Maria Beam worked in Guatemala building houses. Now, she lays the foundation for students to have similar life-changing experiences.
Beam is a program assistant for the MSU Office of Study Abroad. She helps students coordinate their study abroad trips.
Beam knows the value of living abroad from firsthand experience doing mission work in Mexico and Guatemala.
“It’s an area that’s quite needy, but there’s so much that they give back,” she said.
Beam has been working in her current position at MSU for 10 years. She collaborates with the coordinator for the Latin American countries to ensure all students are registered and prepared to arrive in a foreign country.
Her planning makes the logistics of traveling internationally less stressful for students and for parents.
“I have three children and they’ve all gone abroad,” Beam said. “I understand the perspective of both the parent and the student. When your children are going abroad, you need to be prepared for the situation.”
Beam said the best part of her job is the excitement she sees in her students. She added that, once they pick their program, their enthusiasm continues to grow, and they always come back changed.
“It’s something they are going to take with them for the rest of their lives,” Beam said. “It will add a depth to your education. That’s what it did to my life.”