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Commencement 2016 Student Speaker and Singer

April 28, 2016

Commencement 2016 Student Speaker and Singer Selected

At Southwestern’s 101st Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at the Shrine Auditorium, Damaris Santamaria will deliver the student commencement address, and Amanda Brooksbank will sing the national anthem. They are both members of the SCALE class.

Santamaria, who would like to pursue a career in public interest law, hopes to become a public defender. She has worked for the ACLU in the past and would also like to be involved with the organization in the future.

“I wanted to be student commencement speaker because I felt it would be an honor to say goodbye to the place that shaped me as an individual, as a young adult, and as a future lawyer, in a public forum in front of all the people who made this experience,” she said. “I felt I can adequately represent the achievements of the graduating class while giving a realistic and relatable perspective of the law school journey from the time we began to where we are now.”

Though she has some specific goals, Santamaria said that for those in the class of 2016 who aren’t completely sure of their post-commencement plans that is okay. “We should be proud to have completed law school. I also wanted to inspire the graduating class by instilling in them how important lawyers are,” she said. “Lawyers’ jobs are vast – they range from arguing in court, writing contracts, advocating on behalf of clients, being creative in ways to best serve clients, and shaping laws. Lawyers are the creative individuals to whom people will turn to for guidance, and we need to appreciate and use that gift wisely. Even though there may be a lot of pressure in that title, and we may not always know what we’re doing, we need to remember the big picture and the difference we can make for individuals, corporations, society, the government, the country, etc., and use the skills we learned in law school wisely.”

Brooksbank plans to work in entertainment law because it is the area that brings together all of her passions- entertainment, law and business. She cannot wait to start her career and specifically chose Southwestern’s SCALE program because she wanted to complete school as quickly as possible. In addition to singing, Brooksbank has grown up playing several instruments, including piano, harp and trumpet. While an undergraduate student, she produced a morning television show at USC and has also produced many music videos and commercials. She has performed in several musicals and was in a barbershop quartet girls’ group that competed throughout the west coast.

“The opportunity to sing in front of my graduating class is just such an amazing moment to share,” Brooksbank said. “We are all getting ready to start our professional lives, and we have this last moment in a room all together. Leaving school is a nerve wracking experience, but it’s nice to share a feeling and an experience with a group of people that you have become close to.”