Dina Saad is an international student from Egypt who graduated from Cal State Fullerton in May 2023 with a master’s in communications and a mass communications research and theory concentration. This was her first visit to the United States, and in just two years, she had an incredible amount of opportunities and accomplishments.
“The first semester was a little bit hard for me because I was adapting to a new culture and meeting new people,” Dina says. However, by her second semester, she was eager to get involved. When Waleed Rashidi, CSUF associate professor of communications, offered her the chance to serve as CEO of Comm Week, a large annual event hosted by the College of Communications, Dina jumped at the opportunity.
The event was a huge success, leading Dina to earn a scholarship at the end of the year for her work. Dina recalls, “The funny story is that you receive the scholarship at this award dinner that the Department of Communications organizes, and I was part of the team who organized the event itself. So I didn’t know that I was receiving an award…and then they called my name!”
After that positive experience, Dina wanted to continue being involved on campus. She went on to serve as outreach coordinator for the Public Relations Student Society Of America, as well as vice chair of finance for the Communications Inter-Club Council.
On top of all this, she spent a whole academic year working as a teaching assistant for Rashidi, whom she credits as being a huge supporter throughout her college journey. Along with being CEO of Comm Week, he gave Dina the opportunity to review papers for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference. Dina says those experiences will help in her future pursuits of working in academia.
CSUF Professor Andi Stein also had a great influence on Dina. After reading Dina’s research paper for a Disney class, she encouraged Dina to submit it for the 2023 Pop Culture Association conference. The paper ended up being accepted, and Dina presented her research at the conference in San Antonio, Texas. PCA loved her presentation and invited her to serve on the organizing committee, so Dina will be helping to organize the conference for next year in Chicago.
To wrap up these impactful two years, Dina received two awards for Outstanding Graduate Student and Department Chair Leadership. She also had the honor of being the speaker at the 2023 CSUF Commencement.
Overall, Dina says, “Being at CSUF was like a ladder for me to move forward into achieving my future goal.”
To other international students who currently attend or are planning to attend CSUF, she shares, “Don’t be scared to ask for help. There are plenty of people on campus who are really willing to help you out.” Although it’s good to find other students from your home country who are also studying at CSUF, she advises not to rely on that and to step outside your comfort zone. “It’s a little bit intimidating, I’m not going to deny that, but at the end of the day, you’re going to see it’s worth it.”
While earning her master’s degree at CSUF, Dina was simultaneously working towards her Ph.D. at Mansoura University in Egypt. She hopes to be defending her Ph.D. thesis by the end of this year. Following that, she plans to pursue a career in academia.
To watch Dina Saad’s interview video, visit youtube.com/watch?v=A_k0SIc5j7M.
Are you an international student interested in studying at CSUF? Learn more at extension.fullerton.edu/international.
International Programs is a fully integrated part of CSUF Extension and International Programs. Learn more about CSUF EIP at extension.fullerton.edu.