Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition: May 10, 2001: Student Speaker Nitya Venkataraman
Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue

Auberjonois to Give Keynote Address

New Building for Posner Fine Arts

New Science Labs for Doherty Hall

Honorary Degrees

Student Speaker Nitya Venkataraman

Commencement Weekend at a Glance

Commencement Ceremonies and Receptions

Professors Earn Top Academic Distinction

William Mullins a "Scientists Scientist"

Timothy Burritt Dies in Motorcycle Crash

India Honors Reddy

H&SS Outstanding Service Awards

Architecture Aims to Unify "Allied Fields"

Am I Who I Am? Art Exhibit to Open

East Campus Garage to Install Pay-as-You-Park

Art Students Collaborate

Stephen Schwartz Attends ACS Dinner

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Nitya Venkataraman Keep Dreaming to be President, Student Speaker Tells Class of 2001

Senior Nitya Venkataraman will open her commencement address by recalling her two lofty career choices as a kindergarten graduate-to be an astronaut or a Solid Gold dancer. Today, her sights are set on graduate school to study medical anthropology and to perhaps become a university professor.

While her goals have changed drastically since kindergarten, her passion to fulfill her dreams has not wavered.

"Nothing should ever stymie the growth of your ambitions," she said. "What you dream for yourself should always be the biggest and the best. Your passion for innocent childhood dreams and goals should still be with you today. You should never lose that feeling that you want to be important, that you want to be the president."

That's the message Venkataraman will deliver to the Class of 2001 in her commencement speech, "An Innocence All Our Own."

Venkataraman, who will earn her bachelor's degree in anthropology and history with a minor in business administration, said she is grateful for the academic and social opportunities she's had at Carnegie Mellon. She auditioned to be the student speaker at commencement as a way of giving something back to the university.

"The education I received here captivated me from the get-go, it made me want to learn more about the world around me and it made me want to change the things I didn't like," she said.

"I couldn't have imagined the type of experience I had here and how completely attached I would feel to this place," she said. "I came expecting nothing but a degree, (but) Carnegie Mellon gave me a world-class education and a confidence I know will follow me throughout the rest of my life."

Venkataraman said two faculty members, Susan Ambrose, associate provost for education and principal lecturer in the History Department, and Chad Hermann, a communications lecturer in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, have influenced her greatly. She said Ambrose put her "on the path to anthropology and immigrant history-specifically Indian-American history," and credited Hermann with making her a better writer.

"He encouraged me to take chances in the way I write, the way I present things and the way I speak. He's given me a lot of confidence in my ability to accomplish my goals," she said.

"Both (Ambrose and Hermann) are so dedicated to what they do that it shows in everything. It makes me realize the power you have as a professor to really make a difference."

Venkataraman's mother, Premlata, is a catalog associate for University Libraries.

Bruce Gerson

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