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International student looks forward to connections, opportunities at ASU


ASU student Bisman Sahni speaking with Barrett Honors Dean Tara Williams in an outdoor hallway.

The new dean of Barrett, The Honors College, Tara Williams, greets incoming first-year computer science students from India, Bisman Sahni (far left) and Mannan Anand, as they move into the Barrett residence halls on the Tempe campus, Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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August 24, 2022

It was a typical hot, steamy late-summer day when Bisman Sahni got to the Arizona State University Tempe campus after a 25-hour journey on flights from his home in New Delhi to London and finally to Phoenix.

After making his way from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, he was walking through an outdoor breezeway at Barrett, The Honors College, dragging with him several large suitcases, and the first person he ran into was the new honors college dean, Tara Williams.

Williams was greeting students moving into residence halls and getting settled for the start of the fall semester. An ASU photographer was there to capture the moment when Williams, who started her job on Aug. 1, and Sahni met and chatted for a few moments.

“It was exciting, after such a long journey, to meet someone as distinguished as the Barrett Honors College dean when I finally got to the campus,” Sahni said.

Sahni, from Chandigarh in India, is a first-year student in Barrett Honors College majoring in computer science with a specialization in cybersecurity in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

We caught up with him in his first week at ASU to get his thoughts about joining the Sun Devil family. Here's what he had to say.

Question: What were your first impressions of Arizona State University and Barrett Honors College?

Answer: I was just awestruck when I first saw the campus. The infrastructure in terms of buildings is just super. I struggled a bit to find my building initially, however when I asked for help I was talked to and greeted so warmly by the ASU staff, which just put a big smile on my face and made me happy. I knew I had come to the right community when I saw how hospitable and helpful the people are.

Q: How did you decide to attend Arizona State University?

A: I had heard a lot about Arizona State University and the reputation it carries in the field of engineering. Moreover, the research opportunities that ASU offers as well as the Grand Challenges Scholars Program is what helped me choose ASU over other universities. Lastly, I got a good scholarship too.

Q: How did you decide to join Barrett Honors College?

A: Upon receiving my acceptance letter to ASU, I also found out about Barrett, The Honors College. I got to know that Barrett is going to help me build better connections and it will offer more internship opportunities. Also, the signature Human Event honors course helps expand your thoughts and broaden your perspective about life and the world. The Barrett Dining Hall also offers organic and sustainable foods. All these advantages that you get as a Barrett student helped me choose to join the honors college.

Q: How did you decide on a major in computer science with a specialization in cybersecurity?

A: Since my childhood, I have always been very interested in coding and learning new languages. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed finding loopholes in someone else’s code or professional computer software. Thus, I decided in high school to pursue cybersecurity as a career, since it is a blend of both coding as well as trying to break the code.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish at ASU and Barrett Honors College?

A: I am hoping to become proficient in networking and penetration testingColloquially known as a pen test or ethical hacking, penetration testing is an authorized simulated cyberattack on a computer system, performed to evaluate the security of the system.. I hope to make good and strong connections, both socially and professionally. As a Barrett student, I hope the Human Event (class) enables me to have a more widened view about life events, as well as helps me have a strong foundation of ancient literature texts.

Q: What advice would you give to international students who may be interested in attending ASU and Barrett Honors College? For example, tips for preparing your university application.

A: I would suggest to them to build a holistic profile which focuses not only on their academics and grades but also their accomplishments in co-curricular activities as well as achievements in their hobbies. Also if you are taking the SAT/ACT I would recommend making at least two attempts to get a better score.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: One piece of advice I would like to give to anyone preparing for college life is to just try to get extroverted and be social when you begin your freshman year since the friendships you make in the beginning are extremely important to help you smooth out the transition from your home to your college life.

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