Reem Ahmed ’17 (Accounting) of Queens, N.Y., has been named the valedictorian of the SUNY New Paltz Class of 2018, and will address peer students from the Schools of Business, Education, Fine & Performing Arts and Science & Engineering, and assembled guests, at the Sunday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2018.
Ahmed pursued just about every available experience during her journey at New Paltz. She explored many different subjects before finding her path with accounting, and got into co-curricular activities ranging from the Honors Program to WFNP radio DJ.
“When I first came here, everything was new,” she said. “It was the first time I had really been pushed out of my comfort zone. I took classes from diverse disciplines, interacted with different kinds of people, and joined many clubs, which allowed me to understand my likes and dislikes and what I wanted to study.
“Fast forward to my last semester here where I had grown much more comfortable with myself. My confidence skyrocketed as I learned how to sell my strengths and improve my weaknesses. This campus had begun to feel like a second home to me.”
As a student in the School of Business, Ahmed represented the College’s Beta Gamma Sigma honor society chapter at a summit in Dallas, Texas, and in her senior year took the top prize in the annual SUNY New Paltz Business Plan contest. She eventually advanced with her teammates to the 2017 statewide Business Plan Competition Finals.
“In the Entrepreneurship and Business Plan class, we were encouraged to work with students from other departments,” she said. “I think that experience really pushed me to apply everything I had learned throughout my college career.”
Ahmed also kept busy outside the classroom. She got involved with a number of student clubs and organizations, including serving as Vice President of the campus Red Cross Club, co-founding the Business Peer Mentorship Program, joining the South Asian Dance Team, and serving as President of Vivre Haiti, a non-profit working to provide food, shelter, and an education for Haitian children.
As Ahmed prepares to address her fellow students, she says she’s thinking about the winding path she took during her time at New Paltz, and how she eventually found her way by trying a little bit of everything.
“I would have never imagined that college would have turned out so wonderful,” Ahmed said. “I want to reinforce that confusion is okay and keeping an open mind is what oftentimes leads to the best adventures, and it’s what brought me to this point. SUNY New Paltz is a school where there is acceptance and love for all, and I thank New Paltz for helping me find my mentors, my best friends, and most importantly, myself.”