It was a cool spring evening as our May 2021 College of Professional Studies graduates gathered at Fenway Park for a celebration of their accomplishments. We were socially distanced and wearing masks, but this was a true coming together after a year of extraordinary challenge.

Armaya Doremi, a graduate of our Corporate and Organizational Communication program, helped to warm the spirits as the student commencement speaker.

Here is what Armaya Doremi had to say.

Good evening everyone, Before I begin, I want to thank God for the health and blessing that he gives us tonight. I also want to dedicate this speech to my mom, who is watching me from Indonesia. I hope it will help her recover from a severe injury sooner. I know my mother is so proud of me, the same way your family and friends are proud of you today. I love you mom: Rani sayang mama.

Today marks my three years and four months speaking real English. What a way to celebrate it! I am incredibly honored and humbled to be your commencement speaker tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I thank faculty and advisors for giving me this opportunity. Dear Faculty, Parents, Family, Friends, and of course my fellow Huskies, the graduating class of 2021, welcome and congratulations! Tonight,

I want to talk about the opportunity that brought me to this country, the opportunity to witness how multicultural and multilingual America embraced me, and the opportunity to join the Northeastern University community. Growing up, I realized that my parents did not have enough money to pay for my education, so I started working when I was 15 to help my parents and pay my own bills. I worked as a singer and female DJ – a very unusual occupation for a woman in the country where the majority are Muslim. I was driven to make my dream come true. I wanted to have an education, a career, and be independent.

My determination grew when I had an opportunity to work for a leader who supported women’s right in Indonesia. Then, one day, my effort and my hard work were recognized when the governor of East Indonesia offered me a scholarship to study in America. I thought to myself “Wow. What an opportunity!” While I was thrilled to even imagine that I could study in one of the top universities in the U.S, I had to be realistic — my English was very poor. Yet, I persevered because I knew this opportunity may not come into my life again. Frequently described as a survivor; I knew how to seize this opportunity. I had only ten months to prepare for Northeastern. So many doubted in my ability to succeed except for the governor and my mother. I studied English every single night overcoming the challenges of learning a second language that brought me to tears and disappointments, but I never gave up. Practicing my English, I talked to my mirror; I even talked to my wall, my most reliable conversational partners.

 Professor Patty Goodman and Armaya Doremi

My journey at Northeastern University began with Global Pathways, a program that ushered me to American graduate school by shaping my perspective on learning and introducing me to rather alien concepts of critical thinking and APA citations. It laid a solid foundation for my success in the Corporate and Organizational Communication program. While we can share a wealth of valuable lessons we learned, my capstone project stands out for me. Professor Powers helped me prepare for a real-world setting and raised my awareness of the demands in the professional world.

That experience inspired me to create an education abroad consulting business for Indonesian people. I am confident that with Northeastern’s degree, we can pursue anything we wish, in whatever capacity we are in. If you are entrepreneurs, find ideas that can make a difference in the world. If you are in Public Relations, like myself, be someone who is authentic and genuine, who can make people understand the world around us.

As Soekarno, the first Indonesian president, stated, “whoever wants pearls, must dare to jump into the deep ocean!” in other words, don’t be afraid to take a risk—there might be something valuable waiting for you. I did. There are some people out there who need our guiding hand: companies, individuals, communities. We now have the capacity to create change in our environment; we have the capacity to use our creativity and expertise to help those who need the most.

My Northeastern University experience does not end here. It will stay with me everywhere I go. I will carry its spirit of creativity, innovation, and independent thinking through my journey in the professional world. The University made me equipped to take on new opportunities. My fellow huskies, This is the time for us to take on new challenges. This is the time to persevere no matter the hardships brought upon by the pandemic or world calamities. Be brave; believe in yourself; keep up the spirit of Northeastern University. Congratulations once again.

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Faculty