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Meet Commencement Student Speaker Bethany Poythress

By: Sherry Squires   Published 6:53 am / December 15, 2016

Winter Commencement Speaker, Bethany Poythress, Allison Corona photo.

Bethany Poythress from Kuna will be the student commencement speaker on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Poythress is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in French and international business. She has been recognized consistently on the Dean’s List with High Honors and has served as a peer mentor for Boise State University’s Honors College, where she led a weekly discussion group with freshmen students who were adjusting to university life.

“Boise State has been an environment of growth for me. While I have always valued and done my best to exhibit academic excellence, Boise State has helped me grow in a variety of other areas,” Poythress said. “Boise State has provided me with so many opportunities, and I absolutely feel I owe it to the university, myself and the world to reflect the values I have learned.”

Poythress was a member of the International Business Organization, the French Club, the Boise State University Student Foundation, the Honors Student Association, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She volunteered at the Idaho Humane Society, and both volunteered and completed an internship at Zoo Boise where she taught visitors about wildlife conservation, demonstrated proper animal-handling skills for children and implemented an adopt-an-animal program, among other duties.

In nominating Poythress as student speaker, professor of French Jason Herbeck said it is her passion for learning, even when it means devoting time and energy to an already busy schedule, that sets her apart from her peers.

“Whether if be with respect to completing an individual assignment or her college career as a whole, Bethany is someone who, rather than take the easiest or fastest path, has consciously decided time and time again to make the most of her education and, in so doing, commit herself fully and meaningfully to the tasks at hand. In today’s fast-paced academic environment where focus is too often placed on obtaining the diploma itself, there is perhaps no more decisive or admirable trait in a student.”

After returning from studying abroad for five months in Lyon, France, Poythress served as a Study Abroad Buddy, helping international students learn to navigate life in Boise.

“The stories Bethany recounted about living and studying abroad, while ranging from sheer frustration and homesickness to humorous circumstances and a satisfying sense of accomplishment, all led her to a common conviction that she imparted to her peers — namely, that taking risks and trying new things is ultimately rewarding and memorable on the condition that you invest yourself wholeheartedly and with determination,” Herbeck said.