Winter Commencement 2020

Virtual Recognition Ceremony

In Honor of the Class of 2020

O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs: Winter Commencement 2020

Description of the video:

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers): Good evening and thank you for joining us on this special occasion. I'm Sian Mooney Dean of the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and on behalf of our faculty our alumni and staff, I'd like to welcome you to our winter recognition ceremony which honors our December graduates from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. We would normally be in the Indiana Memorial Union’s beautiful Alumni Hall celebrating your incredible achievements in person. But as you all know this past year has been anything but normal. Many people have said they could not recall a more stressful or anxious period in their lifetime. And that makes today’s ceremony even more special. Your perseverance and dedication through a global pandemic has been nothing short of incredible. While many would have given up or looked for an easier path to take, you embraced the challenges that were put before you. It may not be evident today but years from now, I believe you'll look back with a certain appreciation for this period of your life, recognizing that it helped to shape you into the person you have yet to become. This pandemic has taken many things from us, but hope is not among them. This past year has taught us to become kinder, more compassionate more empathetic. It's also taught us to treasure those moments we have together, moments we may have taken for granted in the past. It’s taught us to appreciate the sacrifices of our frontline healthcare workers of the public servants who tirelessly work to perform our vital societal functions and of the teachers who have found new ways to connect with and inspire their students in a virtual environment. This pandemic has shown us the value of rapid scientific advancements and of the policies needed to deploy them. I'm proud to say that many of our faculty, those who have worked so hard to help guide you here today are conducting the types of research that are informing and influencing how we as communities respond to the substantial challenges posed by COVID-19. They are working hard to make our world a safer, healthier cleaner and more equitable place for all. They've done and continue to do remarkable work. And now it's time for you to join them. The O'Neill school has long been recognized as the premier institution for Public and Environmental Affairs. You are graduating today from the number one school of its kind in the nation, your degree carries with it a level of prestige that is unmatched in our country. But it also comes with a responsibility to use whatever resources you have to make wise ethical and moral decisions that better yourself and those around you. No matter where you go from here or the path you take to get there. Each of you now has the fundamental skills to make a difference in this world we all share. You have the knowledge and passion to lead the change, change that we need. For nearly 50 years the O'Neill school has produced leaders in public administration, the environmental sciences, academia, nonprofit management, the arts, and more. And today you join them and the addition of expertise and skill couldn't come at a better time for our country and the world at large. We need your passion, your energy and your optimism, now more than ever. Congratulations, Class of 2020. I am now very excited to introduce two student representatives from this graduating class who will share remarks about their experience at the O'Neill School. Our first student speaker is Christine Hackerd a graduating Master student in the Master of Public Affairs program. Christine is a senior project manager for design and construction at Indiana University Health. She's currently dedicated to people, process, and program readiness for Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital and the Indiana University Regional Academic Health Center. Christine has a Bachelor of Arts in English from IU Bloomington, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from IUPUI. And over the past 12 years she served as a medical surgical nurse, clinical informatics nurse educator, senior change management consultant, lean process improvement leader, quality improvement consultant, and senior project manager. She is a former board member and treasurer for Women Writing for a Change Bloomington. Christine is now celebrating her Master of Public Affairs degree from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs IU Bloomington and Christine I invite you to come and share your inspiring words with us, please.

Christine Hackerd: Good evening fellow O'Neill graduates. It would feel wrong to speak to you tonight, without acknowledging 2020. This past year has been something of an out of body experience. I often find myself wondering how historians might someday describe this year to children in public school classrooms. Children not unlike my seven-year-old son, learning from his makeshift classroom over an iPad screen with his mom and dad attending meetings over zoom, managing projects from the living room, and attending their own classes via canvas. These someday children will learn about a virus, about immeasurable loss, political division, unrelenting flames, social and racial injustices, unconstitutional and moral crises. In the past year, we've all experienced some level of devastation, hope, anxiety, fear, joy, loneliness, resilience, weariness, boredom, self-discovery, change, uncertainty, and surely more. But through it all O'Neill friends, we've been learning. We've been learning what it means to serve the greater good. Clear waters, crisp and fresh air, healthy friends and family, justice for all, protections and security for the vulnerable among us. We have learned management, public policy, science, fund administration, healthcare policy, environmental protection, advocacy, and how to write a darn good policy memo. As we eagerly escort this year to the exit. I sense a shift, subtle but real and distinct. Perhaps it's a shift back into ourselves and a new year welcomed in with weary, hopeful, grieving, hearts. I think about those historians and I like to think that our story includes heroes. Heroes who believe we can care for the sick and foster and enable wellness. Champions for our water, our air, our land, our children. Allies, advocates, and servants to the public. Heroes who not only believe in the greater good, but heroes who serve for the greater good. Congratulations, graduates. Be well.

