Ali’s enthusiasm & generosity remembered

Friends, relatives gather at memorial

Sukaina Mohsin Ali, a first-year student from Pakistan, died on April 10.
Sukaina Mohsin Ali, a first-year student from Pakistan, died on April 10.
Credit: 
Photo supplied by Rabia Khattak

When you saw Sukaina Mohsin Ali’s enthusiasm and dedication, you could believe in the impossible, Rabia Khattak, ArtSci ’08, told more than 150 students, staff and faculty gathered in the JDUC’s McLaughlin Room for a memorial to remember Ali, the first-year Pakistani student who died in her residence room on April 10.

Ali’s friends remembered her as a strong, outgoing and caring individual.

“[Ali] reached out to us and gave us tissues and advice for our problems,” Khattak said. “She always thought about other people before she thought about herself.”

Khattak said she’d met Ali on her first day at Queen’s. Ali approached Khattak—a fellow Pakistani and a second-year student—for guidance.

“She just approached me and we became friends like that,” Khattak said. “She was just so brave and so strong all the time and she was a very, very good friend.

“She did admit that she was scared, but she adjusted quite a bit and she was happy here.”

Feriel Kissoon, Artsci ’06, said she remembers Ali as a warm and loving person.

“She was so ready to help others,” Kissoon said, adding that throughout her time here, Ali had tried to take advantage of what Queen’s had to offer.

It was Ali’s lifetime wish to come to Queen’s, said Armeen Hussain, Ali’s cousin. “We hope that her spirit will be forever in your hearts.”

Hussain said that although it had been initially difficult for Ali’s family to send her to Canada to study, they understood how important it was for her.

“She was very happy here,” Hussain said. “She was the happiest the entire family had ever seen her.”

Hussain added that Ali had been very close to everyone in her family, and would be sorely missed.

“Her sister is totally devastated,” she said.

When you saw Sukaina Mohsin Ali’s enthusiasm and dedication, you could believe in the impossible, Rabia Khattak, ArtSci ’08, told more than 150 students, staff and faculty gathered in the JDUC’s McLaughlin Room for a memorial to remember Ali, the first-year Pakistani student who died in her residence room on April 10.

Ali’s friends remembered her as a strong, outgoing and caring individual.

“[Ali] reached out to us and gave us tissues and advice for our problems,” Khattak said. “She always thought about other people before she thought about herself.”

Khattak said she’d met Ali on her first day at Queen’s. Ali approached Khattak—a fellow Pakistani and a second-year student—for guidance.

“She just approached me and we became friends like that,” Khattak said. “She was just so brave and so strong all the time and she was a very, very good friend.

“She did admit that she was scared, but she adjusted quite a bit and she was happy here.”

Feriel Kissoon, Artsci ’06, said she remembers Ali as a warm and loving person.

“She was so ready to help others,” Kissoon said, adding that throughout her time here, Ali had tried to take advantage of what Queen’s had to offer.

It was Ali’s lifetime wish to come to Queen’s, said Armeen Hussain, Ali’s cousin. “We hope that her spirit will be forever in your hearts.”

Hussain said that although it had been initially difficult for Ali’s family to send her to Canada to study, they understood how important it was for her.

“She was very happy here,” Hussain said. “She was the happiest the entire family had ever seen her.”

Hussain added that Ali had been very close to everyone in her family, and would be sorely missed.

“Her sister is totally devastated,” she said.

Vice-Principal (Academic) Patrick Deane said he had the chance to meet Ali when she first came to Queen’s.

“She helped shape the community with her interests and her personality, her talents and friendships,” he said. “All of this represents n indelible mark which we commemorate today.”

Susan Anderson, international student advisor, said Ali’s outgoing nature made her stand out from the majority of international students.

“The first year in which an international student comes to campus is typically one in which people are trying to get to know the culture that they’re in,” she said. “People have different strategies for finding a place for themselves.”

Ali, on the other hand, went out of her way to participate in a number of activities and volunteer opportunities that sparked her interest, Anderson said.

“[Ali] distinguished herself from many others by being proactive,” Anderson said. “This is not easy to do.”

Among the International Centre’s programs Ali participated in were a country representative program, a diversity training program and an English language volunteer program.

“She loved to talk and she thought she could use something she loved to help someone else,” said Riley Dillon, an international education student-intern.

“[Ali] really cared about people and she wouldn’t want to burden you by saying she’s homesick,” Dillon said. “It wouldn’t matter how tired she was, if she saw that I was tired she’d be concerned for me.”

Outgoing STRIVE chairs Tim Philpott and Tara Tran said Ali, an environmental science student, had been an enthusiastic volunteer with the AMS environmental group.

“She always had ideas at every meeting she went to, and she was always really gung ho,” Philpott said.

Tran said Ali had a genuine passion for the environment and had participated in STRIVE events such as Fossil Fuels Day, in which different STRIVE members had to impersonate individuals who consumed too much energy.

“[Ali] totally played the part as if she really was that kind of person,” Tran said. “She was just so into it and so enthusiastic … she just put her heart into it.”

Sirena Liladrie, spoken word coordinator at CFRC, said Ali had volunteered in the spoken word department of the radio station during first semester. Liladrie said she was impressed by Ali’s “sunny disposition” and outgoing attitude.

“She was a real go-getter,” Liladrie said. “She was very bright and sunny, very intelligent … [and] well-versed in the way that she spoke. She was just a very brave person.”

During the memorial service, Hussain encouraged any students who knew Ali to come forward to her family with stories and memories of their friend.

“We would greatly appreciate anything you can tell us about your time with her,” she said.

Ali Piyarali, Ali’s uncle, described his niece as a high achieving, unique individual.

“[Ali] was a very highly talented person,” he said. “It’s difficult for such a young woman to go out and set her own path.”

Piyarali said Ali’s family has requested that the University establish a scholarship in her name.

“What they would like very much is a scholarship in her name for a needy student,” he said. “We really want to have something in her memory.”

—With files from Brendan Kennedy

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