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Students Recognized for Academic Excellence, Selected for All-New York Academic Team


Congratulations to Maureen Mbanga, Business Administration major, and Ayden Budhoo, Computer Science major, who were selected for the Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team. Members of the All-New York Academic Team are recognized for their academic achievements, leadership accomplishments, and engagement in community service. Maureen and Ayden will be recognized during a special awards Ceremony on April 11 at the Albany Capital Center.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is the international honor society of students seeking associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, or other college credentials. It has more than 3.5 million members in nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations.

Maureen Mbanga sitting in Learning Commons

Maureen Mbanga, Business Administration

Growing up in Zambia, Maureen never thought that she would attend college, but things shifted in eighth grade when representatives from the African Education Program visited her school and began supporting Maureen and her classmates. She was chosen to attend SUNY Schenectady as an international student on a full scholarship and followed her love for mathematics as a Business Administration major who plans to become an Accountant.

Maureen discovered that she enjoyed sharing her culture with her fellow students, and learning about their backgrounds. She wanted to foster cultural exchange and promote diversity on campus, so she became the Vice President of the International Club. This led to another leadership role as the Student Trustee, representing the student body, participating in important decision-making processes, and advocating for student needs with the Board of Trustees. She has also served as a member of the Student Activities Board, on the Student Government Association, as a member of the student Budget and Finance Committee, and volunteers at the City Mission of Schenectady.

A member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with a 3.7 GPA, Maureen has worked in the Foundation Office and in the Food Pantry, and this semester she is interning with Peterson, Campoli and Associates CPAs, PLLC accounting firm. 

Mauren will graduate in May. She plans to work for a year and then pursue her bachelor’s degree in accounting with the goal of becoming a CPA and giving back to her Zambian Community.

Outside of school, Maureen is writing about her life story, not necessarily for publication, but to help her reflect on her journey and where she wants to go in the future. “You see how you’ve grown since your childhood and how things have been changing,” she said. “The things that you never believed you could do, you keep track of. Look how far you’ve come!”

Ayden Budhoo on his laptop, sitting in Learning Commons

Ayden Budhoo, Computer Science

Ayden has always been curious about how things worked, from electronics to small businesses, but most of all computers. In eighth grade, he discovered that a lot went into designing the websites he was visiting, and so he decided that he wanted to learn a new language: coding.  

Ayden is not only a Computer Science major at SUNY Schenectady; he’s also a senior at Schenectady High School. He began taking college courses in ninth grade as a student in the Schenectady Smart Transfer Early College High School program and then took all of his courses on campus or online during his junior and senior years. This spring, he will graduate with both his high school diploma and his associate degree. 

It was in high school that Ayden learned about the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) which prepares middle and high school students for the rigors of higher education and the workplace. As someone who has helped his brother with his homework, and has gravitated toward helping other students in his classes, he began tutoring middle school students in reading, English and Math during LPP’s afterschool programs. For the past two years he has tutored ninth- and 10th-graders who are in the Smart Transfer program. 

A member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Ayden, who holds a 4.0 GPA, has been a participant in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program for the past two years and enjoys helping with the monthly Teen Science Cafe, which links science professionals with students in CSTEP, middle school, and high school. 

After he graduates, Ayden, plans to transfer as a junior for his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. His goal is to become a software engineer.

He shared, “Empowerment through unique study fosters vision; I aspire to embrace it, striving to improve the lives of all those I cherish through education.”