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers):
Next, I'm pleased to introduce a representative from the undergraduate graduating class Madeline Garcia. Madeline comes from Avon Indiana and she's the daughter of Henry and Heather Garcia. She's graduating with a degree in Law and Public Policy with Honors and Highest Distinction. During her time at the O'Neill School Madeline has enjoyed working with various student groups across campus. She served as President of Student United Way, Director General of Model United Nations, and Congressional Secretary of student government. She has worked on two political campaigns, done research on us voting trends, and was a featured speaker at the 2019 Indiana Latino Leadership Conference. She is a Herbert Presidential Scholar, Hudson and Holland Scholar, Hutton Honors Scholar, Provost Scholar. Senator Luca Scholar and Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, here at Indiana University. And after graduation she'll be pursuing a law degree and hopes to continue her work in service and activism. I invite Madeline to share some of her experiences and thoughts with us.

Madeline Garcia: Thank you Dean Mooney, the endlessly dedicated faculty and staff, the supportive families, the friends who have been there for us through it all, and of course, all of you, the graduates of 2020. Good evening and thank you for having me. We are the class of 2020 we have survived likely the most tumultuous period within our memories. Whether it be the personal anxieties of surviving college in isolation or watching families and friends go under stress. We have proven that we can still thrive under pressure and we will continue to persevere. Maybe we've spent our quarantine time watching Netflix, embarking on new hobbies, perfecting those zoom group recordings for class, or letting the time pass on Tik Tok. But now is our time. From here on out every minute of how we spend our days is ours to decide. We are redefining what it means to be a professional, a servant leader, or a student in a post graduate career. We are adaptable, strong, dedicated. But most importantly, we are trailblazers. On this campus we have witnessed incredible movements that truly empowered the spirit of the greater good here on our campus. Whether it be the solidarity in protest or the camaraderie of campus, IU Bloomington students can and will continue to band together as family. We have led and experienced protests regarding Title nine policy, DACA student protections, gun violence, police brutality, and the incredibly important issue of racial justice.This is a student body that lives up to that culture of care commitment and is always ready to learn and grow where they can improve. You are the change makers of tomorrow, but you're also the leaders of today. We are the students who dance for 36 hours straight and commit endless work fundraising, just to see children smile with a new lease on life. We are the students who rallied at sporting events and showed up with our striped overalls to see our Hoosiers claim victory game after game, no matter the forecast. We are the students who bounced around on the bicentennial created how shows for great causes and never forgot the value of Little 500 weekend. We have seen our worlds turn upside down in a series of changes that no one could expect, but no matter how you frame it, we are the students on the up. We masked-up for COVID, lined up for Starbucks in the IMU, and put our feet up for a photo under the Eskenazi Museum lights during freshman year. But now it is time for us to not let history define our stories, but to let us define the history books. We decide our causes worth standing up for. We decide our why. Each and every one of us has goals and a reason for achieving excellence, getting this well-earned degree from IU Bloomington. Starting this afternoon, you might feel lost without one more canvas notification or DUO login waiting at your fingertips. But you might find redirection when you remember your why. We are at a turning point. Your IU experience is just one mile marker on the trail. Feel free to slow down, take a drink and stretch your legs. Let your success be defined by the fulfillment that you made this world a better place for a group, for a person, for a cause that you believed in. Refuel and recharge, for you have the power to change the world. We are the class of 2020 pandemic grads and virtual activists. But now, more than anything, we are the front line fighting for a better future for all of us. Let your impact start now, regret only what you have not done. Your story is waiting for you. Congratulations, Class of 2020

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers): What impressive and inspiring ambassadors for the class of 2020. Next, I'd like to introduce my colleagues from the O'Neill School graduate and undergraduate programs who will move us through to the recognition phase of our proceedings. From the graduate office, please welcome Karen Gahl-Mills who serves as the Director of Arts Administration programs. Sanya Carley who serves as the Director of our Master of Public Affairs programs. And Vicky Meretsky who serves as the Director of our Environmental Masters Programs. We will now acknowledge our graduates by reading the names

