Message from the dean: Celebrating spring 2023 graduates

Barry Gerhart
Dean Barry Gerhart

Congratulations to all Badgers who are graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison!

There are many outstanding Badgers who will be receiving degrees, each with their own unique stories and accomplishments. I would like to highlight two of our international students who have blazed their own trails during their time at the university.

Jiayi “Joy” Chen from Fuzhou, China, will graduate with a bachelor’s in communication arts with a concentration in radio-television-film and Japanese (one of the three languages she speaks). Some of you might know Joy personally, or through her role as a global engagement intern for International Student Services. As an international student herself, she has aspired to serve other international students through the power of media.

Joy has spent her last semester studying in Japan and has been an integral part of our Global Badger community. She had many wonderful experiences and memories to share of her time as a student here in Madison, but had this advice for her peers. “Be eager to share your experience with the world, but also humbly listen to what the world wants to share with you.”

Abdullah Marei (they/he) from Egypt is earning a degree in psychology. Abdullah has been a leader in supporting Madison’s LGTBQ+ community through activist work and the founding of Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) student organization. In addition to QTPOC, Abdullah has spent time volunteering at the Rape Crisis Center of Dane County, tutoring students affiliated with the McBurney, and serving as an L&S Dean’s Ambassador. They are also a 2023 ISS recipient of the Ginsberg Award which recognizes outstanding student leaders.

Reflecting on their time at UW–Madison, Abdullah said, “Today, I have not only flourished, but I have become a proactive scholar on campus and a pioneer in Madison’s queer community through my organizational, social justice, research, and activist work. My intersectional identity has directly informed my interest in intersectional research, working with QTPOC and my goal of democratizing and decolonizing science.”

After graduation, Abdullah will attend University of Toronto for a PhD in social psychology.

I wish Joy and Abdullah the very best and am eager to learn of what the future holds. This is a sentiment I hold for all of our Badgers.

No matter where your path leads, I hope you will continue to continue your relationship with the University of Wisconsin–Madison. After all, graduation does not just mark the end of your time as UW students, it also marks the beginning of your time as alumni. I sincerely hope you stay connected and look for ways that you might also create opportunities for future generations of Badgers in the same way those who came before you have done.

Congratulations again on this wonderful milestone!