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Maycon Cesar de Paula Santos

School: School of Arts and Sciences

Department: Psychology

Event Presentation: Nuffield International Contemporary Scholars Conference

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

About Maycon

I am an Engineering Psychology major at Tufts University. I grew up in a household where studying abroad was perceived as impossible. My parents and sister only completed high school. Amidst the limitations of resources and opportunities, proactivity and protagonism became my guiding values. I am passionate about civic engagement and have worked with Enroot Education to provide language support for immigrant communities in the greater Boston area. As a social entrepreneur, I also run the Brazil4Education project that provides Brazilian public schools with VR educational simulators that replace expensive technical visits. I have received young leader and technologist awards from multiple organizations, including the U.S Department of State, Latin American Leadership Academy, Bayer, Nuffield International, Facebook, ONU, and UNESCO. I taught myself English for college, and intend to benefit from the education I am receiving to revolutionize the technology industry.


The Nuffield International Contemporary Scholars Conference is an annual event that brings together farmers and researchers to discuss the future of global agriculture. Nuffield scholars are 25-50 years old, very curious, and already have an impact in their communities through their farm, research, and work. They are also open-minded and pro-diversity in its different forms. During this year’s conference held in Brisbane, Australia, I watched lectures on several topics. The ones that most stood out to me were related to the best agricultural practices within the Nuffield network, AgTech, and scientific communication. I recall talking about the dilemma of producing more food while maximizing environmental impacts. Personally, I felt that all scholars had this concern and were developing strategies within their farms.

I remember one of the scholars from The Netherlands had an egg picking machine that collected eggs in the soil/hidden, maximizing productivity. Another scholar had an app that employees in her farms used to make real-time reports of resources being used on the farm. As an Engineering Psychology major, my main takeaway from the conference was related to technology use in farming. I learned from Sarah Nolet, a Human Factors Engineer from MIT about useful technologies in farm settings, whether they are feasible, and if developers communicate with farmers before designing solutions to agricultural challenges. I noticed that one of the biggest problems within AgTech is the miscommunication between solutions and users. The main challenge is to get startup owners to visit farms and understand the reality farmers have to face. Undoubtedly, this was one of the best experiences of my life. I expanded my network and built an ecosystem of support made of people from over 10 different countries. I hope to leverage those connections through LinkedIn and other professional platforms.

Why TIE?

TIE’S commitment to support students from several disciplines, fields, and research methods drew me to TIE’S Travel Grants Program. My project was a mobile app and I had the opportunity to present it in an agricultural event, not a very common area for undergraduate students at Tufts. Moreover, TIE’s financial aid prioritizes costs related to transportation and accommodation. I needed help to fund my flight tickets and to pay for flight carbon-emission offsetting plans, and I knew the award would enable me to do so.