Stellar seniors to address CLAS '22 graduates

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

As a child, Mitchell O’Meara endured more than 10 surgeries to try to restore hearing in his left ear and now, as a Spring 2022 graduate, will pursue a career as an ENT pediatric physician to treat kids just like him.

Passionate about bridging gaps between language, Camellia Pham traveled more than 8,000 miles to attend the University of Iowa and claim her spot as the last Comparative Literature graduate at UI.

Pham and O’Meara represent the resilience and distinction of the Class of 2022. As our Spring 2022 Student Commencement Speakers, Pham and O’Meara will offer our CLAS graduates the courage and inspiration they need for their next chapter. We are proud to celebrate the Class of 2022 with these incredible speakers.


Camellia Pham

Camellia Pham

Camellia Pham will speak at the 9 a.m. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Commencement on May 14, 2022. From Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Pham will graduate with a BA in Comparative Literature with Honors and Chinese with a minor in Translation for Global Literacy. As the last Comparative Literature major at UI, Pham has spent her time at Iowa exploring modern literature in Vietnam and China.

“I want to reflect on the educational values of translational I translated myself from one culture to another; how my peers and I adaptively translated our traditional education; and even how we got lost in the midst of it,” Pham said.  “The class of 2022 was given a strange kind of unprecedentedness to be vulnerable, yet we've bloomed with monumental persistence and tenacity."  

During the last four years, Pham took part in several opportunities both on and off campus. She is the Columnist & Admin Intern for the Iowa Youth Writing Project and an Honors Writing Fellow. Previously, Pham was the Iowa Chapbook Prize Editor in 2020 and an undergraduate teaching assistant. Among her many honors, Pham is a University of Iowa Stanley Undergraduate Fellowship for International Research recipient (2021), a Summer and Academic Year Undergraduate Research Fellowship recipient (2021-2022), and the Highest International Distinction in Education award recipient (2018). Pham was also named a 2021 Princeton P3 Scholar.

Following graduation this spring, Pham will attend Dartmouth College to pursue her master’s in Comparative Literature.


Mitchell O'Meara

Mitchell O’Meara

Mitchell O’Meara will speak at the 1 p.m. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Commencement on May 14, 2022. From West Des Moines, Iowa, O’Meara will graduate with a BS in Human Physiology with Honors in the Major, University Honors, with Highest Distinction, and a minor in American Sign Language. 

“My peers and family would tell you that the traditional and clichéd graduation speech is not part of my vocabulary,” O’Meara said. “Throughout my time here at UI I've worked with a wide range of individuals....taking time to understand others that are different than you was one of the biggest lessons I learned at my time at Iowa, and I believe that the way I will convey this will be impactful for everyone in attendance!" 

Throughout his time at Iowa, O’Meara has stayed busy, working as an admissions host, campus tour guide, and pharmacy technician in the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. In addition, he developed an honors thesis during his time as a Research Assistant in Dr. Jacob Michaelson’s lab within the Department of Psychiatry at the Carver College of Medicine. As a 2021 ICRU Research Fellow, O’Meara spent his time in the lab researching childhood behavior and its association with academics. With a passion for disability advocacy, O’Meara serves as a Director on the Board of Directors and is the Young Leaders Council Chair for Best Buddies International. O’Meara is also a certified EMT, lifeguard instructor, and works as an ongoing respite provider for multiple kids with special needs.

After graduation, O’Meara will be attending Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis to pursue his MD. He hopes to be involved with groundbreaking research at WashU and take the next step to becoming a Pediatric Physician. 


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.