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“As we go forth in the world, people will see UW Oshkosh on our resume and be certain of a few things, but it is our job to demonstrate how complex we are and how much we have to offer as an individual.”

Abbie Chobot, a nursing major with a social justice minor from Waukesha, has been reciting these words in her head all week. Chobot has been selected as the 2018 graduating class speaker for the afternoon ceremony of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s spring commencement on Saturday, May 12.

“It is such an honor for me,” Chobot beamed. “This is the best way to culminate my experiences at UWO.”

Chobot’s unique college journey makes her speech particularly inspiring for graduating students. The challenges she faced during her college career have shaped who she is and her passions in life, and she’s made it her mission to share the story with her peers.

When Chobot was a sophomore at UW Oshkosh, her father was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Just eight months later, when she was applying to the nursing program, her father passed away.

Chobot’s father saw his children as his greatest achievement. During her sophomore year, it was difficult for her to be away from home and continue school, but she lived by her father’s sentiment every single day. Her education and who she would become was so important to him; she could not give up.

“I tend to share my story a lot. I do this as a way to connect with someone who may be experiencing something similar and could use someone who can relate.”

Talking about her experience helps her make sense of what happened. Although she endured a great deal of pain, she finds comfort using her story to connect with and empower others. It’s been especially valuable as she embarks upon a career in nursing.

“I have changed so much since my dad’s cancer and death,” Chobot said. “I truly understand how fragile life is. I consider myself incredibly blessed to be going into a career that offers me the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life each and every day.”

Being a student at UW Oshkosh helped Chobot grow and develop into a true professional. She speaks highly of the faculty and staff in the College of Nursing and is thankful for the nurses and fellow classmates she’s met during her time in Oshkosh.

One of her favorite undergraduate experiences was studying abroad in India over interim. Working alongside Indian nursing students, providing health education and caring for children and families was an impactful opportunity giving her a global perspective in the field of nursing. This was yet another life-changing experience that shaped who she is today.

In addition to her academics, Chobot was involved in North Scott Hall government, she was Vice President of United Students in Residence Halls, student council chair of the Oshkosh Student Nurses’ Association and the Lead Community Development Specialist for residence life.

“Losing my dad helped me realize how I need to live my life, and that is with kindness and by making a difference. I know he would be proud of me and how much I have accomplished at UW Oshkosh.”

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