Student Speaker Competition

empty podium at commencement

Congratulations to Angela Sako, the winner of this year's Student Speaker Competition! This year, Angela will stand on stage in front of thousands of her peers and talk about her experience as a teen immigrant who watched her father pass away unexpectedly after her arrival to the United States. With the help of friends and family, she said, she emerged from that darkness to earn a full-ride scholarship to GW. She went on to earn two degrees from GW: a B.A. in international affairs, in 2015, and a master’s in public policy, expected in May. Her speech will touch on the theme of "welcoming" in challenges, uncertainty, new friends and growth. 

Previous Student Speakers

  • Richard Ruiz speaking at Commencement

    Richard Ruiz, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2015

    U.S. Marine Captain Richard Ruiz, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences graduate student, spoke about the power of imagination. 

  • Gabriel Felder taking a selfie on stage before his speech at commencement in 2014

    Gabriel Felder, School of Media & Public Affairs, Class of 2014

    A political communication major, Mr. Felder captured the bittersweet nature of graduating from college in his speech.

  • Alexander Zafran on stage during his 2013 speech

    Alexander Zafran, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2013

    Alexander Zafran, a classical studies major, made use of his Latin roots in a stirring speech that underscored core GW values— leadership, service and education.

  • Noreen Kassam on stage for her 2012 commencement speech

    Noreen Kassam, Elliott School of International Affairs, Class of 2012

    Noreen thanked the university for all of her experiences, which included internships at the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency.