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To celebrate student leaders who ended the year without traditional graduation ceremonies, Black Engineer magazine dedicated one of its magazine columns. In a special tribute to the Class of 2020, a few scholars share their thoughts on what this experience has meant to them.

Xzavier D. Brandon
Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, Alabama A&M University
“My collegiate experience at AAMU has resulted in immense self-identification and productivity. My involvement with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering, and the AAMU Honors Program has instilled in me the necessary foresight to bring about change.”

Felix Dogbe
Computer Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
“This graduation was to commemorate and conclude all the hard work and sleepless nights I endured in the past four years of my academic journey. This was meant to usher me into the working force and be celebrated for all my accomplishments as an undergraduate.”

Phillip Harding II
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Lafayette College
“Graduating to me means setting the precedent for my loved ones and those that follow. As a
first-generation Jamaican immigrant student and a first-generation college graduate, this
milestone in my life means that I have honored everyone that has guided me and walked with me
through this journey.”

Maria-Deney Hawkins
Computer Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
“College graduation means celebrating the hard work not only that I put in, but also the work my parents have put in to get here. It means proving the statistics that say my success is impossible wrong. It means the beginning of a new journey to even greater heights.”

Kareem Land Jr.
Computer Science, Minor: Economics, Towson University
“College, beyond the education, of course, has helped me meet amazing people and allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I would. College has made me more open and accepting and has gifted me lifelong friendships. College has helped mold me into a truly better version of myself.”

Damarius O’Shanice Spurlock
Mechanical Engineering, Florida International University
“Graduation is just the start to accomplishing my ambitions. There is a whole world that I have yet to fully experience, so to consider graduation as the finish line would be wrong. Everything up until now was just a warm-up.”

Angelica Watson
Mechanical Engineering, George Mason University
“My college experience at George Mason University was full of wonders. Going in as a freshman I had no idea what to expect. But once I was settled, GMU became home. I joined a few organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers, Women of Color in Stem, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. that greatly impacted my life. I met lifelong friends and gained sisters. As I enter the real world, I am now a Black female mechanical engineer, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.”

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