MEDIA, Pa. — Three years after earning her bachelor’s degree from Penn State Brandywine, Sukhmanpreet (Sukh) Kaur, class of 2019, is back at the University to receive her master’s degree.
Kaur began her Penn State journey at the Brandywine campus in 2017, after transferring from a nearby university. She majored in information sciences and technology and minored in security risk analysis. During her time at Brandywine, Kaur was involved with the Multicultural Club, held two internships, and worked two jobs.
“While at Brandywine, I had two consecutive internships at A. Duie Pyle, a trucking company in West Chester,” she said. “I got my internship at A. Duie Pyle through the career fair. I gave the recruiter my resume and expressed interest in learning about the company. After talking with the recruiting team, I got a position as an IT service desk technician. It was a great hands-on experience. I was A. Duie Pyle’s first female intern, too, if memory serves me correct.”
With experience on resume, Kaur then worked at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar.
“I leveraged the experience as IT service desk technician to position myself better for the Genius Bar role, and it worked out well, as I got to learn about Apple products and support offerings. Throughout my time at Brandywine, I also had a part-time job at Rite Aid as a pharmacy technician.”
Kaur said one of her favorite aspects of Brandywine was the small class sizes.
“One thing I loved most about Brandywine was the smaller class sizes, especially coming from a university with very large class sizes,” Kaur said. “I really liked having such dedicated professors. They were all open to spending extra time with their students covering open questions, and that’s what helped me get a better grip on my major.”
Upon graduating in 2019, Kaur landed a job with SAP, a global software company, with the help of a professor she had at Brandywine. She stepped into a client-facing role, where she connected businesses with resources to get the best return on investment. Recently, she has stepped into a cybersecurity role, where she will be exploring security controls and aligning them with different security reports.
“I like working at SAP because of its culture.” Kaur said. “SAP has a very welcoming environment. There are tons of opportunities for employees to grow. HR and management are pretty transparent, which makes it even better for someone like me who focuses on learning and growth.”
Kaur was able to come back to Penn State with SAP in 2022 to present at Brandywine’s inaugural cybersecurity conference. She received a personal invitation to speak from Andy Landmesser, associate teaching professor of information sciences and technology, with whom she also did an undergraduate research project.
“It was so nice to be able to present at Brandywine. Not only did it lead me to enhance my technical skills, but it also taught me to give back,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Dr. Landmesser, I don’t think I would’ve done a presentation like that in a conference setting. It got me out of my comfort zone for sure and was a positive experience.”
Kaur decided to return to Penn State to receive her master’s degree in 2022 as well. Currently, she is working toward earning a degree in information science from Penn State World Campus.
“I decided to get my master’s degree because it paves the way for me to earn my doctorate. My lifelong goal in education is to earn a Ph.D.,” she said. “I also just wanted to learn more about the field I’m in. I don’t necessarily need to get master’s or doctorate degrees to work in the technology field, but it serves for my learning goals. The academic approach is much different than the industry approach and I find it interesting to mingle both to get the best of both worlds. School teaches me the background and safety precautions of the field while the industry gives exposure to current tech trends in business.”
When asked what advice she would give to current Penn State students, Kaur said they should enjoy their time in college while they can.
“It’s so important to enjoy your time while you’re in college. I was hustling a lot during my time at Brandywine; I had internships and worked part-time jobs off campus, but I enjoyed it,” she said. “Enjoy your time in a way that you think is enjoyable, not what society sees as enjoyable.”
She followed up by saying how important it is for students to take classes outside of their major when they can.
“Enjoy your time in a way that you think is enjoyable, not what society sees as enjoyable.”
—Sukh Kaur , class of 2019
“Explore different classes that Brandywine has to offer. Don’t limit yourself to just courses in your program. I took a kinesiology class while in college to learn more about fitness, and I loved it. I also took a finance course so I could learn about money and business. Don’t feel stuck with the type of classes you can take. It helps build better portfolio for your personal brand.”