Alumni eNewsletter: Student speakers for Commencement announced (Archives)

Special note: This is the e mail that was sent to the campus community on April 15 by Provost Stephen Weiner announcing the student speakers for the 145th annual Commencement exercises to take place Friday, May 16 at Field House.

April 15, 2014


Every year, the University selects graduating students to share personal messages about their lives and their impressions of what Gallaudet has meant to them with families, friends, and fellow students gathered at Commencement. It is my honor and pleasure to announce the student speakers for the 145th annual commencement exercises, which will be held on Friday, May 16, 2014 beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Field House. Roberta E. Dunlap will speak on behalf of the undergraduate Class of 2014, and Kara-Reneé C. Pepin will represent our graduate students.

Roberta E. Dunlap was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from Skyline High School in Holladay in 2009. While attending Salt Lake Community College, she worked at two part-time jobs, served as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and volunteered at the Good Samaritan Program in Salt Lake City.

Roberta transferred to Gallaudet in 2011. She is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a double minor in Psychology and Family and Child Studies. During her three years at Gallaudet University, she has been a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society of Psychology; secretary of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Studies Honor Society; former President, Vice President of Programming, and Philanthropy Chairperson of Delta Zeta Sorority; Vice President of Greek Council; and a member of the university’s cross country team.

Roberta received recognition for her academic and leadership abilities, including John L. and Eleanor L McKinley award from Delta Zeta Sorority, the Hamilton Relay Award, and the Rotary International Foundation Award. She has worked at the Gallaudet University Library for three years, and has been an intern with Gallaudet University Press for the past year. Most recently, she received the Kappa Sigma Fraternity "Sweetheart of the Year" award, and attended the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kara-Reneé C. Pepin was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up in a close-knit family in a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, where she attended elementary school and graduated from Martin High School. While in high school, she took three years of American Sign Language to fulfill her foreign language requirement. Her multicultural experiences between her hometowns of El Paso and Arlington became the core of her educational and personal pursuits. She attended Tarrant County College, received her Associate of Applied Science degree in sign language interpreting in 2008, and worked as an on-call interpreter. After a chance visit to Kendall Green in 2009, she realized that Gallaudet was where she needed to be to acquire her bachelor’s degree in Interpretation.

While pursuing her B.A. degree, Kara-Reneé was a member of and Student Congress Senator for the Latin@ Student Union. In the summer of 2011 she was an intern for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In the spring of 2012, she applied to a student exchange program (FIPSE) that took her to Florianópolis, Brazil. Her time as an undergraduate at Gallaudet, her internship, and her study abroad strengthened her interest in cultural differences and signed languages, and inspired her to apply for a master’s degree in Deaf Studies, in the Language and Human Rights program.

Kara-Reneé is currently studying in Ål, Norway, and completing her master’s thesis on the linguistic rights of trilingual Deaf students in the United States.

The Student Commencement Speakers Committee was chaired by Mr. Don Miller of the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Other committee members were Mr. James Wilson IV, representing the undergraduate student body; Dr. Beth Benedict of the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre; Dr. Khadijat Rashid of the Department of Business, representing the undergraduate faculty; and Dr. Raschelle Theoharis of the Department of Education, representing the graduate faculty.

Please join me in extending congratulations to Roberta and Kara-Reneé. I look forward to seeing them shine at Commencement!


Stephen F. Weiner, Ed.D.

Posted: 8 May 2014

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