Karen Gahl-Mills (she/her/hers): Constance Brahm, Jillian Campbell, Stacy Chen, Alina Komisar, Maria Maccaroni, Marti Yoder, Jazmyn Gideon, Camryn Greer, Jonathon Jagt, Courtney Kezlarian, Casey Rich, Yifan Wang. Good evening, on behalf of all of the faculty, congratulations and best wishes Arts Administration students as you earn your degrees. While this day isn't probably quite what you imagined, I still hope you'll take a moment to savor your accomplishments. You've worked hard. You've grown tremendously and you've made connections that will stay with you for your entire career. You are ready to do the good work of connecting the arts and the community. Let me also say a word of thanks to your parents, your spouse's, your partners, all who have supported you on this journey. We appreciate what you did to help our graduates succeed. Thank you. Please graduate stay connected to us. We want to hear about your successes we want to support you through your challenges and we can't wait to see what you do next. Congratulations.

Sanya Carley: Natalie Applegate, Cassidy Becker, Sydney Alana Bunch, Henry Walker Carlson, Kelsey Deana Cooper, Brenda Garcia, Trevor Foughty, Christine Hackerd, Kelly Hamman, Eleanor Kaverman, Dexuan Li, Eric Lied, Benjamin Mangus, Haley Nagila, William Nicholas, Whitney Simon, Amy Stark, Tiffany Stephenson, Yingfei Sun, Di Tang, Daphne Turner, Autumn Winfrey, Riley Molin, Valerie Grafton. MPA scholars, graduates, alumni, friends and our future leaders, let me begin by congratulating you on this huge accomplishment. You have worked tirelessly for many semesters through evenings nighttime sunrise hours, you have learned the intricacies of law and statistics. Public management and economics and you have built forever friendships and the skills and networks that you will need to change this world. And you've done all of these things during one of the most challenging times that our world has ever faced. Let me also thank you. Thank you for being so graceful and flexible as we move classes on an offline, for smiling into that little green light on your zoom camera, and for not losing your perseverance despite feeling isolated alone and at times totally fatigued by the evolving political drama of Washington and unavoidable questions about your future role in all of this chaos. Finally, let me challenge you, you are graduating amidst a global pandemic and economic recession and during a time in which millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills and avoid eviction. Urgent action is needed to address these issues, urgent action is also needed to address racial inequalities and climate change, and the integrity of our democratic system. Our world needs courageous and empathetic leaders, now more than ever, our world needs you. Also, one final unsolicited suggestion as you matriculate into the real world. I also challenge you to replace your zoom sweatpants with a pair of professional bottoms, congrats again grads.

Vicky Meretsky: Briana Albini, Emily Bridge, April Byrne, Sean Chung, Anne Marie Cleary Rauker, Derek Corbin, Erik Ehrman, Rose Guardino, Carson Hoogewerf, Eliza Hudson, Abhishek Jagdale, Joe Lange, Clinton McGill, Madeline Miller, Madeline Mohrman, Hope Reamer, Kathryn Shay, Benjamin Young, Jocelyne Brower, Deion Everhart, Allison Kelsey Meade, Anna Starks.
Environmental grads, you have made it through way more than just an environment. You've made it through an epic. Congratulations to you and please share our congratulations that we give to you as well with those who have supported you through everything that you've been through to your faculty, your family, your friends, the people who have inspired you share all of the goodwill that's available now when it means the most to all of us. You've been through what we hope is a modified version of hell. And I challenge you to make this part of what you take forward with you. These are job skills you've been learning while you stayed up through the night, while you figured out which microphone works best. While you figured out how to do group work across continents. The ability to be resilient to turn on a dime to continue in the face of adversity. These are skills that employers will pay dearly for that they want on their workforces, in their agencies, in their nonprofits. Grow with these things, but make them work for you to, you've certainly worked hard enough for them. I hope that while you've been facing all of this, the environment has been occasionally a source of renewal for you and now it's your turn to be a source of renewal for it, go forth and have a blast.

