Major: Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations
Involvement: President, Entrepreneurship Club; team manager, men’s basketball team; student intern, Brandywine LaunchBox; member, Student Government Association; member, Brandywine Music Association; Lion Ambassador; member, Nittany Lion Networking Club; student-worker, Blue Apple Café; emerging entrepreneur, Panic Lock LLC.
Brandywine: What was your deciding factor in coming to Penn State Brandywine?
Chigurupati: I decided to come to Penn State Brandywine because I wanted to be close to home while also being a part of the large network that Penn State provides.
Brandywine: How did you choose your major?
Chigurupati: Since I was younger, I’ve always been interested in computers. Both of my parents are in the information technology field, so I wanted to pursue their career path as well.
Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?
Chigurupati: I’m glad to say that I haven’t faced many challenges yet. I’ve had some minor bumps in the road here and there, but it’s been pretty smooth sailing so far.
Brandywine: Who at Brandywine has supported you, and how?
Chigurupati: I have to give a shout-out to Tony Mattei, director of entrepreneurship and digital marketing. He’s been very helpful in supporting not only my business but also throughout my experience with the LaunchBox. He’s also really supported me on a personal level.
Brandywine: As a first-year student, how have you been adjusting to college life?
Chigurupati: I would say I’m adjusting very well. The only challenge I have is having to commute further than I did for high school. I have to drive 45 minutes to get to Brandywine as opposed to my 20-minute commute to get to high school.
Brandywine: What made you interested in creating your own business and taking part in the Idea TestLab Pitch Competition through the Brandywine LaunchBox?
Chigurupati: I started my company, Panic Lock LLC when I was in high school as part of my 12th grade engineering project. Panic Lock is a startup company that specializes in school safety devices intending to eliminate the barrier that falls between people with special needs and their limitations. My high school’s administration, as well as faculty and staff members, told me that I had a great idea and should move forward with my company. I figured I might as well go through with it, so I filed for an LLC in November with the Entrepreneurship Assistance Clinic at University Park.
I’ve been able to carry the resources I’ve learned with me to Brandywine, which allowed me to compete in the Idea TestLab Pitch Competition. The pitch competition has really helped me grow my network and allowed me to connect with many others who have the same mindset as me.
Brandywine: What takeaways do you have from your time in the pitch competition?
Chigurupati: I was able to take away many different resources through the different Zoom sessions leading up to the competition itself. I was able to get a better understanding of my end users, which are people with special needs and school administrators. I also learned how to sell my product to administrators and how to interview people.
I’ve really enjoyed my time on campus. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met a lot of great professors. They’ve all been really nice, and we are respectful of each other’s time.
—Tejas Chigurupati , first-year cybersecurity analytics and operations major, Penn State Brandywine
Brandywine: With your involvement at Brandywine, how has your time on campus been impacted?
Chigurupati: I’ve really enjoyed my time on campus. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met a lot of great professors. They’ve all been really nice, and we are respectful of each other’s time.
Brandywine: What’s your favorite memory you’ve made at Brandywine?
Chigurupati: My favorite memory so far has been being involved with Brandywine Athletics. I currently serve as the manager for the men’s basketball team, and I’ve really enjoyed my experience in that role.
Brandywine: What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?
Chigurupati: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to not take what you have for granted. You’re usually only at Brandywine for two to four years, depending on whether or not you take part in the 2+2 plan. Enjoy the time you have at Penn State Brandywine.