Graduates of Boise State’s Winter Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 16 will be represented by two exceptional student speakers: Chinma Njoku and Josie Kennedy. Learn more about their Boise State stories below.
Chinma Njoku – Morning Ceremony
Njoku is earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies with an emphasis in science and a minor in psychology, and represents the College of Health Sciences. She’s from Pocatello, Idaho, and is the daughter of a first-generation immigrant.
As a member of Boise State women’s basketball team, she joins Boise State Athletics in surpassing its all-time best NCAA Graduation Success Rate in the history of the university and Mountain West Conference. She also volunteers at the campus food pantry and with BroncoLife, a personal and professional development program for fellow student athletes.
Elizabeth Barnes, a lecturer in the Department of Writing Studies, noted the level of respect that Njoku’s teammates have for her both on the basketball court and in the classroom.
“Chinma walks this world with dignity and grace,” Barnes said. “She is intensely capable and intelligent. She truly understands and incorporates a growth mindset in all that she does. She is deeply committed to creating a sense of belonging for others, and this resonates in the ways her teammates respond to her.”
Njoku is excited to usher in the next wave of Boise State graduates who will join more than 100,000 living alumni around the world.
“All of our stories might differ, yet we’re all here as one body. Lifelong Broncos in learning and in spirit,” she said.
Josie Kennedy – Afternoon Ceremony
Kennedy represents the College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with minors in environmental studies and sociology. She is part of the Associated Students of Boise State University as a representative for underserved populations.
“To know Josie Kennedy is to be heard, understood and seen,” said Julia Broderick, a lecturer in the sociology department, who Kennedy collaborated with as a teaching assistant. “Her ability to get students out of their shells, engage with the overall class culture, and be pushed out of their comfort zone is a gift in a collective space like the classroom.”
Kennedy made a lasting impact on Broderick and her students, “leaving campus better than she found it,” as Broderick puts it. In 2022, she contributed to a campus sustainability report, volunteering to learn the inner workings of the university’s recycling system. Kennedy and a team from the Office of Sustainability experimented with ways to educate people about recycling at large events.
“When we make things easily accessible for people to participate in, then more people will participate, in this case, more people will recycle,” the report stated. “This service and learning are important to Boise State’s campus and student life because we can discover ways that would make our campus more environmentally sustainable. Implementing small ways to be sustainable through everyday life could lead to a snowball effect in our efforts to sustainable practices.”
As she represents her fellow Broncos at commencement, she’s thrilled to highlight the legacy these graduates will leave and the change they will inspire.
“We are all a part of a grand narrative. Each chapter building upon the last and each graduate today has the potential to shape the story for generations to come,” she added.
“When I think of the legacy that Josie leaves our campus with as she embarks on what will no doubt be a bright future, I think of the word ‘hope,'” Broderick said.