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers): Thank you, Karen, Sanya and Vicky. So next will recognize our undergraduate students with RJ Woodring, Associate Dean of Educational Programs and Andrea Need, Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

R.J. Woodring: Hello, members of the 2020 graduating class, family members, and friends. While I just really wish I could be speaking to you in person, I'm excited to share my personal congratulations to your hard work and academic achievement. You have persevered with grace and nobility through one of the most challenging crises in recent memory. We are proud of you and what you have accomplished. With that it is my privilege to present you to the Dean and faculty of the school for individual recognition. When recognizing our graduating class Andrea and I will be reading the names in alphabetical order by the degree for which they are awarded

Andrea Need: Good evening, everyone. Before recognizing all of our graduates. I'd like to specifically acknowledge the impressive academic achievement of students graduating with distinction, high distinction, and highest distinction. Students graduating with distinction have achieved a grade point average between 3.70 and 3.79. Students graduating with high distinction have achieved a grade point average between 3.80 and 3.89. And students graduating with our highest distinction have achieved a GPA over 3.90. In addition, I'd like to specifically recognize the O'Neill School Honors Program student graduating for the combination of their Honors Program, which includes rigorous coursework and a final thesis project. And now we will begin recognizing all graduates of the Class of 2020 as our next class of promising leaders for the greater good.

R.J. Woodring: Alyssa Damiano, Chelsea Day, Gillian Fulford, Erin Lasher, Hunter Pace, Analyse Pena, Zachary Thomas Bombon, Sophia Guest, Yiran Liu, Tessa McCormack, Emma Rosenstein, Alexis Schneider, Victoria Touscany, Vincent Anderson, Sabrina Casanova, Sidney Chavez, William Clendenen, James Duana, Maximillian Enlow

Andrea Need: Matthew Geiger, Phoebe Gray, Gabriel Kolker, Madison Mathias, Cameron McIlrath, Taylor Munson, Lea Neely, Chelsea Newton, Katherine Russell, Stephanie Russell, Sabrina Santoni, Bryce Sears, Abbey Stephens, Aaron Wilson, Fransco Anggadiwirja, Elena Anillo, Mackenzie Austin, Skylier Bakehorn, Ronak Baldua, Lindsey Batteast.

R.J. Woodring: Britton Beery, Tyler Bishop, Thomas Bostic, Neel Boyanapalli, Jack Bullington, Therese Capriglione, Claire Carney, John Caruso, Isaac Castro, Chase Catalano, Yu-Chen Chien, Mitchell Christopher, James Conaway, Payton Cron, Wenlin Dai, Claire Dallman, Brendan Deckelman, Grant DeLisle, Anna Dove, Mary Farnham,

Andrea Need: Colton Ferguson, Rixin Fu, Shang Gao, Yi Gao, Yuanpeng Gao, Madeline Garcia, Evan Garthus, Hawa Gassama, Carson Gill, Sean Goh, David Goodman, Ashton Grogg, Gaten Hardwick, Parker Hart, Drew Heavilon, Matthew Hermes, Chad Heugel, Van Hnem, Allison Hoch.

R.J. Woodring: Sophie Hogg, Alexis Hoover, Phillip Jackson, Charles Jacobs, Shimin Jiang, Connor Joseph, Adam Karnett, Celeste Kurian, Raheem Layne, Minkyu Lee, Cole Lehmkuhler, Hongxuan Li, Yicheng Li, Zhipeng Li, Longjie Lin, Runhan Luo, Devan MacKellar, Karla Madden, Nicholas Malone, Madelynn Marks,

Andrea Need: Madison Mccullough, Taylor McGranahan, Ramello McNeal, Dimas Mendoza, Madeline Meyer, Alicia Meyers, Michael Miller, Carolyn Moreno, Mariam Mundle, Dominic Musto,  Neekon Nayyerhabibi, Emma Nelson, Alec Neu, Ryan Newey, Tina Nguyen, Ramiro Nieto, Caleb Nunn, Jorge Obeso-Arrocha, Emily Ogburn, Natalia Opoka.

R.J. Woodring: Alex Palazzolo, Dalton Parker, Andrew Pell, Keyi Qiu, Chase Rainey, Holly Reeser, Thomas Romanelli, Allison Sandys, Benjamin Santos, Ryan Schmidt, Josh Schoenberg, Olivia Scholz, Eric Schwartz, Destiny Scott, Sibtain Roofi Shaikh, Abigail Shaw, Hannah Shoemaker, Brandon Siefring, Aaron Slegers, Taylor Smith.

