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Student Snapshot: Maisara Khan ’21

Maisara Khan

Maisara Khan ’21 always knew she wanted to attend college in America, and now Dickinson is her home away from home. She describes the close relationships she’s forged with students, faculty and staff; what she gained through her internship and study-abroad experiences; and how she discovered her true calling and abilities by moving past fear. And this past year, despite disruptions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, she seized the day by serving an intensive virtual internship and co-founding a popular, career-oriented student club.

Hometown:

Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Majors:

Mathematics and economics.

Clubs and organizations:

Dickinson Consulting Club (president), Center for Global Study & Engagement (global ambassador), We Introduce Nations to Dickinson (WIND), National Society for Leadership & Success and peer tutor.

Best thing about my major:

Although my original plan coming into college was to major in economics, I fell in love with the mathematics department in my first year and pursued it as a second major. My favorite thing about both majors is the sense of community they foster. All the professors and majors know each other and work together to solve problems and help each other out. I have met some of my closest friends through these majors, and I consider the students and faculty to be like my family. 

Favorite book:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Favorite movie:

Spirited Away.

On choosing Dickinson:

Growing up in Bangladesh, I had always hoped to attend college in America, following in my sister’s footsteps. During my college search process, Dickinson stood out to me because of its welcoming atmosphere, close-knit community, beautiful campus and small class sizes. Dickinson’s well-known study abroad programs also played a significant part in my decision to attend.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a teacher.

Favorite class:

Introduction to Film Studies, which I took in my sophomore year with Dr. Brian Johnson. Although the course was unrelated to my major, I enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone and taking a fun class where we watched numerous (mainly horror) movies throughout the semester and critiqued them, made a podcast with a classmate and even made our own original movies as the final project for the class. This only goes to show how versatile a liberal-arts education can be!

Favorite places on campus:

The Nest in the Waidner-Spahr Library, Tome/Rector and Kaufman.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Salmon with Greek salad at the Grill.

On studying abroad:

Last fall I studied abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. With a student population of over 20,000, it was very different from anything I had experienced at Dickinson. Among the numerous highlights of my time there, the one I enjoyed the most was traveling across the country in a camper van with five other people from different cultures. I loved waking up at a new beach every morning to see the sunrise before the rest of the world, experiencing a totally new culture, staying at hostels and being completely independent. It's an experience I will always cherish.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Proudest accomplishment:

Co-founding and leading the Dickinson Consulting Club in a virtual environment.

About my internship:

This past summer, I worked as a quantitative analytics intern in the retail lending department of PNC Financial Services. The internship merged my quantitative skillset with my interest in finance, giving me my first taste of working in the financial industry. During the internship, I honed my skills in quantitative analysis, using tools such as Python and SQL to fix issues in PNC’s lending products, and also completed a capstone project on COVID-impacted home equity loans, which I presented to senior management. This internship taught me a lot about the finance industry and gave me the chance to apply concepts I had learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. Prior to this, I had also worked as a research intern at the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh.

Little-known hobby/talent:

Fostering kittens and baking.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

Reflecting on my experience at Dickinson, there is so much I am grateful for. The classes I’ve taken, the events I’ve attended, the programs I’ve participated in—they have all allowed me to grow and evolve into the person I have always dreamed of becoming. What makes Dickinson so special, though, is the people I’ve met along the way. Whether it be my classmates, professors, staff, or even members of the Carlisle community, everyone has contributed to making Dickinson my home away from home.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

If there is one lesson I’ve learned from my Dickinson experience and the crazy times we are currently going through, it is that unforeseen things can happen at any given time, so seizing opportunities is crucial. Growing up, I was often guilty of passing up significant opportunities due to self-doubt and fear, but recent times have taught me how important it is to take full advantage of unique experiences such as studying abroad, externships and service trips. Don’t let your fear get in the way of doing things outside of your comfort zone—sometimes your true calling lies beyond it.

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Published February 18, 2021