Campus News Student Spotlight

Student graduation speaker will highlight celebration

UGA student graduation speaker Karli Bryant stands on the steps of the chapel
Spring 2022 Commencement student speaker Karli "KB" Bryant. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Karli “KB” Bryant to speak at spring 2022 Commencement on May 13

For Karli “KB” Bryant, the University of Georgia was her first—and only—choice.

“This was actually the only school I applied to because I knew I wanted to be here, and luckily enough for me, putting all my eggs in one basket worked and I got in,” Bryant said. “I’m very happy with my decision and I wouldn’t change a thing honestly.”

A first-generation college student from Marietta, Bryant will graduate from UGA in May with a Bachelor of Science in communication sciences and disorders from the Mary Frances Early College of Education. A lover of writing and communication, she said celebration will be the central theme of her address to 2022 graduates.

Campus connections

Bryant participated in numerous campus organizations and volunteer groups at UGA, including as an Arch Society member and a peer mentor with Destination Dawgs, an inclusive post-secondary program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

UGA student graduation speaker Karli Bryant

Spring 2022 Commencement student speaker Karli Bryant in front of the UGA Chapel. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

“We hang out with the students during the day, we go to lunch, we get them involved on campus, which is something I’ve been working on for the past year,” she said. “It’s like, ‘let’s go to the rodeo together, let’s go to a football game together and all hang out’ and it’s been probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I absolutely love it and our students are great.”

Last summer, she led the “Super Sixteens” as a 2021 orientation leader. Orientation leaders guide incoming students in campus tours and provide resources to help prepare for their first year at UGA.

“It truly was an incredibly life-changing summer, and I met some of my best friends and some of the best people I know in general who have changed me for the better at orientation, so I cannot speak higher of that position. I loved it,” Bryant said.

UGA student graduation speaker Karli Bryant

Commencement student speaker Karli Bryant worked in security at the UGA library during her time attending the university. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

As a freshman, she chose communication sciences and disorders as her major after working on a journaling assignment about communication in her First-Year Odyssey seminar.

“I really love to write, and I enjoy theater and singing, and I realized all of those things coming together is just a love for communication,” she said.

Her interest in theater incorporated writing as well. She wrote a one-act play that a company in New York workshopped, and in fall 2020, she wrote a full-length play and worked with a UGA theater group, the Thalian Blackfriars, to produce it as a feature film.

The throughline of communication across her interests helped influence her decision to study communication sciences and disorders.

“[I realized] I could turn this love and driving passion of mine that has fueled all of my activities to date into a career that not only is exciting and engaging, but also helps people communicate in the best way, whatever that looks like for them,” Bryant said.

Continuing the journey

Bryant said when she found out she would be addressing the Class of 2022, she couldn’t quite believe it.

“It just doesn’t quite feel real, almost, that it could be me,” she said.

She enjoyed being part of a close-knit cohort of students in her undergraduate program in the Mary Frances Early College of Education.

UGA student graduation speaker Karli Bryant

Spring 2022 Commencement student speaker Karli Bryant. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

“I’ve taken so many cool classes, and I tell people all the time that I feel so fortunate and lucky to have found something that I’m genuinely so excited about doing,” Bryant said.

Following graduation, Bryant will spend two more years at UGA for her master’s program in the college to become a speech language pathologist. She and most of her cohort applied to graduate programs together, reinforcing the feeling of community.

“Just being a part of that supportive, cohort-style community and also learning things that I’m just so excited about having the opportunity to do has been such a pleasure, and I can’t wait to continue doing it for two more years.”