On a blue background, the Brandeis seal is shown above white text that reads:
Computer Science Program
Celebrating the Class of 2020]
[A slideshow plays. A small portion of Brandeis' seal is shown. White text reads:
Brandeis Memories 2020.
A group of people take a photo at the Louis D. Brandeis statue.
Two people stand in lower campus before a food truck. "Street Grub" is written on the side of the truck.
A spread of bread, dips, crudité, and drinks are shown on a long table.
The Shapiro Science Center is shown from afar.
Students sit in a classroom, the professor stands between the rows of tables, among them.
A row of eleven people stand before a blackboard, giving 'thumbs up' to the camera.
Tim Hickey stands before a whiteboard in a gray suit holding a sign that reads: Tim Hickey.
A newspaper photograph shows students sitting at a table with computers open.
Two of the students have their heads thrown back, and one has an arm raised to their mouth. White text above reads: Shack Night. Thursday, January 23rd, 2014. 8 PM, Vertica Lounge, Volen Building.
A whiteboard is shown with red writing depicting a mind-map.
Yellow flower-shaped windmills are shown decorating a lawn in rows.
Students are shown sitting in a lecture room, looking ahead.
The Lights of Reason are shown in the daytime.
Eight students are shown at the front of the class writing on a whiteboard while the other seated students look on.
In a theater on a stage, three panelists sit in chairs, while another sits on the edge of the stage. The audience can be seen.
A classroom setting is shown with students on their laptops and three people stand around the instructor's lectern.
Yellow flower-shaped windmills are shown decorating a lawn in rows.
Asian calligraphy is shown.
A plaque reads: Leonard Bernstein's Piano from the Berstein family home in Sharon, MA. Purchased from the Berstein family in 1951 by Professor and Mrs. Nahum Glatzer. Given as a gift in 2002 by Judith Glatzer Wechsler '62.
Dozens of small American Flags decorate the lawn before the Shapiro Campus Center. A student is seen along the path.
A landscape photo shows Brandeis' lower campus with mountains and an expansive partly cloudy sky in the background.
A small whiteboard shows a schedule of meetings for Thursday, Sept. 24.
A portion of Ridgewood Residence Hall is shown.
Students wearing orange sleeveless jerseys play soccer on a large lawn.
Large trees are shown along a side facade of the Shapiro Campus Center.
An outdoor statute made of blue and silver metal has a face with blue features and a large red heart on the outside of its chest.
Students are shown chatting around a computer in a full computer lab.
A small group of six people sits around a conference table with their laptops. A webpage is projected on a screen above them.
Four people dressed in business attire take a photo before a whiteboard with their arms around each other.
Four other people dressed in business attire take a photo before a whiteboard.
In a large lecture hall, many students are shown with laptops open before them.
Notes neatly arranged in boxes are shown written in multiple colors on a whiteboard.
The Shapiro Campus Center is shown from behind a small hill on an overcast day.
A stone statue depicts a nude female figure with long hair reclining on her arm with her legs bent.
Trees with bright red leaves are shown on campus.
An image shows construction being done on the Usen Castle.
The Spingold Theater Center is shown on an overcast day.
A book sits on a marble counter. Two people can be partially seen behind the counter in conversation.
On a whiteboard, four quadrants have been drawn and labeled, and multicolored sticky notes have been placed within them.
Students stand in a hallway surrounding a large poster with many geometric black lines.
A sign reads: Edison Lecks Chemistry Buildings Kalman Science Center. A white arrow points to the left.
A small motherboard is shown with many wires coming from it.
The discarded husk of a lychee fruit is shown.
Professors are shown sitting around a conference table.
A diagram is shown on a whiteboard.
Students and a professor excitedly take a photo, all holding small robots with wheels and other equipment.
Students eat cookies at the front of a classroom.
A student holds a laptop in one hand and pets a small white llama on a leash. A few students look on.
A student attempts to take a piece of a large Rice Krispies Treat in the front of a classroom while other seated students talk amongst themselves.
