Commencement Profiles: Meet the First-Ever Graduate Student Commencement Speakers!

By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos

Commencement Profiles: Meet the First-Ever Graduate Student Commencement Speakers!

By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos
Graduating D.M.A. candidate Christine Jobson and International Business master’s student Weronika Michaluk were selected as the first graduate student commencement speakers.

The Spring 2019 commencement ceremonies will be the first to include graduate student speakers, in addition to the customarily invited guest speakers. Graduating students Weronika Michaluk and Christine Jobson will be the speakers of the 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. ceremonies, respectively.

This new tradition for graduate commencement, which was already part of its undergraduate counterpart, was initiated by the Graduate Student Association (GSA), particularly by master’s student John Ness, current secretary and incoming Vice President of the GSA for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Christine Jobson

christine

Christine, who will sing the national anthem in both graduate ceremonies in addition to serving as speaker for the morning ceremony, will earn her D.M.A. in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from the Frost School of Music.

A native Miamian, Christine has been featured as a concert singer in music and concert halls around the world with performances in Spain, Bermuda, Portugal, the Bahamas, Austria, and the across the entire United States.

Christine has a particular interest in the preservation and dissemination of vocal music written by African American composers including Negro spirituals, anthems, art song, gospel, and hymns. “Part of my purpose in life is to champion the works of African-American performers,” she explained. “To show the world this music is just as beautiful and just as worthy of study”.

For her doctoral research, Christine focused on Florence Price, the first black woman to have one of her symphonies performed by a major American orchestra, the Chicago Symphony. Christine was intrigued by a large body of Price’s works which included twelve art songs written for voice with text from female poets that nearly had been lost forever. Christine presented her research as a competitor in the 2019 Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Christine is a recipient of the Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award, which is given to one student to support development as a young artist. With the funding from the Presser Foundation, she is currently working on her second album rooted in her research on Florence Price, entitled, Nearly lost: art songs by Florence Price. Her first album “By Faith”, released in 2017, was a collection of hymns and Negro spirituals with Dr. Wayne Bucknor, a world-renowned pianist. 

Currently, Christine teaches at our Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, and also maintains a private piano studio. After graduation, she will relocate to New York to join the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, pursuing her dream of establishing herself as a full-time performer. “My passion is to share beautiful music with the world. There is so much pain in the world. I want my music to serve as an escape for people, to give them hope,” she expressed.

Weronika Michaluk

weronika

The student speaker of the afternoon ceremony, Weronika Michaluk, will earn her Master’s degree in International Business from the Miami Business School.

A biomedical engineer by training, Weronika has cultivated a talent for integrating science with business. Driven by an interest in the healthcare industry, she initially considered becoming a physician. However, Weronika developed a passion for technology and a knack for business, quickly realizing she could also contribute indirectly to healthcare if she combined these two interests. “I was more interested in supporting patient health through the development of medical devices” she explained, adding “someday, I want to start my own biomedical company.”

Having previously designed an EKG device capable of monitoring heart rate wirelessly, she came to UM to further her knowledge in business. As part of her capstone Global Business Consulting Project, she was able to merge her knowledge in biomedical engineering and international business working with medical device manufacturer, Boston Scientific, to optimize the use of advanced cardiovascular technologies in Colombia.

Weronika is also a former professional soccer player in her native country of Poland, where her team was crowned national vice-champion in 2013. She also has a passion for discovering the unknown and traveling the world, practicing her language skills in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Polish and English.

She has a soft spot for helping others, volunteering as a firefighter and a translator/interpreter for international adoption processes in Poland. For the past six months, she has contributed her international expertise and language skills to the Office of Hemispheric and Global Affairs as a graduate assistant.

After graduation, she will be embarking on a week-long visit to the top business technology companies in San Francisco. “Since I am actively looking for employment opportunities, I am very excited to learn more from these industry leaders and how they do business,” she stated.

To view the broadcasts of the Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremonies, click here