PROVO — Brigham Young University senior Gregory Macfarlane has been awarded a $3,000 Freeman-Asia Award to study globalization in engineering projects at China's Nanjing University.

"The Freeman is a highly competitive national award, and it reflects on Greg's abilities that he received this award," said Lynn Elliott, director of BYU's International Study Programs.

Macfarlane, a civil and environmental engineering major, is participating in a BYU International Study Program in conjunction with Nanjing University. His interest in urban planning and development began when he lived in Malaysia as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has continued during his studies at BYU.

"Through this program I am getting a first-hand look at the effects of China's economic opening and placing myself in a better position to be a part of China's impressive economic growth," Macfarlane said. "The lessons I learn here will contribute to making me a better engineer and a more responsible world citizen."

A member of the BYU International Studies Program, Macfarlane takes a globalization course taught by a BYU faculty member and a variety of language and culture courses taught by Nanjing University faculty. Course work is supplemented by regular visits to design and manufacturing sites, where he and the other BYU students interact with both native Chinese technical personnel and foreigners working in China.

As Asia gains economic and strategic prominence, the region has an increased need for culturally savvy Americans who are fluent in Asian languages. The Freeman-Asia program has helped more than 3,000 undergraduates study in Asia since 2000.