Major: Division of Undergraduate Studies
Involvement: President and founder of Brandywine Leagues & Tournaments (BLT), president of Ping Pong Club, vice president of Brandywine Music Association (BMA), Lion Ambassador, member of Student Initiated Fee Committee, lab assistant in the department of information technology (IT), development and alumni relations intern in the department of campus development
Brandywine: Why did you choose to attend Penn State Brandywine?
Asiddao: At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to college. In high school, I wasn’t much of an academic person, so I wasn’t sure what route I wanted to take. My cousin went here, though, and he sold me on the idea of coming to Brandywine. He showed me around and I really liked it. I knew that Penn State would help me figure out what I wanted to do with its great Division of Undergraduate Studies Program. Also, Penn State has so many networking opportunities and a great alumni network, so I wanted to be a part of that as well once I graduate.
Brandywine: What led to you choosing to go through the Division of Undergraduate Studies? What major are you leaning toward taking up?
Asiddao: I chose to enter Brandywine’s division of undergraduate studies because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in college in terms of my major. There are 14 majors for me to choose from here at Brandywine, and I wasn’t sure how to go about choosing one. Ultimately, this program led to me figuring out that I want to take up a business major with a marketing focus and a minor in information sciences and technology. I feel like a business major would suit me since that’s where my interests lie. I want to take up an information sciences and technology minor because I love computers and technology, but I don’t think I want to do that professionally. To me, learning about technology would be something fun.
Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine?
Asiddao: I’ve definitely faced a lot of challenges during my college career. One challenge in particular that’s affected me the most is learning time management. I’ve had to figure out how to prioritize certain things and what things can wait. I’ve had to juggle taking care of my mental health with my work life, school life, personal life and family life. All of this while living on campus and being here 24/7 has been challenging, but I think I’m getting better at it. It’s tough having to juggle all five of those important things at once.
Brandywine: Who has supported you at Brandywine, and how?
Asiddao: I’m only in my second year here at Brandywine, but I’ve made so many connections, which I’m so grateful for. Vippy Yee (former Rosenberg Director for the Center for Social Impact) supported me through BMA, and Patton Vo (director of campus development) has probably been one of my biggest supporters. He’s one of the reasons I’m still here. He’s taken on the role of a mentor for me and has taken me under his wing. He told me he sees a lot of himself in me, and he’s really shown me the ropes of life.
Michael Daly (IT support specialist) has supported me, too. He and Patton are two of my supervisors, and it feels great to have supervisors who understand me. Also, Tina Brackett-Wood (student activities and recreation coordinator) and all the staff in student affairs have been factors in my success. They’ve all been so helpful with the student organizations on campus.
Brandywine: What interested you in bringing back the Brandywine Music Association? What’s your favorite part about being involved in the organization?
Asiddao: I’ve always loved music, so when I was at the involvement fair my first year, I was looking for any student organization that was music related. I saw Vippy promoting BMA at the fair, and she told me about how it’s faded out because its former members had either graduated or transitioned to University Park. I signed up for it and went to the first meeting. There were only three of us at the meeting, and we all wanted to bring it back because of our passion for music. We wanted to share our passion with everyone on campus. We brought it back to campus in a new way; originally, BMA was just a vocalist group, but we decided to make it a group for people who enjoyed singing and playing instruments.
I enjoy the camaraderie of BMA. We’re a tight-knit group. I also like having a space on campus where students can express themselves and connect with others through music.
Brandywine: What led you to create Brandywine Leagues & Tournaments? What do you enjoy most about being involved with the club?
Asiddao: I noticed there were no intramural sports on campus, and I was wondering, “Why can’t students who aren’t student-athletes have a basketball tournament or a volleyball tournament?” I had friends who played sports in high school but weren’t student-athletes, and they wanted a space to have friendly tournaments. I wanted to create something for them, so I created Brandywine Leagues & Tournaments. We shortened it to BLT so people would think of the sandwich, and the name would be easy for them to remember.
We play more than just sports tournaments in BLT, though. We have video game tournaments, too. Last semester, we had a Mario Kart tournament which was fun. I also wanted to give back to students through BLT, so I distributed prizes to those who won the tournaments. I like the sense of community this club gives me. I also like being able to collaborate with students, faculty and staff through BLT.
"Being involved with so much at Brandywine makes me feel like I’m a part of campus and a part of the community."
—JonJon Asiddao , second-year division of undergraduate studies student, Penn State Brandywine
Brandywine: With your involvement at Brandywine, how has your time on campus been impacted?
Asiddao: Being involved with so much at Brandywine makes me feel like I’m a part of campus and a part of the community. I’ve had some late nights, either with meetings, events or just talking with friends, but all of those things make me feel like a part of the community. I’m able to network with students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Brandywine: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?
Asiddao: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned at Brandywine is figuring out who I am as a person. Through college, I’ve been working toward figuring out where my strengths and weaknesses lie, what I enjoy and what I’m not a big fan of. College helps you figure out what’s important in your life and who you are as a person. It’s a big learning experience.