William Floyd senior from Shirley earns full scholarship to Emory University


Saniyyah Pitner’s dream of becoming a doctor just got a big shot in the arm.

The William Floyd High School senior received a full scholarship to attend Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, through the QuestBridge National College Match program. The initiative connects America’s highest-achieving seniors to top colleges and universities across the country.

“Receiving the QuestBridge Scholarship … meant that all of my hard work had finally paid off,” Saniyyah said in a report posted by William Floyd School District. “I was able to get into an amazing school without the fear of debt on my shoulders.

“This scholarship allowed me to take a huge leap into obtaining my goal of becoming a doctor and showing my younger siblings that they too can achieve success,” added Saniyyah, who plans on studying biology, biochemistry and neuroscience at Emory.

Saniyyah’s scholarship will cover tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses for all four years that she attends Emory University.

Saniyyah noted that she is inspired by the example her mother has set for her as she battles health issues.

“From my mother, I learned to take advantage of the opportunities in front of me, which is why I push myself to be better and always strive for more,” she said.

Saniyyah is taking some of the most challenging classes offered at William Floyd, including multiple Advanced Placement courses as she makes the most of her high school experience in Shirley.

Consider the many extra-curricular activities she’s involved. Here’s a few of them:

  • Youth and government, and mock trial programs.
  • National Honor Society .
  • Science Honor Society.
  • Foreign Language Honor Society.
  • Plays the viola with the William Floyd High School Chamber Orchestra.
  • Volunteers as a tutor.
  • Earned the Young Writers Creativity Award.
  • Holds a part-time job.

Additionally, she had taken on independent research on flatworms using DNA barcoding with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center. She presented her findings at the school district’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Symposium.

“Saniyyah is an exceptional student with a remarkable work ethic,” said her guidance counselor, Amanda Ericksen. “She has proven through her academic successes that she can handle a rigorous college-level curriculum. I believe she will one day accomplish her goals, as she sets them high with every intent to take on a challenge and achieve her dreams.”

Saniyyah attributes her success to determination and perseverance, setting goals and knowing that she is capable of overcoming various challenges including self-doubt.

“For any younger students who wish to achieve something that seems impossible to accomplish, please do not discredit yourself. Set out a plan on how you can achieve that goal, and no matter what, follow through,” she said. “Additionally, always try your best because you’d be surprised on how much you can accomplish.”

QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship recipients are admitted early to QuestBridge college partners with full four-year scholarships that are provided by the colleges and universities, ensuring that the students and their families are getting an affordable education at a top college.

This year’s recipients hail from 48 states, including Washington, D.C., as well as the U.S.territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. The recipients have an average unweighted GPA of 3.93, and 94% are in the top 10% of their graduating class.