SBS Student is Commencement Speaker
Alison C. Briggs '07 (psychology and sociology) was this year's student speaker at commencement. "I really never thought I'd get picked," Briggs said about her selection. "In my speech I don't quote any great philosophers—I just talk about how I feel."
At the end of the fall 2006 semester, Briggs, from Sharon, Mass., was surfing through pages on the UMass Amherst website and noticed that the search was on for a student speaker. Feeling inspired, she wrote a speech over winter break and submitted it in February after returning for the spring semester.
A month later Briggs was asked by the committee to participate in an auditioning process that involved reciting the speech in front of a committee composed of both faculty members and students. "They said they would call me in a week to let me know," Briggs said, "but they called later that day."
Briggs was both excited and nervous about speaking in front of several thousand graduates, friends and family members. "We're all at the same point in our lives, we don't know what's going to happen next," Briggs said about herself and her fellow graduates. In a time of such uncertainty and transition, she urged them to remember the many accomplishments they've had to get to this point. These successes prove that future successes are imminent.
Briggs has been a resident assistant in the Grayson/Field cluster in the Orchard Hill residential area for the past two years. She has also worked as co-manager of Sweets N' More, a student-run co-op and non-profit business in the Field Lounge, for her entire four years on campus. This year, Briggs was a research assistant in the psychology department, helping UMass graduate students run experiments and collect data for a project on motivation overseen by Professor Ronnie Janoff-Bulman.
"I wanted to attend a school that could offer me almost everything, because I didn't know what I wanted. UMass Amherst offers almost everything, and I found a home away from home. Between the activities I participated in and the friends I made, my experiences have been priceless."
Briggs is off to Phoenix, Ariz. During this year-off before graduate school, she wants to become involved with social work, hoping to find case management job with at-risk youth. She is still figuring out whether it will be social work or law when it comes to graduate school.
Alana Melanson contributed to this story.
May 27, 2007