Rosalie Powell’s UW–Madison Adventure – WISc, NASA, and Beyond!

Photo courtesy of Rosalie Powell

If asked to summarize Rosalie Powell’s path at UW–Madison, the words “adventurous” and “ambitious” might come to mind. But it may be even more accurate to say “global.” From joining the WISc Program to studying abroad in Brazil and the Czech Republic to an internship with NASA, Rosalie is proof that a Badger’s classroom can be the entire world.

Powell’s journey at UW has been nothing short of remarkable. She quickly found her place on campus by joining the 2020 cohort of the Wisconsin International Scholars (WISc) Program, a program that allowed her to continue pursuing her international interests in numerous ways.

“It seemed great to be able to connect with that interest, get grant funding and have a smaller cohort of students. It’s been wonderful,” said Powell.

Through programs like WISc and Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) awards, Powell was able to study abroad in Brazil, honing her Brazilian Portuguese skills—just one of the languages she speaks—and to the Czech Republic where she immersed herself in the city’s life sciences school. Her time spent in Prague exposed her to diverse perspectives on climate change issues, providing valuable insights into global environmental challenges.

Powell’s dedication transcends borders. Despite being overseas, she remained committed to her internship with NASA’s Health & Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST) group, led by air quality professor Tracey Holloway.

“NASA funds our team connect satellite and other data with the real-world needs of health and environmental organizations. Communication is key to these connections, and Rosalie has been a key part of this effort, said Holloway. “She brings fresh ideas, big-picture thinking, and excellent writing skills. Rosalie has been a key part of our team.”

As if her involvement in the prestigious WISc program and her dedication to her studies and NASA affiliated lab position weren’t enough cause for accolades, she has also received several awards including the Outstanding Sophomore Award from the College of Letters and Science (CALS). Most recently, Powell received the 2023–2024 NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Scholarship, an award for “outstanding undergraduate students who are pursuing STEM-related studies supporting NASA Mission Directorates.”

Much of her involvement and global learning can be tied back to the very program that brought her to UW in the first place. Powell acknowledged the profound impact of the WISc program on her trajectory, propelling her toward a future dedicated to international work. The senior is contemplating graduate school in environmental science and considering a Fulbright scholarship.

“I’m really grateful for all of the opportunities that this program has given me. I don’t know that I would have studied Portuguese if it weren’t for the program’s language requirement,” said Powell. “I’ve gone in a different direction because of WISc. I’m really grateful for the program.”