Ceremony of Excellence 2019

The most important lesson I’ve learned
while going to school here at Weber State is to remember that the process is not a race.
It’s a journey. Initially, when I first came to college, I — I just kind of wanted to get in, get out
and be done, but there’s a lot more to learn, and you learn a lot about yourself.
There’s a lot of students that believe that they — they might not have what it takes.
I know I started at the very, very bottom when it came to, you know, math, and I thought, maybe
I’ll never be able to do, you know, what I need to do. But I stuck to the course and I was able to kind of make it through by using help from, like, the Math Hub or the Writing Center, and so
there’s lots of people here on campus that are willing to help you, but you have
to go out there and, you know, kind of seek it. The best advice I’d give to an incoming college student is to get involved. Start networking early, start talking to your teachers, and use the college student role to your advantage. My journey to graduation was a little bit different. My first two years, I didn’t get involved, I just came to school and then went home right away, but now that I have gotten involved, since my junior year, I actually do like staying on campus even longer. So last year, I was the Asian student senator, and this year I’m the senate president. It’s kind of crazy going from a senator to managing 22 senators of my own. It’s allowed me to help other students on campus that really don’t understand, like, that they have a voice here and they can make a difference. The most important life lesson I learned in
school was probably being able to take the things I learned in class and applying it
to my career path. In school, I was able to take actually two information security courses,
so I learned being able to apply the theory that they have in those courses to actual
real life, benefited me a lot. I actually applied for a master’s program at
Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and I recently heard back from them. So, this fall, I’m going to be doing a master’s also, in cyber-security, and it’s kind of coupled with management and
policy so I can, kind of, make it what I want to, and it’s — it’s gonna be great. So, advice
I’d want to give to a new, incoming student, would be knowing when to ask for help. You know,
have a group of family members, classmates or professors that understand your situation
and are willing to help. When you ask for help, it’s not like you’re incapable, it’s
more that you’re utilizing your resources and knowing how not to burn yourself out during
some of the most challenging times of your life. It was through CME that helped me recognize my goals and helped me find my identity, and
really find my voice. I didn’t think that we had, as students, have so much voice and
power at the university level. Without my involvement with the CME and the American Indian Council, I would have never known that I could voice my opinions, a voice for my other colleagues, voice for the American Indian students. They really helped me see my strength that I never
knew I had. I felt welcome, I felt safe, I felt like I could persevere. I have a three-year-old
and a 10-year-old daughter, and I just want them to know that they can continue to go
to school and that it’s, you know, as a woman, as a female, that they can persevere, too. I think the CME is important because it provides tons of resources. And it’s not just resources
in terms of scholarships or clubs, but it’s also resources in terms of connecting students
to one another in regard to experiences and career fields and identity. As a first-generation
student, you’re kind of like, what do I do here? I go to college, it’s a very different atmosphere in comparison to high school, and the CME provided this comfort environment and provided a —
a journey that definitely uplifted all my experiences. The most important lesson I learned as a college student was to keep on going. Never quit. Don’t be shy and don’t shy away from problems or challenges, because that’s what’s gonna help you make — make you a better person and that’s what’s gonna help you grow. My favorite moment would probably be working for the Center of Multicultural Excellence. I made a lot of new friends there, and they were all so nice and understanding, and they were social. I don’t know — it felt like they were my second family here at college. I keep in touch with almost everyone there. I come visit them once ever two or three months
when I can. I go and give Laurie a hug, because she’s my work mama. She’ll always be my second mom, basically. I trust her so much and I love her so much —
I love everyone there. Advice I would give to an incoming college student is just find their passion, find a reason why they wanna be in school, what they want to study, and just find a niche, or just several niches that you can feel not only comfortable in with, like, friends and everything, but just, places where you can grow. Once you’re able to find something, whether it’s like, clubs and organizations, the CME, the student association, however else, then it kind of gives you a reason to keep coming because there is such a huge second support
system. After graduation, I hope to apply for jobs on campus, hopefully get something in an advising capacity where I’m allowed to mentor students to stay on track for graduation — keep retention rates high — just basically achieve their goals to be
the best person they can be. My title is Diversity Affairs Officer and
I work for the mayor of Ogden. And so my title’s very broad, and what I do is very broad. I do a lot of community education, community contact and connections, and mostly a resource in the city for the community at large. Three things that the center helped me in my growth
as a professional is the number one, is being confident in my identity, and I’m proud of that. Number two, I would say that it’s connections and relationships matter, and they can be long-lasting. And number three, I think just the memories that are going to be with me forever, and those are something that they gave me
that I will hold on to dearly. A message that I would give to the top ten seniors and all of those who are graduating and being honored at the Ceremony of Excellence would definitely be to never forget where
you came from. Never forget your roots. We need to remember not only those experiences
that we’ve had in our undergrad and growing up, but also the people who helped us to get
to where we’re at. In my current role as the director of the GEAR UP program here at Weber
State University, I’ve been able to give back to the community — the same community that
I came from. Back in 2011, when I graduated, I had the honor of being a top-ten senior
at the Ceremony of Excellence. It added a lot of meaning to my overall experience as an undergraduate student. We should honor those students who — who make an effort and who overcome so much to graduate from college and to move on with a successful career so that they, in turn, can give back to the community.

Michael Martin

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