Emely Guevara was supposed to walk the stage this week as part of Rutgers' graduating class of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic changed all plans.
Instead of receiving her bachelor's degree at Prudential Center in Newark on Friday, Guevara will be part of a star-studded, global graduation ceremony called #ImStillGraduating. She will be one of the selected student speakers and a virtual valedictorian.
The Clifton, New Jersey, native had done everything right as a student. She graduated high school a year early, landed a prestigious D.C. internship and was set to receive her degree in political science.
"I had to come home two months early from internship only for friends to tell me Rutgers went remote," Guavara recalled how COVID-19 first impacted her.
Like millions of other college and high school seniors around the country and the world, Guevara was losing out on events that would celebrate her achievements.
That's why Her Campus, a website geared to women in college, organized the virtual even Friday to celebrate the Class of 2020 with a virtual all-star celebration featuring Eva Longoria, Andrew Yang, Liam Payne and more. Aside from encouraging messages from celebrities, Guavara and other graduates will also get to speak.
"I always wanted to give a speech at my graduation but now I get to give it on a global scale. Worked out in the end," she said.
She also said she hopes to inspire other graduates by speaking about support systems she believes every person should have. Guavara credits her family for being there for her and helping her achieve her goals.
"Do you fully believe in yourself to achieve your dreams? And if you don’t, do you have a support system strong enough that is willing to support you? If you asked them 'I want to go to the moon' they won’t question," said Guevara.
The graduate might not wish to go to the moon but she still has big dreams. She says she plans to attend law school in the tri-state and eventually wants to become the U.S. Attorney General.