MS Commencement Speaker: Sandra Adams Sallar, MS GHPM’24

May 20, 2024

Sandra Sallar, MS GHPM'24, in graduation cap and gown

Dean Madison, distinguished faculty and staff at the Heller School, Class of 2024, family, and friends. It feels surreal to be here today, and I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the greatest class ever convened on Brandeis campus. This has been an incredible year for us and I am proud to say, “MS class of 2024, we made it!”

I remember our orientation day where we talked about our backgrounds and where we wanted to go. As I stand here today, I could not be prouder of the resilience and the strength each of us has shown. Moving from our countries and families was a new experience for most of us, but we surmounted the challenge and kept looking refreshed every day. We have shown in 9 months that given the chance, we will move mountains, so hello, world, watch out for us!

To the MS graduates, I will miss sharing life with our little family. We had a wedding and a baby, we mourned a loss, and we grew closer through it all. We are a degree hotter today and what I remember most about the journey is laughing before an applied regression class, lying on the floor of a breakout room with my group members trying to clean a huge SAS dataset that had just crashed my computer, or that “aha!” moment in every microeconomics class.

Graduate school is definitely one of the strangest boxing rings I will ever get into. We have been through the wringer, but we are here today to show our gratitude to everyone who stood by us—our families, friends, loved ones, the Heller staff, and our program leaders. I especially thank my husband and the gatecrasher with a master’s degree at 6 weeks of age for their patience and support. We are grateful to all our professors and the team at Heller, for Jilliana’s nails, Sandy’s snacks, and the free food we got from the many coffee times with the Dean!

This chapter may be over, but the journey is just starting. As we go out there, I urge everyone to keep the bond. Whenever you need to, find your strength, rely on your support team, and call on any of us, and we will be there.

Congratulations to us all, Class of 2024, and as we say in Twi, “mo ne adwuma pa.”

Thank you all.