At a Glance

Year: ‘25
Major(s): Digital Media
Minor: Legal Studies
Activities: Student Government Association

Digital Media

As a digital media major, you will develop the technical and critical thinking skills in visual and audio communication needed to work in the growing field of digital media.

Fahad Alden applied to UMass Lowell as an English major, with plans to pursue a journalism or media career.

Then, at orientation, he heard about the brand-new major in digital media, which gives students the practical and storytelling skills they need to work in film, television, podcasting and online media. He checked it out and switched his major.

As a high school junior in Bedford, Massachusetts, Alden had volunteered at the town’s public access cable TV station – where he found his niche. He started his own self-help show, “Level Up,” creating videos on how to be more confident, how to succeed at public speaking and more. He also hosted local politicians and community leaders to talk about their keys to success.

“Media was my outlet,” he says. “I tried theater, I tried sports, but they didn’t really fit.”

As a senior, he worked on a cable access program aimed at high school students. One of his projects involved working with the student council and school counselors to promote better mental health among students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That experience got him interested in student and local government, so, as a self-described “library nerd,” he decided to run for the town library board. At 18 years old, he became the youngest person elected in Bedford in recent memory. Alden, who was born in Iraq, says he is also the first person of Middle Eastern origin elected to office there.

“Growing up, I always loved being at the library,” he says. “During COVID, when the library was shut down, I was waiting with anticipation for them to open up again, and I started watching the library trustees’ meetings online.”

He chose UMass Lowell for the campus’s diversity and because he could commute to Lowell with his father, who works in special education at Lowell High School. Alden also has a job he loves at an after-school child-care program, Kids Club, in Bedford. Not only does he enjoy working with children, but his boss has mentored him and helped him navigate both local politics and college.

“He is very kind and caring, but he still pushes me to be the best person I can be,” he says. 

Because of Alden’s love of both politics and media, he decided to minor in legal studies at UMass Lowell. He says he wants to better understand the structure of government and his rights and responsibilities as a citizen. 

“I love learning about the Constitution and how the criminal justice system works,” he says. “I’m very passionate about it.”

During spring semester of his first year, he also got involved with UML’s Student Government Association as a senator-at-large. He serves on the campus life and public relations committees, and once again, he’s involved in promoting campus mental health resources.

Alden says that joining the SGA greatly improved his college experience by connecting him to other students. He says he’s always urging his friends and fellow students to get involved in clubs and activities, especially when they are commuters, first-generation immigrants and first-gen college students.

“It really makes a world of difference in your college experience,” he says. “In the fall, I went to class and I went home, and I didn’t really get to know the other students. But with extracurriculars, you have something that sticks you together and the time to socialize, and I feel so much more connected to the school now.” 

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Fahad Alden headshot
“It really makes a world of difference in your college experience... with extracurriculars, you have something that sticks you together and the time to socialize, and I feel so much more connected to the school now.”