Alexa Coupet: Following Dreams an Ocean Away

Selected to address her fellow December 2023 UNC Charlotte graduates, College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) senior Alexa Coupet shared heartfelt remarks with the crowd of students, their families and University faculty during the first of two undergraduate commencement ceremonies that capped-off the fall semester.

A computer science major with a concentration in cybersecurity, Alexa left her home country of Haiti for the United States in July 2018 to pursue her college education on an F-1 student visa, first at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and eventually at UNC Charlotte after transferring during the summer of 2021.

“I stand before you not just as a graduate of UNC Charlotte, but as a representative of a resilient and diverse community,” Alexa said with pride to her assembled fellow graduates.

Growing up, Alexa’s family used to come from Haiti to vacation in the United States every summer in Florida — that is, until her older sister left home to attend UNC Charlotte when Alexa was 10 years old. The Coupet family then started visiting Charlotte instead each year to visit their eldest daughter’s newfound home; she was joined in the city by Alexa’s brother who attended Queens University, and eventually by Alexa herself when she started her studies at CPCC.

After starting her college years as a marketing major, Alexa grew academically restless after a few years. Searching for a new field of study, she learned about all of the opportunities in the world of tech and computer science, which seemed like an intriguing fit given her skill in understanding technical subjects and with intuitively understanding computers in her youth. 

Alexa was inspired to work toward transferring to UNC Charlotte due in large part to CCI’s world-class cybersecurity program, and because of the great experiences her sister and several other cousins and friends who’d attended the University had during their time as students. Since joining CCI’s ranks in 2021, she has been grateful for the growth-oriented challenges she’s met head-on in her computer science coursework. Alexa has loved being in an environment of supportive fellow scholars, and has truly grown to love the University’s beautiful campus as well as the wide array of kind, caring people from a plethora of different backgrounds she’s met during her studies.

“My journey through UNC Charlotte has been a tapestry of challenges and triumphs. From the vibrant classrooms to the late-night coding sessions, each step has shaped me as both a learner and an ever-growing member of my community,” Alexa shared in her address. “As an international student, the challenges of adapting to a new culture and facing academic rigors have been profound. Sacrifices were made, but they were investments in a brighter future. Today, I stand here not just as a graduate, but as a testament to the power of hope fueled by action.”

“But my story is just one thread in the tapestry of our graduating class,” she continued. “Look around at the incredible individuals sitting beside you — each with their unique journeys and achievements. Our success is not solitary; it’s a reflection of the collaborative spirit that defines UNC Charlotte.”

“As we stand at the beginning of a new chapter, let’s recognize the vast potential and opportunities awaiting us,” Alexa said. “The pursuit of knowledge doesn’t end today; it’s a lifelong journey. Continue to learn, adapt, and take action to shape a future where your aspirations are realized.”

“Through our collective actions, we can overcome challenges, making the world a better place for generations to come.”