Brandywine Student Spotlight: Angel Asomugha

Angel Asomugha next to the Lion Shrine at Penn State Brandywine

Angel Asomugha is a fourth-year business major at Penn State Brandywine.

Credit: Angel Asomugha

Major: Business

Minor: Information Sciences and Technology

Year: Fourth

Involvement: President of Black Student Union; intern for the Center for Social Impact; intern for the Restorative Justice, Equity, Anti-racist League (REAL); diverse and equity chair of Brandywine Student Government Association

Brandywine: Why did you choose Penn State Brandywine?

Asomugha: Well, initially it was because of the cost, it's affordable. I also liked how I can either stay at a small campus or transfer to a big university – I had options going into Penn State. It ultimately just came down to cost when I was looking at colleges.

Brandywine: How did you choose your major?

Asomugha: I was undecided about my first two years here. I had a couple of interests, but I was leaning more toward pursuing a business degree. I took an intro to marketing course during my second year, and I really liked the class. That’s how I ultimately decided on studying business with a concentration in marketing.

It wasn't until this year that I decided I wanted to work in the technology field. I'm minoring in information sciences of technology. After graduation, I want to find a job that could maybe link business and technology together. I'm not sure what I want to do in technology yet. I’m working in IT right now, so I'm trying to figure out and learn as much as I can through my job there.

Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?

Asomugha: I would say college has been an interesting experience for me. I didn’t expect it to be challenging at times. I’ve had to learn to be proactive and fully independent for the first time. Everything’s up to me. It’s the first time I was put in a situation, where what I do right now affects me and only me. So just learning how to be independent, learning how to be proactive, and just learning how to problem solve.

When I was struggling, I started reaching out to people, trying to find the resources, whether it was on or off campus, and just trying to solve problems on my own.

Another thing was during COVID, I really struggled, because everything was on Zoom. I think that's when I realized that I'm a very much in-person type of learner. I feel like I learn more through hands-on experiences. That's probably the reason why I'm so involved. Those hands-on experiences allowed me to develop and enhance my leadership and communication skills.

Those hands-on experiences allowed me to develop and enhance my leadership and communication skills.

—Angel Asomugha , fourth-year business student, Penn State Brandywine

Brandywine: How has Brandywine supported you, and who at Brandywine has supported you the most?

Asomugha: I'm an intern at the Center for Social Impact, so I would just say the faculty there have been my biggest supporters. Professor (Christine) Brown (the interim Rosenberg director for the Center for Social Impact) is someone I’d always reach out to if I ever had any issues. During COVID, we had weekly meetings, and that helped me a lot because I felt so disconnected from everyone else. The fact that she took the time to meet with me for the 30 minutes weekly helped me a lot. It was just nice to connect with someone, even though it was through Zoom.

I would say Stephanie Fitzgerald (administrative assistant at the Center for Social Impact) and Katy Carpenter (program and marketing coordinator at the Center for Social Impact) have been supportive as well. Sometimes, I go to the Center just to talk to them. The faculty and students at the Center are so supportive of each other. We're like our own little family, and everyone's very welcoming.

Brandywine: What made you interested in getting involved at the Center for Social Impact?

Asomugha: I got an email from Vippy Yee (former Rosenberg director for the Center for Social Impact) saying the Center was looking for a research intern. I met with her, got the internship and I did the research to help set up the food pantry. During my research, I looked up how food pantries at other universities were set up, whether it was open to students and faculty, only students, or open to the community. I looked up their websites and saw how people can request food. At the end of my internship, I asked Vippy if I could still be an intern for the Center the following semester. That’s how I became the food coordinator for the food pantry.

Brandywine: What are you currently working on at the Center?

Asomugha: Right now, I'm working on a survey to send out to all students about what they’d like to see in the food pantry. I'm also doing some research so we can have more food options, like halal, vegetarian and vegan options. I’m also working on how to promote the food pantry on our social media pages. In March, I’ll be speaking at the TEDx Circles presentation about food insecurity on college campuses around the country. I’m working on putting that together as well.  

Brandywine: What projects/events have you taken part in for the Center? Which one was your favorite and why?

Asomugha: I do a lot with the Center – I participate in almost every event. My favorite event, though, has been our monthly pop-up clothing shop. I actually came up with the idea to create a pop-up clothing shop and brought it up to Vippy, Stephanie and Katy. They loved the idea, and now it’s a monthly event. The first one we held had a huge turnout. That made me realize that whenever I have an idea, it can become a reality. I realized that my ideas could make an impact on the community.

I realized that my ideas could make an impact on the community.

—Angel Asomugha , fourth-year business student, Penn State Brandywine

Brandywine: What inspired you to join and become president of the Black Student Union? How has it helped you?

Asomugha: I initially joined the Black Student Union when I was a second-year student. I became vice president in my third year. The main reason why I joined the club and decided to run for president was because there are a lot of Black students on campus, and I wanted to help create a safe place on campus where we can all come together. Sometimes, we have those tough conversations, but sometimes we have game nights and movie nights. Right before winter break, we had a Mario Cart competition, which was fun.

The Black Student Union sponsored an “Are You Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?” event where the club wanted to lead the conversation about race on campus. Students of all races and cultures were welcomed, and faculty and staff attended and supported the event. The Black Student Union is planning to make this a regularly occurring event in the future.  

Brandywine: Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities? If so, what are they, and how have they impacted your time on campus?

Asomugha: Last semester, I was a peer mentor for a first-year seminar class. I gave the students tips on how to stay organized and informed them about the different resources on campus. I’m also a REAL intern. I’m so glad we’re able to have an anti-hate, anti-racist group on campus. We’re currently working to improve the bias report. I’m very passionate about this issue because last year, I filled out the bias report and had difficulties. I want to share my story.

Being a part of the REAL and being part of the initiative to improve the bias report makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I want to show students that there are faculty and staff on campus who care and want to make them feel comfortable and seen. I want to help connect them with those on campus who can supply them with the resources they need to succeed.

Brandywine: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?

Asomugha: A valuable lesson I’ve learned is to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I never thought that I would be able to be a student leader on campus. I was an orientation leader and a peer mentor, and I felt like that was all I could do. Fast-forward to my fourth year, I'm the president of the Black Student Union, which is crazy to me because that's something I wouldn’t have done my first year.

I would say another thing I've learned is that you don't have to be the loudest person in the room to be a student leader or to have an impact. I always felt like, because everyone around me was so outgoing and I was so shy, I wouldn’t be able to have an impact. For me to be able to do what I'm doing right now is shocking, because I'm doing what the loudest people and the most outgoing people are doing. You don't have to be like that. It's okay to be quiet. It's okay to be shy, and it's okay to not be the loudest person in the room. You can still be a leader, and you can still have an impact.

It doesn't matter the color of your skin or where you come from. I felt like being an immigrant, I couldn't say or talk on certain topics or be part of a certain conversation because I'm not from here, which is not the case necessarily. I have a different background and I can use my background, my knowledge and my culture to give my opinions on different topics. I've learned that working in a diverse room can have such an impact because you have different opinions instead of having the same opinion.

It's okay to be quiet. It's okay to be shy, and it's okay to not be the loudest person in the room. You can still be a leader, and you can still have an impact.

—Angel Asomugha , fourth-year business student, Penn State Brandywine