Illinois State senior Emma Byall’s recent excitement over landing a summer internship in Sydney was quickly met with some sticker shock: Airfare to Australia is really, really expensive.

Instead of delaying the trip and taking a step back in her international business studies, Byall was chosen to receive the Carson and Iris Varner International Experience Fund scholarship. That made it financially possible for her to travel to Australia, adding real-world international business experience to her resume.

This is hardly the first time that the Varners put the world within arm’s reach for an Illinois State student. The husband-and-wife College of Business faculty members created Illinois State’s international business major—still the only one of its kind at a public university in Illinois.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Byall, an international business major with minors in German and business environment and sustainability. “I’m really grateful. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is important, that it’s making a difference.”

In recent years the College of Business has been recognized nationally as a top business school. This recognition is driven by attracting top students and pairing them with excellent faculty scholars.

The current economic climate requires students and families to plan carefully how they select schools and fund an education, said Norris Porter ’88, M.S. ’89, senior director of development for the College of Business.

“Scholarship support is critical to maintaining access and affordability of an Illinois State University education,” Porter said. “Investing in scholarship support allows us to recruit and retain the best talent, preparing the next generation of business and civic leaders.”

Byall, who holds a leadership position in Illinois State’s International Business Club, previously spent a year in Germany on a study abroad trip and transfer degree program. She took classes in economics, statistics, and the German language. She’ll graduate with a degree from Illinois State and one from the University of Paderborn in Germany.

“Personally, Germany was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done and has definitely changed the way that I see and think about things,” Byall said.

The experience also gave her the confidence to go for the Australia internship—the “next logical step” after her study abroad experience. A big part of her internship was doing market research that connects American and Australian companies.

“I’m so glad I was given the opportunity and the means to travel,” Byall said.