Brady ’16, aspiring wildlife conservationist, selected as student Commencement speaker

Photo courtesy of Bucknell University Division of Communications

Caroline Fassett, News Editor

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Jennifer Brady ’16 says she submitted her name for the student Commencement speaker because she wanted something to be said that was meaningful and commemorative of what the Class of 2016 has accomplished.

“I realized there were many things about our class experience and our conduct as a class that I was really proud of,” she said. Brady will represent her graduating class as the student speaker of the 166th Commencement ceremony on May 22 on the Malesardi Quadrangle.

The application process for the student speaker is open; any graduating senior can apply and be considered for the position. Each student must write their own speech and submit it to the selection committee, who in turn asks the top contenders to audition by reading their speeches aloud and in-person.

Though Brady did not share many details of her speech, she stated that, in crafting it, she attempted to combine her experience as an animal behavior major with her own personal perspective “to access a broader, more universal voice that relates to the whole class and our diverse identities.”

Brady said that she regrets not exposing herself to more leadership opportunities while at the University, and decided that acting as student speaker was “one final chance to really contribute something.”

She added that she feels honored to speak at the ceremony, stating that she does not take the responsibility lightly.

“I was surprised to be picked, but pleasantly so, and I’m excited to get a chance to say my piece and to be able to contribute a student perspective during our commencement ceremony,” Brady said.

Brady also acknowledged how deeply the University has influenced her.

“I had the opportunity to meet and get to know such a variety of people here, coming from so many different perspectives. It’s made me better at listening and trying to understand others, and has made me more aware in general … I have gained so much knowledge and so many skills,” Brady said.

In addition to feeling thankful for the people she met at the University, Brady said that she is “incredibly grateful” for the professors here.

“They furthered my ability to think and develop informed opinions, and many of them have been fantastic role models for how I would like to be in my future, professional life,” Brady said.

Brady aspires to work in wildlife conservation, specifically to become involved in international efforts and collaborate with zoos. While Brady plans on pursuing a master’s degree in zoo management, she is first taking a gap year during which she will be traveling to Nepal on a field-based, cultural immersion program with the School for International Training (Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples) to “continue exposing [herself] to new viewpoints and ways of life.”

Though prepared for the future, Brady said that she will miss the University and the experiences it has brought into her life.

“I’ll miss the environment here; it’s constantly engaging and stimulating. I love living surrounded by my friends, and being in a community where so much is going on and I’m always learning something in some capacity,” Brady said.

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