Megan Smajda’s Story


Megan Smajda

Growing up in a household where Penn State Football was undoubtedly playing on the living room TV every Saturday in the Fall, Penn State has always been a part of my life and I always dreamed that I would one day be able to call Penn State my home. In November of 2015, I was accepted to the College of Engineering at Penn State and it felt like my dreams came true.
Flashforward to August 2016 when my College journey began. Although I was excited to start a new journey, like most Freshmen I came in with nerves about what my future held.
On the first day of classes, I attended the involvement fair wide eyed with thousands of other students and put my name on more e-mail lists than my inbox could handle. I did however find one organization that day which would change my life forever – Penn State Bridges to Prosperity. Bridges to Prosperity is non-profit organization committed to fighting rural poverty by helping communities build pedestrian bridges over impassable rivers, so that communities have access to health care, education, markets, etc. Our chapter’s motto is “empowering today, inspirando mañana” which is a motto that inspires me day to day. During Summer 2018, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to a community in Bolivia to help build a bridge. This would prove to be one of the most challenging, yet transformational experiences of my life. Living, working, and assimilating into a new culture challenged me to think deeper, break down barriers, and grow as a person, all while following my dreams to make a positive impact on the World.
Today, I am honored to be the OPPerations Director for the 100th Homecoming. This is a position I would have never imagined myself in a couple years ago because I never felt like a natural leader. Being an introvert, it can be hard to imagine yourself being a leader in such a large organization on campus, but I think the fact that I am standing in this position today is a testament to my story and journey at Penn State. My experiences with Homecoming and my other involvement on campus have truly transformed me from a nervous freshman to a driven, hardworking and confident leader on campus. Penn State has taken me across the World and back on one roller coaster of a journey. Penn State, thank you for guiding me towards more opportunities than I could have ever imagined. To everyone I’ve crossed path with along the way, thank you for sharing your stories with me and inspiring into the person I am today. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this story has in store.