Students are led in song by a conductor in the Shapiro Campus Center.
Rows of colorful sticky notes are shown.
Students eat pizza in a classroom.
The campus is shown covered in a thick blanket of snow.
A poster reads: I can't live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it or thinking about it.
A black and white photo shows Leonard Bernstein as he conducts.
Photos and leaflets are shown tacked onto a bulletin board.
Two students are shown in the Maker Lab. One smiles at the camera, and the other wears a headset over their eyes.
In a busy fair setting, a student leans over a table to talk to the people sitting behind the table.
A group of students working on laptops is shown.
In a busy fair setting, students type into laptops.
Another student pets the small white llama.
The library's courtyard is shown. A student walks towards the entrance, where a white animal stands, alone.
A student is shown at a desk.
Students are shown playing a game with tennis balls outside of the Shapiro Science Center as a professor watches, standing next to a poster on a tripod.
Pengyu Hong poses next to another person.
Students and faculty pose for a picture with their arms around each other.
The sky is shown above the library.
Three students pose outside before a tree.
Three students pose outside before a lawn.
Three other students pose outside before a tree.
Three students pose outside.
A blackboard is shown, covered in notes.
A professor is shown giving a lecture in a full lecture hall.
Students are shown at a fair. A representative stands before a table with a sign that reads: Developing Software for Health Care Organizations, and speaks with a student.
The fair is shown again, very busy.
A projection shows a graphic that reads: Use Your Voice and Vote.
Students are shown working in groups in a large lecture hall.
Students are shown standing and holding laptops in a large lecture hall.
Students are shown sitting in a row before a large window.
A laptop screen is shown.
Students are shown at a table, where a few laptops and other equipment sits.
Again, students are shown at a table, where a few laptops and other equipment sits, looking at the laptops' screens.
Again, students are shown at a table, where a few laptops and other equipment sits, looking at the laptops' screens.
Students are shown sitting at a table before laptops, as students walk past them.
A man in an ice cream truck smiles. Below him are advertisements for different ice cream bars.
The campus is shown at night.
Notes are written in multiple colors on a whiteboard.
Two students present a scientific poster to a professor.
A student poses with professor Antonella Di Lillo while two others watch.
Three students pose with professor Antonella Di Lillo.
Three students pose for a picture before an orange wall.
Students and professors engage at a fair.
Autumn leaves are shown on the edge of campus.
A pamphlet reads: Venture Deals. Be smarter than your lawyer and venture capitalist. Fourth Edition. Wiley.
The Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center is shown at dusk.
Cloud above campus are shown.
A fencing match is shown.
Two people sit in a large room decorated with a few colored lights and balloons and a few large shapes outlined on the ground in tape.
A woman in a long green dress stands in the center of the taped shapes and reads from a piece of paper.
Trees are shown in central campus covered in snow.
Hundreds of people are shown in the Shapiro Campus Center.
A conductor leads a band in the Shapiro Campus Center.
The audience is shown enjoying the performance.
The campus is shown at night, covered in snow.
Professors are shown sitting at desks, one raises a hand, mid-question.
In the same room, four smartly dressed students give a presentation to those professors and a few other people.
Posters are shown in a room with a few people.
Students and professors pose before three posters.
Students pose for a picture mid-discussion with a professor.
A student stands before a computer screen where an image is shown, in conversation with a peer.
A student smiles at the camera before a poster.
A student looks at a whiteboard where three photographs hang and notes are written. A professor gestures at the board, mid-conversation. Another seated student watches.
Five people pose for a picture around a small round table.
A student poses for a picture holding a laptop in their hand, while balancing another on their lap.
Students are shown seated in a lecture hall.
Again, Asian calligraphy is shown.]
[Nianwen Xue in a suit and tie is seated in front a Zoom virtual background of a park.]
Nianwen Xue: So should we get started? Welcome to the mini commencement of the graduate students in the Computer Science Department of Brandeis University. My name's Nianwen Xue, Director of Graduate Studies of Computer Science. Today we gather virtually to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020. You're graduating under extraordinary circumstances, so that's a testament to your resilience and hard work.
