Live From the Mall: CCAS Class of ’24 Shared Memories at Commencement

June 12, 2024

CCAS graduates (from left) Kathleen Lauer, Selamawit Weimer and Kristopher McColley at the 2024 Commencement on the National Mall.

In the shadows of the Washington Monument on Commencement Day, members of the CCAS Class of 2024 shared stories about their friends, their faculty and how their university experience helped shaped their lives.

Natalie Kisak
MA, Environmental Resources Policy


“I would say that one of the best parts would have been the capstone class. I did my master’s in environmental resource policy with Dr. Rachel Emas. And she was so enthusiastic and was always willing to help. She was just really in all the students’ corner to make sure that we got the support that we needed in order to get through capstone work and also balance our school life with being able to work with pro bono clients and still enjoying our last semester. To be here at graduation feels great. It feels like such a weight has been lifted to know that I’ve made it. I’ve got my master’s.”

Kathleen Lauer
MA, Museum Studies


“I got to take a lot of classes over at the Smithsonian buildings, which was really exciting. For one of my courses, I got to go out to their museum support center and go behind the scenes and get to be really hands on with a lot of the objects that are in their storage. It was really exciting to…experience the museum from the inside and not just in the classroom.”

Nadia Lischke
BA, Music; BS, Biology


“There’s a group called the Senate Project, and they do a partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Group. There was a debate on campus between [Sen. Chris] Coons (D-Conn) and [Sen. Marco] Rubio (R-Fla), and my teacher recommended me to sing the national anthem at the event. So that was pretty cool. I got to go backstage and meet them there. Their wives were so nice!”

Kristopher McColley
MA, Speech-Language Pathology


“Because GW is in the center of D.C., we get a huge, diverse patient population to deal with. In my clinical externships and at the GW learning clinic which was one of the major driving points for coming here. We were just thrown into the speech and learning clinic and given patients. One of my first patients was a minority student. It was good to connect with him on that level. I don’t think I would have been able to get a broad, diverse patient population anywhere else.”

Thejasvi Ramu
MA, Strategic and Media Communication


“Social wise, [my fondest memory] has to be all the friends that I made. It’s funny how we became such good friends—like, these people are showing up to my wedding this summer. The memories we share go from things like Friendsgiving and building those small, very stereotypical American memories to just having each other’s back when we aren’t feeling well.

“Academically, I never thought I would do a master’s degree. I didn’t do so great in undergrad—I peaked in high school. But I went out and I worked and came back to grad school and was so proud to see how much I was capable of. Now that I look back at my GPA and how I performed in my classes, I’m just so proud of myself.”

Selamawit Weimer
BA, Africana Studies; Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholar


“My most memorable moment was seeing the past president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, speak on campus because I had learned about her in one of my classes. It was inspiring.”