Alumni Spotlight - A Q&A with Samyr Qureshi ’11, Co-Founder and CEO at Knack


Samyr Qureshi posing for a photo wearing a gray Knack polo shirt

Samyr Qureshi graduated from St. Petersburg College in 2011 with an associate of arts degree and continued his education at the University of Florida. Today, Samyr is the CEO of Knack, which partners with colleges and universities to scale free peer tutoring for students. When not leading Knack, Samyr lives in Tampa with his Husky mix, Koda. He loves to write and play music, especially on vintage analog equipment.

SPC: What is the most important lesson you learned outside of the classroom at St. Petersburg College?

Qureshi: The importance of welcoming diversity of thought, and independent thinking into the learning continuum.

SPC: What led to your decision to enroll at SPC?

Qureshi: What spurred my decision to enroll at SPC (as a high schooler by way of the Early College Program) was my boredom in high school! I never felt like I found my groove or fit in my early high school years, and I loved the flexibility, independence, and ability to get ahead by dual enrolling full time at SPC. It seemed exciting to have a taste of college early on and my peer cohort was so cool as it was a blend of a bunch of local high schoolers. That blend allowed me to break out of my circle and meet others that I ultimately clicked well with. 

SPC: Did a particular faculty or staff member make an outsized impact on you during your time as a student? How?

Qureshi: My English Composition (ENC1101 + 1102) professor, Dr. Ned Johnson, was so awesome and inspiring. His class taught me the importance of writing — in all contexts. He really pushed his students to think and write creatively for all contexts which I deeply appreciated. He ran an annual writing competition too which I ended up winning. He was just one of those professors whose passion and true love of education shined through every single day. He would even dress up as Mark Twain in a white suit (shockingly looked so much like him too)!

SPC: Any advice for current students?

Qureshi: You’ll often ask yourself, “how will I ever use this in the future?!” and that’s perfectly normal and smart to be asking. Certainly, find and question those use cases regularly but if it’s not clear, try and enjoy the process of learning. While sometimes painful, I’ve learned the constructive struggle is healthy — it’s just like life! Oh yeah and get involved on campus. If there isn’t a club or organization that suits you, start one and find others who share the same interests/passions.