Stieber to speak at Cornell College Commencement

The Cornell College senior class has decided, and they have selected Caitlin Stieber as the student speaker at Commencement.

Photo of Caitlin Stieber
Caitlin Stieber ’18

Students nominate a fellow classmate who they believe will be a good speaker at Commencement and of those selected, the senior class votes on their top choice.

“When I was selected as commencement speaker, I was very excited to have the opportunity to be a representative of my class and speak about some of our experiences from the last four years,” Stieber said.

Stieber is a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology and chemistry, and she’s invested months in researching carbon dioxide emissions at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. She’ll be starting graduate school at the University of Maine in the fall to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences.

Stieber, however, won’t be focusing on telling her own story during graduation, she’ll be sharing the stories of many others too.

“The general theme of my talk is ‘I can do anything in 18 days,’ but I really wanted the focus of the speech to be on the senior class as a whole, rather than any one individual,” Stieber said. “I asked the senior class to send in their stories of what they had accomplished or overcome in 18 days, and I have incorporated these stories into my speech.”

Stieber wants people who hear her speak to understand Cornell’s sense of community. She said it’s that sense of community that has gotten her through some really stressful times.

“Everyone is always working together to create the sense that we are all in this together, and we are going to help each other through things,” Stieber said.

The senior is looking forward to her future, but she said she would never forget the relationships she has formed with faculty, the student activities on campus, and all of the many experiences she has had. While she has many goals in life, her biggest goal is pretty simple.

“My biggest goal in life is to be happy,” she said. “This isn’t saying that I am not currently happy, because I am, and the friendships I have formed at Cornell is a big contributor to that. But, I think that as people move into their real adult lives there can be this tendency to get bogged down in work, where it becomes the most important thing and nothing beyond that is important. Since I know I have a tendency to focus too much on work like that, I try to be very conscious of how I’m spending my time beyond work and how I have a positive life in other ways. I know that I want to do things outside of my work, so my real goal is to just keep this focus in mind and try not to become too stressed about the other details.”

The 2018 Commencement ceremony takes place on May 13 at 10 a.m.