Gatepost Interview: Kashem Chowdhury, ID office manager

Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST

What is your educational and professional background?

I have a diverse background – I earned a degree in electrical engineering, and then I pursued a degree in business administration and earned an MBA. I started my professional career by teaching college. When I came to the U.S., I ended up working in law enforcement in higher education institutions, such as Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City. I also worked as a head examiner in secondary and higher education. … I worked for the City University of New York in one of the tough neighborhoods of Manhattan, a block away from the former Twin Towers.

How did you become interested in your discipline?

I had two ambitions in my life: one – to become a teacher, and two – to work in the law enforcement field. So, in my earlier life, I worked as a college professor. I worked eight years in colleges as a teacher. … When I came to the U.S., I noticed people work in law enforcement agencies in higher education institutions, and it was a great opportunity for me to apply to these positions. I was a classified Secret Service employee in New York City – that’s how I got started in law enforcement. 

How did you come to Framingham State?

Throughout my career, I worked as faculty as well as law enforcement administration. I received my law enforcement instructor certification from DCJS, which is the Department of Criminal Justice Services. I used to teach in law enforcement in different institutions in New York City. I leveraged my engineering education and training in law enforcement by specializing in electronic and physical security … [such as] access-controlled video surveillance [and] surveillance management systems. When I noticed the position was vacant here, I was pleased to apply and accept this position.

What responsibilities do you have in your job?

I’m an integral part of the University police department. I make sure the police personnel are getting their appropriate remuneration [salary]. I also look at departmental purchases and procurements. I play an important role in inventory and budget management. It is my duty to maintain a safe and secure environment for the University community – I make sure authorized persons are getting the right access at the right time.

How does FSU differ from the institutions in New York at which you taught?

New York City is way more diverse than FSU. The place where I used to work in downtown Manhattan is very diverse. I met several people in my workplace who came from different countries I’d never heard of before. I spoke with lots of people and saw their passports and saw those country names for the first time. Compared to New York City, Framingham is not that largely diverse, but the school is more diverse than my original estimation. I found that every department is very diverse, and so are the students.

As a newcomer to Framingham, how does it differ from other places you’ve lived?

This is the first time I came to Massachusetts – when I got the opportunity to work here. I grew up in the city. Also, New York City is a very crowded place. Compared to New York City, the atmosphere in Massachusetts – especially in this neighborhood – is much less crowded. You can enjoy life here, and I’ve found that everyone is very friendly.

What do you enjoy the most about working with students?

At FSU, I’ve had great interactions with students. In my department, I have student employees as well. I enjoy working with them and I enjoy supervising them. And I’ve found – at FSU – that this is a great opportunity for students that I rarely found at other institutions, that every department has work opportunities for students. … I would like to say both the students and the University benefit from this.

What are some of your hobbies?

During my free time, I work on computer programming. I also like cooking and taking long walks. 

What advice do you have for FSU students?

The present moment is the most valuable – use it wisely. Once it is gone, it will never come back. Select your major of study carefully and focus on your future career, and do it now. Do not wait for tomorrow. If you get the opportunity, do it today. 

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