'Celebration of Diversity' brings area high school students to Lehigh Valley

Previn Joseph standing by Nittany Lion sculpture

Penn State Lehigh Valley alumnus Previn Joseph recently returned to the campus to speak at the annual Celebration of Diversity event for local high school students.


Credit: Corey McDonough

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley recently welcomed numerous prospective students to the campus for its annual "Celebration of Diversity" event.

This year’s event brought junior and senior students and guidance counselors from Louis E. Dieruff High School and Roberto Clemente Charter School to the campus for a full morning’s worth of programming that allowed attendees to get a full picture of the diverse community, academics, activities and cultural facets of the PSU-LV community.

The event included remarks from Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson, the Admissions staff and alumnus Previn Joseph, plus live entertainment, a lunch featuring various ethnic foods, and a tour of the campus and its newly expanded facilities.

Welcoming the guests to the campus, Richardson emphasized PSU-LV’s commitment to diversity and inclusive education, as well as the power of a Penn State degree.

“We’re here to celebrate you today — you are the leaders we are waiting for,” Richardson said.

Coordinator of Student Success Aziza Damweber, Admissions Counselor Hiba Moussa and Coordinator of Financial Aid Scott Semerod offered the students helpful information on a number of subjects, including the admissions process, degree programs, clubs and extracurricular activities, student success programs, and the FAFSA and financial aid process.

“The unique thing about Penn State is that you have so many options,” Moussa said.

Joseph, the event’s keynote speaker and a 2019 graduate of PSU-LV’s Information Technology program, gave an engaging presentation on how his childhood in the Lehigh Valley and India informed him as a person, and how there’s a distinct difference between trying to fit in and “finding your fit.”

To emphasize his point, Joseph took off his blue suitcoat and put on a garish, oversized plaid blazer.

“Fitting in can feel like throwing on an oversized suit. It simply doesn’t fit,” he said. “You look and feel your best when you know just where you are. You need to tailor yourself to your own identity, and you’ll feel like you fit in when you figure out what your fit is. The whole world can see the value you have — but only if you allow it.”

Later in the program, Director of Admissions Michael Damweber led a panel discussion featuring several current PSU-LV students. When the discussion turned to career development, Joseph talked about his path to landing his current job as a senior consultant at IBM.

“I got connected to IBM through an alum,” Joseph said. “That’s why getting involved is so important.”

For more information on PSU-LV’s Admissions process, visit lehighvalley.psu.edu/admission.