Dec. 6, 2023

Commencement speaker: ‘There is nothing one cannot do if they set their mind to it’


Graduating NDSU senior Ambrosia Yellow Bird wants her classmates to carry resilience with them as they enter the next chapter in their lives. 

“I feel like my department nominated me to give the commencement speech because of my resilient character,” Yellow Bird said. “So, I thought it would be fitting to speak about that for graduation and to share some advice with my fellow graduates in the hopes that they can use their own resilience to overcome any obstacles they may face post-graduation.”

Yellow Bird, who was selected as class representative, will share her message with attendees at the 2 p.m. ceremony of NDSU winter commencement, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 15, in the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The ceremony is for the College of Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

The main message Yellow Bird wants the audience to take from her speech is that anything is possible. 

“There is nothing one cannot do if they set their mind to it. Be strong and always be kind,” said Yellow Bird, who is earning her Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family science. 

Yellow Bird is a Fellow in the Grantmakers for Girls of Color and Seventh Generation Fund “New Songs Rising” Fellowship. She also is a member of the United States Department of Agriculture and American Indian Science and Engineering Society “Indigenous Knowledge Research Program.”

Her involvement on campus includes her work as a lab coordinator and senior research assistant for Wen Wang, NDSU assistant professor of human development and family science, in the NDSU Child’s Motivation, Prosociality and Achievement Lab, where she has worked since May. 

“I’ve learned so much about myself and who I am while being here,” Yellow Bird said. “The ups and downs of college have taught me to never give up and to always reach out for help when needed.” 

Following graduation, Yellow Bird plans to get a master’s degree in counseling and pursue her LPCC. After obtaining licensure, she plans to move back to her home in Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, to work for her tribe as a family counselor, and eventually open up her own independent practice. 

Yellow Bird’s advice for prospective students is to get familiar with NDSU before starting classes.

“Tour the campus and try to meet with other students who share your interests. Find your place here,” she said. 

Yellow Bird is the daughter of Michael Yellow Bird Jr. and Tanya Howell. 

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