A Glimpse of Graduation

Audrey Popp

Bachelor of Science, Psychology

Welcome, and thank you for attending the commencement ceremony for the graduates of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. I would like to begin by extending a thank you to all professors, deans, parents, relatives, coaches and members of the community who have assisted us in achieving such success. With your support and guidance, we are here today to celebrate such an achievement as our graduation.

Profile Photo of Audrey Popp

It is an honor to be graduating from The University of Texas at Dallas. As a transfer student in the middle of my freshman year, I was elated to find the welcoming environment and studious atmosphere that UT Dallas was able to offer me. I quickly found the students to be of a different and higher caliber. Achievement, building a community and learning are among the many goals we have set these past semesters while completing our coursework. Each of you holds unique experiences you have had while attending this university as well. But it is because of my own experiences that I feel so honored to be graduating from UT Dallas today. Having attended such an honorable university, each and every one of us is now able to place this success at the top of our resumé, knowing future employers and admissions departments will view it as a respectable accomplishment.

The success of graduation that we celebrate today is the mark of our future. Now is the time to embrace our roles as graduates. We have several responsibilities to maintain based upon our graduation, three of which I find important to mention. We are embarking on a journey with so many opportunities to offer. One of our main responsibilities lies with our ability to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in today. Adaptation is very important. What our world is today may be different compared to tomorrow, five years from now, and especially 10 years from now. Our education has given us the tools to adapt to contribute to our society. Now we must put the knowledge we’ve gained to use. We have the opportunity to continue achieving success, while making a difference in our world. Adaptation is essential for today and in the future. It is applicable in every sense of life. Whatever it may be, we as graduates must be able to adapt to overcome the hurdles and struggles we may face.

“Now is when we take the education we have attained and apply it toward the greater good. It is our responsibility to contribute to society, and give back the support that we have received.”

This graduation marks the point when we are given the opportunity to invent ourselves. We have all set goals to achieve, and graduating from college is just one of the first. Some of us are going on to further our education in graduate programs; others have opted to enter the professional world, or maybe start a family. Regardless of the path each of us has chosen, another of our responsibilities is to make the most of our lives. We must always commit ourselves to enjoying life, accomplishing what we can, and striving to achieve more. At times this may be difficult, yet it is our responsibility to live life to its fullest.

Finally, as a graduate it is necessary to realize the importance of giving back. There are so many individuals in this room and in the community who have stood by our sides and provided support for us throughout our education. Now is when we take the education we have attained and apply it toward the greater good. It is our responsibility to contribute to society and give back the support that we have received. There are times, such as the devastation of Hurricane Sandy or the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, when it is vital for people to come together as a community and support one another. Although these are two extreme occurrences that demonstrate a need for our contributions, it is crucial for us to go out into society and promote a sense of community every day. We must find a passion and pursue it. Whether it is to find a cure for cancer or to aid in the fight against child abuse, there is a place and a purpose for each and every one of us. We have completed our period of learning, and now it is time for action.

With our success comes responsibility. As new graduates, I leave you with this:

  1. It is time to go out and face the changing world we live in today and learn to adapt when necessary.
  2. Live life to its fullest.
  3. Give back to the community.

Carrying out these responsibilities will allow us to flourish in our role as graduates. Congratulations, graduates of December 2012. Today marks the beginning of our success in the years to come.


Audrey Popp graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in criminology. After transferring from Texas State University to UT Dallas during her freshman year, Audrey became involved in many campus organizations, including Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, in which she served as secretary for two semesters. She also completed 300 volunteer hours for the UT Dallas Jumpstart program and was awarded the AmeriCorps Educational Award. She also participated in Dr. Marion Underwood’s research lab studying social aggression. For two years, she assisted Dr. Nancy Juhn as an undergraduate teaching assistant in a statistics for psychology course. She also completed a summer internship at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, working with abused children and their families. After graduation, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree in social work.