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Flinn Foundation partners with ASU Study Abroad Office

June 10, 2013

The Flinn Foundation, which grants awards to support the undergraduate study of Arizona’s highest achieving students – called Flinn Scholars – at a public Arizona institution of their choice, has partnered with ASU’s Study Abroad Office to provide an academically enriching experience for these remarkable young minds.

In addition to free tuition, room and board, invitations to events with influential leaders, mentorship by a faculty member and access to alumni, the Flinn Foundation also provides funding for a three-week study abroad program for all Flinn Scholars.

Through the partnership with the ASU Study Abroad Office, 22 Flinn Scholars – fresh off their first year of university studies – spent three weeks in China this summer gaining an indepth understanding of its culture and engaging with prominent leaders in the region. This is the first time Flinn Scholars have participated in a program in China. 

Matt Ellsworth, director of the Flinn Scholars Program, says that “China’s breakneck growth for 30-plus years has brought it to a position where, like the United States, its actions as a country, its internal challenges and its economic and cultural products affect everyone else on the planet to some degree. We expect that many of our Flinn Scholars will have direct encounters with the scientists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs and policymakers of China over the course of their careers and we want them best prepared to engage.”

The Flinn Scholars Study Abroad Program is focusing on development issues and sustainability in China. Students will gain insight about both the urban and rural areas of China by experiencing Beijing and completing anthropology projects in the Guizhou Province.

In the past, the Flinn Foundation has partnered with an independent organization to create international experiences for their students, but this year they decided to go a different direction by partnering with ASU Study Abroad Office to design a study abroad program bearing academic credit. 

Ellsworth says, “We did that for many reasons, but it boils down to the expertise that ASU Study Abroad has in developing programs where students like our Flinn Scholars can become more sophisticated, confident travelers.  We want our scholars to get the most out of international study and travel after this program, and so it’s important that they have an academically rigorous, personally challenging, catalytic, safe experience. The professional resources that ASU is able to apply in support of this program and the Flinn Scholars have made us very happy with our decision.”

The students participating in the program were selected as Flinn Scholars in March 2012. They scored an average of 32 out of 36 on the ACT. Their average math and verbal scores on the SAT was 1470 out of 1600. In addition, 14 scholars were at least semifinalists in the National Merit competition and 16 of the 22 scholars attend Arizona State University.

ASU students can study abroad through over 300 programs in more than 60 countries facilitated by the Study Abroad Office. More information on options is available at