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Graduating Software Engineer Delivers Speech At The Jonsson School’s Fall’21 Commencement Ceremony

Esteemed faculty, fellow graduates, friends and family, thank you for joining us this morning to celebrate a momentous occasion. My name is Renae Sedluk, and I am a second baccalaureate student receiving a bachelor’s of science in software engineering today. We are gathered to celebrate all of us — what we have learned, what we have endured and what we have accomplished.

There were the lessons that we learned in the classrooms, and the lessons that we learned from one another. Our paths that led us to this university may all be different, and our stories at this university may all be a little different, but we can find commonality in our triumphs.

Five years ago, I sat in a seat, similar to you all, graduating with my first bachelor’s degree, lost and unsure of what the next chapter of my life would be. I had just gotten comfortable with being a college student. I finally was feeling confident, only to be leaving the safety of what I had grown to know. But we are not leaving this university without support. We still have our friends, our family and our classmates. Turn to them and continue to support one another. We are united in our shared experience at this university during a unique moment in time.

When I first decided to return to university for another degree, I was pretty intimidated. I knew I was smart and capable, but I didn’t have a technical background. I had to take all of the prerequisite courses in order to get into the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. It was thanks to my advisors who helped me build my unique path forward, blending the credits from my previous degree with the courses I would need to take here. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of textbook reading to get into the Jonsson School. After a few years, many hard classes, stressful exams and nights spent with my mind buzzing over code, I can now stand here with you all today and say I am a software engineer. I am not an imposter, and neither are you. We made it, Class of 2021.

“The best technology is made by minds that work in different ways, by people with different experiences and by a place to share those ideas. We can all provide that place for ideas to grow.”

During your time here, you may have made friends in the dorms or dining hall, playing pingpong in the Student Union, or joining one of the many dance groups. Maybe you joined the UTD Archery Club like me. We share an appreciation for the abnormalities on our campus, like Enarc and the Tobors. Some of us may be finishing a degree in under four years, some may be finishing a degree in six or seven years, but we are all leaving here today with that degree. Because we made it.As we move forward into the next chapter of our lives, move with purpose. I personally stand for diversity and inclusion in the technology industry. The best technology is made by minds that work in different ways, by people with different experiences and by a place to share those ideas. We can all provide that place for ideas to grow. I hope you all leave today with your degrees ready to take on the world with purpose. Thank you, and congratulations!

Renae Sedluk is graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in software engineering. She joined The University of Texas at Dallas in 2019 after earning her first bachelor’s in international relations and affairs and anthropology from Florida State University. She has been on the Dean’s List several times. In addition to her classwork, she worked as a software engineering intern at JPMorgan & Chase. After graduation, she will join the software engineer program at JPMorgan & Chase in February.


The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 4,000 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,010 master’s students, 140 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 42 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2021. With the University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

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