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MSLCE Students Encouraged to ‘Take Risks’ and ‘Walk Proudly’ At Convocation

grad-pic-1 By Jacob Nelson

Shortly after receiving her degree from the MSLCE program on August 25, Ali Riddle reflected on the internship she’d soon begin at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“I used to fantasize about David Letterman interviewing me,” Riddle said. “It’s such an iconic institution, it’s overwhelming how much of a dream job it is.” Riddle’s production internship goes from September till December. She attended the MSLCE convocation ceremony in between packing up her apartment and getting ready to move to New York.

“My apartment looks like a tornado hit, and I leave in three days, I’m so ready to pack my bags,” she said.

Riddle was one of 32 MSLCE students to participate in the convocation ceremony, held in the Alice Millar Chapel on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The ceremony included remarks by MSLCE Director Pablo Boczkowski as well as School of Communication Dean Barbara O’Keefe. Navy Pier Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer Michelle Boone gave the keynote address, which she used as an opportunity to offer advice to the graduating students.

“Leaders are not afraid of risk, they are bold and imaginative and eager to embrace the unexpected,” she said. “Be courageous, take risks, and don’t be afraid of what’s next… Walk proudly through the door of uncertainty.”

Students like Hayley Bullock and Seth Zimmerman were eager to embrace Boone’s advice. Though neither student is sure what’s next in their professional careers, both are excited about the future and about how MSLCE has prepared them for whatever comes next.


“This program was about understanding the arts from a business perspective,” Bullock said. “I want to go into consulting to learn more about how to help arts nonprofits.”

Zimmerman called graduating a surreal experience. He recalled a seminar at the beginning of the program where he learned how to analyze corporate structures. A year later, he sees why that was so valuable.

“Now I know why we did that, it hit me how this will be beneficial,” he said. As far as what’s next, he said he will be “trying to see what will make me happy.”

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