Qurat Syeda

Qurat Syeda.

President's Scholar

Business Administration/Accounting
Lucas College and Graduate School of Business

Why did you choose your major?

I come from a family of mostly male mathematicians and engineers and even though I dabbled with programming and web development in high school, I was more intrigued by the idea of managing a business. My first day in accounting class, my teacher, at the time, told us that they key to understanding a business is through its books. So, I spent a lot of hours working on my accounting skills outside of school. Since I did not have much options to get a real-life exposure, I would start “paper companies” and create their pro-forma statements to improve my understanding. I recently found out that my paternal grandfather was an internal auditor for the military, so I am not surprised that I developed such an affection for this subject.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

I am honored to be receiving this award for the fourth time. But this semester, it is extra special because it means despite all the challenges I have faced throughout my college career I have been able to finish school with the same high note that I started it with. It also offers a sense of validation that I could always aim for as high as I want - nothing is impossible!

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

Everyone who we meet along the way impacts our life in one way or another, but there are some people who are the reason behind why you get up everyday and why you continue to power through everything. For me, its my family, especially, my parents, who raised us from nothing and went above and beyond their means to give us a chance at living out our dreams. So, I owe it to them, to be my best or at least keep trying until I get there.

Also, I could have not made it through college without my professors and supervisors, who cheered me on whenever I needed that push and who supported my professional and personal growth. So a huge thank you to my supervisors at Peer Connections and JHSSC - Deanna, Jahmal, Joshua and Francisco for always being present. Lastly, I am even more grateful to my professors - Maria Bullen, Bahram Parineh, Joel Busch, Rick Kepple, Karin Brow, Laura Roden, Mike Williams, Ronald Roman, Jiang Zhang, Nico Peck and Anya Iyengar for having touched my life in so many ways. Only your support has gotten me this far and for that I will always be grateful.

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

I was raised in Saudi Arabia, so moving, on my own, to a country on the other end of the globe was one of the biggest decisions I have made and I am glad that I did. Before coming here, I had never stepped foot outside the house without either one of my parents by my side and I most certainly had never worked a day in my life or ever had to  manage anything more than school. But since then I have managed school, several jobs, extracurriculars, volunteer work and my finances- all while going through personal challenges of my own. I have faced severe financial downturns and several emotional upheavals. However, I am proud of who I am today, and, in some ways, I have achieved what I had set out to do. I am stronger, more mature, more independent, but most importantly happier and more content. So, I am forever grateful for the experience this university and its community has granted me.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I think students always associate academic excellence with achieving high grades, but that is just at face value. If you were to look further, attaining a certain level of excellence requires discipline, hard work, curiosity and resilience and you could be pleasantly surprised how much these qualities will define any experience in life in a positive light, So I say aim to build these qualities in yourself and your work and academic excellence will follow, and if you know you already possess them, you are already there.

What makes you a Spartan?

When I think of the Spartans I think of courage and resilience. I had the courage to move out to a new country on my own and then on the daily to step out of my comfort zone to try out new things - whether it be a class, club or an activity.  But most importantly I had resilience, the ability to still remain steadfast  in the face of challenges and hardship. I have met so many students through my roles, as a Supplemental Instructor and a Peer Leader, who have gone through so much and yet still find it in them to push through and that’s what makes all of us Spartans and I am no different than any of them.

Nominated by Elizabeth Grace

Professor, Accounting and Finance

"She is obviously an excellent student, but also has been president of the honor society Beta Alpha Psi."