Brandywine Student Spotlight: Khaleelah Hamm

Khaleelah Hamm

Khaleelah Hamm

Credit: Penn State

Year: Third

Major: Psychology

Involvement: Treasurer, Black Student Union (BSU); governmental chair, Student Government Association (SGA); student-worker, Chancellor’s Suite

Brandywine: What was your deciding factor in coming to Penn State Brandywine?

Hamm: I chose Penn State Brandywine because it’s close to home. Also, when I got here, I noticed it was very diverse and was a very close-knit community, and that’s what I wanted in a college. I wanted to be able to see people I knew when I walked around campus and didn’t want to be just a number.

Brandywine: How did you choose your major?

Hamm: I took a psychology class in high school, and it was very intriguing. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to pursue as my major in college, but I knew I wanted it to be centered around how the brain works and functions.

Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?

Hamm: One challenge I faced at Brandywine was holding myself accountable when it comes to keeping up with my work and striving to do my best. I know I can just skate by, but I want to do the best I can, so trying to keep up with that mentality has been a little difficult. Also, as a third-year student, figuring out what comes after college has been weighing on me. I’ve been reaching out to different organizations to figure out what I want to do and where I want to go after I graduate.

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

Hamm: My whole friend group has supported me. We all have very high standards for ourselves, so we hold each other accountable. It’s really great to have a group that keeps me motivated when there can be so many obstacles in college. They’re a great support system.

Brandywine: What made you interested in joining SGA? What do you enjoy most about it?

Hamm: I joined SGA because I thought it would be a good opportunity to advocate for myself and other students who look like me. It’s an overall great opportunity to gain leadership skills and network with people. I really enjoy doing great things for the campus; it’s very rewarding.

Brandywine: What made you interested in joining BSU? What do you enjoy most about it?

Hamm: I joined BSU because I wanted to find a community that looked like me, and I felt like it would be a great place to connect with people and support each other. I really enjoy BSU’s events, specifically our Black Table Talks, because they allow us to sit in a safe space where we can have conversations with each other, even if they’re not comfortable.

Brandywine: What advice do you have for students who are looking to get involved?

Hamm: If you want to get involved, my advice is to just do it. I know it sounds cliché, but if you see something you’re interested in, the people who are running the club or event are going to be so nice. It’s going to be a great opportunity, and it’s going to look great on your resume. Don’t get in your head about it; just go for it.

I’m able to be around a lot more people and engage in so many opportunities because of my involvement.

—Khaleelah Hamm , third-year psychology major, Penn State Brandywine

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

Hamm: I definitely see myself enjoying my time more. I’m able to be around a lot more people and engage in so many opportunities because of my involvement. I feel so much more fulfilled interacting with others on campus than I did when I was sitting in my room my first year.

Brandywine: What’s your favorite memory you’ve made at Brandywine?

Hamm: I really enjoyed BSU’s Afro-Beats event last semester. It was really fun; the music was great, and the food was so good. Everyone had a great time, and it was awesome to see our first event like this go well.

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

Hamm: I would say the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is similar to what I said before: if you want to get involved, go for it. There’s so much to do on campus, and you’ll find something you’ll enjoy. You just have to put yourself out there and go for it. I know in more recent years with the pandemic it’s been more difficult to interact with people and put yourself out there, but people want that human connection. Don’t be afraid — just go for it.