Two graduate and two undergraduate students will speak at the graduation ceremonies for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in May, along with two faculty members.
Tayler Lofquist and Sally Nuamah will take the stage as undergraduate speakers, while Janean Wilson and Dominique Harris will speak on behalf of graduate students. Professors John Sides and Christopher Cahill will speak on behalf of the faculty.
Lofquist, originally from Cleveland, graduated in December with a double major in history and political science. She plans to spend the next year in Colorado participating in Teach For America.
“I went to a public school and got a really good education, but when I came to GW I learned that not everyone gets that really good public school experience,” Lofquist said. “I want to be first responder to this crisis that we have in education.”
Though she hasn’t decided on the topic of her graduation speech, Lofquist said she is looking forward to the opportunity to speak before her peers.
“I think it is exciting to get to speak to our class about all the accomplishments that people have had over the years, inside and outside the classroom. It’s an honor, absolutely an honor,” Lofquist said.
Nuamah, who will speak at one of the undergraduate ceremonies, is a political science major, originally from Chicago.
She said she always felt privileged to be a student at GW and looks forward to the opportunity to offer advice to her fellow graduates.
“To be selected and to be given the opportunity to address my peers is kind of unbelievable,” Nuamah said.
While speaking at the CCAS graduate ceremony, Wilson said she hopes to inspire fellow graduates to find and continue their passions.
The Chester Springs, Pa., native is working toward a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Wilson completed her undergraduate degree in speech and hearing sciences at the University in 2009.
Wilson said she is both nervous and excited to speak at the CCAS ceremony.
“It’s extremely humbling to have been nominated and selected by the [committee] for this honor. I don’t think of myself as a ‘public speaker,’ so this is a real step outside of my comfort zone,” she said.
Harris also said she is humbled by the opportunity to speak.
“I am really excited and really honored,” Harris said.
Harris, originally from Chicago, will receive a master’s degree in public administration from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration upon graduating.
“The past two years have been about what I really feel GW stands for: living a life of service and stewardship,” Harris said. “I am really excited that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Trachtenberg legacy and rich history, and I look forward to the long-term friendships and relationships that I will continue to pursue after GW.”
Sides is an assistant professor of political science. He studies political behavior in American and comparative politics.
Cahill, an associate professor of chemistry, also said he is excited to speak to students.
“To be chosen for something like this is just such a huge honor,” Cahill said. “I hope I don’t blow it.”
Both Sides and Cahill are still working out what they will talk about in their respective speeches.
“I have an idea or two of a theme, but it’s a work in progress and I don’t want to give it away,” Cahill said.