Caio Gomes

Caio Gomes

The next chapter of Caio Gomes’s life is about to begin, and he couldn’t be more excited.

Come fall, he will be a student at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.

That’s right: Yale. From the Ivy League.

“It’s still hard to get my mind around,” said Gomes, who will graduate from IUP on May 10 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies. “I had all these options, and it was all kind of overwhelming.”

Gomes, who will graduate with all As and one B on his final IUP transcript, applied to a multitude of law schools, hoping to find the best fit. When the dust cleared, he had acceptance offers from 12, including some big names, such as Cornell, Duke, Penn, Yale, and UCLA.

Yale, which admits roughly 5 percent of applicants, was ultimately the right choice for Gomes, who came to the United States from his native Brazil when he was 12.

“I applied to a lot of places, because I wanted to have options,” he said. “When the offers started coming, I felt like I had been run over by a train. But I have good people around me who have helped me through it.”

Those people include faculty members such as Chauna Craig (English/Cook Honors College) and Rachel Sternfeld (Political Science), Cook Honors College staff members Kevin Berezansky and Lisa Halmes, and Shawn Jones, from the Office of Admissions.

“I really love the support IUP gives,” Gomes said. “I have a lot of people to be thankful for.”

What initially attracted him to IUP when he was in high school, he said, was its affordability and proximity to his family’s home in Pittsburgh. He also was interested in the honors college and in being active on campus. He has served as president of the Latino Student Organization, as an IUP Ambassador, and as a writer for the Penn. He was admitted as a Promising Scholar and received scholarship money for being admitted to the honors college.

“I really love the support IUP gives. I have a lot of people to be thankful for.”

“The cost was the biggest thing in my head,” he said. “I wasn’t sure I could make college work, but coming to IUP has been a great decision. I knew right away after I got here that I had made the right decision. The honors college has a very strong curriculum that has helped prepare me for what I’ll study at law school, and I’ll be able to graduate without debt, because of the scholarships IUP has given me.”

After law school, Gomes hopes to have a career as an immigration attorney. He said he might also consider running for Congress.

But for now, he’s getting ready to close his chapter at IUP and begin a new one in the Ivy League.

“It will be a little bittersweet,” he said. “For the most part, I am happy to start a new chapter. But when you’ve been somewhere for four years and it has meant so much to you, it makes you sad to think about leaving. IUP is like home to me. I have my roots here now.”