Samhita Chitturi

In all of Penn State, the B.F.A. in Creative Writing is only offered here.

Major: Creative Writing

Minor: Crime, Law, and Psychology

On choosing Behrend: It chose me. In all of Penn State, the B.F.A. in Creative Writing is only offered here. And, thank God, it is! I love Behrend. It was the best decision I (n)ever made.

On choosing her major: I decided in eighth grade that I wanted to be a professional writer. Writing and storytelling are what I am most passionate about.

Her proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Being a Learning Resource Center tutor and earning the Outstanding Tutor in Humanities Award in Spring 2023. I love tutoring in both writing and math. I also tutor in French, ethics, chemistry, and other subjects. It’s a great way to meet people, to inspire them, and to be inspired by them. Not only do I get to help my peers, but I often learn new approaches to solving problems or out-of-the-box thinking. Anything that opens you up to new perspectives is always a worthwhile activity.

Campus involvement: I’m currently Features Editor at the Behrend Beacon. I started the “Created by Behrend Students” column to showcase students’ creative works, such as poetry, paintings, and more. I have also written the Local Eats pieces, interview articles, and Arts and Entertainment reviews. I’m also a School of Humanities and Social Sciences ambassador.

Awards and recognition: I have won four awards for my writing in the last two years: third place for the Fall 2022 Smith Fiction Award for my short story, “One Night in New York,” which is the second piece in my thesis collection; the SalisMania 2023 Best Romance Book Award for my debut novel, “When You Saved Me”; the Fall 2023 Farrell Nonfiction Award for my essay, “Two Angles on Arts and Ethics: An Exploration into What Determines Artistic Success”; and a 2024 LiFT Award in Contemporary Romance for “When You Saved Me.”

Her talents: I like to do a lot of different things, but I think the one thing I’m best at is daydreaming. It fuels my creativity, it helps me remain open to new perspectives, and it’s a coping mechanism when I need it.

Believe in yourself: Some think I’m pretentious, but what I am is confident. The only way people are going to recognize your value is if you recognize it. That said, just because I recognize my value, doesn’t mean I disvalue others. Everyone has talent, has an interesting personality, and is beautiful on the inside. You just have to look for those qualities sometimes.

Her definition of living a good life: Living it with autonomy and respecting others’ autonomy. I subscribe to Kantianism. I believe autonomy is the key to goodness.

Advice for first-year students: College (and life) is only as difficult as you make it. Rule No. 1 to reduce that difficulty? Communicate! It makes everything more efficient and effective. If you feel like you’re going to fail a class, talk to the professor and make a plan. If your roommate and you are having conflicts, discuss them respectfully and work out a solution. Whatever the problem is, I guarantee you there is a solution or a change in perspective waiting for you that will make everything OK.

Parting thoughts for new students: Take an ethics class with Dr. Joshua Shaw, professor of philosophy and bioethics; an algebra class with Dr. Dan Galiffa, associate professor of mathematics; and at least one English class with Dr. Sara Luttfring, associate professor of English. Taking a class with each of these three professors will help prepare you for the rest of your academic life.

Samhita will attend the University of New Hampshire to earn an M.F.A. in writing. She plans to work toward a Ph D. and hopes to eventually become a professor at Behrend.