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Meet the student speakers at Boise State’s 50th Commencement

Winter 2023 graduates celebrate commencement at ExtraMile arena
Boise State graduates celebrate their achievements in December 2023 at ExtraMile Arena.

Nearly 2,000 Broncos will celebrate Boise State’s 50th commencement as a university on May 4 at ExtraMile Arena. Three student speakers have been selected by faculty and university leadership to represent the spring 2024 graduating class: Nicolette Missbrenner, Jason Holman and Alejandra Almaraz.

Learn more about these exceptional students below.

Nicolette Missbrenner, College of Health Sciences

Nicolette Misbrenner poses on the Boise State campus with her textbooks
Nicolette Missbrenner will represent the College of Health Sciences as a Spring 2024 Commencement student speaker during the 9 a.m. ceremony on May 4.

Nicolette Missbrenner earns a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with a 4.0 GPA. While in nursing school, she worked in the community as an emergency medical technician with the Ada County Paramedics, as well as an instructor of emergency medical services, advanced cardiovascular life support and pediatric advanced life support. She also served as a certified nursing assistant. She was president of the student nurses association and represented the School of Nursing at Boise State Day at the Capitol.

“Nicolette is the consummate learner. She is excited by new information and is always looking for new ways to expand her knowledge and practice,” said Sarah Llewellyn, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing. Missbrenner was a student, an undergraduate research assistant, a co-presenter and an honors society colleague of Llewellyn.

“She is kind and compassionate and takes care of those around her,” Llewellyn added.

Missbrenner believes in the power of finding your ‘Why,’ which she says has carried her through hard times. She urges this graduating class to “stay dedicated, stay composed, stay present, stay willing to grow and stay hungry for more. You are capable, you are valuable, and you are worthy of celebration. Now let’s go show the world what we’re made of.”

Jason Holman, College of Arts and Sciences

Jason Holman poses on the Boise State campus in his regalia
Jason Holman will represent the College of Arts and Sciences as a Spring 2024 Commencement student speaker at the 2 p.m. ceremony on May 4.

Jason Holman earns a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies with minors in business economics and political science and a certificate in UX design. Holman has served as the vice president for the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) since April 2023.

“As a Black man growing up in Idaho, attending college was a leap of faith and was not without its challenges that pushed and tested me in ways that I thought could not be possible,” he said. “But every success, failure and heartbreak has molded me, and molded all of us, into capable individuals.”

Isaac Castellano, a clinical associate professor in the School of Public Service and Institute for Advancing American Values associate director, saw Holman’s dedication to making Boise State a thriving, supportive community.

“He has shown up for this university and its students the entire time he has been here. I see him everywhere: accompanying former congressmen in the Congress to Campus program, on the quad with his fraternity, in our marketing materials, on the Capitol steps on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, speaking at Boise State Listens, fulfilling his duties as ASBSU vice president,” Castellano said.

Holman wants to use this opportunity to encourage his fellow graduates that failure may be inevitable during their journeys but it’s how they respond and use that experience to define their growth.

“We as graduates of this university have had the amazing opportunity to be part of a community that cares about its members, innovates for success and provides opportunities for those of us who never thought higher education could be possible,” he said. “Our community and our world need us.”

“Having the Jason Holmon’s of the world on our campus brings heart, character and a pulse to campus, making Boise State what Boise State is,” Castellano said.

Alejandra Almaraz, College of Engineering

A headshot of Alejandra Almaraz
Alejandra Almaraz will represent the College of Engineering as a Spring 2024 Commencement student speaker at the 7 p.m. ceremony on May 4.

A first-generation college student from Caldwell, Alejandra Almaraz earns a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering. She was a research assistant in materials science and engineering labs, took that research to national conferences, and was a two-year member of the Boise State NASA Microgravity Team.

“Ally is the kind of student with whom every student wants to interact,” said Leandra Aburusa-Lete, a student success coach in the College of Engineering. “She is friendly, inclusive, encouraging and wants to see others succeed. She has a great story to tell and her success can inspire many students and graduates.”

Almaraz served on a State Board of Education student panel to speak about her experience with Idaho schools. She was an active member and officer for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers, and a College of Engineering ambassador representing the college at events and activities.

“She is highly motivated and passionate about her career in engineering. I admire her determination and eagerness to make a difference in everything she pursues,” Aburusa-Lete added.

“We reached the end of a long and difficult journey, and we all did it facing our challenges,” Almaraz said. “We are far from being done. Every end signifies a new beginning.”