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Muhammad Burhan '21 merges studies in mathematics, computer science, economics and health studies to prepare to solve 21st-century challenges around the world.
John Dickinson Scholarship, Presidential Fellowship, First Generation Excellence Award and Dean's List.
Clubs and organizations:
Sustainability data analyst intern (Center for Sustainability Education), Service Trip leader, library services consultant, vice president for Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, phonathon caller and “Big” for the big/little program of WIND.
Sanju (Bollywood movie).
Favorite learning experience:
My favorite learning experience at Dickinson has been the global and civic engagement opportunities. In my first year, not only did I travel internationally for service trips, but I also attended at least three conferences and networking events in big metropolitan cities of the U.S. Opportunities like these helped me to groom myself into a polished individual, nurtured my aspirations and prepared me to be a leader by developing strong intellectual and personal skills.
Interning with CSE for one year as a Sustainability Analyst has also been one of my favorite experiences at Dickinson. I was able to apply my skills in computer science and data analytics to support numerous sustainability initiatives on campus. This year, I was also invited as a guest speaker to conduct a workshop at the Annual Green Allies Conference.
On choosing Dickinson:
I am a first-generation student, and I had limited knowledge about university applications and procedure. However, Dickinson gave me almost a full scholarship, which was the determining factor to studying abroad here.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Roasted turkey with mashed potatoes.
Favorite place on campus:
The Global Community House.
On choosing a major:
Before coming to Dickinson I had background and research experience in biochemistry and medicine, so I started exploring and taking classes in mathematics and computer science, which I had never studied before. I felt challenged yet incredibly fascinated by the fact that how these two fields can be applied to solve complex problems ranging from business to sustainability to health and much more.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Having a diverse student body and curriculum at Dickinson, the most valuable thing that I have learned is cultural competency and working with people who are different than me. This has made me a strong believer in “Unity in Diversity,” the idea that people from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities and sexualities must be respected. I thank Student Life and many other organizations working at Dickinson for promoting inclusivity on campus and bringing people of different backgrounds, faiths and gender identities together. I value diversity in opinions and thoughts and love to meet people from different cultures.
Associate Professor of Sociology Erik Love is one of my favorite professors. He is someone who motivates you, encourages you, and gives you valuable feedback to bring the best in yourself. I love talking with him about social justice issues and other meaningful things that are part of my personal and professional journey. My computer science advisor, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Farhan Siddiqui, is also one of my favorite professors. She is from India, and it feels good to talk to her in my native language and learn more about India.
I am a Bollywood dancer and have even taught dance workshops with Dance Theatre Group at Dickinson. I like to design and make clothes in my free time.
About my research:
Last year, I conducted research on the use of natural resources in an underdeveloped community in Pakistan. This summer I am a research intern with College Advancement; I'm also in the managing team of the Presidential Fellowship. I enjoy managing and hosting weekly calls for the 27 Presidential Fellows, providing them with daily assistance and analyzing the data that comes from the fellowship. I have worked in College Advancement since my freshman year, and this leadership experience has been a unique opportunity to work for the best of the college.
About my internships:
I interned as a research analyst intern in summer 2018 with Multinet, a multinational company that provide tech solutions in Pakistan and in other countries in Asia. This summer I am interning at ReturnLogic as an Ecommerce Data Analyst. I was able to hone my skills in R, tableau and SQL to analyze data about numerous fashion brands and communicate my findings by writing reports, case studies, and articles to address business, returns, and sales problems in the fashion industry.
On studying abroad:
I am enrolled in Dickinson in England Program for the Fall 2019, and I intend to study either in Denmark or NYC for Spring 2020.
Only 1% of students from Pakistan study abroad, and usually this 1% consists of students from very privileged families, with educated parents who have access to good schools and education from an early life. However, my life has been very different, since I started my journey from a very substandard school and eventually made my way up to one of the best high schools of Pakistan on a full scholarship. Going abroad for college is an achievement for which not only I am very proud. I'm also proud of my liberal arts education, and of the nonprofit I founded, has benefitted more than 2,000 students from public schools so far.
About my nonprofit:
As a first generation student, I am very thankful and proud that I got to attend a private liberal-arts institution abroad, thousands of miles away from home, on a full scholarship. This scholarship not only changed my life, but also the lives of hundreds of people in my community who see me as an inspiration. I founded a nonprofit, Roshan Soch, in Pakistan to help revolutionize the curriculum in public schools. So far, 23 schools have benefited from the work of Roshan Soch. Moreover, the opportunities in research, internships, conferences and other extracurriculars are turning millions of students into nurtured aspiring leaders, equipped with skills needed to bring positive change in the 20th century.
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Published February 10, 2019