June 01, 2020
Alex Beattie, a recent Mizzou Engineering graduate, has received funding from the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Beattie majored in computer science. He now plans to study at Lappeenranta Technical University in Finland. He will pursue mechatronics system design, which combines electrical, computer and mechanical engineering.
Beattie credits his classes and undergraduate research at Mizzou for the opportunity. He took topics courses he said keep students up-to-date on cutting-edge research trends. He also conducted research. Beattie developed a proof of concept for a remote-controlled system to track environmental conditions in barns. Beattie worked on a project involving imaging techniques. And he took part in coming up with technology to translate American Sign Language to English.
“I learned a lot about how to connect different components,” he said. “That’s a big trend in engineering right now. Studying mechatronics at LUT is going to enable me to utilize my technical background in software as my specialty. But I will also become competent in other engineering disciplines to better integrate components and designs together.”
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides funding to roughly 1,900 applicants each year. Finalists are selected based on academic merit, as well as leadership potential.
MU’s Fellowships Office encouraged Beattie to apply. He spent more than 80 hours revising his application and essays.
“The Fellowship Office told me that I would be competing against the top of the top across the United States,” he said. “The organization was looking for the ‘wow’ factor. They wanted to know why they should select me over all the other applicants.”
The Mizzou Edge
One thing that gave Beattie an edge was his experience at Mizzou.
“What really stands out is the amount of opportunities available if you’re looking for them,” Beattie said.
In addition to taking high-level engineering and computer science courses, Beattie engaged in cross-disciplinary computer and biological science research. He studied abroad in Sweden, which gave him a unique outlook on education and his career. Beattie also participated in Marching Mizzou and played in instrumental ensembles.
“I can’t think of another university that would allow me to do those things at the caliber Mizzou did,” he said. “At a lot of universities, you can do one of those things at a high level, but everything else is secondary. At Mizzou, you can do all of these things and more at a high level.”
In his application, Beattie also wrote about his personal connection to Finland. His mom was born there before moving to the U.S. as a child. Growing up, he felt a strong connection to Finnish culture, and wanted the opportunity to study there.
At LUT, Beattie expects to take an array of courses before starting his thesis during his second year. He’s hoping to get involved in machine dynamics research. Specifically, he wants to work on a project to improve safety conditions of roadwork in hazardous conditions.
Beattie recommends Mizzou to high school students. He encourages anyone interested in computers to consider the computer science program.
“They offer discussion courses that provide nice opportunities for collaboration,” he said. “That can expand your focus outside of just your program. Mizzou provides great opportunities for educational and personal growth.”