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Best Version of Me

Spring Summer 2019

GIULIANNE DOMINGUES PEREIRA

Hometown: Viamão, RS- Brazil

Major: Bachelor of Business Administration/International Business/Marketing

Class: 2015

When Giulianne Domingues Pereira arrived at Tiffin University in 2011 to play soccer and study international business, she knew little English and few things about American culture. During her five years in the United States, the young woman from Viamão, RS- Brazil, says the resources and diversity of TU helped her grow into a person she hadn’t yet dreamed of.

Giulianne is the middle child of three siblings. Even though most of her family members did not finish high school, her mother loved to study and graduated at age 40 with a degree in pedagogy. Without her father’s help, Giulianne would have never played competitive sports in high school. He was responsible for helping Giulianne earn a scholarship so that she could attend one of the best private schools who recognized soccer, track and volleyball.

“Before TU, I was just a girl wishing to be a professional athlete without knowing anything else about myself,” she recalls. As a 17-year-old living on her own, she was working two jobs and playing high-level soccer to support herself. She hadn’t thought much beyond her modest circumstances.

Then, TU’s women’s soccer coach, Ana Paula Fantini saw Giulianne play and offered her a scholarship. Giulianne left home without knowing anything about the English language and very few things about the American culture. “Accepting the challenge of attending Tiffin University helped me see I could be more than I thought,” she said.

During her freshman year of play, the young star received offers from other universities but she remained loyal to Tiffin. “I had given my word to Coach Fantini and TU was already my home,” she said. “I loved how the University received so many international people and how it made us all feel welcome. Moreover, living on the TU campus afforded me the opportunity to understand and make new friends from different countries.”

Giulianne was quick to list friends from Canada, Germany and Saudi Arabia and noted, “All the Brazilian students were very close to each other, we were a family.”

She lauds the teaching staff at TU as well. “Sally Kloepfer and Tiffanie Goff were the best English professors. Both of them are responsible for my English abilities. I had arrived in the U.S. without knowing how to say I was thirsty or hungry. They helped me do so much, including earning a 3.70 GPA.”

About halfway through her education, NCAA rules stopped Giulianne from continuing her college soccer career. “I had only two more years to finish college and no money to pay for my education without the scholarship. Then track and field saved me. My javelin skills gave me the opportunity to earn a scholarship and finish my undergraduate degree.”

Giulianne changed sports to track and field, continued her job in the TU dining hall and finished her bachelor’s of business administration in international business and marketing.

“After college I had injuries, knee cysts and toe issues, that would not allow me to reach a level in soccer to live off of the sport,” she said. “The decision to leave the athletic dream behind and start everything new was very difficult for me. I was undecided if I should stay in the United States and try to build a career in business or go back to Brazil.”

Eventually, she returned home and became a military police agent in the Brigada Militar (Military Police Department of State of Rio Grande do Sul). Police training required a course of study. “During training we took a lot of courses to earn a technological degree in law enforcement. It is like a two-year college,” she said.

“I always wanted to be someone who could help other people,” Giulianne said. “I thought about being a firefighter, but after I met my wife Bruna, I got to know more about being a police agent. She, her dad, uncle and cousins are police agents. They are examples of good people who really love what they do, and that made a difference to me. I identified myself on this path.”

“I also like to give security support to the community,” she said. “I like to know I can really protect people and at the same time I can change young people’s minds about which path to choose for life.”

By that she means elevate the image of police agents. “My bilingual skills and experiences outside of Brazil allow me to not only be a technical support for the police activities, but allow me to be the example for other military agents, that it is positive to have a higher level of education,” she explains. “Often Brazilian people perceive soldiers as people who are physically strong but have a low level of intelligence.”

If she had to give advice to current students she’d share her path. “For many of us, we are rarely sure of what we want to do in the future. Sometimes we plan to do so many things and it all goes differently. Keep your mind open, enjoy all the opportunities that come to you, listen and observe more than you speak and be respectful to others.”

“I am proof of that. I started as an athlete playing soccer, then threw javelin for track and field. I also studied international business but found myself living a dream as a public security agent in Brazil,” she says. “Doing so many things does not mean you do not know who you are. All the different experiences I have had in my life are helping me become the best version of myself.”