Makayla Nicholas, Erin Elferdink and Madison Mougalian
From left: Makayla Nicholas, Erin Elferdink and Madison Mougalian

Three Heavener students selected as Fund for Education Abroad Scholars

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Heavener School of Business students Erin Elferdink, Madison Mougalian and Makayla Nicholas were selected as scholars of the Fund for Education Abroad, a program that makes life-changing, international experiences accessible to all by supporting minority, community college and first-generation college students before, during and after they participate in education abroad programs.

Elferdink, Mougalian and Nicholas were chosen out of a pool of over 2,350 applicants to receive scholarship funding for their study abroad trips in London this summer. In addition to Elferdink, Mougalian and Nicholas, three other students from the University of Florida were also selected as Fund for Education Abroad Scholars.

Elferdink is a finance major with minor studies in real estate and is expected to graduate in 2020. She is a first-generation college student who aspires to work in commercial real estate management upon graduation. Her goals for studying abroad are to experience other cultures, gain international business knowledge and build friendships.

“I feel incredibly honored to be selected as an FEA Scholar!” Elferdink said. “I am immensely looking forward to study abroad in London this summer, and it wouldn’t have been possible without FEA. I am excited by the challenge to blog once a week (an FEA scholar stipulation) and think it will be an amazing opportunity to document my trip and take a more introspective approach than I otherwise would have!”

Mougalian is a business administration student with minor studies in sports management. Upon her expected graduation in 2021, she hopes to work with a professional or college athletic association on business operations. Her goals for studying abroad are to immerse herself in London’s culture, travel to other countries around Europe and utilize her internship in London to gain valuable, hands-on exposure to her future career path.

“Being named an FEA Scholar is an extreme honor,” Mougalian said. “The moment I found out, I felt an immediate sense of relief. My trip abroad is now possible because of this scholarship.

“My participation in the UF in London program provides me with the opportunity to not only study abroad but to receive an internship as well. As a business major, immersing myself in London’s culture as well as gaining an understanding of how international businesses are run is very crucial to be successful in my field.

“Beyond that, part of my acceptance for this scholarship is writing a weekly blog while both in London and traveling around Europe. This blog is something I can reflect on for the rest of my life and reminisce about this incredible trip.”

Nicholas is a business management student with minor studies in horticultural science. She is a first-generation college student who is expected to graduate in 2021. Upon graduation, she hopes to own her own floral shop. Her goals for studying abroad are to be a representative for black students who want to study abroad, gain valuable technical and industry skills via her internship in London, and to learn more about the floral industry and the day-to-day operations of a small to medium sized business.

“After discovering that I am now an FEA scholar, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of relief and pure joy come over me,” Nicholas said. “I won one of the most well-known study abroad scholarships in the nation and became part of an amazing network of highly-achieving students. But I did it through the help of those who believed in me, including Jason Ward and Lucy DiLeo, as well as the tutors from the UF Writing Center who helped me refine my goals and express my tenacious spirit for studying abroad.

“I am proud of my achievement because as a first-generation black student, the perception is that studying abroad is financially unattainable. But all things are possible! Receiving this scholarship will help me pay for many of the hefty costs of studying abroad such as my Tier 4 Visa, my flight to London, and other personal expenses during my summer semester.

“Without FEA’s investment in me, I would have been unable to afford my semester in London and I would have missed out on the unique professional and academic opportunities that London provides. I hope to continue being an inspiration to my peers and become a representative of studying abroad across the UF campus!”

As Fund for Education Abroad Scholars, Elferdink, Mougalian and Nicholas will be blogging about their experiences in London. Be sure to check out Elferdink, Mougalian and Nicholas’ blog posts on the Fund for Education Abroad website.

The Fund for Education Abroad partnered with the Foundation for International Education to provide scholarships for students studying abroad in London. Learn more about the Fund for Education Abroad and the Foundation for International Education.