Sierra Snigier thought she would start college at Penn State Altoona taking it easier than she did in high school, where she was very involved in clubs and other extracurriculars. It didn’t last long.

Soon into her first year, Snigier vied to become the Student Government Association’s first-year class president and remained involved in student government throughout her Penn State career, eventually rising to vice president and president.

That first act of engagement led her to a world of networking, scholarships, internships, and opportunities, she said.

“I think if I wasn’t involved as much, I wouldn’t have gotten as many scholarships, or have been noticed as well,” she said.

To make ends meet, Snigier worked at the on-campus gym and as a residential assistant. Every summer she tried to have an internship in her hometown of Seaford, Delaware, working in different industries to get an idea of what she wanted to do when she graduated. She also interned with the communications team at Penn State Altoona.

Snigier earned her degree in communication and media studies in 2020. She is now a marketing assistant in her hometown city of Seaford, a position that has allowed her to get involved in the community, the same thing she did at Penn State Altoona. Her advice to other students is to be involved, but at a level they’re comfortable with.

“You have an impact,” she said about being involved in clubs. “I think students believe it has to be big, something for people to remember you by. But impact is what is relative to you. If your goal is to get into one club, that's amazing. If you want to change something on campus, and do that, it’s all relative to you. My goals were all small strides.”

But most importantly, for first-generation students, “Just be proud you’re there,” Snigier said.

“The support of my family also meant the world to me — my parents, my aunt and uncle and my brother,” she said.