Qns Chamber gives two biz scholarships

Sue Henderson (c.), Queens College's vice president of institutional advancement, congratulates Laura Burke (l.) and Nadia Abbasi on their business scholarships. Photo courtesy Queens College
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Two Queens College students are making bright futures their business.

At the school’s Business Forum Breakfast June 8, students Nadia Abbasi and Laura Burke received scholarships and were honored for their outstanding academic achievements in their fields of study.

Recognized at the forum in the Student Union, Abbasi received the school’s Business Forum Scholarship, while Burke was presented with the Queens Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hank Auffarth Scholarship.

Abbasi, born in Dhaka, Bangledesh, moved to the United States at the age of 5 with her parents.

While in Dhaka, Abbasi’s father was a college professor of economics and political science, providing her family with decent living conditions compared to some of her friends — many of whom she said lived in tents and drank polluted water.

The memory of those early days, coupled with the hardships she faced when her family came to America, inspired the math major to excel in business so that she could eventually help people in need.

In January, Abbasi landed an unpaid internship at the United Nation’s Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, where she met diplomats trying to solve health, environmental and other problems in her native country.

“Living in the overcrowded, busy streets of Bangladesh, I never imagined I’d be fortunate enough to come to America and attend a university which offers such a wealth of opportunities for self-discovery and academic advancement,” said Abbasi, who plans on graduating in 2014. “I learned business management, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills that will be indispensable in my future pursuits.”

Abbasi’s ultimate goal is to open a nonprofit business that would combine a homeless shelter with a vocational educational center. The scholarship will help pay off her student loans, fees, books and living expenses.

“I see this scholarship as an investment in me, and I have a responsibility to give something back,” she said.

Also at the forum, Burke, 22, became the first recipient of the Queens Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hank Auffarth Scholarship, which recognizes superior academic achievement and community service and supports advanced business studies.

Burke, a married mother of a 2-year-old son, graduated in February with a 3.8 GPA in accounting and information systems.

This summer, she will take the last of her certified public accountant exams while completing a paid internship in audit and forensic advisory work at KPMG LLP, a leading national audit, tax and advisory services firm. In the fall, the Flushing resident will begin work toward an advanced degree in risk management at the college.

“This scholarship will help me attain my master’s and prepare for my chosen career while I continue to volunteer at such organizations as the Alley Pond Environmental Center and the college’s alumni relations office,” she said.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 9:03 am, June 28, 2012
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