Major: Biology (concentration in biochemistry and microbiology)
Hometown: Brufut, Gambia (the “smiling coast” of Africa)
Scholarships: Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship, Penn State Special International Grant-in-Aid (SIGIA), and the Penn State Behrend Institutional Scholarship.
On choosing Behrend: I did not know much about universities in the United States before I came here, so it was based on luck and a roll of the dice. I believe Behrend chose me. At Behrend, I have met many different types of amazing, fun, and uplifting people. I have formed friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
On choosing her major: My twelve years of primary education in Gambia was centered on the sciences and other disciplines such as technical and building drawing, visual art, and geography, which prepared me to be a well-rounded individual. I aspired to work in healthcare and figured biology would give me a solid foundation to pursue a profession as a doctor.
Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, being an integral part of executive boards in various organizations on campus, excelling academically, and also surviving the demands of college in terms of assignments, finances, etc. Most of all, it is a privilege and great blessing to graduate from the prestigious Penn State University!
Support in spades: I am very humbled, honored, proud, delighted, blessed, and empowered to know that my professors believed in me, encouraged me, inspired me, supported me, and wrote me the best recommendations any person could ever receive! (No, I didn’t read them, but I know they were good as I have had invitations from more than fifty graduate schools!)
Conversations with the Chancellor: I have had the opportunity to meet and talk at length with Chancellor Ralph Ford twice. It was a fabulous opportunity that I did not take for granted.
Campus involvement: I have been involved in the Art Club, the American Association of University Women, the Association of Black Collegians, the Multi-Cultural Council, the student chapter of the NAACP, and the Organization of African and Caribbean Studies. I’m also a member of TriBeta (the biology honors society), and the volleyball club, and I have served as a STEM tutor.
What makes her unique: My name. Because I come from a country in Africa, most U.S. students assume I have a traditional African name, but I don’t. Jeanie is my given birth name. Sometimes I wish I had a traditional African name, but my name makes me unique.
A woman of many talents: I am an artist and a dancer. I love to sing and cook and I speak five languages.
Who inspires her: I find inspiration from people, situations, and even visions. As human beings, we are created to be interdependent on one another. We can consciously choose who influences us, so we must make the right choice; it could be either be a poison or panacea to your life.
Props to Mom: My mother inspires me and instills confidence in me, as she has always believed that I shall prosper in anything that I do. If it were not for her powerful and, at times, soothing, words, I would not be where I am today. I thank God for her life.
Advice for new students: Be yourself! Dare to stand out. Relax when you have the chance: college can be overwhelming so it is important to take breaks. Joins some clubs or organizations that are of interest to you. Remember that if you have a functioningl brain and body and all five senses, you are blessed. Many would be grateful for what you have.
Jeanie will attend graduate school with the goal of earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. She hopes to work toward eradicating life-threatening diseases.