I have a brief overview of today's program. We will start with our student speaker, Jade Garisch, and then our faculty representative, Professor Pito Salas, who will speak on behalf of the faculty. After that, Professor Hongfu Liu will read the names of the graduates. The program will conclude with the Brandeis Chamber Music Chorus singing the Brandeis Alma Mater. So without further ado, let me introduce Ms. Jade Garisch.
Jade Garisch appears in front of a Zoom virtual background of a blue slide with the Brandeis insignia and logo with the words "Congratulations CS Graduates of 2020!"
Jade Garisch: Good morning to those of you in the same time zone as me. Good afternoon and evening to everyone else. Giving a graduation speech over zoom is not something I had ever thought that I would do. In fact, obtaining a master's degree in Computer Science was not something I had imagined either until recently. But as we have all learned through this pandemic, life is unpredictable and we need to approach it with openness and the flexibility to adapt to our circumstances.
Like many of you, my undergraduate degree is not in Computer Science. My background is in theater and the performing arts. I came into this program knowing I wanted to improve my coding and technical abilities in order to make art and tell stories in new and interesting ways. I know the faculty took a chance in letting me into this program, but I'm really thankful that they did.
In my application letter, I brought forward the idea of creating a system that would be used on stage as lights, sound, and essentially a robotic actor. This system's name was Robot Downey Jr. I was able to bring this vision to fruition last year during my independent study, where Professor Susan Dibble, a dancer and theater practitioner from Brandeis' Theater Department, agreed to dance with a group of robots that were programmed to be her lights, sound, and scene partners.
In addition to exploring the idea of Robot Downey Jr., I've been able to explore many other passions and ideas through my graduate studies in Computer Science. Just this semester alone, I was allowed incredible opportunities to create collaborations between coding and my love for theater, storytelling, and people. I was given a job designing and teaching a course in 3D animation, VR and game design for Brandeis' Precollege program. I created an app with a group of fellow Brandeisian coders that allows for organizing protests in a safe and effective manner. I was even able to explore 19th and 20th century poetry, when writing a research paper on named entity recognition in poetry.
If you had asked me last year if I could do any of these things, I would have said no. I'm not being ironic when I say that all of us will walk away or sign off from this virtual ceremony with a degree that will allow us to work in any field in the world, including theater. We have all been equipped with powers, powers that allow us to build anything from scratch, from any location in the world. While coding is a super power, it can also be frustrating. But so can life. In fact, coding and life have a lot of similarities. Firstly, no code is perfect. As Pito Salas has said more than once, there will always be bugs. What we can do is try fix as many bugs as possible and build a system that does not crash or fall apart from a single bug. In the same way, life will always have it's imperfections, but we still need to keep trying to improve upon the bugs. The way we can do this is by working consistently, and never giving up.
I've also learned during my time here, just like many of you have, that the smallest change in code, a change of a single character can improve a program beyond comprehension. In life, the smallest new habit or act of kindness can alter your life drastically. Code is not always easy, but we can choose to either look at it with frustration and despair or we can look at it with excitement, curiosity, and wonder. The same is true for life. In a field that is analytical, I encourage you all to stay curious and creative. Start a side project that seems crazy just because it interests you. Don't stop learning, exploring, and playing.
Before I end, I absolutely must say thank you to our amazing faculty and staff for helping us get here. Your support, tremendous strength, guidance, flexibility and innovation during this time has been brilliant. On behalf of my class, thank you so much. I also must take this opportunity to thank my support system. My mom, my step dad, my family, my friends and my partner. I'm sure everyone here was not alone throughout the completion of this degree. I'm sure many family members and friends were here for this class in times of stress. Thank you so much to all of you.
