Luciana Frazão was so sure of rejection that she waited a week to open the email from Stanford admissions. A reminder of how wrong she was is forever inked on her hands: three bands on her left ring finger, one on her right, to symbolize 3/1/2019—the day she learned she’d been accepted to the master's program in mechanical engineering.
But the drama was only just beginning that day. Frazão, a Brazilian living in Rio de Janeiro, hardly had the money to send in her visa documents, let alone pay for two years of graduate school. Neither did her single mom, a retired administrative assistant who had raised and supported three kids.
With no better options, Frazão set about sending scores of emails to anyone who might help. The results weren’t encouraging—save one. Her plea had somehow reached the producers of Brazil’s version of Who Wants to be Millionaire.