Drive and Determination Fuels Triumphs for Outstanding QCC Graduate


Queensborough Community College alum, Oluwadamisi Atanda (Kay), Class of 2012, has been named a Josephine de Kármán Fellow for the 2013-14 Academic Year. The coveted national award recognizes exceptional scholastic achievement.

Out of 434 applicants, only two of the eight awardees are undergraduates; a student from the University of Pennsylvania and Kay, a political science major with a minor in public policy at The City College of New York (CUNY).

Prior to this major achievement, Kay participated in the 2013 White House Summer Internship in the Office of National Drug Control Policy. His responsibilities ranged from attending congressional hearings to researching and analyzing policy information and preparing reports.

“Interning at the White House was an exciting and enlightening experience,” said Kay, who is planning to graduate from The City College of New York in June 2014. “I appreciated working with people from all over the country, exchanging ideas and contributing to the work of the President.  I am confident that the knowledge, skills and exposure that I have gained from my internship will make me a better person, student, and public servant.”

Kay added, “I will always be grateful to Queensborough for helping me begin my academic and career journey. My incredible professors and mentors inspired me to pursue every opportunity. Serving as student body president at the College confirmed my passion for public service and motivated me to seek opportunities in government.”

Raised in Nigeria, Kay served as student body president at his high school before moving to the United States in 2010 in pursuit of a quality higher education. As a Liberal Arts student at Queensborough, Kay was a Merit Scholar and a member of the College’s Barnes & Noble Student Impact Team. A Dean’s List student, Kay served as President of theStudent Government Association (SGA) and in 2011 competed in the Mock Trial Team Tournament at Yale University. He interned for New York State Assembly Member David I. Weprin in 2011.

He was the first recipient of the CUNY Student Leader of the Year Award (2012), for outstanding contributions to the University and, in the same year, was named a Silver Scholar on Coca-Cola’s 2012 Community College Academic Team—a program which is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  Kay graduated from Queensborough’s Honors program in June of 2012.

Kay, who has also been named a 2013-14 Colin L. Powell Community Engagement Fellow,will begin his internship this fall at the U.S.  State Department Student Internship Program in the Executive Office at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York.