Student News

2 Students Selected to Speak at UK Commencement

Peyton Schroeder (left) and Jack Nzerhumana (right) in regalia
Peyton Schroeder with dog
Jack Nzerhumana in white lab coat

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2021) — Per University of Kentucky tradition, UK President Eli Capilouto has selected two student representatives to speak at the UK Commencement Ceremonies Friday, Dec. 17, at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.

Two speakers in total were selected. Each speaker will address their respective ceremony. Given limitations on the number of people allowed on the stage, the speeches will be pre-recorded.

The two student speakers are:

Peyton Schroeder

The Germantown Hills, Illinois, native is finishing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a certificate in automotive production engineering from the UK College of Engineering and is a Lewis Honors College member. She will address the 10 a.m. ceremony.

While at UK, Schroeder spent time fostering six service dogs in training through 4 Paws for Ability, worked as an eApprentice for UK Research’s Office of Technology Commercialization, was a member of Phi Sigma Rho and EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Program, and participated in the Society of Women Engineers, where she served as chair of diversity and inclusion, leaders and learners chair, and peer mentor. Additionally, she completed multiple internships across several states and engineering specialties and earned a minor in mathematics. Her current service dog in training, Kix, will also be “graduating” on Friday.

Upon graduating, Schroeder will be moving to California to work as a design quality engineer for Medtronic. Schroeder describes how it felt receiving the call that she had been chosen.

“When I received the call from President Capilouto letting me know that I had been selected, I was so excited that I found myself at a loss for words,” she said. “I could not believe that I had been chosen to play such an important role in the commencement ceremony.”

Bisimwa “Jack” Nzerhumana

Nzerhumana, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now a Lexington resident, is graduating with two bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and psychology from the UK College of Arts and Sciences and is also a Lewis Honors College member. 

During his time at UK, Nzerhumana served as a Student Wellness Ambassador, CARES ambassador and biology tutor, vice president and co-founder of UK Minority Students in Neuroscience (MSN), a Lewis Honors College ambassador, member of the University Academic Appeals Board, member of LSAMP, and Student Government Association senate presidenlt. He spent time in the SCoBIRC Research Lab and UK College of Medicine Aging Brain Cognition Lab as an assistant and co-founded Pockets of Hope, an organization that distributes hygiene materials to the homeless members of the Lexington community.

Nzerhumana is humbled to be chosen as the speaker for the 3 p.m. ceremony.

“It’s very humbling because I never imagined myself giving a speech. As a kid who was walking long distances to school, I still can’t fathom all of it,” he shared. “From a refugee camp in Africa to a student speaker at one of the best universities in the United States. At times it feels so unreal.”

Nzerhumana’s next stop will be working at the Kentucky Clinic pediatrics clinic, studying for the MCAT and applying to medical schools.

Both UK Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed on UK's YouTube channel, which will be accessible via the UKNow homepage beginning Friday. For more information about the December 2021 Commencement Ceremonies, visit

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.