From a very young age, Sofia Elhusseini knew she wanted to study business. Born and raised in New York City, she has both Lebanese and Colombian backgrounds. Also, she is the first person in her family to attend college. Now a senior in the BS in Business and Ms in Accounting dual-degree program at the NYU Stern School of Business, she’s still excited by the open-ended possibilities of a career in the field. “I’m a very go-with-the-flow kind of person,” she says. “I want to travel, engage with different kinds of people, and feel useful.” And at NYU, Sofia has been able to do just that all while remaining on track to complete two degrees.
Gaining Support Through NYU’s Opportunity Programs
The dual-degree program in accounting culminates in bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field. Study is completed in four years plus one additional summer semester, so support is essential as Sofia pursues the accelerated program. She received extra support to pursue her academic goals through the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). HEOP is a scholarship program designed to give students who are part of traditionally underserved communities comprehensive support throughout college. It includes a full-tuition scholarship, access to a broad range of academic and supportive services, and a connection to a deeply meaningful community.
Moreover, HEOP begins the summer before a student’s first year of college. Students attend a six-week program to prepare for the rigors of college. It covers topics such as writing, mathematics, and study skills. “I did well in my first courses at NYU because I took the program seriously,” says Sofia. “I had a 4.0 my first semester! Plus, I met other Stern Opportunity Program students who are my best friends now. We’re a small community within NYU that feels like home.”
Being Part of a Community and Finding Meaning
Building community has been a common theme for Sofia throughout her time at NYU. She’s currently in leadership roles on campus with the Middle East Business Association and Supporting Excellence and Advocating Diversity, an NYU Stern–based initiative focused on developing future leaders of color. She’s also the president of the Lebanese Club; the leader of the once dormant PorColombia, a club she revived to celebrate Colombian culture; and a community coleader of the Stern BS/MS Community Group. “Having a presence and making sure I’m doing something meaningful outside of my academic work is really important to me,” she says. “I enjoy seeing first-year students find their place at NYU.”
An International Mindset
As a senior Sofia wants to continue to broaden her horizons and explore what is possible—a journey she began during her sophomore year when she studied away at NYU Madrid. This fall she will be studying away again. In fact, Sofia will be part of NYU Stern’s International Business Exchange Program with Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. “NYU makes it easy to study away,” she says. “Even though I’m at another NYU site, NYU Stern and study away counselors have made the process super easy.”
What’s more, Sofia plans to take the CPA Exam after graduating from her dual-degree program. And she hopes to maintain an international focus in her career, as her time at NYU in New York City and Madrid have underscored her passion for cross-cultural connections. “That’s what’s great about NYU,” she says. “You have an international network, and it’s so easy to talk with students who don’t have the same background. It’s important to be able to communicate with people who aren’t like you.”