Recent electrical and computer engineering graduate Ryan Coble had to write an essay, submit references and present a mock speech before being selected to deliver remarks to his fellow graduates during the fall 2013 commencement ceremony at North Carolina State University.
Coble, who spoke at Raleigh's PNC Arena on Dec. 18, said being chosen was worth the trouble.
"I wanted to do something to give back to my parents to say, 'Thank you,'" Coble said. "I wanted to surprise them."
Through the process of writing his speech, Coble reflected on his time at NC State and found he'd been given a great opportunity to share what he learned with his fellow graduates.
His speech focused on positivity and perseverance.
"You can do anything you set your mind to," Coble told his peers. "Don't feel like you can't do something just because it's hard. Anything worth something is worth fighting for."
Coble completed his undergraduate degree in 4 1/2 years as a double major in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in Spanish. He is originally from Liberty, NC, and has three younger brothers. He received the Gates Millennium Scholarship, given annually to 1,000 talented minority students nationwide; the scholarship will extend to his graduate work as he pursues a PhD in computer networking at NC State.
During his time as an undergraduate, Coble completed two internships at Cisco and was a member of the University Scholars Program, which encourages students to engage in research and scholarship in their discipline through a variety of events, courses and activities. One of his favorite memories of his time on campus is a trip he took to New York as part of the program.
He served as vice president of the W. E. B. Du Bois Honor Society, was a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society, and was a participant in Service NC State activities. Coble encourages students to be as involved as they can be, to be well rounded, and to take advantage of the many opportunities NC State offers.
Now in graduate school, Coble reflects on his undergraduate courses which, he says, were more theoretical. He looks forward to this change and gaining in-depth knowledge about areas of interest. He will also continue his work with Dr. Mihail Sichitiu and Dr. Yannis Viniotis, both in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The NC State community played a large role in Coble's success as an undergraduate, he said.
"There's always someone willing to work with you on something and to help you."
Credit: NCSU Engineering News Services article "Engineering student delivers remarks to fall 2013 graduates".