Graduating senior Pallas Chou (CPB ‘23) has been chosen to give the English oration at Harvard commencement on Thursday. Each year at commencement, there are three orations given from memory: a Latin oration by a graduating senior, an English oration by a graduating senior, and another English oration given by a student completing their graduate program. Over 32,000 people watch the Harvard commencement orations each year.
“I’m really excited to be selected as the English Orator at Commencement,” Chou says. “I am grateful for this opportunity. I find joy in the lens that I bring, which is one in which science and my daily lived experiences intersect. Hence, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to communicate this speech through the lens I see the world through.”
“Since my speech touches on enzymes, I also hope that this helps people see enzymes in a different light, especially for those who haven’t thought about enzymes in the past!” she adds. “I hope that people will resonate with the speech. It’s actually pretty surreal that I will be doing this. I also want people to recognize the amazing people in their lives who have shaped their Harvard experience as well as feel a sense of comfort and awe in all that we have done together. This speech is ultimately for others to enjoy. I hope to just have fun with this speech and am looking forward to having people listen to it!”
Chou adds that she is grateful to many people in her life, including: her parents and her brother; her lab and its principal investigator Emily Balskus and Chou’s direct mentor Grace Kenney; countless lab mates who help her in lab and her labmates Duncan Kountz, Katherine Maloney, Maeva Maetz, and Rohan Narayan who rehearsed the speech with her before auditions; Harrison Ngue; her Harvard professors and instructors, including Christina Woo, Dilek Dogutan Kiper, Thomas Remington, Daniel Nocera, Jennifer Hochschild, and Joshua Kertzer; her K-12 teachers; mentors from other areas of her life, including May Liu, Mary Maxon, and Steven Singer; Meg Lockwood; the Cabot House community; God, “who makes all things possible;” and many more friends and family.
Congratulations to Pallas Chou!