Business is in her blood. In her formative years, Noor Sabharwal would sit with her father and brainstorm ideas to promote his real estate businesses in India and Fresno.
“I remember the first time I helped my father out like it was yesterday. My father was planning an event for his warehouse business launch back in India. I was 14 years old, and I went with my father to choose a caterer and venue,” recalled Sabharwal. “I wanted to plan the event for 100 people on my own!”
Working with her father, she was able to see the impact and importance of her contribution. Gathering in their home’s family room, the family would often discuss their lives, academics and work over lunch.
“I remember that my father always used to discuss his business at home, and I used to jump in with ideas. That is how I really fell in love with public relations,” she said.
Born in the U.S., Sabharwal moved to India’s Punjab region as a young girl because her grandfather was ill. She enrolled in elementary school and stayed through fourth grade. She came back to Fresno during 5th and 6th grade before returning to India for her middle and high school years.
“I think in India, the studies are harder than they are here,” said Sabharwal. “I have always been determined to get the best scores and do my best in school over here.”
Returning to the U.S. after graduating from high school, Sabharwal enrolled in Fresno State’s Media, Communications and Journalism (MCJ) public relations program. She was nervous at first.
“When I heard about public relations, I thought that this was something I could do. However, coming back from India, I wasn’t sure if I would excel in it,” Sabharwal said.
To ensure she did succeed, she went all-in with her schooling and community work. During her time at Fresno State, she has served as the president of the Fresno State chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA); the executive director of TALK, Fresno State’s student-run public relations firm; managed MCJ’s social media and was part of a team that raised $2,715 during Day of Giving.
Professor Betsy Hays, chair of the MCJ department, said, “Noor was a key part of TALK during both semesters. She was an excellent leader and a solid support to, and champion for, her class colleagues.”
While excelling in her studies, Sabharwal is also heavily involved in the community. Since starting at Fresno State, she has contributed hundreds of hours through community service, service-learning classes, and internships to organizations including the American Red Cross, Down Syndrome Association of Central California, Central California Blood Center and the City of Kerman.
“Noor’s problem-solving abilities, coupled with a sterling work ethic, make her a sought-after colleague who displays strong interpersonal skills of time management, inspiration, and flexibility, which were evident in her multiple roles in service-learning,” said Assistant Professor Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D.
Her hard work has paid off. In 2019, Sabharwal received the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) award in Public Relations Writing and the TALK Social Media+ Star awards. In 2020 she earned the TALK Superstar Certificate. She was recently named the 2021 Student of Distinction for the MCJ Department, making her eligible for the College of Arts and Humanities Dean’s Medal.
Sabharwal is currently enrolled in the College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program and will present her thesis on the experiences of parents belonging to cultural minorities while raising children who watch Walt Disney.
Sabharwal was awarded the 2020-21 Dean’s Council Scholarship, an honor she sees as a reward for her hard work and dedication.
“Receiving a scholarship itself is very rewarding, but receiving a scholarship during a pandemic was a significant sign for me to continue school with full dedication,” she said, adding, “Thank you for donating to the fund. It has really impacted my life, and I’m sure it has impacted other students as well.”
In addition to the Dean’s Council Scholarship, Sabharwal has also received the Bernard A. Shepard Journalism/Public Relations scholarship, James L. Melikian scholarship and the Fresno Advertising Foundation scholarship.