UH student speakers urge new graduates to learn from challenges, take pride in their choices

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Congratulations, and purple flowers

The University of Hawaiʻi celebrated fall commencements in December with outstanding students addressing their fellow graduates.

Josh Renzo Claudio, UH Mānoa

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UH Mānoa’s Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony—held December 21, at the Stan Sheriff Center—featured student speaker Josh Renzo Claudio. An estimated 800 students participated in the commencement ceremony.

In his speech, Claudio urged his fellow graduates to be proud of the choices they have made and to go forward choosing their paths in life, always remembering that “I have a choice.”

Claudio graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, specializing in electro-physics. He is the current technical lead for UH Mānoa’s Smart Campus Energy Lab. Claudio’s career passions are in renewable energy, environmental protection and STEM education. After graduation, Claudio plans on immediately pursuing a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering at UH Mānoa.

Gabriela Lawlor, UH Hilo

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UH Hilo awarded approximately 170 degrees and/or certificates at the campus’ Fall 2019 Commencement held December 21 at the Vulcan Gymnasium and featured Vulcan tennis player Gabriela Lawlor as the student speaker.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Lawlor accepted a tennis scholarship to play for UH Hilo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science, a discipline she chose because of her strong passion for international relations and human rights. Following commencement she will be interning in Spain, working with the Spanish government, and plans to continue her education at UH Hilo to pursue a second degree in kinesiology while competing on the Vulcan tennis team.

Lawlor spoke highly of her UH Hilo experience and encouraged her fellow Vulcans to learn from heartbreak and embarrassment and to become leaders going forward in the world: “together we can, because we all matter.”