Four years ago, Pareera Uqaily was attending high school in Pakistan and enjoying time with her rowing teammates. Her life changed once her family moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, for her father to pursue his doctorate but she has no regrets.
Like many college freshmen, Uqaily was unsure of her career path at first, but she knew one thing was for certain: she loved West Virginia University. After switching to business, she found her passion for data analytics and decided on double majoring in Accounting and Management Information Systems. However, Uqaily wanted more.
She traded in her rowing uniform for a closet full of power suits and, as a college sophomore, is already turning heads.
Not only will Uqaily also experience the future of business at Reynolds Hall, we have a feeling she may travel back to her alma mater and inspire the next generation of business students.
Hear why WVU and Chambers College are her “Almost Heaven.”
Q: What made you come to West Virginia and West Virginia University?
A: I am originally from Karachi, Pakistan, and I moved to Morgantown about four years ago because my dad is doing his doctorate here. If I had been in Karachi, I probably wouldn’t have heard about WVU, but once we were living here and I did, I was on campus right away. I would study at the library when I was in high school, I got to have brief interactions with professors, and I was able to learn more about the campus itself and its resources. That’s what made me realize I wanted to stay here – I didn’t want to leave Morgantown yet, even though it had been four years in this town. I knew this is where I wanted to go to school and there hasn’t been a single day that I regret my decision. It’s one of the most beautiful places I could ever be.
Q: Do you have any siblings who will follow in your footsteps?
A: I actually have a twin brother who is currently studying biomedical engineering at WVU and a younger brother, currently a senior at Morgantown High School, who already looks forward to coming to WVU. It’s definitely special to have my brother here and know my younger brother will join us shortly.
Q: What’s your favorite place on campus?
A: It’s the business and economics building – I tell everyone. I love walking in there and seeing so many familiar faces from the connections you develop over time. Even though it’s my second year here, there’s no other place I would rather be.
Q: After learning more about WVU and what it offered, what made you choose to study business?
A: I actually applied to WVU as a biology major, but then switched to business the summer before I enrolled. I love everything about the corporate world. Since I was a kid I’ve always loved to wear suits and I pick every occasion that allows me to wear one. I’m also a part of Delta Sigma Pi and when I was in the pledge class, I would have to wear a suit and that was my favorite time of the week – even though it would be 8 o’clock on a Tuesday night.
Other than that, I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers; especially data analysis. I’ve been learning to code for fun so that I could practice data analysis in my spare time because I love finding patterns and connections. I would like to work for one of the big accounting firms, within advisory or something that has to do with data analysis, and coming up with solutions to problems and advising people because I love being around people, so I definitely want to have that aspect in my job, where I can continue creating those connections.
Q: Besides Delta Sigma Pi, I hear you’re involved in many student organizations and activities on campus. Can you elaborate?
A: I love to stay busy and I knew I wanted to dip my toes into everything I could, so that I may have a better understanding of what I like and what I don’t like. I like to think of it as a non-traditional way of getting to know yourself, but also developing connections and helping people along the way. At the business college, I am a Niedermeyer Scholar this semester for Accounting 202, I’m working at the IT department, and I am a Peer Mentor for the BCOR 191 course, as well as a mentor for Honors 2980 freshman seminar course for the Honors College. I am also involved in Delta Sigma Pi, the Management Information Systems Student Association, and Women in Business. Outside of Chambers College, I am a First Year Leadership Academy mentor for WVU, and a part of the Pakistani Students’ Association and the Muslim Students Association to stay connected to my roots, and I was a member of the WVU Women’s rowing team my freshman year.
Q: I’m glad you were able to find groups that allow you to stay connected to your culture. What’s that like?
A: The Pakistani Students’ Association and the Muslim Student Association at WVU help me stay in touch with people who share the same roots as me. It’s great to celebrate cultural holidays with them, as well as the same taste in food and movies.
Q: How did you get involved with rowing and what was it like being a college athlete as a freshman?
A: I started rowing when I was in ninth grade back in Pakistan. We had a trip to China for an International competition, which was one of the best trips I ever made, I loved China. Then, in 2017, my team was able to row at the Olympic venue. Being a part of the WVU Rowing team was a great experience, but it was a lot of work and I decided I wanted to focus more on my school work. However, I would not be as organized if it wasn’t for rowing. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning, getting to practice on time, getting back home, having breakfast, having class – you learn you will not have time to do homework if you procrastinate. It really taught me time management and how to juggle my academics with practice hours to make sure I never missed a deadline. I learned how to be and stay organized, as well as responsible to commitments I made on and off campus.
Q: It seems like giving back and helping others is very important to you.
A: Yes, it is. I want to help other students during challenging times of college. I want to help them make that adjustment to college, I want to be their friend and also help them develop connections that I have. I want them to feel at home, like I do at the business college.
Q: What do you find special about the business college?
A: The faculty and the extensive resources, such as the CCD, BCC, AeSC. All of my professors and peer mentors have always been so supportive. Whenever I have a question, I’ve never not been able to have a solution to it because I’ve always had enough resources to guide me to what is right.
Q: Based on your current timeline to graduate, it looks like you will experience our future of business at Reynolds Hall. How does that feel?
A: It feels special. It’s a new building with new resources and the designs I’ve seen look beautiful; however, I think a place is not really a place without the people or the feeling you get from it, and the feeling you get from it is with the people inside – the faculty and staff, and students who are all driven to excel. Everyone I have come across during my short time here has made me feel at home. The business college is so inviting and so comforting, and I know that I can speak my voice and that they will guide me towards what’s best for me. I think that’s what is so special about WVU as a whole, too, they’re so welcoming and they’re always happy to see you.
Q: Have you had any professional experience outside of Chambers College?
A: As a sophomore, it’s not easy to get an internship, but this past summer I had an externship with AT&T’s Summer Learning Academy where they polish your professional skills. It was a lot of what the Center for Career Development (CCD) teaches you. I also did a case workshop with KPMG and now I’ve developed connections there. The CCD does a great job at linking you with employers who you would be interested in, and who would be interested in having you work for them in the future, and that’s extremely important because developing those high-level connections can be tricky and the CCD just makes it such a smooth process. Their career-readiness program is great, too, because they build you up to make sure you stand out in your field in such a competitive world.
Q: What advice would you give a freshman who is new to Chambers College?
A: Dip your toes into every opportunity you get. The best way to start is right there at the business college because there are so many opportunities and resources, such as student organizations and those students you have your core classes with. It’s a big campus, but the more classes you have you realize how small it can be. You will start seeing familiar faces and those are great connections to have. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, find what you have in common, go get coffee together, or go to a student org meeting together because those connections will stay with you throughout college, if not after. No matter what you choose to do, you just have to find a healthy balance between class and your personal interests.
Q: If you could describe your college experience thus far in one word, how would you?
A: I would say a dream. When I was younger, I never thought I would be doing all of this. It’s great to see how WVU and Chambers College have supported and motivated me to be where I am now. I know I’m not completely done with my college journey, but everyone I have interacted with or had the pleasure of knowing has made it so wonderful for me.