Faculty member funds Kennesaw State’s first endowed study abroad scholarship

Christie Emerson, center, helps host international visitors during an exhibit on religious…

Georgia (Jan 29, 2015)

Christie Emerson, center, helps host international visitors during an exhibit on religious tolerance during a "Year of the Arabian Peninsula" event. With her are Global Affairs Division Executive Director Lance Askildson, at right, and Hanan Al Kindi, information attache for the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman.

WellStar School of Nursing’s Christie Emerson contributes $25,000 to help send students abroad

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Jan. 27, 2015) — A $25,000 gift from Christie Emerson, RN, MSN, FNP and senior lecturer for Kennesaw State University’s WellStar College School of Nursing and her husband, Tom, will provide financial assistance for students annually to study abroad in a program administered by the University’s Division of Global Affairs.

The Emersons will present the first $800 scholarship during Kennesaw State’s 2nd annual International Achievement Awards ceremony March 26 at the Marietta Country Club in Kennesaw.

“We believe that a structured education abroad experience can be transformational for students,” Christie Emerson said on behalf of the couple.  “The experience often causes them to look at the world with a new global perspective. Our goal is to make the opportunity more affordable for deserving students each year.”  

Emerson, who represents WellStar College on the University’s Global Engagement Committee, has been active in planning study abroad and international education programs.  In 2010, she developed a 19-day study abroad for nursing students in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and will take another 12 students there in May. She also helped plan the “Year of the Arabian Peninsula,” the 2014-15 iteration of Kennesaw State’s 30-year program that annually studies a country or region of the world. As part of that commitment, she travelled with senior University officials to Oman and the UAE last year and participates in a faculty learning community that meets monthly.

“This endowed scholarship represents a very significant contribution to the global education of students from someone who clearly recognizes and values the tremendous influence that an international study abroad can have on shaping a student’s world view,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State vice provost and chief international officer. “We are truly grateful to the Emersons for this generous gift.”

To qualify for The Emerson Scholarship, full-time students must have a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. Students may apply at http://dga.kennesaw.edu/images/Emerson_Scholarship.pdf

Students who participate in Kennesaw State study abroad programs also may apply for student fee-funded Global Learning Scholarships ranging from $600 to $2,100.  Since the fund was established, an increasing number of the University’s students have participated in education abroad — 767 of them during 2013-2014 academic year. The Institute for International Education recently ranked Kennesaw State among the top 10 masters’ degree-granting institutions in the U.S. for students studying abroad.

The existing scholarships rarely cover the entire cost of studying abroad, however, placing the experience out of reach for some students.

“We suspect there are students who would love to participate in an education abroad program but who don’t even consider it because they feel they could not afford the fees,” Emerson said. “We are hopeful that our scholarship endowment might make it possible for more of these students to participate.”

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu