Nathalie Vieux-Gresham '23 is ready to inspire

Nathalie Vieux-GreshamPhoto/Gaelen Morse

Nathalie Vieux-Gresham

For months, Nathalie Vieux-Gresham '23 waited anxiously to find out if she would be selected as the undergraduate speaker at Brandeis’ 72nd Commencement.

"I was so nervous about the result, I even deleted the email app from my phone that day," says Vieux-Gresham. "When I found out, I called my mom immediately to tell her the good news. I was very surprised and excited."

In the fall 2022 semester, Brandeis asked students and faculty to nominate students who they think will best represent the class of 2023 to become the commencement speaker. From all the submitted nominations, the selection committee invited a small group of nominees – including Vieux-Gresham – to submit a draft speech for their consideration. 

During winter break, Vieux-Gresham poured her heart and soul into crafting a speech that would reflect her experiences and the experiences of her classmates. Her goal was to highlight the positive attributes that drive people forward when faced with struggles.

"I don’t want to talk about struggle or resilience,” she said. “Instead, I want to talk about the positive attributes that really drive people forward when faced with struggles. So, it is less about the challenges themselves, but how we overcame them.”

Vieux-Gresham, who set to complete the combined 4-Year B.S./M.S. program in neuroscience, lives many lives at Brandeis. As a Bridge to Wellness Peer Health Educator, she promoted health and wellness practices as students navigated their Brandeis experience. As a Community Advisor, she fostered a sense of community among students living in her residence hall. As a Roosevelt Fellow and a neuroscience undergraduate department representative, she was able to help many students navigate their academic life at Brandeis. 

After graduation, Vieux-Gresham plans to take a few years to gain clinical experiences by working in hospitals before pursuing medical school.

As Commencement draws near, she continues to put the finishing touches on her remarks.

"I am truly honored to be able to represent my class at the commencement this year," she said. "I hope that the speech will offer the class of 2023 a chance to reflect on their memories and lessons from their time at Brandeis and carry them into the world beyond campus."

Vieux-Gresham has kept the details of her speech under wraps, although she did provide a glimpse of a hint.

“The speech can be summarized into two words, and they start with the same letter! One word is something we hope to find within, the other word is something we hoped to find at Brandeis,” says Vieux-Gresham. 

As to what those two words are? Perhaps the Class of 2023 will figure it out at Commencement.

Jack Yuanwei Cheng '23 is a student writer for the Office of Communications at Brandeis.

Categories: Alumni, Student Life

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