It was during the second month at Clarkson and the USA (Feb 2017) when I first met Tony and Karen Collins. The event was a panel discussion about the world Hijab day. Tony and Karen were sitting in the middle of the audience and not in front. Back home, the front seats are always reserved for people in such positions. So never came to my mind that they would be the president and his wife. They came to the panelists at the end to say hi and to support us. I asked him, what do you do at Clarkson? 😂. he smiled and Karen told me “He is Tony, the president”.I was embarrassed and my immediate response was to laugh. We took a photo together to remember this incident and their humbleness.. since then Tony and Karen have been a support for me, and the activities I do at Clarkson. They have also been supportive of the Muslim community on campus. Thanks for all the positive words, encouragement, and genuine smiles. And thank you for understanding my special greetings since as a Muslim woman, I don’t shake hands with gentlemen.
Well, one day you stopped me in the hallway and asked about my future plans. You offered to write me a recommendation letter during my job search… it’s my honor Mr. president and I’m super grateful for this offer.
Tony and Karen, Thank you again for everything you did for the Clarkson community. I’ll never forget your humbleness and leadership.
Fatima Mustafa, Ph.D. of Chemistry, Aug 2021
(Advisor : Prof. Silvana Andreescu)