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Serving the GW Community since 1904

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

SEAS graduates urged to take risks, utilize experiences at Commencement ceremony

Jordyn Bailer
W. Scott Amey addresses students at the SEAS celebration Friday

Members of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences class of 2024 were encouraged to “be bold” and willing to risk failure at the school’s Commencement ceremony in the Smith Center Friday.

Student speaker Tyler Wyka, guest speaker W. Scott Amey and SEAS Dean John Loch congratulated over 950 graduates as they prepare to enter the workforce as the next generation of engineers. The speakers told students to follow their dreams and use their knowledge and experiences from GW to influence the world around them.

Wyka asked graduates to close their eyes and reflect on their personal stories at GW since it is hard to do so when students are overwhelmed during the year. He said graduates should take their “collective story” as engineering students at GW and add them to their own personal stories.

“And at the end of our lives, whether your purpose was to invent that groundbreaking tech, get a stable job that supports a family or explore the world, maybe even save the world, I hope that what you’ve gained from your time at GW is a valuable part of that story,” Wyka said.

He said GW’s “unique” engineering school is part of the graduates’s collective story because while it’s a smaller program compared to the international affairs and political science programs, there are still lots of connections to the engineering industry in D.C. He said GW’s D.C. locaiton allows students to explore applying engineering to other disciplines like policy and law.

There were 796 students in SEAS in 2023 compared to 1,843 students in the Elliott School of International Affairs and 564 students in the Political Science department which is housed in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, according to GW enrollment data.

“So when you go out there and you show the world what a GW engineer is, when we show the world what a small school in D.C. can do, when we take our stories and we add them to the reputations of all the institutions we interact with, our stories will be good ones,” Wyka said.

Amey, who graduated from GW with a master’s in computer science in 1975 and served on the Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2018, said during his career, he decided to follow his dream of being an entrepreneur, starting an information technology company that gained nearly 100 federal contracts. He said graduating students who want to start their own businesses or be entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid of failure and should follow their dreams because if it doesn’t work out there will always be another job waiting for them.

“If you get the opportunity to start your own job, and you do your homework, and it feels right, do it,” Amey said.

Amey said careers do not define the graduates but that the relationships they form with loved ones and their contributions to society are more valuable than any career.

“Sooner to the sooner than you think, our future will be in your hands,” Amey said. “I am 100 percent confident that you will rise to the challenge.”

Dean John Loch said graduates should take the knowledge they gained at GW as engineers and computer scientists and use it to empower themselves and have an impact on the world as the leaders of future generations.

“Having a bold vision and accomplishing great things requires a willingness to fail, even to fail spectacularly as many of you have heard me say,” Loch said. “But you are GW engineers and computer scientists, so I know you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue to be bold and you will accomplish great things.”

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