Reaping the Benefits of Hard Work

As the child of immigrants who came to the U.S. from Turkey, Fatih Celep was raised to value education. 

“Neither of my parents finished high school in Turkey, as they both were forced to work at a very young age in order to support their impoverished families,” he said. “They never had the opportunity to pursue higher education themselves, so they wanted to make sure I had that chance.”

Growing up in Philadelphia, Celep and his father both worked very hard in order to save money to secure his path to higher education, Celep explained. His dad “worked more than he should have,” in Celep’s words, running his own home remodeling company. Celep worked in his father’s company as well as in retail at the local mall. Celep paid for his education through the money they saved, along with loans and a scholarship he received from Penn State. 

Beyond financial barriers, Celep faced other obstacles related to being the first in his family to attend college. 

“Knowing how to add or drop courses was a struggle,” he said, “and I didn’t even know what an internship was until my sophomore year, let alone know how to get one.”

With support from faculty, his adviser, and most importantly, friends who understood the college landscape, Celep found his way through to graduation and a career. In May 2020, he received a degree in computer engineering from the University Park campus, and he recently accepted a position as a junior network analyst with Exelon in Delaware. 

“I couldn't be prouder of my accomplishments,” he said. “To others who may be in a similar situation, I would tell them to chase their dreams and rest assured that their hard work really will pay off.”