This afternoon you’ll be up on the stage telling us about your work. Work that you’ve been working on for quite some time. Work that may have seemed foreign and even a tad intimidating at the start. Work that probably caused you some stress and anxiety, perhaps boredom at points. But it probably also resulted in some pretty cool a-ha moments, breakthrough moments, moments of feeling really accomplished and excited about what you were learning and distilling from your research.
The point is that you all persevered and carried through and now you are ready to stand on that stage, talk about your experience and share with others the importance of whatever topic, question, issue you focused on this summer and that you think is important. You are in a position to communicate a message, help others understand some of the complexities of your topic; you now have the experience and power to speak as researchers.
So how does that feel?
I encourage you to grab hold of the moment this afternoon. Take your time to really notice your own personal evolution as a scholar. This is significant. Relish in your stage presence and the sound of your own voice. Really listen to others responding to what you have to say. This is an important stepping stone in your journey and is certain to lead to further questions and research challenges up ahead.
You are McNair and what you are doing is important. You are carrying on the McNair mission and you are creating your own. Congratulations to each of you. Keep today’s experience in your mind’s eye as you move forward in your education and careers. Keep with you the power you have to be part of the solution in addressing and dealing with some of the world’s greatest challenges.