Sac State, and here's why: Zaid Darwish
June 15, 2023
Zaid Darwish, 21, grew up in a family of driven overachievers and went to an academically competitive high school in Folsom where everyone was expected to go straight to a four-year university.
But he didn't hit his stride until arriving at Sacramento State – which rolled out the welcome mat.
"The amount of resources available for us is kind of crazy," said Darwish, a senior. "The career fairs, scholarships, and the fact that everyone is kind and understanding not only here at the College of Business but across campus."
The oldest of five children, he grew up in what he called the "Folsom bubble," a relatively homogenous community east of Sacramento, with two parents who work in the tech industry.
With four siblings, Darwish needed an affordable higher education option. He also wanted a diverse campus.
"Sac State is very well known for being diverse," Darwish said. "Even though there are different ethnicities and races in Folsom, I wasn't meeting people with different backgrounds who faced different levels of adversity.
"Here at Sac State, I'm going to school with people my age as well as military veterans, transfer students, and people who are the first generation in their families to go to college. It's really opened a different world to me."
Darwish spent the first couple of years settling on a career path, considering law and dentistry before deciding to pursue a Business degree with a concentration on Marketing.
Along the way, he had help from Sac State faculty, counselors, and events such as career fairs.
"There can be an ivory tower in academics, but at Sac State you really feel you can develop meaningful, one-on-one connections with important and kind people on campus," Darwish said.
"Here at Sac State, I'm going to school with people my age as well as military veterans, transfer students, and people who are the first generation in their families to go to college. It's really opened a different world to me." -- Zaid Darwish
Darwish, who resells sneakers online and from 2021-2022 ran his own clothing line, has always had an entrepreneurial streak. Last May, he and The Hive, the entrepreneurship club at Sac State, started the Stinger Expo for students with their own businesses to sell their products.
Cameron Law, executive director of the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, offered Darwish space in May 2022 for the first expo, which drew 20 vendors.
"He was super kind to trust us and give me and the club the opportunity to put this event on," Darwish said.
Later that year, The Hive members worked with University staff to hold the next expo, which swelled to 40 vendors and more than 1,000 attendees, in the University Union Ballroom.
Darwish, who will graduate in May, said he hopes to line up a job or internship with the Sacramento Kings.
"If not, I hope to get work with an environmental company, or just any good-paying company," he said. "Any opportunity that comes my way, I'd be happy to take."