|Jim and Amy Feldman have created an endowment to help one student a year add something extra to their study abroad trip that they might not otherwise be able to do. These photos were taken by School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students who explored other parts of their destination country or pursued adventures while they studied abroad that illustrate the kind of cherry-on-the-top experiences the Feldmans have in mind. Clockwise from top right, spices in a market in Istanbul, Turkey; Maimuna Jallow silhouetted against the landscape in Interlaken, Switzerland; Andrew Melissas dives the Great Barrier Reef during his semester in Australia; and Brittney Vidal visits Stonehenge while taking classes in London. (Photos Courtesy: Adriel Hsu, Maimuna Jallow, Andrew Melissas, Brittney Vidal)|
Jim Feldman never studied abroad when he was a student at Georgia Tech.
Years later, all three of his children did, traveling to London, Australia and Germany, and they came back with great stories about all the things they were able to see and do as a result.
That experience — of a father hearing his children come back and tell him about the sights of London, Brisbane or Berlin — made Feldman want to help students at his alma mater enjoy the same opportunities.
“I started thinking, could I do something that might help somebody who otherwise wouldn't get to stay that extra week or wouldn't get to be able to take that train to Paris for the weekend?” Feldman said recently.
The James B. Feldman Study Abroad Endowment is the answer to that question. The fund will award $1,000 each year to one School of Civil and Environmental Engineering student starting in 2018 with the goal not of paying for airfare or other study abroad costs, but rather to provide money for the cherry-on-the-top experience.
Feldman said he wants the money to extend or enhance students’ study abroad experiences.
“I have this vision of students going abroad for the summer, and they get to … do something totally non-academic that they get something out of,” said Feldman, who graduated with his civil engineering degree in 1977.
He and his wife, Amy, set up the fund to give preference to students interested in careers in construction — a nod to the construction business his father owned in New York.
Feldman came to Tech to get an engineering degree so he could work in that industry, but after a decade doing structural engineering work, he shifted to real estate development. He said that keeps him involved in overseeing construction projects. Now he’s principal – development services at Regent Partners in Atlanta, where he’s worked for more than two decades. His projects stretch across the Southeast, are usually mixed-use developments, and include well-known Atlanta landmarks like Tower Place in Buckhead.
Feldman has been involved at Tech since he graduated, but most often with his fraternity. He said he decided a few years ago the time was right to give back some other way, and he wanted to do something that would have meaning for civil and environmental engineering students.
“Tech has always meant a lot to me,” he said. “I think it's a special place. It's a different place. I give Tech a lot of credit for whatever mild success I've had in my industry.”