Grace Shen arrived at Indiana University from China in 2012 knowing nothing about Midwest culture. In fact, she could hardly speak English.
How she became the 2016 Bloomington Commencement speaker four years later is no mystery, though—it was a spark of curiosity that led her to the stage.
Grace attended Honors Convocation at the end of her freshman year and wondered why some students were seated on stage, while others sat in the auditorium. Then, one honors student gave a speech.
“I thought, hmm. I want to do that, too,” said Grace, an international student from Beijing. “I was really shy to even talk to my classmates. But I started thinking, what kind of student can do that?”