University announces student speakers for 2018 commencement ceremonies

2018 student speakers
Speakers for DePaul's University's 2018 commencement ceremonies will address approximately 6,700 graduating students this June. (Collage by Rachel Marciano)
Speakers for DePaul's University's 119th commencement ceremony are leaders in their respective fields and representatives of Vincentian values. They will address approximately 6,700 graduating students at the university's five commencement ceremonies during the second weekend in June at Wintrust Arena.

In addition to the student speakers, community organizer Rami Nashashibi and broadcast journalist Carol Marin will also speak at the ceremonies.

Details about each college's commencement ceremony and its student speaker are listed below. Additional information can be found on DePaul's commencement website.

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and School for New Learning
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 9
8 - 10:30 a.m.

Graduating from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Amanda Cervantes is a political science student committed to serving her country in the United States Navy. This duty is one she shares with her mother, father and brother, who have all served in the United States military. During her four years at DePaul, Cervantes has participated in community outreach programs, such as Jumpstart. She also served as a member of the Student Government Association. Cervantes credits DePaul not only for her own education, but also for her parents' education, who attended the School for New Learning after retiring from the armed service.

College of Science and Health and College of Education
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 9
1:30 - 4 p.m.

Distinguished science and health student Rachel Pride will graduate with a neuroscience degree and a triple minor in public health, psychological research methods and biological sciences. Pride has held multiple leadership positions across campus, serving two years as co-president and co-founder of DePaul's Neuroscience Club, as co-president and public health program director of DePaul's chapter of the international sustainable development nonprofit, with Global Brigades, as a member of the Steering Committee for DePaul's new Neuroscience Honors Society, and as a speaker at the 2017 TEDxDePaulUniversity. Pride's biological and psychological research projects have taken her far - from DePaul's campus to Chicago's Southside to Cadiz, Spain, where she studied abroad. Additionally, she has spent time volunteering with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Vincentians in Action and Global Brigades. Pride will continue her studies at Columbia University in New York this fall.

College of Communication and College of Computing and Digital Media
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 9
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Graciela Covarrubias is a double demon who completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees within four years. As a graduate student in the university's organizational communication program, her master's thesis is titled, "Vincentian Lore on the Understanding of Organization Culture at DePaul." An involved member of the university community, Covarrubias has served as vice president of DePaul's Student Government Association, where she oversaw all internal affairs, restructured its constitution and implemented the role of executive vice president of diversity and equality. She served two terms as a mentor in the Chicago Quarter Program and, as a Mission and Values Scholar, worked with the Office of Mission and Ministry to promote Vincentian values around campus. This includes launching the Vincentian Leadership Workshop program and serving as its partnership development strategist. After graduation, Covarrubias will work with the information technology consulting firm York Solutions.

School of Music and The Theatre School
(Combined ceremony)
Sunday, June 10
9:30 - 11 a.m.

Artist and activist Chanell Bell will graduate with a Master of Fine Arts from The Theatre School. Before attending graduate school, she was selected to partake in a year-long program called The World Race, where she lived and volunteered in 11 different countries including Cambodia, Kenya and India. While abroad, she acted as a teacher and promoter of the arts, helped develop housing projects and dilapidated sites, hosted health and dental care seminars, and lead workshops encouraging the advancement of women's education. She returned to the U.S. to further her own education in order to marry her artistic interests with her humanitarian pursuits, which she plans to apply in both local and global communities.

Driehaus College of Business and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
(Combined ceremony)
Sunday, June 10
2 - 5 p.m.

Hospitality specialist Alyssa Poniatowski earned both her B.S. in hospitality leadership and her M.A. in hospitality leadership and operational performance from DePaul. In 2016, Poniatowski was recognized as one of Hotel Management Magazine's "Thirty Under 30 Top Rising Stars of the Industry" and contributed to MicroMetrics' 2018 Future of Hospitality Research Report. She is a member of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association's Under 30 Leadership Committee, where she promotes and supports Chicago's hospitality industry. Following graduation, she plans to work on a program that inspires Chicago Public Schools students to pursue careers in hospitality by connecting them with industry professionals.