something that would allow me to travel and know places and people and other cultures. That’s the reason that I chose international studies.

Work/projects related to your major?

The Model UN Club is like the Mock Trial Club; they simulate a judicial trial. For Model UN, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Every university that participates is assigned a country, so when you have the conference you’re supposed to represent that country and their interests in global issues, just like it is at a United Nations meeting. You go there and every two students get assigned to a different committee, and you have two topics that you’re supposed to discuss with everybody else. You’re trying to pass the best resolution that is in the best interest of your county. We are Japan this year. Last year we went to the nationals in New York, where we had more than five hundred colleges and not just American colleges but colleges from all over the world. We had the smallest coalition compared to the other universities, with only eight members and everyone else had more than twenty. Even though we only had eight, we still got awarded the “outstanding delegation award,” which was amazing. Dr. Kang, the chair of our department, worked hard and close with us and this award shows the work he put in and the work we put in. We got to go to the New York headquarters for the UN, which was amazing to see and lots of people dream to work there. We also got to hear a speech from many UN members.



Recent awards/ honors?

I think that’s the most recent. We got three. Two guys got individual awards for their work in their committees and we as a group got the outstanding award, which means that the people heading the conference saw the work we put in; we also got voted by our peers. They give us this survey and ask who did you work with? Who did you see doing a lot of work? Who did you enjoy working with? We got voted by most committees; that’s how we got to get the award. We prepared for eight months prior to that. We start in the fall but the conference isn’t until after spring break, and we work nonstop. That was probably the greatest award I got in college.


Future plans:

I plan on trying to double major in marketing as well, or starting the MBA program. I do enjoy marketing; I think it would work well with my international studies major because I can understand the culture. I can go work anywhere that I want to. They just go well together. My plan is to do a double major but I’m waiting on my scholarship to see if it can get extended or not because it expires in May. I am also looking at the MBA option, which would also help me a lot in the future. If that happens, I plan to stay in the business career for a little bit to make some money. My biggest plan at some point is to go back home, join the diplomatic school, and try to be a diplomat long term.



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