Involvement: Vice president of Sustainability Club; intern for the Center for Social Impact; intern for the Restorative Justice, Equity, Anti-racist League (REAL); mail room assistant
Brandywine: Why did you choose Penn State Brandywine?
Ohi: It was a very funny story, actually. I graduated amidst the pandemic in 2020. I was supposed to go to Penn State University Park, but the pandemic stirred up a lot of problems for me emotionally and financially, so I decided to take a semester off after high school, which was the best decision I ever made. I went back to my family in Bangladesh during that time and calmed my mind. Once I was ready, I applied to Penn State Brandywine and got in!
Brandywine: How did you pick your major?
Ohi: I took an Advanced Placement psychology class in high school, and I really liked my teacher. The way she explained how and why we behave the way we do made me interested in psychology. She taught us using real-life experiences and examples, and that made the subject so much easier to grasp. That psychology course made me want to be a psychiatrist, and my next goal is to apply for medical school once I finish my pre-requisite courses.
Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine?
Ohi: To be honest, I love Brandywine so much I cannot find any time when I faced trouble! Everyone on campus has been super helpful to me. One thing that was a little hard at first was making friends and building relationships with faculty during the pandemic when courses were virtual. Now that we are in person, I don’t have that challenge anymore.
Brandywine: How has Brandywine supported your efforts? Who at Brandywine has supported you?
Ohi: Penn State Brandywine supported me in a lot of ways. Back in middle school and high school, I was very involved but never felt like anyone was rooting for me. The faculty and staff here at Brandywine found my merit and worth, and they’ve been pushing me to do better. That did ultimately help me do better, too. Two people who have helped me are Vippy Yee (the former Rosenberg director for the Center for Social Impact) and Katy Carpenter (program and marketing coordinator for the Center for Social Impact).
Katy is one of my favorite people. She’s always there for me, and she makes anything possible. If I have a problem, whether it’s something technical or an essay, I know I can always go to her. She’ll be there to help me no matter what the problem is.
"The faculty and staff here at Brandywine found my merit and worth, and they’ve been pushing me to do better. That did ultimately help me do better, too."
—Roshni Ohi , third-year psychology student, Penn State Brandywine
Brandywine: What made you interested in getting involved at the Center for Social Impact?
Ohi: I remember during my first semester we were doing remote classes, and I was trying to find on-campus work because I had federal work-study. I was fortunate enough to meet Vippy Yee virtually. She reached out to me about the work-study and set up a time to interview me. She liked my personality and my attitude toward work, and she asked if I would like to work for the center.
One of the most important things when I was working was I felt like my voice was being heard. We would have meetings and the leaders would ask our opinion, even the students’ opinion, and what we want.
Brandywine: What are you currently working on at the Center for Social Impact?
Ohi: Currently, I'm working on organizing their career closet. The center recently opened the career closet for people who, for example, have an interview but don't have the appropriate clothes. I'm working on organizing it and getting more accessories like belts, shoes and ties. I’m also working on advertising our career closet, cleaning the clothes, and how to make it stand out.
Brandywine: Which event that the Center for Social Impact held was your favorite and why?
Ohi: One of my favorite events would be the TEDx event we held. This is the first time Penn State and TEDx collaborated. I was also the president of the Civic and Community Engagement Club back then, so it was under my authority to organize everything. I made sure everything ran smoothly. I took care of volunteers and kept track of who was coming in and out, as well as who was doing what task. The event ended up being very successful. A lot of people showed up, there were a lot of volunteers helping, and the event made me happy.
Brandywine: With all your involvement at Brandywine, how has that impacted your time on campus?
Ohi: It’s impacted my time a lot. I had to step back from being president of the Civic and Community Engagement Club to focus on my three jobs. Because of the roles I have, though, I’m on campus all the time. I’m usually not in the Student Union hanging out with friends in my free time. In between classes, I’m working in the mail room, in the Center for Social Impact, or in a meeting.
Brandywine: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?
Ohi: One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned at Brandywine is doing good without expecting anything in return. I also learned how important it is to not lose hope and strive for the best. Sometimes a lot of responsibilities, involvement and keeping straight A's are very overwhelming, but Brandywine has taught me to stay calm and focused. It’s also taught me excellence can be achieved when we strive for it even when the path is not the easiest.