First-Time Student Leader Makes a Difference

Akram Abdulla Wins 2015 President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership

Akram Abdulla receving award from Donald Katt

“I wish SUNY Ulster was a four-year school. I wouldn’t leave to transfer.” Akram Abdulla, business administration major and SGO leader, expected graduation spring 2016

Business administration major Akram Abdulla describes a hero as someone who goes beyond to do good for a greater purpose.

He counts his older brother as well as the professors, faculty and administrators at SUNY Ulster among them.

But those that know him say the word is a description of Abdulla who has selflessly given his time and energy to student government and campus life to make SUNY Ulster a better place. Abdulla is currently serving as Student Government Vice President and previously was SGO Treasurer. He also is a Campus Connect leader.

A first-generation college student born in Yemen who came to the U.S. in 2004, Abdulla, 22, is staying focused on his studies and many involvements on campus – despite worries about the safety of his mother, fiancée and other family he still has in the country that is under seize.

For his many accomplishments, he was recognized with a 2015 President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership.

Abdulla enrolled at SUNY Ulster in 2014 after taking time off to work and travel. In a year, he’s come a long way in his leadership – going from never being involved in any extra curriculum activities and being intimidated asking 25 fellow students to sign a petition putting him on his first ballot.

But being in the right supportive environment surrounded by encouraging faculty and friendly students with similar interests motivated Abdulla to take a first step into getting involved in the Business Club and volunteering as the club’s representative to SGO.

“I saw how well connected the students were in SGO and how they had a voice,” he says. “It gave me a purpose.”

The many relationships he forged online with students got him nominated as CEO of the award-winning Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project between SUNY Ulster and Fatec Americana in São Paulo, Brazil.

He represented SUNY Ulster at a COIL conference in New York City and the SUNY Student Assembly spring conference in Binghamton. Abdulla even has a voice in who will lead the college’s future as a student representative on the Presidential Search Committee.

Abdulla is putting his leadership skills and business acumen to real-world use in his family’s grocery store, Rondout Market, and plans to transfer to get a bachelor’s degree in business after getting married in October and graduating from SUNY Ulster next spring.

“SUNY Ulster has opened up so many doors that I never thought I could achieve on my own,” he says. “And it is all because of professors and administration that have put student success at the top of their list.”

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1 Comment on First-Time Student Leader Makes a Difference

  1. Nicholas C. // November 2, 2015 at 8:42 PM //

    Akram truly is an amazing person and it’s great that he’s being recognized for it. I also feel that same way about how SUNY Ulster opens up so many doors to excel in ways like this.

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