2024 Salutatorian - Sumaiya Rashid

Major: Psychology Minor(s): Anthropology & International Studies


Sumaiya Rashid
Sumaiya Rashid
Major: Psychology
Minor(s): Anthropology & International Studies

Please share a little about your background — what’s your story?

I am a child of two extremely hardworking Bangladeshi immigrants who came here to pursue opportunity and a chance for education. I am a first-generation college student, born and raised in Queens, where I was always immersed within a deeply diverse community. Due to my upbringing, I gained an extremely culturally conscious lens that I apply to my personal, professional, and academic career.  Drawing from my personal experiences, I recognized the gap in existing resources for many marginalized communities, including my own. This sparked my passion for advocacy specifically surrounding mental health in the South-Asian community, and something that I remain committed towards. Ultimately, I hope to leave a positive impact in both increasing visibility and drawing awareness to serious issues. In the future, I want to continue to bring this lens to initiate change for all under resourced and unheard groups.

Why did you choose CCNY? What brought you to CPS?

I chose CCNY mainly due to the depth of programs offered by the Psychology Department. As an incoming freshman, I knew I wanted to pursue a Psychology major, however I didn’t know which avenue would most align with my goals. Thus, to see such variety and a broad range of topics covered within the coursework, I knew I had to attend CCNY. I really invested myself into the CPS community on account of their focus on first-generation college students and helping them through their college journey. As a first-gen student, this was extremely important and inspirational to me, as I felt that I was truly seen. My entire college career has been shaped by the wonderful professors and mentors who have guided me to maximize my potential and truly achieve all the hopes I set out for myself. In finding this safe space, I have truly thrived and couldn’t be more grateful for CPS.

What is your passion or purpose behind your studies at CCNY?

I am currently pursuing a major in Psychology with a double minor in International Studies and Anthropology. I chose to focus on these subjects because I wanted to gain an interdisciplinary lens about society as a whole, understanding different cultures, communities, and history. I chose to major in Psychology because of my personal interest in mental health and accessibility. I added both my minors in International Studies and Anthropology, because I was able to expand the depth of my understanding to include a socially and historically conscious perspective. Through pursuing these studies I have learned how to think critically, engage holistically, and remain a receptive communicator for all communities. 

Where are you at in your career? How has it unfolded? And how has the Colin Powell School helped you along the way?

My career is continuously being shaped by my interests and currently I am invested in the industrial-organizational (I/O) sector of Psychology.  During my time at CPS, I gained so many wonderful experiences that have shaped me both professionally and personally. I was able to intern at various organizations that shared missions similar to mine and learn more about the nonprofit sector and the public service field. CPS has supported all these professional endeavors and allowed me to understand what I want to do with my career and how to do so. I was able to not only receive help on materials like my resume, but I was also given advice and mentorship through my entire career path and plan. I am now not only extremely confident in what I want to pursue, but my skills as well, and how to truly leave an impact with the work I do.

What are your plans post graduation?

Currently, I am planning to pursue a Human Resources Internship over the summer and continue on exploring the different facets and sectors within I/O Psychology. I’m excited to learn more about different HRIS Softwares and ATS Systems to gain a comprehensive lens about how to be a successful leader in HR. I’m hoping that after a few years of working and expanding my HR-related knowledge, to continue my education and pursue an MPA, and be able to dedicate my career towards public service and management.

What is your biggest accomplishment from your time at CCNY?

My biggest accomplishment at CCNY relates to my work as a Student Success Guide and Peer Mentor, where I help incoming freshman and transfer students find their place at CCNY. It has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences, as I am able to help others find what they want to do in college and guide them through it. In many ways, it feels very full-circle, and I am grateful to have the chance to meet and form meaningful relationships with these wonderful people and watch them grow in all areas of their life. Since the Fall semester, my mentees continue to amaze and inspire me, and I feel extremely fortunate and accomplished to share this experience with them and see the impressions I can make to help others achieve their goals.

Do you have any advice you could give to current or future students?

CCNY has so much to offer to its students, beyond academic opportunities; there are so many avenues to grow both personally and professionally. Therefore, you must take your shot at any and every chance you are interested in. We have so many resources at CCNY and CPS that are here to help us cultivate these skills and interests. It’s our responsibility to use all these spaces and reach our full potential. Although you may hear a few “No’s” along the way, don’t let that deter you from pursuing your passions. It’s important to take criticism and improve from it and allow us to grow. This is a space where everyone wants the best for you and in engaging with this, you can set yourself up for true success.

How would you describe CPS in three words?
Empowering, Nurturing, Innovative

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