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Who are our student leaders? Student Affairs Award Winners, a Profile

The Student Affairs division of Queens College has recently announced winners for their seven awards, which encompass dedication and commitment to servicing the QC community, as well as demonstrating commitment to humanitarian causes in other areas. On behalf of the Knight News Staff, I would like to congratulate all the recipients for their commendable contributions and achievements. I recently caught up with a few students to talk about their experiences and impact on our community. 

The first award, the Burton L. Backner Student Affairs Award, granted five hundred dollars to a full-time undergraduate student that consistently participated in student affairs and student services on campus. Burt Backner was the Dean of Students. Dr. Barabara Moore, a psychologist at the QC Counseling Center, said Bakner was “passionate about counseling and sat in on our group meetings every week. He was a kind and dear man.” The recipient of this award is our very own Editor in Chief, Sidd Malviya! He has demonstrated serious commitment to serving QC by partaking in prominent roles in the Academic Senate, advocating for student leaders’ rights, and serving on two search committees. Sidd was elected as a Student Delegate after a vacancy in the Academic Senate in December 2019. In February, Sidd took on a new role to serve as Deputy Chair of the Academic Senate. He said, “I noted that engagement was down in the Senate, particularly in the standing committees”. With the help of Chair Simone Yearwood, they were able to nominate an unprecedented number of 27 students to the standing committees in only a month. Sidd has also provided crucial support during key student-led events such as Club Day in his role as Student Association (SA) Vice President. His hard work, dedication, and commitment will prevail as Sidd enters his senior year, as he continues his service as Deputy Chair and the newly elected Chair of the Student Senate.

The Gender, Race, and Culture Award presented three hundred dollars to Cayla Kempf, a lower junior with a major in Psychology and a dual minor in Media Studies and Drama & Theater. This award is presented to Cayla for her outstanding commitment to promote comprehension, appreciation, and awareness to issues of gender, race, and culture pertinent to student life at QC. Cayla demonstrated immediate interest in the Gender, Love, and Sexuality Alliance or GLASA during freshman year. Upon meeting and interacting with existing members, Cayla cites, “falling in love with the sweet and amazing members and learning more about [prevalent] issues regarding race, gender, and culture issues,” prompted her to become GLASA’s Secretary during sophomore year. As a secretary, Cayla executed important achievements such as contributing to events such as Coming Out Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Break the Silence in order to spread awareness and raise a voice of concern for their physical and mental safety. Additionally, she did not allow COVID-19 to hinder further planning. Cayla successfully organized GLASA’S Virtual House Party on Zoom which rendered a large turnout of CUNY students. In her future endeavors, Cayla hopes to continue her work with the Academic Senate as a way to further an agenda of awareness and support for all genders, races, and cultures.

The Student Life Award granted three hundred dollars to two individuals- Reaa Ali and Andréa Buzon- both of whom devoted substantial time and energy to serve the QC community. Reaa Ali, a recent QC graduate who double majored in Nutrition Dietetics and Exercise Science, demonstrated commitment to QC beginning in her freshman year, in which she expressed affinity towards the Student Association. Reaa cites having had “an instant connection to their missions” which prompted her to run for student government. She felt triumphant because Reaa was able to give a voice to students who felt unheard and silenced. After observing the positive rewards of serving the students’ needs on campus, Reaa pursued prominent roles, eventually holding the positions of Programming Committee Chairperson of SA, a general member of the Athletics and Career Development Committees, and the student representative on the AEC Board, and the College Association Board. To enact even more positive change, she became President of the Dietetics Club, Secretary of Nuts for Plants, and Secretary for the Honors Society NSLS. In these roles, she hosted a welcome back party and a food competition as a way to “bring joy and relieve students’ stress encompassing heavy course loads.” While Reaa knew that being a leader in these roles would be time-consuming, she prevailed by striving to serve as a role model for others. With all of her hard work, diligence, perseverance and discipline, Reaa accomplished to create a sense of unity, excitement, and inclusion amongst students. In her future endeavors, Reaa looks forward to continuing enacting positive change to create a better tomorrow. Her insatiable desire for knowledge and dedication for public surface propel her towards a new chapter in her life.

Andréa Buzon, a recent QC graduate who majored in Psychology and minored in Business and Liberal Arts (BALA) provided significant contributions to the student life on campus through being an “active Hermana of Lambda Pi Upsilon Sorority, Latinas Poderosas Unidas, Inc.” Through sisterhood, she learned to value the virtue of public service and philanthropy. As Vice Chair of Public Relations for the Student Association, she employed social media platforms to directly address students’ questions and concerns. Andréa cites that during her role as a CREAR FUTUROS pioneer and mentor on campus, she had the opportunity to meet many students and help them thrive in college by sharing her own experiences with them. She is thankful for the Queens College community that has made her realize and enact her passion for helping students succeed both socially and academically. In her future endeavors, Andréa will continue to serve her community.

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