MACON – Mercer University sophomore Alyssa M. Bonifacio recently received a Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship to support a study abroad program in Japan next spring.

The mission of FEA is to provide scholarships and ongoing support to students who are underrepresented among the U.S study abroad population, including students of color, community college and first-generation college students.

Bonifacio received the FEA General Scholarship, which includes $5,000 in financial support, to study at the University of Aizu in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan. In return for the scholarship, she will produce a weekly blog during the semester abroad, as well as pre-departure and concluding vlogs.

“The FEA scholarship is important to me because it will allow me to explore another country for the first time,” said Bonifacio. “I enjoy learning about cultures, and living in a different one for even a short time makes for a more open-minded person. I believe studying abroad during college years is an opportunity that should not be missed by those interested, because we can simultaneously earn credit toward our degrees and be funded by scholarships such as this one.”

Bonifacio, from Warner Robins, is a computer engineering major who plans to complete the School of Engineering’s 4+1 Integrated Degree Program and receive a master’s degree in software engineering. Upon graduation, she hopes to work at Robins Air Force Base as a civilian computer engineer.

At Mercer, Bonifacio serves as co-leader of the High-Altitude Research Platform (HARP) and is a participant in the Engineering Honors Program, where she is pursuing a project about failure analysis in piping systems.

Additionally, she serves as organist at her church and enjoys studying languages, including Japanese, American Sign Language and Tagalog.

“Alyssa is one of the most pleasant people you will ever meet, but don’t let that fool you.  Underneath, she has passion and drive. She was one of the rare students who approached me during their freshman year interested in research. She has quickly risen through the ranks to serve as co-leader of the high-altitude research payload project funded by NASA,” said Dr. Anthony Choi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Machine Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory.

About the School of Engineering

Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Robins Air Force Base, Mercer Engineering Research Center, Northrop Grumman, Georgia Power, Manhattan Associates and Gulfstream Aerospace.