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MVCC student Sabah Haji wins Professional Association Scholarship

Sabah Haji of Utica, a student at Mohawk Valley Community College, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the MVCC Professional Association Scholarship, an annual award of $1,000 that recognizes a deserving student currently enrolled at MVCC.

Haji is a refugee whose parents came to the United States from Somalia to give their children a better life. In December 2021, she became the first college graduate in her family when she earned her associate degree in Human Services at MVCC. She is currently completing coursework for the Mechatronics Certificate and plans to continue her education at SUNY Polytechnic Institute to prepare for a career as a social worker.

Haji came to MVCC as a student in the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES P-TECH program (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), which offers an integrated high school and college curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, while also providing workplace skills such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving. As a dual major, Haji kept a full academic schedule while also actively contributing to the College community. She is the 2021-22 president of MVCC’s Lambda Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and is vice president of the Muslim Student Association at MVCC. She also has participated in the Black Latino Student Union and Student Congress.

To qualify for the PA Scholarship, a student must have completed at least 30 credit hours at MVCC and have a grade point average of at least 3.00. Applicants also must write and submit a 500-word essay on either the importance of labor unions in American society or the value of a community college education. Haji chose to write about her own community college experience in her essay.

“MVCC has allowed me to participate in clubs and multicultural activities and access valuable resources and programs for low-income students. These educational opportunities have been invaluable in advancing both my personal and professional life,” she wrote. “Like many, I came to college with the expectation to earn my education and progress towards my career. However, to my surprise, I left with more than I anticipated and am so grateful for my experiences here.”

Haji is aware that her work ethic and success are inspiring future generations, and she says she is proud to be considered a role model.

“Growing up, I never had the parental support to ask my parents for help on school assignments since they did not understand English,” she wrote. “Currently, I am supporting my siblings through their academic challenges thanks to having earned an education. I am proud to give others the same support I wished I had as a child.”

About the MVCC Professional Association

The Mohawk Valley Community College Professional Association (PA) is the sole collective bargaining agent representing the faculty and non-administrative professional staff of Mohawk Valley Community College. United for excellence in education, the PA is affiliated on the state level with New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and on the national level with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). 

Mohawk Valley Community College, established in 1946, is New York State’s first community college with a mission to provide accessible, high-quality educational opportunities for everyone. As the community’s college, MVCC is committed to student success through partnerships, transfer and career pathways, and personal enrichment. With campuses in Utica and Rome, MVCC is the region’s primary provider of college education, offering 90 degree and certificate options for its enrollment of 6,000 full- and part-time students. MVCC also serves an additional 6,000 people through its corporate and community education programs, and its campuses welcome more than 50,000 people annually for community events. To learn more about MVCC and its programs, visit  


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