International student pushes through adversity to fund bachelor’s degree

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Written by: Lauren Leetun for Seminole State

Growing up in Pakistan, Shayan Khan had heard stories of her father’s college studies at Texas A & M University, so the thought was never far from her mind that she might pursue higher education in the United States. In 2013, Khan started her college career in Texas as an international student, but she had to put her studies on hold for financial reasons and return home in 2015.

Shayan Khan, 24, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business and Information Management with an Interdisciplinary Specialization.

With encouragement from her family – especially her grandfather – she pushed through that setback, and in 2016 enrolled at Seminole State College of Florida, after learning about the college from an aunt who lives in Central Florida. At Seminole State, Khan was invited to participate in a leadership retreat hosted by the Office of Student Life. The rest, as they say, is history.

Khan, 24, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business and Information Management with an Interdisciplinary Specialization, credits her Seminole State advisors and professors with helping her identify ways to pay for her college education, from scholarships to internships and even job opportunities. 

Originally, Khan set out to be an accounting major, but following several advising sessions at Seminole State’s Career Development Center as well as some business networking events, she soon discovered that a focus on information systems was where her interests really lay. 

She specifically mentioned Professors Albert Miranda and David Moradian in the Business Administration Department, Professor Terri Walsh in the Accounting Department, and Mauricio Garcia, assistant director of Student Life, for pushing her to consider pursuit of her bachelor's degree after she earned her Associate in Arts degree in 2016. She expects to graduate with her bachelor’s in the spring of 2019. 

“Without their support and guidance, I don’t think I would have really understood the opportunity that I have with a degree in information systems,” Khan stated. “They really inspired me to take a broader look at the curriculum and the job opportunities that arise through this specialization.”

Khan said her experience in the leadership retreat Garcia encouraged her to attend inspired her to get involved on campus and to help other students. Today, she serves as an accounting tutor in the College’s Academic Success Center and is the 2018-19 Student Government Association president for the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. As student government president, she meets regularly with College leadership and is the student representative on the College Advisory Council. 

Additionally, Khan is a member of Seminole State Volunteers and has logged more than 100 hours of community service with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Coalition for the Homeless, and Harvest Time International. She earned fourth place in the Seminole Startup 2018 Entrepreneurship Competition at Seminole State and an award of completion in the College’s Civic Scholars Program. She has also been recognized by Seminole State’s Board of Trustees with the ‘We Change Lives’ certificate given to outstanding students who are nominated by faculty or staff. She has also served as a referee for several of the College’s intramural sports, including basketball, soccer and flag football.

“Meeting people through all of the varying campus activities is what I do for fun; it’s how I’ve come to know so many professors, advisors, board members, administrators and other students,” Khan added. “I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve received at Seminole State College because they have shaped my college experience, and really, my future endeavors.”

Through the connections she’s made during her time at Seminole State, Khan has learned about numerous scholarship opportunities, and she’s applied to as many as possible to avoid having to take more time off to pay for her studies. She speaks highly of Seminole State’s Destination: Graduation program, through which the College and Heart of Florida United Way work collaboratively to increase the graduation rates of low-income students and student-veterans by providing comprehensive, on-campus support.

In the short-term, Khan hopes that she’ll be able to work stateside in her desired career of information systems management, in which coursework in project management and leadership have helped to prepare her for this type of role. Beyond that, she’s hoping to pursue her goal of becoming an entrepreneur, perhaps one day affording others like her the opportunity to work toward their dreams through her very own organization.  

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit
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About the Office of Student Life

The Office of Student Life at Seminole State, which has offices on all four campuses, oversees more than 50 student clubs and organizations, provides free student activities and entertainment, and hosts leadership retreats for students. For more information, please visit the Student Life website.