Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Look Back at HNC Graduation

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco is currently in India but sent an update about this year's commencement and what HNC graduates are up to now:

"The year has come to a close at HNC! School is out, we’ve moved out of our rooms and it’s time for some much needed R&R. The final weeks were pretty busy, but, as I’ve said before, the key is starting your papers early so you’re not super stressed when the final week comes around. The end of the spring term, unlike the winter term, sees many family members visiting due to the commencement ceremony and general summer travel plans. This is another reason to start final assignments early. No one wants to sit around and write papers while their family is waiting to go out and enjoy the warm weather! It’s nice to be able to meet everyone’s family since it’s such a different side of people’s personalities that shine through (in the good way! haha). 
Certificate Graduates, Till Lembke (left), and Jon Douglas (right) with Natalie

The commencement ceremony was held on Friday, June 21st. I am not graduating this year, so I had the pleasure of observing the ceremony as a mere attendee instead of a participant. (Well, I already graduated with my Certificate a couple years ago, so this was not an altogether new experience). 

The cool part about the ceremony was the speakers. HNC did a great job in finding some pretty high-profile speakers to give addresses. On the American side, we had the American Ambassador to China, Gary Locke. This was a special treat, since HNC also gave me the opportunity to hear the previous Ambassador, Jon Huntsman, talk at HNC as well a couple years ago. I felt very happy to have the opportunity to hear two very influential men give talks. (These are only the Ambassadors HNC has brought to the Center, though. They had the U.S. Consul General in Shanghai speak to us and also a high-ranking official in the US Department of Homeland Security come earlier in the year!)

All in all, the commencement was bittersweet. I’ve made some really amazing friends at the Center this year and I’m happy to say that many are leaving for opportunities with SAIS in DC and other universities in the US. Our awesome career services advisor, Robbie, has also given many recent graduates the opportunity to find jobs in China, which many of my friends have. I am happy summer is here and can use the break! I’m off on my summer travels to India for a bit and then will travel back to the US to see family. Many of my fellow MA students are staying in China for the summer with internships and general teaching opportunities. The key is that, no matter where we are this summer, we all have the feeling that we’ve completed something big this year. 

Hats off to the HNC Certificate and MA graduates of 2013!"