Many of our students at Penn State World Campus are strong leaders whose enthusiasm often motivates their peers to get involved in student organizations and activities. We are excited to spotlight some of these excellent student leaders.
Jared Daniel is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. He currently serves as the president of the Software Development Organization, a group for World Campus students, staff, and alumni interested in learning, developing, and networking in the fields of software engineering, computer science, programming, and other related technologies.
“I also enjoy serving as a student mentor for the Smart Track program, where I’m able to connect and grow with exemplary new World Campus students,” Daniel said. “Additionally, I’m proud to represent World Campus as part of multi-campus teams participating in AI competitions and challenges at Penn State.”
The Rewards of Supporting Others
Student involvement encourages students to think beyond what will benefit them personally and consider ways they can support the overall World Campus community, Daniel said.
“As a student leader, the focus shifts from personal achievements to empowering the team and organization members. It’s about using your abilities to uplift others and help them reach their goals. Surrounding yourself with those eager to grow and supporting them on their journey leads to collective success.”
Learning Experiences and Career Benefits
Daniel said his student involvement activities have led to opportunities for personal growth as well as professional development.
“One of the most impactful experiences I’ve participated in is the Nittany AI Challenge. I was fortunate to work alongside an amazing team on a unique problem during the initial stages of the AI boom (shout out to the TransferMaster team: Neha Pandit, Andy Klawa, Manasi Patil, and Elizabeth Morvey!). Having this challenge on my résumé has opened up multiple internship opportunities for the upcoming summer. Employers are really looking at your extracurricular activities to see how you go above and beyond the classroom.”
In addition, he said, the brainstorming and problem-solving strategies involved in group projects are skills students often need in their careers after graduation — and, in this case, it gave him hands-on experience in a rapidly growing (and in-demand) field.
“I was able to understand the dynamics of working in a passionate team and develop skills in the emerging field of AI. If you think you can solve a real-world problem using AI, I highly recommend you check out the Nittany AI Challenge!”
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Joining a club or working with people you don’t know may be intimidating at first, but Daniel urged other students to embrace every opportunity to make connections or try new activities.
“The rewards far outweigh the initial apprehension. A simple conversation can alter the trajectory of your career and, without exaggeration, your life. Take that first step — it might be the catalyst for something extraordinary.”