- Arts & Life
Past student commencement speakers have shared their college careers and pride of being a Bobcat with fellow graduates. Natalie Sgro will share this moment with her graduating class in both commencement ceremonies this year.Sgro, a senior broadcast journalism major, is this year’s student commencement speaker after submitting a three-to-five-minute draft of an outlined speech.
“It’s definitely the biggest honor I’ve received,” Sgro said. “I’ve never gotten valedictorian in high school or anything like that. It’s a really big honor to be chosen because I feel like I’m really representing not just myself, not just all communication students; I’m representing the entire graduating class.”
Sgro is from Lincroft, N.J., where she has her biggest support system: her family.
“When I called [my mother], she said that she started crying at work because she was so happy. I feel like things like this don’t really just happen. When I told my mom, she thought I was speaking at just my graduation; I told her ‘No, I had to speak at both,’ and she was like ‘Oh my gosh.’ She was really excited and she cried so hard; I hope she doesn’t cry too hard at graduation,” Sgro said laughing.
Her family’s support isn’t left at home. Sgro’s little sister, Nicole, is a Quinnipiac freshman marketing major.
Sgro’s Quinnipiac family consist of the Q30 crew and friends from her freshman year.
Junior Samantha Plourde knows Sgro through their involvement in Q30 News for the past three years. The friends worked together as producers of the station this year. They also interned at the “Today Show” in New York this past semester.
“Natalie is one of the most caring and kindest people I have been lucky enough to know,” Plourde said. “Natalie is always willing to help you out whenever you need it. She’s always put 110 percent effort into her job as producer and is a fantastic leader. She’s one of the easiest people to talk to and is the kind of person you always want to be around.”
Junior Kyle Gravitte is Q30’s vice president and has worked with Sgro, seeing her as an influence and friend.
“Natalie always wants to see others happy and is constantly putting others in front of her,” Gravitte said. “She is one who has helped me become a stronger and better leader through working with her.”
The faculty and staff from the School of Communications mentored Sgro and encouraged her in applying for awards and internships.
Starting with a small internship on campus her sophomore year, her on campus involvement snowballed into joining Q30.
Next she interned at a production company and became an anchor for Q30. She moved to News Channel 8 and News 12 last summer and became executive producer for Q30. At that point, she felt confident enough to apply for NBC’s “Today Show” and has a meeting for a job in a week.
“Every year I push myself harder and harder, and getting [student commencement speaker] at the end was almost like the cherry on top of the cake; I’ve been building these layers all through college ,and then all of a sudden it’s like ‘You deserve this,’” Sgro said. “I feel like I’ve worked so hard that to have that at the very end is like the final thing that I can leave my mark on Quinnipiac.”
Sgro’s resumé says a lot about her determination and skills as a journalism student, Plourde said.
“There is no question that Natalie has determination to succeed,” Plourde said. “She has so many great internships under her belt that has put her ahead of the people in her class. Broadcast journalism is a tough field to go into, but if you have the right internships and put the effort into it, it will pay off in the end, and I have no doubt in my mind that Natalie will get a job.”
Sgro was a student in journalism Professor Edward Alwood’s broadcast newswriting class her sophomore year.
“I could always count on the [expression] on Natalie’s face to know if I had made something clear or not,” Alwood said. “She was always engaged in whatever we were learning that day, and eager to read her stories aloud which can be intimidating for some students. She is well organized and understands time management. Am I surprised that she is the speaker? Not at all. She is a charming, outgoing person. She has the type of personality that energizes by working with other people and that has won her a lot of respect.”
Alwood says he expects Sgro’s speech to be “upbeat, energetic, optimistic, realistic and maturity beyond her years.”
Sgro plans to talk about the time spent at Quinnipiac with her graduating class, and use the Bobcat pride mentality to remind students “it’s something that we carry on with us in our future life; it’s not something that just ends here. Everything we’ve learned here is going to be useful.”
Sgro said her speech will be motivational and positive instead of “silly or reminiscent.”
“Quinnipiac’s given me so much and I’m just hoping that, in my speech, I can give back and just show my appreciation for everything that’s happened in the past four years,” Sgro said.