SID Commencement Speaker: Fabiola Mejia Rodriguez, MA SID/COEX'24

May 20, 2024

Fabiola Mejia Rodriguez, MA SID/COEX'24 in graduation cap and gown

Esteemed colleagues, faculty and staff of the Heller School, beloved family and friends, thank you for being here. It is an honor for me to address you all in representation of our SID class.

Tonight, we celebrate the culmination of our studies at the Heller School, and I would like to congratulate each of you for the effort that you put into reaching this moment. I know the hike to this summit was not easy. Application materials, funding, applying for student visas, finding apartments, quitting jobs, packing our lives…none of those were simple steps. Some of us said goodbye to our home countries, knowing in our hearts that we would not be returning for a long, long time. For all of that, I commend you.

I’m sure we all climbed our fair share of mountains these years. Each time, we’ve been able to summit them. That takes courage, vision, and a lot of willpower. But it also takes a village.

I’ve always believed that life’s summits cannot be completed alone. To the people who have given us their support, gentle patience, and boundless love in all our journeys, thank you. In my case, I thank my mother, my sister, my grandmother, and my great-aunts. Every achievement, little victory, I owe it to their love, work, and sacrifices.

For you, that support might look different. A partner, a sibling who has been an unwavering rock, a friend who has lent you an ear in times of hardship, or a mentor who has guided you with wisdom and care. Whatever form it takes, the essence remains the same —gratitude for those who have illuminated our paths.

Apart from congratulating you, I want to thank everyone. Thank you for welcoming our class into such a supportive, brilliant community. Professors, staff, and colleagues, all of us strived to shape a multicultural, resilient school that could withstand challenges with open hearts, and critical minds.

I urge you to keep the spirit of Heller alive in everything we do. Having a graduate degree is a privilege; we must remember the responsibility that comes with our knowledge and credentials. This world needs expertise and innovation, but also compassion. As Heller graduates, we have a unique opportunity to be agents of positive change. So let us go forth with humility, empathy, and a resolute commitment to making the world a better place.

Congratulations, Class of 2024. Thank you.