Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Charles Palmer ’20 and Sarah Carbonaro ’21 selected as student speakers
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
Charles Palmer ’20 and Sarah Carbonaro ’21 have been selected as student speakers for Rider’s Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Commencement exercises, respectively.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rider will host a number of commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 from May 14-16 outdoors on Rider’s campus.
Graduating during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is an experience the Class of 2020 and 2021 share. In their speeches, Palmer and Carbonaro use their personal journeys to illustrate how every graduate overcame his or her own challenges to arrive at a shared, celebratory moment.
Carbonaro hopes the graduates of the Class of 2021 can reflect upon their resilience and acknowledge their many accomplishments along the way.
“It has been a very hard year for everyone all over the world, so what I hope that my fellow graduates take away from my speech is to be proud of everything that they overcame to get to where they are today,” she says.
In his speech, Palmer will encourage his fellow Broncs to empathize with one another.
“Everyone has vastly different experiences that got them to this moment, and I hope by hearing my speech, elements of my story resonate with the crowd,” he says. “We are coming of age in a time where the world is rapidly changing, but I hope my peers never lose focus on their end goals while also acknowledging the importance of helping lift others up as well.”
Carbonaro and Palmer both said they were honored to be their class’ Commencement speaker.
“Not only is this the opportunity of a lifetime, but I firmly believe it is the chance for me to share my story with my peers,” Palmer says.
“Speaking at graduation is something that I always hoped to accomplish,” Carbonaro says. “I am finishing four years at Rider that were full of new experiences, overcoming adversity and happy celebrations. It’s crazy to think that I have the opportunity to truly express my gratitude and appreciation for the Rider University community.”
Palmer recently completed his first year of law school at the University of Dayton with plans to become a defense attorney. As a political science major at Rider and brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon, he held a number of leadership roles. He served as the Student Government Association senior class president, a community assistant for the Office of Residence Life and a tour guide for Admissions. Palmer was also a member of the Leadership Development Program and earned a certificate in leadership.
Palmer was selected for the competitive Washington Semester Program at American University, where he gained immeasurable experience interning in the nation's capital and meeting a host of political powerhouses. He was selected for the program's Outstanding Leadership Award and Leadership Scholar Award for his contributions inside and outside of the classroom.
During her time at Rider, Carbonaro found her passion for marketing, specifically in health care. She was a member of both the Business Honors Program, the Baccalaureate Honors Program, the professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and the national leadership honors society Omicron Delta Kappa.
She earned a number of honors awards, including the presidential academic scholarship, the Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity Endowed Scholarship, The Jeannette M. Millard Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and the Dr. Belmont F. Haydel Phi Sigma Kappa Endowed Scholarship. She also served as the president of DAARSTOC, as the Mission and Advocacy Board Member for Rider’s Relay for Life and as vice president for Open Mic.
Carbonaro served as a tour guide for Admissions and as a digital marketing assistant for University Marketing & Communications, where she assisted in the redesign of Rider’s website. After graduation, she will begin a job as an associate account executive with the marketing agency Epsilon in New York City as part of the company’s New Grad Program.