This story was originally posted on The Elm.
Alisha Duggal loves public speaking. So she sees being chosen as the student remarker for the Universitywide commencement on May 20 “as a privilege and an opportunity.”
“I think there is something very special about influencing a large audience with your words,” says Duggal, who will be graduating from the Francis King Carey School of Law that day. “When you are conveying your message on such a stage you can really make an impact and hopefully resonate with the crowd.”
Duggal, who also spoke at her high school graduation and was a finalist for her undergraduate commencement speech, won the honor to speak at the UMB ceremony by being chosen from among a half-dozen students in a self-nomination process by a committee comprised of student affairs deans, the University Student Government Association, and other UMB leadership.
She expects to be nervous, especially since her family will be present at Royal Farms Arena. “It is counterintuitive,” Duggal says. “I have always been shy to present in front of my parents. Yet, I am completely fine in front of a large crowd!”
In addition to her studies at Carey Law, Duggal externed at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this semester and also has been active in Moot Court, the Student Health Law Organization, the Student Bar Association, interning at a local investment advisory firm, and serving as an editor on the Journal of Health Care Law & Policy.
“I value pursuing interests outside of my academic course load. I think it makes you stronger and expands your outlook,” says Duggal, who enjoys cooking, sports, and interior design and aspires one day to become a legal analyst for a major news channel.
Networking was an essential element of her time at the SEC. “I think in a competitive environment where so many people are qualified,” Duggal says, “your personality, presence, and sincerity are crucial to success. My time at the SEC definitely reinforced this.”
Duggal also admits her family “absolutely has shaped who I am today.” Her parents left North India with few savings and no guarantee of success to come to this country. “Everything they have done in their careers is to provide a better life for their three children. From a young age we were taught the value of a strong education,” says Duggal.
So when Alisha is speaking at commencement she will be living out her own dream as well as that of her mother, who once was told she was “too outspoken” to be married in India let alone pursue the legal career she hoped for.
And what words of wisdom will Duggal have for her fellow graduates?
“My speech is about the value of taking calculated risks. There are ill-advised risks and then there are risks that are worth taking. I think many UMB students have been in a situation where we doubted our decision to pursue such rigorous studies, but I want to convey that we are going to be successful and valuable assets in our respective fields.
“For many of us, this is the last time in a formal educational institution. It is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. We all are anxious of what an uncertain future will hold. So I hope my speech conveys a sense of pride in where we’ve come and confidence in the journey ahead.”
By Chris Zang