Road to Commencement: Ali Hassan Mian

Student stands next to the lion shrine on the Penn State Brandywine campus.

Ali Hassan Mian will graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology on Dec, 18.

Credit: Amanda Ota

MEDIA, Pa. — Ali Hassan Mian, who will receive his bachelor of science degree in biology at Penn State Brandywine’s fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 18, reflects on his time as a student.

When Ali Hassan Mian walks across the graduation stage at Penn State Brandywine on Dec. 18, the degree he’ll be receiving will represent many accomplishments.

“I feel like getting a degree in and of itself is a big thing, but especially with having immigrant parents and being the first in my family to graduate from a university with a degree,” Mian said.

Beyond the accomplishment is how Mian achieved it — he earned his tuition with the assistance of scholarships that recognized his hard work and tenacity.

“When I came here I was offered so many scholarships and thankfully all four years I haven’t paid a single dollar out of my pocket, so that’s been a big thing for me and my parents,” Mian said. “My previous hard work that came in handy has helped me prosper. That means a lot.

“Not only that, but then the fact that it’s a Penn State degree is also another accomplishment,” Mian said, noting that he’s been in many situations where people have been impressed to hear that he’s earning his degree from Penn State.

“Just saying you’re from Penn State, you have so many opportunities,” Mian said. “I think that’s one of the best things that Penn State has to offer.”

When Mian was first looking at college, he wasn’t familiar with Penn State Brandywine, explaining that when visiting campus he was drawn to a certain “it” factor he picked up on, though he couldn’t exactly put his finger on it at first.

“There was something about this place,” Mian said, recalling that at the time he thought, “I don’t know what it is, but this is where I want to be.

“It wasn’t until my first semester that I was like ‘this is amazing!'” Mian described. “I love the personal time you get with these professors. That was my favorite part.

“Leaving here, one of the biggest things I’ll miss for sure is the professors,” Mian said, noting how if you ask anyone taking a class whether or not they enjoy it, they say “it all depends on the professor.”

“No matter how hard or difficult a class is, it all depends on the professor. I’ve taken some really difficult classes but the professor has made it fun,” Mian said. “Honestly, Brandywine has the rarest professors. I say that because these professors not only make the material bearable, but they make you fall in love with it. That’s one of my favorite parts.”

Mian is active in campus life and said he enjoys participating on the campus’ student initiated fee allocation committee.

“It’s very exciting because I like to be in these leadership positions where I have a say,” Mian said, noting that this is why he’s heading into the medical field.

Mian is graduating with his biology degree and will be continuing his job with Scribe America, an opportunity he discovered on a flyer posted on campus. He plans to take some time to work and experience the “real world” before he applies to medical school.

“When I first started I was like, I need to finish this and get on and go into the medical field,” Mian said, explaining the draw he felt to apply to med school right after graduation. After seeing others go through that process, Mian said, he decided to wait a few years.

“To allow myself not only to grow as a person and mature as a person and gain experience, but also mature as a student, because I feel like being in university and college is one thing but then being in the real world I would say is a different thing that I want to experience first and then go in,” Mian explained.

When it comes to helping him prepare for his career, Mian describes Brandywine as being supportive.

“I would say Brandywine has been very encouraging overall,” Mian said.

Reflecting on his time at the University, Mian conceded he felt “no words can do it justice.”

“This journey has been informative, it has been exciting, it has been challenging, it has been rewarding, it has been everything that I was looking for,” Mian said.