Alumni couple's gift will help architectural engineering students study abroad

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Architectural engineering students hoping to study abroad may get some help realizing their dream, thanks to a gift by a Penn State engineering couple in Florida.

A new scholarship, the Beabout the World Study Abroad Scholarship in Architectural Engineering, will provide recognition and financial assistance to undergraduate architectural engineering students studying at the University Park campus who are passionate about exploring and engaging with their world.

The scholarship was created by Penn State alumni Julia C. and Brent R. Beabout of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Julia Beabout is a 1988 architectural engineering graduate and president of Simulated Solutions LLC, a consulting firm providing energy modeling services and mechanical systems sustainability consulting to the building industry. Brent Beabout is a 1987 civil engineering graduate and senior vice president of supply chain for Office Depot.

“It’s something that’s close to my heart,” Julia said of study abroad. Her own experience includes studying in Switzerland during high school, participating in the architectural engineering program’s partnership with the University of Leeds in England, and several research and language training trips to China as part of her master’s work in Asian studies with Florida International University. “Each study abroad trip was a life-altering experience.”

The couple said one of the biggest barriers to study abroad is affordability. “Architectural engineering students already face many challenges to incorporating a study abroad experience into their academic careers due to the program’s extended and rigorous academic schedule as well as language barriers with respect to instruction. We do not want finances to be an additional barrier for these students. This scholarship will hopefully incentivize AE students to pursue a study abroad program by giving them greater financial flexibility and accommodating participation in programs beyond those currently offered by Penn State and the AE program,” Julia stated.

She continued, “There are a lot of scholarships that offer a few hundred dollars for study abroad but not many that provide for full funding.”

The Beabout award, she said, will be more substantial and hopefully cover most, if not all, of the cost. “We’re hoping this makes studying abroad a more appealing and feasible option for AE students.”

The scholarship will support up to the full cost of a study abroad experience for one or two students each year.

The Department of Architectural Engineering currently offers two study abroad programs – a seven-week summer semester in Rome and a seven-week summer semester in China. The department is also piloting a program to send 11th-semester students in the integrated bachelor’s of architectural engineering/master’s of architectural engineering to the National University of Singapore for graduate-level studies.

The Beabout the World Study Abroad Scholarship permits participation in these programs, as well as other organized study abroad experiences offered through Penn State.   

The couple also has another scholarship in the college, the Brent and Julia Beabout Honors Scholarship in Industrial Engineering.

The Beabout scholarship in industrial engineering honors Brent’s passion for supply chain management. Before joining Office Depot, Brent served as a vice president at logistics firm DHL and as an engineer with Amazon.com.

“We have a passion for excellence and expanding opportunities,” Brent said about both gifts to Penn State. “This is our small part to push the ball up the hill. We want Penn State to attract the best and brightest.”

The Beabout World Study Abroad Scholarship in Architectural Engineering will help Penn State reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This initiative is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Last Updated May 08, 2013