Outstanding senior: Galaan Abdissa

Juliette Gaggini , News Co-Editor

Despite tough competition, Galaan Abdissa ’21, a computer science major and economics minor hailing from downtown Los Angeles, has been elected as the Bucknellian‘s Outstanding Senior for the Class of 2021. During his time at the University, Abidissa has served as a Residential Advisor (RA), first in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Affinity House and later in the Gateways. He has also worked at the Makerspace and is a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.

Abdissa originally came to the University as a civil engineer, but quickly realized he wanted to concentrate in something more creative. “I took Introduction to Computer Science and I loved it, and I always wanted to start my own business so then I decided to take ECON 103, and after taking that I realized these two could go hand in hand in the future for my career,” Abdissa said. “Looking back at it I am so grateful that I did, because it can take me whichever direction I want to take my career. I can use either one of those criteria, and because of it I’ve enjoyed my four years.”

Even so, Abdissa shared that his favorite class was “Music for Social Justice” with Professor of Music Annie Randall.  The class worked with teen girls in the Lewisburg detention center; “We did not know about their past, but we did know that they were young girls that had been put in really detrimental situations,” Abdissa said. “We basically bonded with them over music, had performances and learned about the history of music with our professor. A lot of times they would open up about their history and experiences and we would share ours. Having a class like that where we weren’t focused on the Bucknell bubble and got to expand outside  the community and learn more about other people in Pennsylvania opened my perspective.”

On campus, however, Abdissa is most known for his work at the Makerspace where he has been sharing his knowledge on the studio’s equipment since his freshman year.  “I’m always there helping students work with personal projects,” he said with a chuckle. “The great thing about that is being in an artistic space and being able to work with other student organizations, whether that be Bucknell Student Government or BSU, we’re always partnering and getting to meet new people across campus.”

Abdissa is also a member of the Posse Scholar program, a college access program which brings students with exceptional leadership potential to campus. “Being a Posse Scholar on campus and being able to connect with other Posse scholars is something that I have always been very passionate about, as well as being a mentor to other Posse scholars,” Abdissa said.

Even with all of Abdissa’s academic and extracurricular achievements, he says that the wide range of people he has met at the University have made the greatest impact on him. “Being a city kid from the West Coast and moving here for four years and meeting so many new people, whether from New Jersey, Connecticut, D.C., Boston or international students, has been a truly remarkable experience. I could have never imagined having this experience staying at home at a state school that I would have been comfortable at,” Abdissa said. “The people have just been remarkable, and that includes faculty and staff and faculty being able to know your name and be advisors and mentors to you has been truly amazing.”

Looking forward to life after leaving the University, Abdissa has a bright future ahead. After graduation, he is taking the summer off and preparing for a move to Seattle where he will working as a Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft. “I’ll be doing a little bit of both CS and Econ. I’m not going to be coding necessarily, but I am going to be working on the business side of launching and marketing products that millions of users will use around the world, so I am very excited about that opportunity,” he said.  

Whatever the future holds, Abdissa is certain he is prepared: “Bucknell has prepared me because I’ve taken a wide range of classes in a little bit of every department, whether that’s Econ, marketing or film. I feel like all of these departments and classes have taught me to think critically and analytically in a specific way, and to also be creative as I approach different projects.”

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