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RTC’s Virtual Commencement Amidst COVID-19

In just a few months, life as we know it has changed due to COVID-19. People are now wearing masks and social distancing. In-person events, such as prom and graduation, have come to a halt. This new normal has left many frustrated. However, “during tough times like these, we need to be strong and support one another.” These were some of the words of Amisha Rana, the Student Speaker for the 2020 RTC Virtual Commencement.

Rewind to April 14, 2020, when I received an email that read, “[YOU’RE INVITED!] RTC Class of 2020 Commencement!” As I read further, I realized that RTC was organizing a virtual commencement to celebrate its 2020 graduating class of 1,400 women from 300 universities. I felt honored and grateful to be a part of it. And I believe that the 1,399 women that read this email felt the same way, too. This was something we needed — a way to celebrate our significant milestone called ‘graduation.’

Guest Speakers

The Commencement was filled with encouragement, love and support. Amisha’s and Ms. Sue Gordon’s words stood out to me.

Amisha’s speech was inspiring and eye-opening. She encouraged me and drew my attention to the fact that I am not alone. I belong to a community of other women going through the same experiences, and we can work through them together.

Ms. Sue Gordon, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Honored RTC Virtual Commencement Speaker, spoke about her journey in life. She shared her experiences and gave words of wisdom. Her statements, “Know you’re not alone,” and “Go forth and do good,” motivated me to continue to make a positive impact wherever I go.

A Community of Women in Tech

The event came to an end with a video compilation of all graduates. As I watched, I saw many other women graduating with me — their picture, name and qualification on each slide. When I saw my name, I stared at my computer screen and smiled; the video brought me great joy.

RTC’s Virtual Commencement was a memorable one. It was a time to celebrate a milestone and remind ourselves of the journey ahead. Although we will face new challenges, we are not alone. We are living in tough times, but we can get through it together.

-Deborah Mepaiyeda, RTC 2020 Graduate