Choudhury named Hetzel Award recipient for leadership

Samiha Choudhury

Samiha Choudhury

Credit: Photo provided

ERIE, Pa. — Samiha Choudhury, a senior majoring in political science at Penn State Behrend, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award.

Named for Penn State’s 10th president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities.

Nominators said Choudhury set herself apart by seeking opportunities to apply her knowledge in practical settings, displaying an ability to address real-world challenges.

The first-generation college student is active on campus, particularly in ways that benefit her peers. She served as a student leader in various roles, including founder and president of Behrend First-Gens. Nominators said Choudhury worked tirelessly to make the club a success. It began in 2023 and now has 22 members.

She’s also a Penn State Behrend Lion Ambassador, a tour guide, part of the Student Multicultural Advisory Recruitment Team, a Humanities and Social Sciences School ambassador, a student representative for the First-Generation University-Wide Advisory Counsel, and was previously a resident assistant for two years as well as a teaching assistant.

“Samiha’s leadership style is characterized by a collaborative approach, fostering inclusivity and promoting a positive impact on her peers,” a nominator said. “She has a passion for helping underrepresented students and has created a welcoming community for our first-generation South Asian students on campus.”

Nominators said Choudhury, who said she plans to enter law school after graduation, possesses the potential for public-spirited achievement, and is a natural leader who is socially responsible and dedicated to advancing those around her.

“Samiha has shown her ability to lead by not only creating a student club, but also by supporting and empowering other students to find their path and the resources they need to succeed,” a nominator said. “She is a young promising leader and deserves to have her achievements, hard work and dedication recognized and celebrated.”