Brandywine Student Spotlight: Taherin Chowdhury

woman smiling, standing in front of trees

Taherin Chowdhury

Credit: Penn State

Year: Third

Major: Communications

Involvement: Orientation leader; peer mentor; student worker at the Student Union Welcome Desk; member of Lion Guides, Brandywine Leagues & Tournaments, Marketing and Communications Club and the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS)

Brandywine: Why did you choose to attend Penn State Brandywine?

Chowdhury: I chose Brandywine because it’s a lot closer to home compared to other universities I applied to. I always knew that Penn State overall was a really tight-knit community, and I was originally interested in doing the 2+2 program since I heard a lot about it in high school. After spending a few years here, I really liked the smaller school vibe of Brandywine and chose to stay. It’s easier to maintain and have better relationships with my peers and professors here.  

Brandywine: How did you choose your major?

Chowdhury: I knew I wanted to work in some way with the media industry. I took photography classes in high school and got really into it, so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate it into my everyday life after graduation. I figured that I could major in communications because I know I could somehow entwine photography with it. Communications can lead you down so many different career paths too.

Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine?

Chowdhury: I did struggle at first with transitioning from high school to college, mainly because of the pandemic. Then, I couldn’t really figure out my place here during my first year because I didn’t get involved. I struggled to figure out my interests and where exactly I fit in here.

Brandywine: Who at Brandywine has supported you, and how?

Chowdhury: Tina Brackett-Wood (student activities and recreation coordinator) has definitely been very supportive of me. She and Don Brennan (assistant director of residence life) my entire first semester kept pushing me to work at the welcome desk in the Student Union so I could go to more events and be more involved, so I took them up on that offer. Also, I feel like Dana Hallahan (class of 2023 and former orientation leader) really helped me get more involved. I met her last year when we were orientation leaders together, and she pushed me to get more involved and go to more events.

Brandywine: What interested you in becoming an orientation leader? What do you enjoy most about it?

Chowdhury: I really wanted to get involved because, as I mentioned, I wasn’t very involved during my first year here. I figured that becoming an orientation leader would allow me to get more involved and make so many new connections. Becoming an orientation leader is how I met all the people I know now at Brandywine. It’s also really fun connecting with the new first-year students. It’s great to see them throughout the school year and they would say, “Hey, I recognize you from orientation – you were my orientation leader!” I wanted to do it again this year to continue making new connections with both the new first-year students and the new orientation leaders.

Brandywine: Congratulations on being inducted into NSLS! What made you decide to get involved with the honor society?

Chowdhury: I wasn’t in an honor society or anything in high school, so I was curious about the opportunity and wanted to see where it could lead me. I saw they had a lot of scholarship opportunities, and as I was reading more on the website, I got more interested in it. I really enjoyed getting to connect with other members of NSLS when we had group meetings in the spring. Being in NSLS is a great way to network and learn leadership skills.

"I’m learning more about the people here and I’m meeting more people the longer I’ve been here. It’s a fun way to decompress while also being involved."

—Taherin Chowdhury , third-year communications major, Penn State Brandywine

Brandywine: With your involvement at Brandywine, how has your time on campus been impacted?

Chowdhury: I’m definitely on campus a lot more than I used to be. This past academic year, I stayed here late some days, which I couldn’t have imagined doing during my first year. And honestly, it’s been great. I’m learning more about the people here and I’m meeting more people the longer I’ve been here. It’s a fun way to decompress while also being involved. Even when I’m here not really doing anything, I’m still somehow involved, or I’ll overhear about an event that’s going on and go to that. I’m also a lot more productive with my schoolwork.

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

Chowdhury: Take things slow because time goes by so much faster than you think. I’m already halfway through my college experience and I feel like I just got here yesterday. Since I didn’t get involved much in my first year, I feel like I’ve already missed out on so much, so I want to take time to appreciate more of what’s going on.

Also, don’t take things too seriously. Obviously, grades are important, but it’s not the end of the world if you’re struggling. You can always get help when you’re struggling with school. You don’t want to get so caught up in your schoolwork that you miss out on the important life lessons you’re also supposed to learn throughout your college experience. It’s how you learn who you are as a person.