Plattsburgh State junior Shiyiheeim Nartey-Tokoli is well-known for his involvement on campus.
As a resident assistant of Moffitt Hall, former artistic director of Night of Nations, the vice president of club K.I.N.K.S. and co-chair of event planning for the N.A.B.A. (National Association of Black Accountants), the double major in accounting and finance is always busy.
“My first year, I was very involved. I went to almost every club meeting,” Nartey-Tokoli said. “On Mondays, [my roommate and I] went to Black Onyx. On Tuesdays, we went to Fuerza. Thursdays, K.I.N.K.S. and O.W.E.”
Born in High Point, North Carolina, he said he had no problem moving to Plattsburgh because he was “already used to the quiet.”
Before enrolling, Nartey-Tokoli attended an open house at PSUC, where he met a group of “cool” people who gave him a tour around the school.
Along with his welcoming experience at the open house, he was also attracted to the art and said that he believes PSUC is a place where he can grow.
“I learned a lot about myself, who I am as a person and what I like and dislike,” Nartey-Tokoli said about his first-year experience.
Most people are surprised to learn the story behind why he chose accounting as his first major.
Prior to PSUC, Nartey-Tokoli attended a film high school. During that time, he participated in a theater camp, was a part of a Broadway show and was heavily interested in the film industry.
“When coming to college, I was like ‘alright, this isn’t really a film school. How can I still have my passion while getting an education?’” he recalled.
Accounting reminded him of editing a film.
“When editing film, you have to make things fit perfectly. Once they fit perfectly, you can just tell and feel it. You can trace back your steps to see how it was before. Accounting is kind of the same way,” Nartey-Tokoli said.
He also said that he’s always been good at math, which is why he chose finance as his second major.
“Math and history have always been my favorite subjects, but history requires a lot of writing,” he said. “I didn’t like that, so I was like, ‘let me go the math route.’”
This past summer, Nartey-Tokoli was a risk management intern at Amalgamated Bank, where he was responsible for reviewing card activities for customers, completing various reports and going over contracts with the bank’s vendors.
“It gave me a specific direction of where I want to go with accounting,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to work for a Big Four [accounting firm]. Right now, I’m leaning towards Ernst & Young. I want to do either tax or consulting for them.”
Among the many people who know Nartey-Tokoli is public relations junior Chelsea Asare. She met him during the second week of their freshman year in Fall 2015, and the two started dating that same year.
“[Shiyiheeim] seems weird and funny, but he’s cool. He can articulate himself well,” Asare said. “He’s helped me take advantage of everything that comes my way and not limit myself. He’s made my college experience worthwhile.”
Nartey-Tokoli is Ghanaian and African American. He takes pride in his ethnicity and culture and has helped Asare do the same.
“Shiyiheeim has made me realize my worth,” Asare said. “He made me love being Black.”
Political science junior Oumar Diallo met Nartey-Tokoli through his friendship with Asare, also during their freshmen year, but the two didn’t become good friends until sophomore year.
“He’s a cool, smart and hardworking person,” Diallo said. “He has a good way of handling stuff [and is] very organized. You won’t know when he’s feeling down because he’s always upbeat.”
While reflecting on his college experience thus far, Nartey-Tokoli said that his most memorable experience was two summers ago, when he was an English tutor and counselor for incoming EOP students.
“It was very memorable for me because I’m not an EOP student; I’m general admission,” he said. “So, seeing how welcomed and inviting the community is when they come here was inspiring. Seeing their motivation and how hard they worked to secure their spot in this school made me appreciate the school even more.”
Nartey-Tokoli said that coming to PSUC has helped him gain a voice.
“I was always someone who was outspoken, but my shyness and my wanting to be likable kind of held me back,” he said. “Coming to SUNY Plattsburgh, I realized that if I don’t tell my story, no one else will.”
Nartey-Tokoli views college as a fresh start, so he recommends students get involved just as he has.
“Take risks. Go hiking. Explore the community,” he said. “Even though people say there isn’t anything to do here, there’s a lot that you can appreciate about SUNY Plattsburgh.”
Email Safire Sostre at firstname.lastname@example.org