Kindred Spirits

The Hailey Brouillet Study Abroad Scholarship pays homage to a loving daughter and an adventurist spirit

A picture in a frame of Hailey Brouillet in a teal wooden chair outdoors looking up at the sky. In the blurry background behind the picture, sits Wayne and Lori Brouilllet in their living room.

A picture of Oakland University student Hailey Brouillet, who was killed in a car crash in 2013.

Broadening horizons

icon of a calendarJune 6, 2017

icon of a pencilBy Emell Derra Adolphus

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When Lori Brouillet's daughter, Hailey, returned from a trip abroad to Amsterdam in 2013, she came back with a new sense of adventure.

"She came back with a passion for travel, and she came back just so much more well-rounded," remembers Brouillet. "She was actually a quiet person in her own way. But she went ahead (to travel) and did it. She met some amazing friends over there and it was the experience of her life."

Hailey, then a junior at Oakland University, was majoring in Health Sciences with plans to focus on physical therapy. But later that year, Hailey was tragically killed in a car accident.

"We were just in so much shock. We didn't know what to do," says Brouillet. "I know that people wanted to donate and do something in her memory."

Brouillet's niece recommended they use the money donated to create a scholarship in OU's study abroad office, where Hailey had worked during the summer. After finding out they could procure a permanent endowment in Hailey's memory if they raised $25,000, Brouillet says it was an easy decision.

"My husband and I looked at each other and said that's a no brainer," she says. "We're going to do that somehow."

But they didn't have to do it alone. In about six months, says Brouillet, they raised the money to start the Hailey Brouillet Study Abroad Scholarship with help from their community in Troy, Michigan.

"There were just thousands of people who were affected (by Hailey's death). We've lived in Troy my daughter's whole life. It's a big city. But it's a tight community where everyone pulls together," says Brouillet about the number of people who wanted to donate to the memorial fund. "I think that in our darkest hours, we've had some pretty special people in our life that have come on board with us and got us through this. So it was a team effort for sure."

Wayne and Lori Brouilllet standing next to each, both holding onto a picture frame with a photo of their daughter in it. They're inside of a house standing in front of a window.
Wayne and Lori Brouillet established a scholarship in their daughter Hailey's memory. Photo by Alex Godin.

The scholarship is available to any student who demonstrates Hailey's love of travel and desire to give back to the community. So far, the annual scholarship has been awarded to four people. And Brouillet has made it a point to meet each person after an inspiring meeting with the first recipient, Natasha Holiday.

When Holiday returned from her trip to Nice, France, Brouillet says she saw a familiar face.

"Natasha's excitement and enthusiasm, it was just so familiar.
It was the same excitement, enthusiasm and zest of life that Hailey came back with," says Brouillet. "And so we want to continue to meet (the recipients) because we're inspired by them, too. It just reminds us so much of Hailey's change. So it warmed our hearts."

The memorial scholarship helped Holiday academically by giving her "peace of mind," she says.

"By having the scholarship, I was able to work fewer hours at my job, which allowed me to focus on my schooling. I could pay for my trip and (had) spending money while abroad," says Holiday.

Brouillet's younger daughter, Morgan, plans to travel to Greece this summer and hopes to carry on the adventurist spirit that the scholarship celebrates.

"I think that we made good decisions," says Brouillet about establishing the scholarship in Hailey's memory. "(Hailey) had never talked about a scholarship, but she was so passionate about her experience. She worked in the study abroad office encouraging kids to (travel) when she came back. She would be happy about (the scholarship)."

Establishing a memorial scholarship in Hailey's memory has been a "healing process" for the family, says Brouillet, and a way to permanently support students who share their daughter's spirit.

Learn more about the Hailey Brouillet Study Abroad Scholarship at

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