Andrea Need: Bethany Stanger, Spencer Stergar, Bobby Sun, Braden Tankersley, Sidney Thevenow, Gabrielle Thomas, Alicia Valladares, Gina Walchle, Junyao Wang, Yi Wang, Yifu Wang, Aaron Welcher, Paige Wells, Xin Wen, Regan Whitesell, Seth Williams, Derrick Wright, Minghao Xu, Qingyi Xu, Runfeng Xu, Sicheng Xu, Yubo Yang, Xinyuan Zhang

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers): Well thank you RJ and Andrea and congratulations to all of our students. Our alumni form an impressive group of accomplished passionate leaders for the greater good, and we would now like to welcome new graduates to the Indiana University Alumni Association. And I can think of no better person to do so, then our next speaker, Brian Guse. Brian serves as the chair of the O'Neill School Alumni Board and earned his MPA from the O'Neill School in 1995. He continues the long tradition of O'Neill graduates serving in our nation's capital, where he works for the USDA foreign agricultural service as their global engagement executive, Brian, we look forward to hearing from you.

Brian Guse: Well, good evening, everyone. You did it. What a year. What a crazy year you made it through. It's my privilege to congratulate you on your incredible accomplishments and becoming O'Neill alumni during the global pandemic and to welcome you as members of the O'Neill Alumni Association. There are more than 36,000 O'Neill graduates in the US and abroad. And let me say everyday our alumni leave me awestruck. O'Neill grads are leading federal, state, and local agencies and non-governmental organizations, using their management skills to advance arts organizations, protect natural resources, improve air and water quality, increase global food security, advance the cause of social equity and justice, and so much more. I'm beyond excited to see what you all do with your O'Neill degrees. You may have already secured your first position or you may still be looking for that right fit. Be it in the workforce, or to further your academic pursuits, but please know that your O'Neill alumni community is here to help you connect with Hoosiers wherever you live or help you network with alumni and employers that universities of interest. The O'Neill alumni board and Alumni Relations team organized virtual programs and, when it's safe again, will host alumni gatherings in Indianapolis Washington DC Chicago and other cities around the country. We do this annually and we look forward to your participation. You guys all have the passion, the perseverance, the resilience and the preparation to step into the world and do inspiring work. As leaders for the greater good, we would love to see you stay involved with the school and share your expertise with those that follow you. Each person with a different dream. Guest speaking, serving on career panels, providing informational interviews, leading IU day events. There are so many ways in which you can be an alumni leader and strengthen our IU impact. Wherever you land we would be honored to have you join our efforts to make our network the most robust and supportive in the world. Thank you for inspiring us, especially during these times, and congratulations on your remarkable achievement. It's absolutely incredible that you are the class of pandemic and that you made it through. The world needs you now more than ever, welcome to your futures.

Sian Mooney (she/her/hers): Thank you, Brian. And I will say, I encourage you to reach out to our alumni. They're a tremendous group and now you're part of them. So, this marks the end of our virtual recognition ceremony. Thank you again for joining us today on this very special occasion. It's so nice to close out 2020 on a positive and uplifting note. And I want to extend a special thanks to Christine, Madeline and Brian for sharing their words of wisdom with us all. Congratulations again to the class of 2020, may you have a healthy and relaxing holiday and best wishes as we enter a new year.

Video Plays: Congratulations graduates, may you find the meaning of life like Charlie Brown found the meaning of Christmas. All the best for your future. Nice. Congratulations and well done. Congratulations graduates. Congratulations graduates. You did it. Congratulations. Congratulations grads. Congratulations. Congratulations, graduates. Congratulations. Well done everyone you did it. You rock. Congratulations, and good luck. Congratulations 2020 grads, you did it. Congratulations graduates. Congratulations. Congratulations. Congratulations and best wishes for your future. Congratulations. Congratulations from your O'Neill Alumni Relations team. Congratulations. Well done. O'Neill grads. Congratulations, Class of 2020. Congratulations graduates. Congratulations graduates. You did it. Congratulations graduates. You did it. We are so proud of you, graduations to our 2020 graduating class. We're so proud of everything you've accomplished and can't wait to see what you do next.

 2020 Recognition Ceremony Program

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Congratulations from the O’Neill School

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