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Boston, MA - August 26: An graduating army veteran, center, is recognized for her service during the 53rd Commencements of the University of Massachusetts Boston at TD Garden in Boston, MA on August 26, 2021. UMass Boston held two ceremonies to celebrate the Class of 2021 and also the Class of 2020, which didn't have a traditional in-person graduation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

4 UK graduates selected to address May 2024 Commencement Ceremonies

4 UK graduates selected to address May 2024 Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement speakers Sophia Salyers, left, Princess Agbozo, Emily Wiley, and Alayna Tobo on April 29, 2024.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has selected four student representatives to speak at the UK May 2024 Commencement Ceremonies, taking place this Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4.

The student speakers are Sophia Salyers, Alayna Tobo, Emily Wiley and Princess Magor Agbozo.

Sophia Salyers

Salyers, from Lexington, Kentucky, is a Lewis Honors College student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, with a minor in criminology and a social science research certificate. She will the give student address at the 9 a.m. Friday, May 3 ceremony.

During her time at UK, Salyers has served as a program intern for UK Counseling Psychology, a student coordinator for UK Transformative Learning and an assistant teacher at UK’s Early Childhood Lab. She is the founder and president of the student organization, UKY Medicats, and member of UK Psi Chi, the Psychology Student Association, 4 Paws for Ability and the Kentucky Psychological Association.  

Salyers says she hopes her fellow graduates will feel connected to her through her speech and recognize the magnitude of their hard work and dedication during their time at UK.

“I want my fellow graduates to know that I love them and support them, even if I haven’t met them,” Salyers said. “They are in this community that UK has built, and that makes us family. I hope they reflect upon their time here and appreciate the moment. My time at UK has been a life-altering, incredible experience. I will never forget my time as an undergraduate and I am so grateful for all of the experiences, connections, and lessons I have been provided. I never in my wildest dreams imagined my life could be as rewarding as it is in this moment. Thank you, everyone, who made this happen!”

After graduation, Salyers will begin a master’s program in counselor education through the College of Education. She hopes to one day work in pediatric counseling psychology at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital for children with chronic illness.

Alayna Tobo

Alayna Tobo, from Atlanta, Georgia, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the UK College of Communication and Information, with a minor in coaching from the UK College of Education. She will give the student address at the 2 p.m. Friday, May 3 ceremony.

During her time at UK, Tobo has served as news director for WRFL-FM radio and hosted the UK student podcast “Bowman’s Friends” and her personal podcast, “The Honest Human,” dedicated to fostering honest conversations and celebrating individuality. She serves as vice president of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Association of Black Journalists, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Iota Sigma Chapter, where she has served as community service chair and public relations chair. In 2021, she was named Miss Black UK and Miss Black and Gold in 2022. She is also a student-athlete on the UK STUNT team.

Tobo says she is “incredibly honored” to have been chosen as a student speaker.

“Upon arriving at Kentucky, amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, I was determined to leave a lasting impact beyond my own journey over the course of my four years here,” Tobo said. “From all the things I’ve gone through to get to where I am today, I am confident that my story has the power to inspire countless individuals to persevere through their own life journeys. I want people to know that even though life doesn’t always go as planned, you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. Thank you, Kentucky, for taking a young girl from Atlanta and showering her with love and showing her a home away from home through community.” 

After graduation, Tobo plans to work as a podcast producer and radio personality, and is considering  graduate school to earn a master’s in media management. Her overall goal is to one day own her own media company and mentor and provide opportunities for youth and Black women in media.

Emily Wiley

Emily Wiley, from London, Kentucky, will graduate with a master’s in public administration and a graduate certificate in non-profit management from the Martin School for Public Policy and Administration. She will give the student address at the 6 p.m. Friday, May 3 ceremony.

Before coming to UK, Wiley graduated from Morehead State University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness.  She also served as student body president for two years.

During her time at UK, she has worked as a research assistant for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and a graduate fellow for the agriculture, natural resources and energy committees for the Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort.

Wiley says being selected to address her peers at Commencement is a privilege that she will never lose sight of.

“I applied to be a commencement speaker due to my experience as a student who faced an immensely adverse circumstance: losing a parent. Thanks to the support of the Martin School faculty and staff, I was able to continue my degree and graduate on time as a first-generation college student,” Wiley said. “I hope that my story resonates with many, as we all have faced obstacles while pursuing our degrees. As I detail in my speech, regardless of the barriers that have come before the Spring 2024 graduating class, our passions have driven us to the path of our degrees. That is a remarkable feat, and I am proud to walk across the stage alongside thousands of my fellow Wildcats.”

Wiley says through rigorous courses and research, the education she’s received from UK has fully prepared her to work in Kentucky policy after graduation.

Princess Magor Agbozo

Princess Magor Agbozo, originally from Ghana, is a Lewis Honors College student graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the UK College of Public Health. She will give the student address at the 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4 ceremony.

Upon arriving in Lexington to attend UK in 2020, Agbozo had to learn about a completely different country and culture. She credits the UK International Center for helping her get acclimated to a new environment and community. 

During her time at UK, Agbozo has worked as an intern in the Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning in the Kentucky Department of Public Health and has also been highly involved in undergraduate research, including the CHANGE Team in the UK College of Nursing; the Markey STRONG Scholars Program; and the SPARK Program with the Center for Health Equity Research and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. She placed second in the UNITE Research Showcase and third in the College of Public Health Undergraduate Showcase.

Agbozo has also been very involved in campus activities, including the Student Activities Board (SAB), where she has served as vice president of internal affairs, director of multicultural affairs and engaging issues chair. She was named “Director of the Year” by SAB in 2022. She has served as a tutor for the Center for Academic & Tutorial Services (CATS); a peer navigator and a first-year experience ambassador in the Office for Student Success; a resident advisor; a Student Wellness Ambassador; a College of Public Health Ambassador and an International Student Ambassador.

She has received numerous awards and honors, including the UK Women’s Forum 30 Under 30 award and the Lyman T. Johnson Torchbearer Award; and was named the 2023 UK Homecoming queen.

Agbozo says she applied to be student speaker to both encourage and celebrate her graduating class.

“As a class, we faced many barriers such as a pandemic that hindered plans, however, we persevered and were able to still attain our education,” Agbozo said. “Having gone through that experience, I wanted to be able to acknowledge the hard work students have put into attaining their degrees. I am honored to have been selected as a speaker and I hope after the speech, my fellow graduates feel celebrated and appreciated for all their hard work and dedication.”

After graduation, Agbozo will pursue a Master of Public Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. 

The University of Kentucky May 2024 Commencement Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, and 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.


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