May 2, 2024

Commencement speaker: ‘Everyone has natural born strengths’


Graduating NDSU senior Briana Nguyen wants her fellow graduates to realize their natural strengths can take them anywhere they want to go regardless of how challenging any endeavor they encounter might be.

Nguyen was selected class representative to address the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 11 in the Fargodome. The ceremony is for the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources; College of Business; College of Engineering; and Interdisciplinary Studies. Nguyen is receiving her bachelor’s degree in microbiological sciences.  

Nguyen’s commencement speech is about Chinese zodiacs, specifically the year of the dragon.   

“It’s a topic that is extremely personal to me, while also containing a message that other students can easily relate to,” Nguyen said. “Being born in the year of the dragon, it’s kind of a full circle moment having this big milestone also occur in the year of the dragon. I’ve also spent my last couple years at NDSU dedicated to sharing and supporting culture, so this felt like one last way to do that before I leave.”

Throughout her speech Nguyen will provide the audience an overview on how the 12 Chinese zodiacs that are celebrated each Chinese New Year came to be.

“The main messages that I tried to convey in my speech are that everyone has natural born strengths and that getting to the finish line, no matter how long it takes or how strong you finish, is the most important thing in a race,” she said. “This applies to graduation, as well as any endeavors that people take on. In times that may feel like you’ve given everything you have to give, it’s important not to forget about those natural strengths.”

Throughout her time at NDSU Nguyen has been involved in the Asian Student Organization, Student Government and the Pre-Physician Assistant Club. 

Getting involved on campus is Nguyen’s primary advice for prospective students. 

“Everyone is always saying to join clubs and it’s for a good reason. It might be scary being in a room full of new people at first, but the years that I started getting involved on campus are the ones that I had the absolute most fun. I have met so many amazing people and lifelong friends in the organizations that I am a part of and one of my only college regrets is that I didn’t get involved earlier,” she said.

Following graduation Nguyen will pursue a master’s degree in physician assistant studies with the plan to specialize in dermatology. 

Nguyen is from Fargo. Her parents are Brian and Tiffany Nguyen. 

For more on Briana’s NDSU experience, visit the official NDSU YouTube page.

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