Lastly, to my fellow classmates, you are here today despite all the challenges thrown at you. You have overcome so much to be here. Gaining a degree like this has taken hours of working, debugging, and knocking your head against the wall. But you did it. You have the spirit to overcome anything life throws at you, including a global pandemic. No matter where life takes you, please do not lose that spirit. Congratulations. I hope you will continue to use your coding powers to build a life that is satisfying, and makes your soul come alive. Thank you.
Nianwen Xue: Thank you, Jade. So now let's have our faculty representative, Professor Pito Salas speak.
[Pito Salas in a suit and tie is seated in front of a Zoom virtual background of a blue slide. The text on the slide reads: "We're standing on their shoulders. What goes around, comes around. Stress shows you are challenging yourself." Under the text, a small black and white photo of a boy is captioned: "Pito Salas '76."]
Pito Salas: Good morning. Thank you, Jade. I can tell you're a theater person 'cause you delivered it beautifully, better than I will be able to. Good morning, graduates' family members, friends, other Brandeis community members. I do appreciate and welcome the opportunity to say a few words today of recognition in celebration of this. Let me start with the obvious. It's been a very weird semester for all of us. You may not be able to tell, but for example my hair is just way too long — I really need a haircut. Seriously, just from my own perspective, it's been quite something to watch you respond and cope with the sudden and radical change in your day to day life. Just two short months ago, it seems like practically from one day to the next, you all had to move off campus, stop coming to classes, and then pick up things as if nothing changed, over zoom. But of course, everything had changed. We suddenly were teaching and learning remotely over zoom.
That's an obvious dramatic change and challenge in and of itself, but it took me a little longer to realize the impact of being away from your classmates and the campus must have had on your ability to learn. I didn't quite understand initially the power of working alongside classmates, whether it's in class or outside of class. That that community brings mutual support and encouragement and motivation and support. And suddenly, you're home, maybe with siblings, parents, other family members. As one student said to me, it's like being on some weird combination of being in school while being on break. It's been hard, but wow, you did it, you made it. You found a way to manage and kept your side of the bargain. And so here we are at your graduation.
I want to congratulate all of you, students and also family members and loved ones, who are all impacted and still kept things going. There are a few simple ideas I want to share with you today based on my own personal experience that I've applied to my own life and continue to do so. Maybe there'll be a nugget here that might mean something to you.
You've worked hard, you've studied, you've learned, you did a ton of homework. You've gotten a lot of grades, and we're celebrating your actual graduation. Now what? It's very easy to be influenced by what you think you are supposed to do, what you always were expected to do from yourself or from others. It's smart to listen to the wisdom of others but, you know, in the end I believe that only you know what in your heart of hearts is right for you.
As you can see from the little picture on the right there, I'm actually a Brandeis alum, a few years ago. There's my picture. I came in as a pre-med student, believe it or not. And when I got that D- for organic chemistry I switched to Computer Science, which was of course a smart move. I suggest that you think hard and listen closely to what your inner thoughts or your subconscious is telling you, and try to block out some of the noise. And then when you're deciding on your next step, remember, it's just one step; it's not the rest of your life. Choose carefully and think but remember that this is just the first step, a very important one, but it's not forever. In fact, statistically, and on average you'll change jobs two or three times in the next ten years.
My second point. No one has achieved anything on their own. You are where you are today as I am where I am today because of what my parents and even my ancestors did before me. I'm standing and you are standing on their shoulders. The decisions they made, the choices, the sacrifices — think about it. Thank them. Appreciate them. And be ready to support and help the ones that come after you.
Along those lines, reach out and make connections. Lend a hand, give some advice. Share some experiences with others in your field. Do it as a gift to them. Others will do it for you as a gift to you. It means taking the time to make connections and stay in touch with the people you feel a connection to. Classmates, certainly. My two best friends today I met at Brandeis 40 years ago. But also others you meet at a conference, at a presentation, at a course, at a family gathering. Take the time to stay in touch with them, answer their emails, introduce them to each other. You will be amazed in what surprising ways this will impact you in the future.
