May 11, 2022
The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) office of Academic Affairs has named Science major Mah Noor as Valedictorian for the College’s 57th annual Commencement Ceremony June 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Noor, the first in her family to attend college, plans to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon and will deliver a speech before thousands of attendees at the ceremony.
Noor not only maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA during her time at BMCC, she was president of Phi Theta Kappa, a recipient of the Out in Two Scholarship, a Science Club member and she participated in cellular biology research under the mentorship of Science Professor Alexander Gosslau. During the Fall 2021 semester, she remotely tutored lower-income Saudi children in English.
Noor spent most of her early childhood in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. But after reaching the sixth grade in elementary school, she and her family moved to Pakistan. Six years later, the family came back to New York and Noor began to explore college options.
She chose BMCC after consulting with high school advisors and CUNY faculty who said BMCC would offer an academic pathway towards an eventual career in medicine. The college’s location in the heart of lower Manhattan was an added plus. Noor’s decision to attend BMCC was also influenced by videos featured on the BMCC website where students described how they took advantage of student services or academic advisement and were now either earning higher degrees or soaring in their chosen careers.
During her time at BMCC, Noor also took advantage of several BMCC programs and support services including Panther Partners and Sister-2-Sister during her first semester.
Noor, who was still re-adjusting to life in the United States, says both programs provided intensive support and communicated a sense of stability to first-generation college students like herself. Advisors and mentors in both programs alleviated any sense of loneliness, she said, and were always present when she needed to talk about the stress and exhaustion of taking final exams and other challenging academic endeavors.
She says she hopes other young women will look to her as an example of making one’s dreams come true through resilience and patience. Noor has applied to several Ivy League institution pre-med academic programs.
“Every grade I receive, every class I enroll in and every degree I work towards is not only a step forward for me, but also a leap forward for the women of my culture,” said Noor. “I am a South Asian woman advocating to change the narrative. My identity has empowered me to uphold the stories of the women around me as my reason to get up every single morning and be in control of the life I have and to fight for theirs.”
She says standing one’s ground and fighting for what one wants is the mindset every young girl should be encouraged to have.
“My accomplishments are the fruit of my labor,” said Noor. “No one can take that control away from me unless I let them.”
Noor describes the moment she got the news she’d been chosen as Valedictorian as joyful and surreal.
“It felt as though all the hard work I had done these past two years, the sleepless nights, the tears, the stress, the rigorous studying regime had all paid off because of that moment when I got the news,” said Noor. “My family watched me receive the news over the phone, and they were just as ecstatic. Their shouts and hugs made the moment even more real.”
- Noor, plans to pursue career in pediatric surgery
- Noor, who grew up in Brooklyn and Pakistan, has applied to several Ivy League institutions
- “I am a South Asian woman advocating to change the narrative,” says Noor.