Name: Raphael Augusto de Castro e Melo
Hometown: Brasilia, Brazil
In his own words ...
Where are you from, and why did you choose to study at UGA/CAES?
Brasilia, Brazil. The main factors that influenced my desire to attend UGA were the opportunity to be in a world recognized University with state of the art Labs/facilities, also to study in the Tifton Campus is great since the region is the "heart" of peanut, as well other important crops production.
What is your major/degree program, and what department?
Ph.D. in the department of Crop and Soil Sciences.
Why did you choose your major?
I want to gain knowledge on an area that is highly demanded by the productive chain and represents a gap in my Institution – Plant Physiology.
What is your favorite class you have taken?
PATH 8000 Fall Field Tour.
What has been the best experience you've had so far at the college?
The best experience so far was to visit different areas of Georgia to observe and learn about plants diseases from farmers, extension agents and other professionals, in situ. Most of the crops were unknow to me, coming from a tropical country: pecans, apples, grapes, and others.
What do you want to do with what you have learned here?
The skills and knowledge I seek to acquire are not just about a crop, but to work with peanuts will allow me to continue my line of investigation for the years to come and to give solid contributions to Brazilian production chains.
How has your experience at UGA changed you?
I arrived in the US to attend UGA recently, but it was enough time for me to realize that Education, Science, and Extension are a very important tool to improve individuals lives, as well as to companies and Institutions that rely on UGA to provide quality results to them.
Thinking of the word agriculture - what does agriculture mean to you? In what ways does agriculture impact your life and your culture?
Ever since I was a kid I knew I was going to be an Agronomist. I graduated in 2005, passing through a journey of professional positions that have impacted my life tremendously. To work with people from different backgrounds, levels of formal education and cultures opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities, and all of us can use Science to improve our ways. Agriculture is not just a profession to me, is my passion (together with my wife and two daughters)!.
What do you like to do outside of class — hobbies, interests, secret talents?
I used to be a competitive judoka when I was a kid/teenager. To watch IJF (International Judo Federation) tournaments is one of my hobbies. I also like languages, and guitar, even thought I'm not proficient on both.