Queensborough Graduate wins 2023 Belle Zeller Scholarship

Published: September 26, 2023

Sumaya Kabir takes immense pride in her identity as a native New Yorker. Her academic journey began with enrolling at Queensborough Community College in the fall of 2020 where she majored in English and commenced with the successful completion of her associate degree in spring 2023.

“I don’t think I will ever have the same experience again that I had at QCC,” said Queens resident Kabir, who expressed surprise and delight to be named a 2023 Belle Zeller Scholar, named after Belle Zeller, Professor Emerita of political science and a scholar of the legislative process; she was a leader of organizations representing City University of New York faculty and staff for more than thirty years.

“Many of the faculty at QCC were so inspiring. They really believed in me, and it was easy to make friends. I really miss that homey community feeling. Lucky for me, a lot of my friends at Queensborough transferred to Queens College where I am pursuing my bachelor’s in English.”

Throughout her college years, Sumaya discovered her joy in sharing knowledge with others through the art of teaching. She volunteered for organizations such as NYC (New York City) Men Teach, committed to empowering students from marginalized backgrounds, enabling them to embark on careers in education. Sumaya actively participated in their recruitment events, using her influence to encourage fellow CUNYstudents to contemplate a path in teaching.

She also assumed the role of a post-secondary bridge coach. In this capacity, she aided more than two hundred high school graduates in their transition to college life, offering guidance in charting their academic trajectories.

Sumaya’s ultimate aspiration is to become a literature instructor. Her mission is to nurture a deep appreciation for literature that reflects her own personal odyssey with literary works which has strengthened her bond with education.

At Queens College, she plans to continue her education through the pursuit of a master’s degree in English Education. Beyond her academic pursuits, Sumaya enjoys hiking and travel.

Since its establishment, the Belle Zeller Scholarship Fund has awarded more than 350 scholarships to CUNY students from community and senior colleges as well as CUNY’s graduate, professional, and law schools. These students all maintain a GPA of 3.75, are enrolled full-time, and devote their time to significant community service. Belle Zeller Scholars receive a scholarship award of $5,000.


Contact:  Alice Doyle

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