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Fall 2021 Graduate Student Commencement Speakers

In response to a call for graduate student speakers for commencement exercises, interested students submitted a brief excerpt from their remarks. From all submissions, three graduate students were chosen to represent graduate programs. 

Salaheddin Sharif

Salaheddin Sharif

  • Ph.D. candidate, School of Sport and Exercise Science
  • Speaking at the Doctoral Hooding ceremony and the College of Natural and Health Sciences and College of Performing and Visual Arts ceremony

Salaheddin Sharif is originally from North Africa, mainly Libya.

Sharif is graduating this December with a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the School of Sport and Exercise Science. Sharif holds a Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.CH. B), equivalent to an M.D. in the United States, from Arab Medical University, Benghazi, Libya, and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from West Virginia University.

His research mainly explores Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and myotoxicity mechanisms and how exercise and nutritional interventions alleviate Doxorubicin-induced toxicity.

Sharif has recently accepted a research fellow position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he will work at the Endocrine Research Unit to study the effect of exercise on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes.

Shelby Clark

Shelby Clark

  • Master of Arts candidate, School Counseling
  • Speaking at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences ceremony

Shelby Clark is honored to be chosen to speak at the Fall 2021 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Commencement Ceremony. Shelby is a Colorado native who completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

She chose CU Boulder to pursue her love of Anthropology, but then quickly found a passion for Education. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Secondary Teaching Licensure.

Over the last eight years, Shelby has been a middle school English teacher in North Aurora, Colorado. Her passion and love for equity and teaching led her to pursue her master’s degree in School Counseling through the University of Northern Colorado’s Extended Campus program.

Her hope is to better serve the students she loves as whole individuals through her role as a counselor. Shelby is also proud to be a mom to her two-year-old son, Harrison. Shelby could not have been a successful teacher, student and mom, all at once, without the help of her husband, Tyler, her “sistor,” Bennie, her mom, Char, and all her other supportive family and friends.

Esthela Nunez Franco

Esthela Nunez Schnee

  • Master of Business Administration: Human Resource candidate
  • Speaking at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business ceremony

At the age of ten, Esthela Nunez Schnee, who uses the pen name Esthela Nunez Franco, immigrated from Mexico with her parents. She’s always had a passion for helping others; as a working professional by trade and an artist by birth. 

With an endless love of books, Esthela learned to embrace life simply by being human, opening the floodgates to a lifelong dedication of extroverted personal expression through writing, painting and photography. 

Nunez Franco is the author of children’s books "BreezyGirl," "Breezy & Esthela with Friends: Coloring & Activity Book," "A Day with Mom," "Grandpa is Happy," and coming soon, "My Uncle is Sick." 

Her creativity stepped aside in 2021 allowing her heart to break wide open by writing her memoir and debuting as a nonfiction contributing author in "A Path to Purpose: Seven Inspired Stories to Find Your True North." 

Nunez Franco believes everyone has a story — some are just courageous enough to share it. Her memoir has become the biggest challenge of her life where academic intelligence does not apply; it only requires the presence of her heart and soul.