A Glimpse of Graduation

Fern Yoon

Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering

“It’s not the hand that you’re dealt but how you’re playing your cards.”

These lyrics by rapper Ludacris aptly describe my college experience here at UTD. In the fall of 2003, I entered UTD as a hesitant and dubious freshman, apprehensive of UTD’s young reputation. However, over the past four years, UTD has become an integral part of my life as I’ve thrown myself into campus life, making the most of all the opportunities that came my way. Now, I stand here today, appreciative of all the opportunities that have made me a successful graduate of UTD.

UTD has become an integral part of my life as Iíve thrown myself into campus life, making the most of all the opportunities that came my way.

As many of you can attest, over the past four years, UTD has grown exponentially in every facet and have now established itself as a formidable university. In four years, the student population at UTD has increased significantly, our campus has expanded, and new traditions have been established. In four years, we’ve managed to surpass other public Texas universities to attract the best and brightest students from all over.

Our professors and students alike have gained recognition in their respective fields for their cutting edge research. Our students collect accolades statewide and nationwide through their involvements with student organizations on campus. The rapid growth and achievements UTD has experienced over the past four years has translated into countless opportunities for its students to grow and excel as well.

If asked for their opinion of UTD, some students will grumble about the lack of things to do on campus. Some have and will continue to wish we had a football team. Others will complain about the stereotypical UTD student’s shy nature. However, ask students who are involved on campus and you’ll hear the excitement and pride in their voice. I am one of these students.

Take yourself back to when we were freshmen. How many of us remember getting free food everyday through first month of college from different student organizations bribing you to join their organization? Subsequently, how many of us have become those who provide the free food for these freshmen and other students hoping they’ll come to your meetings and events? From the various student organizations on campus, how many of you have found a group of students who share your same interests and beliefs?

UTD has taught us to grab every opportunity presented to us. Talent and skill would not go far if not for the opportunities to showcase itself. It is what you do that makes a difference.

As students of a growing university, we had the chance to give our two cents about campus beautification, compete in nationwide competitions, and partake in undergraduate research opportunities. In the past four years, I too have found my niche here at UTD through my involvement with the Society of Women Engineers, UTD Varsity Tennis Team, and Kappa Alpha Theta. The tennis team instilled school spirit in me, Kappa Alpha Theta gave me a chance to give back to the UTD community, and the Society of Women Engineers allowed me to realize my leadership capabilities.

Over the past four years, I have grown to adore all that UTD has to offer. I love it for its exceptional education, commitment to improving student life, and the wealth of opportunities for ambitious and hard-working students.

I believe that it is up to each and everyone one of us to make the best of the situation. UTD has taught us to grab every opportunity presented to us. For some of us, it has taught us to create these opportunities. Talent and skill would not go far if not for the opportunities to showcase itself. No matter where you are or who you are, it is what you do that makes a difference.

I have grown to adore all that UTD has to offer. I love it for its exceptional education, commitment to improving student life, and the wealth of opportunities for ambitious and hard-working students.

As our undergraduate careers at UTD come to an end, I charge all of you here today to always keep that in mind. With all the talent present today, we can accomplish so many things. Take hold of every opportunity to do something different, to make life what you want it to be.

I’d like to end my speech with a quote from Mark Twain. A prolific writer, Mark Twain believes in reaching for the stars and exploring new avenues, a characteristic I believe UTD graduates possess.

From the words of Mark Twain himself, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Fern Yoon graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in electrical engineering and minors in business administration and music.  She is a McDermott Scholar, a Green Fellow, has served in a full-time research position at UT Southwestern Medical School, has worked in the Nanoscale Integration Laboratory at UT Dallas and, along with Nobel Prize winner Russell Hulse, was a part of the Interactive Museum Companion Project.

While at UT Dallas she was president of the Society of Women Engineers, a member of Golden Key, held several offices within Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, was a member of the Student Advisory Board, the Order of Omega Honors Society and the Collegium V Honors Program.  She is embodiment of the scholar athlete. She served as the Co-Captain of the UTD Intercollegiate Tennis Team and was named ASC Academic All-Conference in both 2005 and 2006.

After having received offers to undertake her doctorate at Rice University and UT Austin, she has chosen to accept an offer to work on her Ph.D. at UT Dallas.