Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Why he chose Beloit: I remember when I was choosing my college it was during a time where, first of all, I knew I was going to need financial aid because there’s no way my parents could afford it. Both my brothers went to liberal arts colleges here in the USA, and they told me, “You should look at Beloit; it’s a really good college.” So I did.
[Mahmud]On lasting connections with professors: Warren Palmer was my FYI advisor, and I’ve taken a lot of other classes with him, too. He’s a really good economics professor and knows a lot. I talk to him outside of class a lot. He’s knowledgeable, friendly, and helps everyone in every way possible. Even though he’s not my adviser anymore I still go to him from time to time.
How his Economics senior thesis related to home: My thesis was called “Preference Falsification and Arranged Marriages.” Preference falsification is a term coined by Timur Kuran (Beloit College’s 2012 Upton Scholar) that means that inwardly you have a specific belief and outwardly you show a different preference because of social constraints around you. I tried to show that people back home (in Dhaka, Bangladesh) have arranged marriages and cannot show their preferences because of traditional and societal pressures. I wrote a survey and asked about 80-90 of my friends from home to take it over Facebook.
On doing the Duffy Program: The Duffy (Program) is a class which partners you up with a community organization. I got paired up with the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, which is an association for business people of the Beloit community. What they try to do is provide resources and networking to all of its members. The Chamber of Commerce also works with community partners in order to improve education and social services.
How his education connects him to the greater Beloit community: I heard about the Duffy Program at the end of my sophomore year, and I got to learn more about it during my junior year when one of my friends took the class. I really wanted to learn more about the Beloit community because I’ve been here for four years. Duffy was a really good opportunity to learn more about Beloit and see how a small community works. Before Beloit, I had never lived in a small community. All of my life I lived in my home city, which is a city of 20 million people.
How the greater Beloit community connects to his education: The Chamber of Commerce helps me in understanding the materials in Duffy because it’s a sociology class. (Duffy Community Partnerships coordinator) Carol Wickersham is trying to use this sociological imagination to show a different side of how to interact with the people around you.
[Mahmud]On putting hard work into practice: I have to work (at the Chamber of Commerce) for 90 hours over the course of the semester. Mostly what I’m doing is working to help put on the Tri-State Alliance conference. It’s a conference that gets together people from Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, and Northeast Iowa. What they try to do is talk about economic development in their cities and the major focus of the conference is transportation issues.
On the connections he’s made so far: My boss, (Chamber president) Randy Upton, is a really great mentor and leader who’s trying to make Beloit a better place through the Chamber of Commerce. I’m learning a lot from him. He was talking about his work and his years in Australia−he lived there for 27 years−and I was like, “Wow, I really want to go to Australia for my master’s,” and then we started to talk about Australia a lot, especially the cricket team. He also assigns me work. This week I was researching recent transportation bills started by Wisconsin representatives. Last week he helped me learn more about the Wisconsin State Assembly. I didn’t know it was so complicated. I also had to draft a letter to a congressman; Randy refined it, and now he’s going to use that to send to a couple of congressmen.