Emily Warren Chosen for Commencement Speaker

There is every reason in the world to celebrate success, but every good success story always has a falling action, something that requires the protagonist to rise above the rest. This success story is about Emily Warren, a 20-year-old UCC student chosen to be the student commencement speaker at graduation this spring and winner of the All-Oregon Academic Team 2019.

Emily Warren, the winner of the All-Oregon Academic Team 2019 award, knows both the depths of life’s struggles and the height of achievement. She also knows that these journeys are better with company.

“One thing I work hard to do is not to define my success in comparison to others. I am motivated by the success of others, I learn from the success of others, but comparison is a slippery slope that only distracts you from enjoying your own accomplishments,” Warren says.

“The All-Oregon Community College Academic Team, a part of the national All-State Community College Academic Team program, recognizes high achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Phi Theta Kappa, community college presidents, and community college state associations sponsor All-State Community College Academic Team ceremonies in 38 participating states,” says the Oregon Community College Association. This achievement clearly involves a lot of work and dedication and couldn’t have been easy for Warren.

Warren says that she gets intimidated just like everyone else, but she thrives on a busy schedule. “I know the harder I work now, the better I will set myself up for success in the future,” Warren says.

Warren takes every opportunity that she can to volunteer for new activities, leadership opportunities and scholarship opportunities. “I love taking on new challenges and serving my community as much as I can because I know I will never look back and wish I had lived a less dynamic life. Between school, working part-time, volunteering regularly, holding leadership positions on campus and community organizations, and spending time with my family and friends, I love my busy life.”

Warren still has fears to face, however. “I get intimidated just like everyone else. Just last weekend, I competed in a local preliminary to the Miss America competition and placed first runner-up. I know that placing is an accomplishment, but it was still disheartening not to win. I have spent a lot of time processing the experience, and it made me remember something important about self-doubt. Leading up to the competition, the idea of putting myself out there was scary. I chose to not let the fear hold me back. In fact, I decided fear was more reason to try because nothing worth having comes easy, and I never want to look back and wonder what could have been,” Warren says.

Warren says the hardest thing she faced at UCC was finding the time to fill out the extensive scholarship applications. Warren gives some words of wisdom about the process: “I have learned that it is always worth it to apply for every scholarship for which you are eligible. There are usually less applicants than you think and many scholarships even go without being awarded due to lack of applicants. Your chances may be better than you think, and any chance is better than not applying at all.”

Warren plans on graduating from UCC with an AAOT (transfer degree) this spring and then transferring to OSU next fall. Her major will be Biology-Health Sciences and pre-medical studies. Warren wants to be a gynecologist, an educational goal known for struggles, but she is optimistic. “I am an optimistic person. I may see potential struggles in my future, but I believe that as long as I make my life choices uninfluenced by self-doubt, I will be proud of where ever life takes me,” says Warren.

It is very easy to see that Warren cares a lot about this award. Warren has also gained a lot beyond this award. “I was recently selected to be the student commencement speaker at graduation this spring. I am so inspired by this opportunity to address our graduating class and the UCC community. I cannot wait to share my message about the courage and perseverance we all have in common. I am especially grateful to the committee of students who believed in me and my vision for the speech,” says Warren.