Rosa Bautista '16 2016 Commencement Address

 

Rosa C Bautista De La Rosa ’16 of the first graduating class of the major in digital forensics, spoke to the class of 2016 at the University at Albany School of Business Commencement. She has accepted a job offer at EY.

Good afternoon, Dean Siegel, faculty and staff, alumni, friends, family and especially graduates. It is an honor and a privilege to be speaking to all of you. Congratulations to the class of 2016 and to the first graduating class of the digital forensics major.

As graduates, we have the distinct honor today, of being at the center of attention. Enjoy it. Soon our parents will stop coddling us and giving us money. We will be essentially on our own. Very soon we will be the grown ups. That means booking our own dental appointments and figuring out taxes. But beyond that, it’ll mean settling into a new chapter of our lives. A grand one – because frankly four years’ worth of coffee, sweatpants and surviving the School of Business cannot be the best four years of our lives. Except that they were, all of them.

They say that in college you meet your friends for life, and I thought there was no way that the people who dare tag me on the most embarrassing pictures could be my friends for life – but there isn’t another squad who I’d rather embark on this journey with. As I look around the crowd I did not think I would be able to pick out my friends’ faces- and I actually really can’t because this outfit did not need glasses to look any more ridiculous.

I now realize that we as a graduating class are forever bonded. Be it the moments of dreadful solidarity we shared when selecting I-clicker answers in Professor Moshier’s accounting class or just the fact that most of our lives revolved around the Massry Center for Business – seriously finding an empty table in the Standish living room during peak hours feels close to scoring a Park Fest ticket. And as I reflect on the opportunities, events and people I have met during my time here – such as interning with a Fortune 500 Company, doing research and being the recipient of several scholarships - I know that I would pick this school a hundred times over. And If I had to pinpoint the exact moment when I knew I was in the best department for me; it was when I met my mentor, Dr. Sanjay Goel. I was inspired, by Sanjay and by the way in which the school made feel at home. There were no limits to what I was encouraged to do here, to what we were encouraged to do. And when you are both inspired and encouraged organizations like DFA, ISACA, ABLE, ALPHA and NABA are created. By students – who felt inspired to make it a better experience for others. I give my utmost respect to the School of Business’s leadership, and its dedicated faculty and staff- without you this day would not be possible.

To us graduates, UAlbany has seen us go from bright-eyed freshmen who quivered at 5 page papers to seasoned seniors who crank out 15 pages in four hours. We all also –hopefully- have some idea about our futures. Wherever it is you are planning to go next, you will be starting a new exciting chapter in your life, and much like college you may stay up late – either doing work or trying your damnest to forget about work. On those days you may wish you were 7 years old and your only worries were making it home in time to watch Rocket Power and remembering to feed your Tamagochi. On those days, you will need to hold on to your why. The same why that led you to these seats today. Why you suffered through the best and worst of times of your life. Why or how you passed Professor Fabio’s Forensic-Boot-Camp. Knowing your why allows you to walk in purpose- it is what will make it easier to wake up at 5AM for that new Job or what will give you the iron will to put yourself through a Masters program. Your why is what separates you from a quitter.

For me, the why has always been my family. I am here standing before you by the grace of God and because of my amazing family. Every one of them has had a key role in making this day happen. It begins with my aunt, who in the late 80s – migrated from the Dominican Republic to Queens. By 2001, when my mother, brothers and I arrived at JFK airport I was asked at customs, why it was that I wanted to come to the U.S. – I, a seven-year-old at the time, responded, “Because I want to be a professional.”

As a first-generation immigrant, I can say that I truly appreciate the value of opportunity. And that is what living in the U.S. presented to me- the power to decide my future. My mother worked odd jobs: housekeeper, babysitter, factory worker. I watched her sacrifice her land, her home, her people – so that I may have the chance to go to college and become a professional. And so, when I was just a kid I made myself a promise: that no matter what, no matter how, I would get a college degree, I would make her proud, I would make it worth her sacrifice. And here we are today. Mami, Gracias.

That is my why. You know yours – or else you would not be in these seats. Your dedication, passion and hunger got you to this day, and from it forth you will, I hope, not forget the reasons why your success was the only viable option – and that you find new reasons to fuel you on this journey. And as we put this day to memory, may it be a springboard for new and better milestones and memories in your life. And when we meet, at our 20th class reunion - and UAlbany is still under-construction- we can laugh together and marvel at the ways in which life just happens. So, congratulations to you: The 2016 Graduates of the University at Albany School of Business. I honor you all and good luck, not that any of you should need it.