Ava Pina’s remarks begin at 5:03-5:42.
For the second year, SUNY announced the recipients of the Norman R. McConney, Jr., Award for Student Excellence. This award honors students in SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) for their academic achievements and overcoming significant personal obstacles to reach their goals.
Ava Pina, Advertising and Marketing Communications ‘21, was nominated by the director of FIT’s EOP, Taur Orange, for the accolade. Pina was among 45 students from across SUNY’s 64 campuses to be chosen.
“Wow, this is like a dream. It’s so nice to be recognized,” said Pina after learning she was the recipient at SUNY’s virtual ceremony in December.
Pina credits the EOP for her success after experiencing economic hardships in high school. Reaching the Dean’s List in her first two years at FIT, Pina’s EOP counselor encouraged her to apply for the college’s Presidential Scholars Program and was accepted. Beyond her academic achievements, Pina also became an Orientation Leader and Residential Advisor.
To Pina, the EOP staff are more than just her counselors. “They’ve become my life mentors,” Pina said.
Pina found the EOP office vital in the transition from in-person to remote learning. While in the midst of finals, she received supportive emails that motivated her to push forward.
“I remember seeing an email from Ms. Orange saying, ‘You’ve committed.’ This was sent to everyone in the EOP program. ‘You’ve committed. Finish it. Finish strong,’” Pina said.
When asked to share advice for students who are in a similar situation, Pina offered the following: “Even in your hardest times if things seem bleak or you feel unable to reach your goals, just hold on and just keep reaching towards them, because something good will come of it.”
To learn more about FIT’s EOP, visit fitnyc.edu/eop or contact the office at (212) 217-4170.