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Spring 2023 Undergraduate Student Commencement Speaker Knows Community is Powerful

Camille Bakker will address her graduating class along with their friends and families this Saturday, May 13, at the School of Business’s Commencement Ceremony.

camille bakker hero

Kogod School of Business finance student Camille Bakker.


Camille Bakker earned the opportunity to be the spring 2023 undergraduate class commencement speaker for the Kogod School of Business after showing exemplary dedication as a peer consultant at the Kogod Center for Professionalism and Communications (ProComms Center). Bakker is graduating with a BS in finance. She also holds dual citizenship with France! Senior director of the ProComms Center, Caron Martinez, shared a few kind words about working with Bakker over the past few years.

Camille is happiest when she’s doing seven different things in a day, with service and academic achievement at the top of the list. ProComms has been the lucky recipient of her passion for mentoring fellow students at the nexus of communications, finance, and sustainability for three years. Camille brings fun, warmth, and professionalism to her coaching, and the combination is dynamic.”

Caron Martinez

Caron Martinez

Senior Director, Center for Professionalism and Communications

Kogod: Congratulations on being chosen as the spring 2023 undergraduate commencement speaker for Kogod. I’ve heard incredible things about you from many professors and members of Kogod leadership. Can you tell me about the organizations you’ve been involved with while at Kogod?

Camille Bakker: As a peer consultant at the Center for Professionalism and Communications, I enjoyed helping other Kogod students succeed and become better communicators. I was also the co-president of the Undergraduate Women in Business organization, where we provide our members with events that inspire, educate, and uplift our female-identifying students.

You have dual citizenship with France and the US. Why was it important to you to attend a global-minded university? Did Kogod hold up to or exceed your expectations in setting you up for your future?

The strong presence of the international community at American University was the difference maker in my decision to attend. The university's commitment to its values (Integrity, excellence, dignity, community) embraces diversity and creates an uplifting environment that allows students from everywhere to come together to innovate. What struck me at American University is the shared vision within the community to make a meaningful change and create a positive impact. Being surrounded by like-minded peers driven by a common purpose creates an inspiring and empowering atmosphere. It fosters collaboration, sparks innovative ideas, and fuels the collective motivation to make a difference. Students and faculty encourage each other to think critically, challenge the status quo, and actively create more socially responsible communities. By attending American University, I am confident that I am part of a community that shares my aspirations and will support me in my journey to make a meaningful impact on the world.

With such an impressive background, where will you be headed post-graduation?

I will be working at Bloomberg as an analytics analyst in New York!

That is so exciting! Speaking of exciting moments, what are some standout moments from your undergraduate education?

During my undergraduate education, several standout moments left a lasting impact on my academic journey. One of the key highlights was the culture of experiential learning fostered by the faculty at Kogod. This approach to education empowered us to develop independent thoughts and to see issues from multiple perspectives. The hands-on nature of the Center for Professionalism and Communications peer consultant role allowed me to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in my classes to practical situations, bridging the gap between theory and practice.  Moreover, the Kogod professors themselves are innovators and play an active role in the success of their students. Their dedication and enthusiasm inspire students to pursue their passions. They provided me with guidance, mentorship, and support, ensuring we had the tools to reach our goals. These standout moments enriched my education and shaped my mindset, instilling in me a commitment to critical thinking, innovation, and making a meaningful impact.

That is so great to hear! We pride ourselves on the unparalleled quality of our faculty practitioners here at Kogod. So thinking of that asset for students, what advice would you give to prospective students who are choosing between AU’s Kogod and another university?

At the Kogod School of Business, you will be part of a close-knit community of highly motivated individuals dedicated to using their education to make a positive impact. A shared passion unites this distinctive community at Kogod for leveraging business principles to drive meaningful change. These individuals recognize the potential of business to create social, environmental, and ethical transformations.

The tight-knit nature of the Kogod community fosters collaboration, support, and the exchange of innovative ideas. It provides a network of like-minded individuals who will challenge and inspire you to push the boundaries of what is possible.

camillebakker quote

Camille Bakker

Finance student, Kogod School of Business

As I conclude my journey at the Kogod School of Business, I am grateful to have made lifelong connections with my peers and friends who share my vision to positively impact our community. 

That’s wonderful! And at commencement, you will have the opportunity to address your friends and peers directly. What wisdom do you wish to impart to your fellow graduating peers without spoiling the speech you've been working on? 

As you commence your journey after graduation, I wish to impart the importance of networking. Networking is not just about collecting business cards or adding contacts on social media; it's about building genuine relationships that can profoundly impact your personal and professional growth. Networking helps you to tap into the knowledge and experiences of others, learn from their successes and failures, and ultimately find mentors who can support you. So, don't underestimate the power of networking. Attend events, join clubs, and proactively engage in meaningful conversations.