Finger Lakes Community College student Khadija Muhammadi, of Rochester, received the 2019 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, an honor that recognizes excellence among participants in the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program.
SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson congratulated Muhammadi and other students from across New York during a ceremony at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.
The award bears the name of the late Norman McConney, one of the architects of the statewide program that provides financial assistance and support to those facing obstacles in achieving their educational and personal goals.
Muhammadi immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 2015 to live with two sisters while finishing high school in Irondequoit. Her parents and brother remain in her home country; she keeps in touch via Skype. A mathematics major, she chose FLCC for its small environment.
“When I came to FLCC, I knew this was the right place for me,” she said.
Muhammadi plans to transfer after graduation in May 2020, though she has not yet selected her four-year school.
She said participating in EOP helped her acclimate to college in the U.S. The program provides a counselor that helps students with concerns about their schedule, transportation and other issues. It includes a summer program with classes and field trips to prepare students for college.
Muhammadi’s roommate invited her to join the student organization AALANA, which stands for African American, Latino/a, Asian and Native American, adding to her student experience.
“It’s not only a college, it’s a support system,” she said. “You have a network and can connect with others.”
The program is open to state residents that show evidence of a historical educational and financial disadvantage, and demonstrate the potential to be academically successful with EOP support. Further details and an application are available at or 585-785-1390.