Finally, remember, and this I believe. When you start a new chapter and are worrying about the impression you will make, bring it. Show up, be present. Whatever's expected, do a little more. Under promise and over deliver as they say. And when you feel a little stress, a little anxiety related to the commitments you've taken on, the projects you are trying to complete, the work you have to do, take that as a reminder that you're growing, that you've chosen to challenge yourself to see how far you can go. Don't choose the easy path, the easy course, the easy job. You're selling yourself short. Challenge yourself because I believe if you don't feel a little tense, like I do now, a little stress, it means you're not making the most of what you can do and how far you can go.
So to the graduating students and your loved ones, what a year it's been! Really. I wish you all the best in whatever comes next for you, and again congratulate you for this important achievement and milestone in your life. It's a year none of us will forget. Thank you.
Nianwen Xue: Thank you, Pito. So, now comes the most important part. Professor Hongfu Liu will read the names of the graduates.
[Hongfu Liu in a suit and tie is seated in front of a Zoom virtual background of Shapiro Science Center. As he reads the name of each graduate, they are shown briefly on screen. The professors all applaud after each name.]
Hongfu Liu: Hello, everyone. It's my honor to read the names of the graduate students in the class of 2020. Okay, let's start.
Nikolaos Tsikoudis, Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Retrospective Computations over Sets of Snapshots: Design, Implementation and Optimization.
Yuchen Zhang, Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Temporal dependency structure modeling.
Luyi Bai, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Cheng Chen, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Haoran Chen, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Kuan-Yu Chen, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Fernando Arturo Estrella, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Chenfeng Fan, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Jade Garisch, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Erica Michelle Granor, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Limian Guo, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Qiang Guo, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Ye Hong, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Yu Huai, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Varun Ramesh Jois, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Bohao Li, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Mingzhen Lin, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Guirong Liu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zhidong Liu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Ziyu Liu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zhuolin Mao, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Yang Shang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Devan Joseph Walton, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Linqi Wang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Ye Wang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zekai Wang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zhiheng Wang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Bo Wen, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Jiageng Wu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Yulun Wu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zijie Wu, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Han Xia, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Wenxiao Xiao, Master of Science in Computer Science. Recipient of the award for outstanding academic achievement for Masters students in Computer Science. Congratulations.
Anyan Xie, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Yijun Xiong, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Haofan Yang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Linxuan Yang, Master of Science in Computer Science. Recipient of outstanding teacher's assistant award for Master's students in Computer Science. Congratulations.
Fengzhencheng Zeng, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Lu Zhai, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Shangyu Zhang, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Dongyu Zhao, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Jingyuan Zhao, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Tian Zhao, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Xiangran Zhao, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Zhihao Zheng, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Jialin Zhou, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Ti Zhou, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Yirun Zhou, Master of Science in Computer Science.
Sibo Zhu, Master of Science in Computer Science. Recipient of the graduate research award in Computer Science. Congratulations.
Okay, congratulations again to all the graduate students included in the Class of 2020.
Nianwen Xue: Congratulations, class of 2020. So when the ceremony is over, the faculty will, you have a chance to talk with the faculty members who will be waiting in their virtual rooms. So the ceremony will end with the singing of the Brandeis Alma Mater sung by the Brandeis chamber music chorus, which has two of our graduate students.
An opaque blue slide shows the Brandeis University logo with the insignia on its left, centered on the slide. The text below it reads:
The Brandeis Alma Mater
performed by the
Brandeis Chamber Singers
Dr. Robert Duff, conductor
A Zoom video call shows each singer in a collage view. As they sing, a video of campus landmarks feature:
The Brandeis University entrance sign
Shapiro Campus Center behind the statue of Louis Brandeis
An overhead view of the Shapiro Science Center]
"To thee, Alma Mater
We'll always be true
All hail to thy standard
The white and the blue
Proclaiming thy future
Recalling thy past
Our hopes spring from mem'ries eternally cast
With sorrows we'll leave thee
New worlds to create
May deeds of thy children
Make thee forever great
May deeds of thy children
Make thee forever great!"
[Fade to black]