Brandywine Student Spotlight: Danny Eldabbas

Danny Eldabbas
Credit: Penn State

Year: Fourth

Major: Psychology

Involvement: President, Psychology Club; founder, Brandywine Music Association (BMA); member, Mental Health and Wellness Committee

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

Eldabbas: When I came to Brandywine on Accepted Students’ Day, it felt really comfortable. I saw a lot of people from my high school here, and I heard a lot of great things about the school. Also, I thought it would be a great financial decision since I’d be able to live at home during my time here.  

Brandywine: How did you choose your major?

Eldabbas: I actually got into psychology a few semesters ago. I came to Brandywine as a biology major and then changed to biomedical engineering before choosing my current major. I love math and science as subjects, but I didn’t think it would be a great fit as a career. I was really into mental health and learning how the brain works, so I ultimately decided to major in psychology.

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

Eldabbas: Making friends was difficult when I first started at Brandywine. I was very into my studies during my first semester, so that hindered me being able to make those friendships. Also, I had struggles with balancing work, extracurriculars and school, and knowing how much I could handle at once.

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

Eldabbas: I’ve been supported by many people during my time at Brandywine, but someone who has supported me the most is Joshua Marquit (teaching professor of psychology). He’s supported me so much academically and professionally, and he’s been someone I can go to if I have any concerns in those areas. It’s been really comforting to have someone who you know really cares about you on an individual level.

Brandywine: What made you interested in joining the Psychology Club? What do you enjoy most about it?

Eldabbas: I was interested because of the mental health aspect of it. I know psychology is much more than just mental health, but I really tend to maintain that perspective. I saw that the club wanted to start up again and needed a president, and I knew that was something I wanted to take on. Stepping into that role, I was able to reform the club into what I thought would draw in more members.

I really enjoy the interaction I get with the advisers, Joshua Marquit and Daniela Martin (associate professor of psychology). They’re both very interesting people and have a lot of different perspectives on psychology. I think it’s really cool to work with people who are so accomplished.

Brandywine: What made you interested in creating BMA? What do you enjoy most about it?

Eldabbas: When I first came to Brandywine, I felt like something was missing. I was heavily involved with music in high school, and I really missed not being involved with it, especially in a cappella. There was a club here called Musicians Collaborative, and it was a little bit similar to what BMA is now, except it was a lot less structured. I was looking for a group where we could rehearse and have goals we wanted to achieve.

At first, I started a club called the Brandywine Acapella Club, and as more people joined, they wanted to incorporate instruments and dancing into it. We then renamed it to the “Brandywine Music Association” since it wasn’t exclusive to vocalists. I really enjoy seeing how much BMA has grown during my time at Brandywine. It’s really cool to see how far it’s come and how many people enjoy being a part of it.

Don’t be afraid to try things. It’s also okay to ask questions and be communicative with people who are involved in clubs.

—Danny Eldabbas , fourth-year psychology major, Penn State Brandywine

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

Eldabbas: Don’t be afraid to try things. It’s also okay to ask questions and be communicative with people who are involved in clubs. Tell club leaders, “I might be interested, but I don’t know how much I can handle,” so you can get a sense of what the club entails and how much commitment it needs. 

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

Eldabbas: With my involvement, especially in my first two years here, BMA was a great escape for me. My classes were very intense because of the STEM majors I was in, and being involved with BMA was a chance for me to use the other side of my brain that enjoys music. Also, as I’ve gotten more involved, I’m having a more meaningful experience here at Brandywine.

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

Eldabbas: I’ve made two great memories here at Brandywine. My first favorite memory is the relationships I’ve made. I made a very special group of friends during my time at Brandywine and having that support system makes me feel really good. My second favorite memory was everything I’ve learned here. I’ve had the freedom to choose courses and learn about what I’m interested in. I’d say my time here has been one big happy memory.

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

Eldabbas: Your college years are an important time when you transition into adulthood. My time at Brandywine has really taught me that it’s okay to put myself first and it’s okay to think about what I want in life. It’s allowed me to choose what I want my life to look like after graduation.