Kettering University Commencement student speaker says Kettering creates workforce leaders

Gabrielle Armstrong ‘16 hopes to share with all her fellow 2016 graduates - to embrace and be proud of their Kettering education -- as she delivers the Valedictory to the University

Gabrielle Armstrong ‘16 owes a lot to the experiences she had at Kettering University. Those experiences have helped create her early successes in her career and in life.

It’s that pride she hopes to share with all her fellow 2016 graduates - to embrace and be proud of their Kettering education -- as she delivers the Valedictory to the University to her classmates during Commencement at 11 a.m. on June 18, 2016.

“One of the things that I think is really important is that I want my class to feel a sense of pride. It can be tough to take time to appreciate and congratulate yourself. Most students go from graduation to working full-time right away,” Armstrong said. “Take a minute to remember and reflect on the things that we’ve gone through and the amount of work we’ve put in and be proud of that.”

Armstrong, a Chemical Engineering major, will focus on what it means to be a Kettering student and graduate and how to embrace everything they’ve learned from the University.

“You’re unique if you go here. You're a hard worker. You're driven to do better and expect better from both your environment and yourself. You don't back down from challenges, and you feel confident enough in your own abilities to take risks,” Armstrong said. “You're down to earth, and you know that things that are worth having don't come easy. There's a certain joy you have in solving difficult problems and accomplishing your goals.”

Armstrong finished classes in December and is now part of the Leadership Development Program for Avery Dennison, a global labeling and packaging materials and solutions company. Currently a process engineer for the company, Armstrong is on the fast-track for a leadership role in the future. Her time at Kettering helped prepare her for that, she said.

“I was able to talk about my experiences at my company as well as talk about my school projects,” Armstrong said. “Kettering helped prepare me to interact with people in the workplace and not just at school.”

Armstrong first became interested in Kettering University when she participated in the Lives Improve Through Engineering (LITE) program while in high school. At first she was reluctant to participate in the two-week program, but it changed everything for her.

“It was the first place I had felt like I really belonged. When I went to LITE there were a bunch of other girls my age with the same sense of humor as me and who could understand me on a deeper level,” Armstrong said. “The faculty and staff were just so excited for us to be there. I liked the small class setting, and I liked the personal relationships with the teachers.”

Now working in Indiana, Armstrong left Kettering with a lot of lessons learned, including her ability to walk into a workplace with confidence.

“There are so many things I feel like Kettering gave to me that it’s hard to pin down one thing.Kettering became part of me, and I became part of it,” she said. “Kettering taught me the ability to work hard. It’s easy to underestimate the impact that starting in the workplace at 18 really gives you.”