Pictured: Information technology major Zoya Haq, right, and architecture major Caitlyn Ashley Silva Dy will be this year’s commencement speaker and singer, respectively.
On Sunday, May 21, thousands of students, their families and friends, and faculty staff will gather on the Long Island campus to celebrate New York Tech’s 62nd annual commencement. But before this year’s graduates move their tassels to the left, two students will take the stage to deliver a speech and sing the national anthem.
Selected for their “charisma and energy,” according to the Commencement Committee, Zoya Haq, a candidate to receive her B.S. in information technology (IT), and Caitlyn Ashley Silva Dy, a candidate to receive her bachelor’s degree in architecture, will serve as the commencement speaker and singer, respectively.
While Dy does have a love for singing, her passion isn’t the only reason why she auditioned to sing on the big day. “I wanted to do something memorable for graduation,” she says. “I feel excited, but I am a little nervous.”
Haq is also feeling the jitters that come with delivering a speech to such a large crowd. “Public speaking is an activity that was always nerve-wracking for me,” she says. “This year, wanted to challenge myself and put in my application for student speaker so I can come out of my comfort zone. It is also a lot of pressure because it is important to relate to all the students and leave them with something memorable.”
Both students attend the New York City campus, which they enjoy for the diverse, fast-paced lifestyle found in the Big Apple. They also agree that their professors and classes made them well prepared for their future careers—Dy has her sights set on owning her own architecture firm, while Haq aims to lead a team and mentor her peers at an IT project management company.
Reflecting on their time at New York Tech, the two graduates feel confident to enter the “real world.” Their college experiences were the driving force behind their own self-discovery, citing their professors’ easy accessibility and opportunities to meet industry professionals.
“My professors would always hint at what the workforce would look like. These tidbits of knowledge prepared me for interviewing with different organizations,” says Haq. “New York Tech taught me how to connect with people and be true to myself.”
Dy adds, “New York Tech prepared me for working with different types of people, as well as helped me understand the value of time management. The classes I’ve taken during my time here have helped me define what type of architect I want to be.”
After the graduation festivities, Haq and Dy have no shortage of opportunities waiting for them. Haq, who completed her bachelor’s degree program in December 2022, is now enrolled in the data science master’s degree program and works full time with the Department of Justice. Dy will continue her full-time position with an architecture firm and plans to take the architecture license exams.
For future New York Tech graduates, Dy reminds students to work hard but to “Take your time,” she says. “Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. You will get to where you want to be as long as you keep at it.”
Haq also emphasizes the importance of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. “It may seem difficult right now, but it will all be worth it. Never be afraid to ask questions, utilize your resources, and begin to act on your post-graduation plan now rather than waiting until you receive your diploma.”