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Med student Viren Sehgal is 2024 CCNY Valedictorian; Hannah Khanshali is Salutatorian

Viren S. Sehgal, a CUNY School of Medicine student who completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical science with a 4.0 GPA, is The City College of New York’s Class of 2024 Valedictorian. Hannah Khanshali, who’s graduating with a BS in biology and 4.0 GPA from the Macaulay Honors College in the Division of Science, is the Salutatorian. Both were members of The City College’s first COVID-19 pandemic-era freshman class.

CCNY’s 171st Commencement is scheduled for May 31. 

About Viren Sehgal
Born in Queens of Indian immigrant parents, Sehgal had been a CCNY student for two and half years before he first set foot on campus. Along with his freshman classmates, remote learning during those unprecedented times was the order of the day. It proved no hurdle, however, as he consistently excelled in his classes. He’d complete the Sophie Davis Biomedical Education program’s three-year biomedical science degree in September 2023 with a perfect 4.0 GPA and transition to the CCNY-based CUNY Med, where he’s now a first-year medical student. He’s scheduled to earn his medical degree in 2027.

Sehgal’s undergraduate honors included the Dr. Yick Moon Lee Scholarship awarded to a single student for excellence in academics and a commitment to community service. He accomplished this while also being a student leader and being very involved in the school and his community.

His other accolades include the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence; the S Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders; and the Merit and Strong Community Service award. He was also on the Dean’s List for his entire undergraduate years. 

Seghal has interned at several institutions across New York City, including the Melanoma Research Alliance and Rockefeller University. He’s also volunteered as an EMT with the Garden City Park Fire Department. 
On campus, the New Hyde Park resident is an integral part of the student body and partakes in several aspects of CUNY Med. He served as President of the Sophie Davis Student Government, teaching assistant, and Ambassador for CUNY Med amongst other initiatives. 

Viren grew up in a multigenerational household and credits this environment in instilling the belief that diversity of thought and thirst for knowledge furthers his motivation to solve problems collaboratively and to gain a global perspective around him. 

About Hannah Khanshali 
A second generation CUNY graduate – her mother is a College of Staten Island alumna – Khanshali was set on pursuing a veterinary career. She worked in the ER and ICU units of The Animal Medical Center, New York City’s only Level 1 veterinary trauma center, and the world’s largest veterinary teaching hospital. That’s until her junior year when she decided that her intrinsic creativity and curiosity were more suited to research surrounding molecular biology. She leaves CCNY with a BS in biology, a minor in chemistry and mulling a future in immunology or cell molecular biology, in the realm of cancer research. 

Khanshali has been laying the ground for that, participating in complex research as an intern at Columbia University’s Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics in Dr. Elham Azizi's Lab.  

In addition, she’s been invited to join award-winning CCNY professor Daniel Keedy’s lab this summer as a postbaccalaureate researcher on a bio-preparedness project for future pandemics. Keedy describes the U.S. Department of Energy funded research as “of heightened societal importance in light of the recent collective traumatic experiences with COVID-19.”

Khanshali’s stellar academics, highlighted by her 4.0 GPA, earned her Dean’s List recognition every semester. She was named Macaulay Honors Horace W. Goldsmith Scholar, S Jay Levy Fellowship 2023 co-Valedictorian and is now a Peer Mentor as an Alumna of the Fellowship. An artist and musician seeking the intersection between her passion for the arts and science, Khanshali used the $4,000 grant from the Goldsmith Scholarship to take a study abroad winter class in photography in Florence, Italy, last January. 

A Staten Island native, she’s from a Yemeni and Irish-Italian household.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi (now Lightcast) puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.