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Shining Stars

Scholarships Awarded to Outstanding Transfer Students

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 7, 2017) — Two students who transferred to UAlbany from colleges thousands of miles away have been awarded scholarships for their academic excellence and involvement.
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Seniors Samin Qaderi and Michelle Raissa Kobou Wafo both won $1,500 scholarships from Tau Sigma, the transfer student honor society.

Samin Qaderi, an accounting major who transferred from the University of Kerala in southern India, and
Michelle Raissa Kobou Wafo, an economics major who transferred from the University of Douala in Cameroon, were each awarded $1,500 from Tau Sigma.

Tau Sigma is the National Honor Society for transfer students. UAlbany has had a Tau Sigma chapter for 10 years and has more than 250 active members and more than 600 graduated members.

“Each year UAlbany chooses two members to receive a scholarship from the national office,” said Darlene Poirier, the program coordinator for Student Engagement and Transfer Experience, and the Tau Sigma advisor. “This year both Sam and Michelle were chosen because of their outstanding commitment to philanthropy and academia.”

Qaderi, a native of Afghanistan, studied political science and economics at the University of Kerala, and then served with the U.S. Army Special Forces as a combat translator and cultural advisor in Afghanistan, a position he also held with NATO.

“Since foreign troops are based in multinational military camps in Afghanistan, I had the privilege of working with Swedish and British Military Observation Teams between 2003-2006, who were under NATO mandate,” Qaderi explained. As a cultural advisor and linguist/translator, he advised incumbent teams and commanders on local, social, cultural and political dynamics of the region.

Qaderi came to UAlbany in 2014 and along with his accounting major has a minor in business administration, both in the School of Business. After graduation in May, he plans to continue at UAlbany in a graduate accounting program. He is president of the University’s Tau Sigma chapter, a member of the Presidential Honor Society and the Albany Business Leaders Emerging groups. He is a transfer peer mentor and he serves on the Transfer Advisory Board. Last year Qaderi received the Spellman Academic Achievement Award.

Off campus, he volunteers with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Albany, translating medical, educational, housing and government forms to and helping refugees get settled with housing, licenses and their children’s schooling.

“Joining Tau Sigma was one of the best decisions I made back in 2014,” Qaderi said. “I have met some really nice and professional people since coming to UAlbany who have not only wanted to help, but help with a smile while giving a personal attention — peer mentors, administrative staff, faculties, etc.”

Kobou Wafo came to the United States in 2014 from her native Cameroon and spent a year getting adjusted to a new country and a new language. She transferred to UAlbany in 2015 and is a pre-med student with an economics major and a biology minor. Her plans after graduation in May include medical school and a joint MD-MBA degree in health-care management.

“My lifelong dream is to contribute to better health care access for women and children in developing countries,” she said.

Like Qaderi, she credits her involvement in Tau Sigma for her success as a UAlbany transfer. “Tau Sigma is like a small family for me,” she said. “ I met wonderful people, participated in a lot of events with them and without knowing I found myself with a bunch of friends, which was crucial for my integration here at UAlbany.”

Kabou Wafo joined the World of Transfer Engagement and the Emerging Student Leader Program, doing volunteer work for Albany’s Meals on Wheels and the Regional Food Bank of Northeasters NY. She’s a research ambassador for the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, serves as Tau Sigma’s Vice President as was asked to join the Honors College last year.

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