The University of Iowa has selected IowaWatch’s Emily Hoerner to give the student commencement address during the winter graduation ceremony Dec. 15 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The university informed Hoerner of her selection Thursday.

Emily HoernerEmily Hoerner

She was chosen from “among a small number of students who will earn a bachelor’s degree with High Distinction this December,” Chaden Djalali, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, wrote in a letter in November informing her that she was among the nominees for the honor.

Hoerner, an honor’s journalism and political science major, is IowaWatch’s assistant editor for presentation, web manager and a projects reporter.

She will speak to several thousand graduates and their families shortly after the ceremony begins at 9 a.m. She is among 750 undergraduates who will receive their degrees at the end of the current semester.

“It’s really cool, because what if a future president is sitting in the stands; or if some crazy smart biologist or chemist who is going to discover a cure to some terrible disease like cancer?” she asked. “And I could be getting to speak to them when they are just finishing their undergrad. I mean, how awesome is that?”

Hoerner, a resident of Dubuque, Iowa, has worked for IowaWatch since the spring of 2011 and has played a key role in developing and managing the website and producing several major multimedia reporting projects.

She was deeply involved in the coverage of the Iowa Caucus, the Ames Straw Poll, a presidential visit, Election Night and other stories. Most recently, she produced a three-part series titled “Path to Polarization,” which dissected the myths and realities of the political divisiveness that many commentators believe has caused gridlock in the U.S. Congress.

Before joining IowaWatch, Hoerner was a general assignment and city council reporter for the Daily Iowan, the independent campus news organization at the University of Iowa.

Academically, Hoerner is a fellow for the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society and recipient of the prestigious Laurence Fairall Endowment Scholarship.

Hoerner eventually hopes to become a national political reporter.

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