Major: Information Technology
Involvement: Event coordinator, Bangladeshi Student Association; member, Multicultural Club; student worker, Chancellor’s Suite
Brandywine: What made you decide to attend Penn State Brandywine?
Nahar: I decided to attend Penn State Brandywine primarily because of the campus location and its size. I’m local to the area, so Penn State Brandywine is kind of close to my house. It was important for me to be able to live at home, as I’m an only child and wanted to spend more time with my family.
I also like the smaller class sizes and the personalized attention the campus gives. I felt it would create a more supportive and interactive learning environment for me, which was very important for my academic success. Also, Penn State’s strong reputation and the specific programs they offered played a role in my decision as it aligned with my goals.
Brandywine: How did you choose your major?
Nahar: When I started, my major was undeclared, and I wasn't entirely sure about what I wanted to do in college. However, I always knew that I wanted to do something involving technology and wanted to explore it further in college. During my first year, one of my information technology professors, who is now my academic adviser, talked to me about what the major and classes entail.
Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?
Nahar: One of the most difficult challenges for me was adjusting to the academic requirements of the college. When I came in, I felt like the coursework was more difficult than it was in high school. I had to spend more time doing homework and studying.
Brandywine: Who at Brandywine has supported you, and how?
Nahar: There are a few people who have supported me through my journey. My academic adviser, Nannette D'Imperio (lecturer of information sciences and technology), guided me through the complexities of course selection, major declaration and long-term academic planning. She also provided guidance on which courses to take each semester and ensured I was always on track to graduate on time.
Several other information technology professors also assisted me a lot. They want to make sure I succeed, so they invite me to their office hours and spend time with me after class to go over topics I don’t understand.
Also, my friends, my managers and my co-workers have really supported me through my journey. They supported me through the highs and lows of college life. Building a network of friends and having supportive people around me was essential for my social and academic well-being.
Brandywine: What’s been your greatest accomplishment at Brandywine so far?
Nahar: One of my proudest moments at Brandywine has been doing well in my classes and making dean's list for two semesters in a row. I worked really hard by going to all my classes, actively participating and spending a lot of time studying on and off campus. Being on the dean's list two times in a row makes me feel very proud.
Brandywine: What made you decide to join the Bangladeshi Student Association? What do you enjoy most about it?
Nahar: I was interested in joining the Bangladesh Student Association because I wanted to connect with my cultural roots and be part of a close-knit community on campus. Having moved from Bangladesh to the United States, sometimes I feel disconnected from my heritage, and I wanted to share my experience and traditions with others. Joining the club gave me the perfect opportunity to connect with my roots and share my culture with the Brandywine community.
I have become part of a larger network, which has made my time on campus more enjoyable and very meaningful.
—Shawlen Nahar , fourth-year information technology major, Penn State Brandywine
Brandywine: With your involvement at Brandywine, how has your time on campus been impacted?
Nahar: My involvement at Brandywine has had a profound impact on my college experience. It has given me a strong sense of belonging, fostering a deeper connection to the campus community through club events and volunteering. I have become part of a larger network, which has made my time on campus more enjoyable and very meaningful.
Brandywine: What’s one piece of advice you have for students who want to get involved?
Nahar: Start early and explore a variety of opportunities. College is a time for personal growth and the best way to make the most of it is by trying new things. Don't limit yourself to one specific interest group; be open and be open to diverse experiences.
Brandywine: What’s the best memory you made at Brandywine so far?
Nahar: One of my favorite memories as a Penn State Brandywine student was organizing the first event for the Bangladeshi Student Association, which was our Bengali New Year celebration. It was pretty hectic because it was only me and five other people who coordinated it. It was a highly successful event, and we won the Program of the Year Award for our first-ever event. It was very memorable.
Brandywine: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?
Nahar: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned at Brandywine is the importance of resilience and adaptability. College life can be very challenging and put a lot of academic pressure on you. In my time here, I realized that the ability to adapt to a new situation and stay focused through difficulties is essential.