TFAS alumna Isabela Christo ’13, ’15 isn’t afraid to put in hard work in order to achieve her academic and professional goals. At just 27 years old, she is a two-time TFAS alumna who excelled in our programs in both D.C. and Santiago, Chile, a graduate of Georgetown University’s Global Competitiveness Leadership Program and the co-founder and CEO of Soul Kombucha. Soon, she will add Schwarzman Scholar to her long list of accomplishments and accolades.
Christo was selected by the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars graduate fellowship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She is the first Brazilian woman to be selected for the program and one of just 147 future leaders chosen for the 2020 class out of a highly-competitive field of more than 2,800 applicants. The program was founded by American philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman to educate the next generation of great global leaders.
Christo credits TFAS for helping to set her on the path toward leadership. “I believe TFAS gave me the right tools to be a leader,” she said. “At [TFAS Santiago], I had the chance to hear from different passionate leaders, their story and perspective. I was inspired by how those leaders were able to directly change their community. At Capital Semester, I learned how the government really works from inside and what a true leader can do in order to help its consequences.”
As part of the Schwarzman Scholars program, Christo will pursue a master’s degree in global affairs – a fitting continuation of her TFAS studies and undergraduate degree in international relations from Ibmec university in Brazil. Christo said the TFAS program in Santiago, Chile, was particularly effective in helping her develop global leadership skills.
“Being accepted to a TFAS program is a unique opportunity where you get in contact with people from around the globe. It is the type of experience that changes you,” she said. “As a TFAS student, I’ve learned that we are not so different. We might have completely different cultures, backgrounds, languages and governments but in the end, if we are open, we all have something to share and contribute as individuals,” she said.
Christo said participating in TFAS programs prepared her for the competitive and rigorous Schwarzman Scholars selection process by putting her in touch with incredible mentors and demonstrating how to successfully complete an application, write essays and ace an interview. “I still remember how happy I was when I got the TFAS acceptance letter!” she said.
In addition to her academic achievements, the Schwarzman Scholars program also considered Christo’s entrepreneurial spirit and her international work experience – with the United Nation’s Brazilian diplomatic corps, Cato Institute and other renowned American think tanks – when selecting her for the fellowship.
Christo will begin the Schwarzman Scholars program in August 2019.