Samiha Choudhury

My advice to first-year students in college is to embrace every opportunity to get involved, connect with others, and explore your interests.

Major: Political Science, Crime and Law option

Minors: Psychological Science and Crime, Law, and Psychology

Hometown: Queens, New York

Scholarships: Penn State Discover Award, LiveOn Success Grant, Dr. Ralph and Melanie Ford Trustee Scholarship, and Complete Penn State Grant.

Awards and recognition: I was chosen as one of thirteen University-wide award winners at Penn State’s annual Student Awards Recognition Ceremony, where I was awarded the Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award and Scholarship.

On choosing her major: I have wanted to go to law school since I participated in a program with the United Nations in middle school. Political Science offers me a versatile set of skills that can be applied across various career fields, not just law. I like being able to explore different perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of complex societal issues, which I believe is essential for personal growth and effective engagement.

Her proudest accomplishment at Behrend: One of my proudest accomplishments at Behrend was founding an organization dedicated to supporting first-generation college students on our campus. As a first-generation college student myself, I understand the unique challenges and obstacles individuals like us face in navigating the higher education journey. Starting this organization has not only provided a platform for first-generation students to connect and share experiences but has also allowed us to offer valuable support, resources, and guidance to our peers.

Rewards of being an RA: I take pride in my role as a resident assistant, where I am dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive, and supportive living environment for residents. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a RA is the lasting connections I’ve formed with former residents. I love keeping in touch with them and witnessing their growth. Knowing that I have contributed to creating a positive experience for my peers is incredibly rewarding, and it adds to my passion for serving others and making a difference in the community.

Campus involvement: Lion Scouts tour guide; First-Generation University-Wide Advisory Counsel student representative; Student Multicultural Advisory Recruitment Team; Student Government Association; School of Humanities and Social Sciences Ambassador; Behrend First-Gens – Founder and President; Lion Ambassador; Resident Assistant; Model United Nations.

People might be surprised to know: I was born and raised in Queens, New York, where I lived up until coming to Erie to attend college.

Highest priority for the coming years: My highest priority for the coming years is to attend law school. I am deeply passionate about pursuing a legal education and am eager to start my journey towards earning my juris doctorate. I am excited about the opportunities ahead of me and am confident in my abilities to make a meaningful impact through the study and practice of law.

Advice for first-year students: My advice to first-year students in college is to embrace every opportunity to get involved, connect with others, and explore your interests. Building meaningful connections with peers and with faculty members could enrich your college experience in ways you never imagined. I wish I had prioritized involvement and networking earlier in my undergraduate career, but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic limited my ability to do so, and I missed out on opportunities that could have enhanced my personal and professional growth. However, I learned that it is never too late to get involved, and I made up for lost time in my senior year.

Parting thoughts: Remember to be patient with yourself as you navigate your college journey. College is a time for self-discovery and growth, so embrace your passions and unique qualities. It’s okay to encounter setbacks and face challenges; just know you are not alone. We’re all navigating the uncertainties and opportunities that college presents.

Samiha plans to attend law school.