Indiana State University Newsroom

Effingham native tapped as winter commencement speaker

November 30, 2017

When Shayla Bozdech addresses the graduating class of 2017 at Indiana State University's winter commencement, she won't be rapping her speech like she did as a valedictorian at Effingham High School.

But she hopes her message of sacrifice will resonate with her fellow graduates when she takes to the podium as the student speaker during the Dec. 16 ceremony at Hulman Center.

"I was struggling to come up with words that I thought would be meaningful for such a diverse group," said Bozdech, who is completing her bachelor's degree in political science and plans to attend graduate school in the fall for a Ph.D. in political science with the aspiration of becoming a college professor.

"There are students who have gone through some real life struggles while they finished college. I want to be respectful of that and deliver a message that connects with everyone, which I thought would be a message along the lines of sacrifice and recognizing that everyone can have their own achievements. What connects us all is the sacrifices we are willing to make for others," she said.

The daughter of Tammy and Matthew Bozdech of Effingham, Ill., Bozdech is a President's Scholar and has served as vice president of the President's Scholars Association since 2016. She has also been involved with Indiana State's chapter of the American Democracy Project since her sophomore year, serving as president and a student assistant for the organization.

During her three and a half years at Indiana State, Bozdech was a recipient of the Outstanding Student Worker Award and was named a finalist for the Richard Landini Outstanding Junior Award.

"I have thought about applying to be the commencement speaker ever since freshman year. I had a faculty member who really encouraged me when the call for a speaker went out, and I decided that the experience would be the icing on the cake for my time at ISU so I applied," she said. "ISU feels like a family, and I wouldn't even guess that there are 13,000 students here because I feel like I have my own community I built with my friends and fellow political science majors. ISU has given me so much, and I am so thankful that I came to a school that is constantly looking for more opportunities for its students."

The ceremony will begin at noon and will also be livestreamed at, beginning at 11:45 a.m.


Photo: - Shayla Bozdech

Media contact: Betsy Simon, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972,