This Spider's story

Just before graduation, Luiza Cocito, ’23, stopped by to tell her Richmond story. It’s a good one.
Luiza Cocito, ’23

My big change
I moved to the U.S. in 2012 from Brazil because my dad had an opportunity at his company. I was 10 years old. It wasn’t like I had any say in the situation. I was not happy when I heard the news.

My English skills
We learned English at school in Brazil, but when I got to the U.S., it felt like I knew nothing. In my first social studies class, the teacher asked, “Who is president of the United States?” and then cold-called on me. I didn’t even know what question he was asking, so I stuttered and other students started laughing. It was a tough way to start.

My family
Every day after school, my parents and I spent hours translating my schoolwork to Portuguese. That helped me get the hang of English. It also brought my family together. We were each other’s support system.

My first year
I wasn’t ready to leave my family at age 17. Homesickness, impostor syndrome, and anxiety got the worst of me my first month on campus. I opened up to my RA. After some conversations, I had my housing director, academic advisor, CAPS, and dean all as a support system. That is incredible.

My identity
Explaining it can be hard. I am navigating between my Brazilian childhood and the experiences I’ve had living in a different culture. I take pride in my heritage, speak Portuguese at home, and enjoy my Brazilian meals (especially feijoada), but I also feel connected to American culture. These past four years, I’ve come to realize that I don’t need one label. I’ve found a community that accepts me for who I am.

My Richmond Guarantee
I worked for a nonprofit, Circle of Care, that supports pediatric cancer patients. It was an unpaid summer opportunity with such an important cause. I worked in marketing analytics and made recommendations for its social media.

My time abroad
Studying in Barcelona helped me realize that it’s OK to not have just one identity. I can proudly embrace my multicultural background and celebrate the diverse cultures and experiences that have shaped me.

My campus jobs
I became a writing consultant on campus and loved being that inspiration. I’d tell people, “I barely spoke English seven years ago, and here I am. You can do this too.” I later became a speech consultant too and looked forward to both jobs.

My sorority
Being president of Kappa Delta taught me a lot about leadership, like how to delegate and work with the executive council as a team. But most importantly, I had a group of 130 women I could rely on. They are the real-life sisters I never had and will forever cherish.

My internship
Beth Chancy in career services changed my life by showing me how to apply one good story to any interview question. With her help, I landed my dream internship at LinkedIn. I provided support across LinkedIn’s lines of business with a focus on customer stories and earned content development. I got to work at the San Francisco and New York City offices and visit the São Paulo office and headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

My career start 
The summer internship showed me the work environment I hoped for. LinkedIn is the place where I see opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I start as a communications specialist in the NYC office after graduation.

My message 
I came here because I would have access to an excellent education, valuable network, and because I loved the campus when I did the college tour. And I am so thankful that I chose this school.

That’s why I wanted to talk about it because the outcome that I’ve achieved shows that you can come from any background, find opportunities, and be supported. I want people to know that Richmond wants you to succeed.