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Faculty Family Endows the Andrew Young School’s Study Abroad Fund

Robert Moore and Julie Hotchkiss know what combining a travel adventure with an immersive learning experience can add to a student’s outlook and personal growth. Both huge proponents of expanding students’ worldviews, they contributed to the Andrew Young School Study Abroad Fund every year since the Dean’s Office began putting money into it.

After providing this support for years, Moore and Hotchkiss in July 2016 permanently endowed the fund, which provides scholarships to make study abroad possible for more Andrew Young School students.

“We’d been thinking about what we wanted to give to the school,” said Moore, an associate professor of economics and former associate dean. “Our motivation to endow this fund is, first of all, recognizing that we have high-achieving high school graduates coming to Georgia State University.

More than 70 percent of our entering freshmen are eligible for the HOPE scholarship, so they’re already performing well. At the same time, more than half of our undergraduates are coming from PELL Grant-eligible families. They’re good students, but they’re coming from families who often cannot afford an extra like a study abroad program.”

Moore’s and Hotchkiss’s research interests in international and labor economics and active participation in conferences have “allowed us the luxury of traveling abroad,” said Moore. Study abroad was a key part of their daughter’s college experience, and Hotchkiss had studied in France as an undergraduate. “Our personal experiences and observations of others are that study abroad programs are high-impact educational experiences.”

“There’s a lot of evidence that study abroad experiences broaden people’s perspectives, give them a better understanding of other cultures, and give them skills and a temperament that make them better capable of dealing with a diverse and rapidly changing world,” said Hotchkiss, an adjunct professor and executive director of the Atlanta Research Data Center. “It’s an immersive experience—beyond intellectual—so it makes what you learn much more memorable. Knowledge you gain from a study abroad program lasts longer than what you might get in a typical class.”

Moore admitted there were several reasons he and Hotchkiss felt good about endowing the study abroad fund for Andrew Young School students. “We’ve both benefitted from attending some great private educational institutions. State governments, however, are not paying for study abroad programs in public higher education. It’s not something taxpayers are willing to pay for.”

They hope others will follow their lead and help expand the impact of the fund. “While many people consider study abroad an extra, we think it’s an important signature experience for a student.”

To learn more about the Andrew Young School Study Abroad Scholarship Fund and other year-end giving opportunities, contact Karl Jennings at kjennings@gsu.edu.