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### Exploring Various Cultures and Southern Charm: Carvalho-Moore’s Ph.D. Journey at University of Alabama

Jan. 31, 2024

Cassandra Thomas

Pamela Carvalho-Moore

Graduate and international education revolves around exploration — the pursuit of knowledge, research, and creative endeavors that enhance lives, as well as the exploration of different countries, cultures, and individuals. The Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas is dedicated to honoring the students, faculty, and staff who drive these discoveries.

Originally hailing from Brazil, Pamela Carvalho-Moore was chosen as a fellow for the Science Without Borders initiative during her undergraduate studies. This opportunity allowed her to select a university worldwide to delve into the field of agriculture, ultimately leading her to the University of Arkansas—a decision that has proven immensely rewarding.

Recalling the recommendation of her undergraduate mentor, who had positive experiences at the U of A, Carvalho-Moore shared, “He highlighted the university’s robust Weed Science Program, aligning with my area of interest. Moreover, he emphasized the warm reception he received and the lasting friendships he formed here.”

Upon her arrival, Carvalho-Moore dedicated a year and a half to studying crop and environmental sciences at the U of A. During this period, she engaged in a nine-month internship focusing on Weed Physiology and Molecular Biology at the former Altheimer Laboratory.

Her affection for the U of A blossomed swiftly. Beyond delving into Arkansas’ agricultural research, she was captivated by the hospitality of the Natural State. Originating from a small Brazilian state, she marveled at the diverse cultures she encountered daily and the inclusive nature of the Razorback community.

“Arkansas has become my home,” she expressed. “I cherish the abundance of outdoor activities available in this region. The accessibility to numerous trails and hiking spots like Lake Fayetteville and Devil’s Den State Park is truly remarkable.”

Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree at the Federal University of Pampa in Brazil, Carvalho-Moore returned to the U of A to pursue a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology under the guidance of Nilda Roma-Burgos. Presently, she is a Doctoral Academy Fellow in the Crop, Soil and Environmental Science (CSES) department, specializing in weed science with Dr. Jason Norsworthy. Her deep-rooted passion for agriculture stems from her grandfather’s cocoa farm in the Amazon region of Brazil.

“My grandfather, a successful cocoa farmer until 1990, instilled in me a profound love for agriculture,” she shared. “Despite facing challenges such as the freezing of savings accounts by the Brazilian government, his dedication to farming never wavered. He imparted invaluable lessons on the effort, time, and knowledge required for food production, which I find immensely fulfilling. To this day, he tends to coffee trees on a farm he manages with my uncle.”

Carvalho-Moore’s doctoral research centers on leveraging metabolic inhibitors to enhance the efficacy of the herbicide glufosinate, alongside investigating the resistance mechanisms in Palmer amaranth plants from Arkansas. Her journey through master’s and doctoral studies has been a transformative experience, both personally and professionally.

“Since embarking on my master’s in 2018, I have undergone significant growth,” she reflected. “I now feel like a seasoned professional, adept at discussing various aspects of weed science. The supportive environment within CSES, fostering respectful interactions between students and faculty, has empowered me to engage confidently with professors regarding our projects. My insights are valued by the academic community.”

Within the CSES department, Carvalho-Moore found a supportive network akin to family. Following a personal tragedy in 2021 with the loss of her brother, she leaned on the graduate school community for solace and strength.

“Coping with grief is a challenging journey. Without the unwavering support of my peers and advisor, I doubt I would have persevered to complete my Ph.D.,” she acknowledged. “While words may fall short, their presence and assistance in various forms were a beacon of light during my darkest days. I hold deep respect and gratitude for their unwavering support. Staying at the U of A for my graduate studies was a decision I will always cherish.”

As a doctoral candidate, Carvalho-Moore embraced leadership roles within the university and the broader community, stepping beyond her comfort zone. She served as a department representative for the Graduate Student Professional Congress at the U of A, assumed the presidency of the Crop, Soil and Environmental Science graduate student organization, and currently leads the Weed Science Society of America graduate student organization.

“I strive to contribute and give back, inspired by the support I have received,” she emphasized. “Engaging with various campus entities and organizations not only facilitates networking but also offers insights into university activities and societal trends.”

Throughout her academic journey, the U of A has provided Carvalho-Moore with invaluable resources for success. Travel grants from the Graduate School and International Education enabled her attendance at national and international conferences, including six within a concentrated three-month period. Additionally, through GSIE, she discovered and applied for the esteemed P.E.O. Scholar Award, a recognition she was honored to receive.

Post-graduation, Carvalho-Moore envisions continuing her exploration of sustainable strategies to combat weed resistance to herbicides.

Her counsel to fellow international students is rooted in openness and cultural immersion. “Embrace new experiences with an open mind and heart. The outcomes may surprise you. There are numerous individuals eager to connect with you, provided you extend that invitation.”

She further advised, “Seize the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and savor your time here. The U of A offers a wealth of experiences. Engage with your department and campus organizations to forge connections, as this is how I cultivated a strong support system throughout my tenure here.”