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Congratulations, Class of 2013

The UT Arlington Class of 2013 rewrote history May 11 and 12 when a record number of graduates crossed the College Park Center stage.

The chance of rain caused Graduation Celebration to move to College Park Center on Friday, May 10, but  actor, producer, and former White House aide Kal Penn had a sunny forecast for the Class of 2013.

 “I hope you travel and fail and succeed,” said Penn, who hinted at his acting and political career. Go to work for a doctor. Work for the president. Make some babies. Turn off the mainstream news and find some happiness.

Student speaker Rene Grimes told classmates that life is about choices and to learn from them. President James D. Spaniolo told graduates the way to achievement isn't easy, but that's what Mavericks do.

The University awarded more than 4,500 degrees, a 14 percent increase compared with the Spring 2012 semester.

Among those receiving their diploma will be Padmini Veerapen, who will earn her doctoral degree in mathematics from the College of Science. The exceptional student has already secured herself a job post-graduation, a tenure-track position teaching algebra at Tennessee Tech University. While completing her degree, Veerapen received a National Science Foundation-funded fellowship to work in Arlington high schools, engaging students and teachers in mathematics research.

Tania Sederdahl, meanwhile, will join PricewaterhouseCooper after she receives her master’s degree in taxation. Last summer she was an intern for the international professional services firm, and was impressive enough to earn a fulltime position. Outside of the classroom, Sederdahl has spent time volunteering at First Baptist Church of Arlington, where she teaches in special ministries. She also works closely with the special needs community.

Two more noteworthy graduates, Josh Sidin and Andrew Maddox hail from opposite ends of the planet—Australia and Cleburne, respectively—but share a passion for helping high school students learn to love science, technology, engineering, and math. During their tenure at UT Arlington, the mechanical engineering majors created a tutoring program for at-risk, pre-college students that pairs them with college mentors; it has since been implemented at Arlington’s Lamar High School. Though Sidin and Maddox had been developing the idea for a while, they were spurred into action after attending Jeb Bush’s lecture last year during the Maverick Speakers Series. Bush’s obvious passion about education fueled Sidin and Maddox to get the program started.

Congratulations to these and all the other students who make up the UT Arlington Class of 2013.

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