Siena’s youngest-ever graduate receives diploma

ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Graduated as the youngest graduate in the history of Siena College. One of hundreds of graduates who walked the stage at MVP Arena on Sunday morning was Elham Malik, who received her diploma aged just 17.

“A bit overwhelming but I’m really really excited,” said Malik when asked how it feels to become the youngest Siena graduate.

Malik graduated cum laude in just three years with a degree in psychology. At just 14, she enrolled as a freshman in college: “Whenever I asked for the help I needed, I got it. I never really felt like I was left out or that there was no place for me.”

She was able to reach the college level at such a young age, having passed grades twice and taking additional courses during high school. Her three years of college included a bit of everything, normalcy, COVID and a return to campus.

“My first experience was really, really great. I kind of had this initial experience in Siena and then COVID happened and I had to see how we got online, this year I had to see how we moved out of it. I feel like that’s how I got the whole experience,” she explained.

Outside of the classroom, Malik has served as the President of the Muslim Student Association. She also co-hosted the annual grant and endowment program Appreciation Dinner.

After those three years of accomplishments, the historic moment finally arrived when Malik walked the stage of a packed MVP arena today.”

Diploma in hand, Siena’s recent graduate will remain on campus for an additional year and serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA fellow.

“I grew up with a lot of direct aid ministries, volunteering at soup kitchens, and Siena gave me a whole new perspective and understanding of it,” said Malik.

After that, she will continue to graduate school. While unsure of the exact career she wants to pursue, she knows she wants to do something that involves her passion for service, a passion that was one of the main reasons she chose Siena in the first place.

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