Meet Alumna Bukola Raji | Environmental Biology M.S.'16
"Hood College’s faculty have a way of stirring up the “can-do spirit” in you through well-tailored educational content, symposia, and group projects which help you stay competitive in and out of the classroom."
- Environmental Biology (M.S.)
Can you provide a glimpse into your educational and career background?
I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science in 2010 with a minor in Education from Tai Solarin University in Nigeria.
After college, I started working as a high school biology teacher. I then served as a pre-sales executive at CBC, an IT conglomerate in Nigeria, under the National Youth Service Corp. After this year of service, I joined GEMSTONE- Learning and Development Center as a human resources officer where I oversaw the “The-Best-Place-to-Work” initiative.
Given my passion for grassroots advocacy and environmental reforms, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Biology at Hood College in 2013. While enrolled at Hood Graduate School, I had a part-time job on-campus, interned at the Frederick County Health Department, served as a graduate assistant to Rev. Beth O'Malley, Dean of Hood's Chapel, and participated in the first Hood College Three-Minute Thesis competition where I won the People’s Choice Award.
After graduating from Hood College in 2016, I started working as a geotechnical engineering contractor on a state-wide storm water project. I then accepted an offer to lead the quality assurance department of CSL Plasma Hagerstown in early 2017, after which I was promoted to center manager in 2018.
Why did you choose Hood College? How has it helped your career?
I first heard about Hood College during my preparation to relocate to the United States. After closer inspection, I liked Hood’s small community setting and the diverse student population. I also fell in love with Hood College’s location; close enough to downtown Frederick but tucked away in serenity. I chose Hood College initially for these reasons, but remained for the quality of its education.
I gained some of the most important skills from my Environmental Biology Master’s program including critical thinking, problem solving, and public presentation. This skill set has proven very helpful in my career preparation and business leadership at CSL Plasma.
Hood College’s faculty have a way of stirring up the “can-do spirit” in you through well-tailored educational content, symposia, and group projects which help you stay competitive in and out of the classroom. I go into projects head-on and ready to take on challenges that many dread. That should be the fruit of true education- preparation for the unknown. We are called Blazers for a reason!
Could you share information about the Plasma Drive Initiative?
The CSL Group has a combined 100+ year heritage in the development and manufacturing of vaccines and plasma protein biotherapies, significantly contributing to medicine and human health.
CSL would like to create an open-source platform for the advancement of biotherapies. The Plasma Drive initiative was launched to raise the student community’s awareness about life-saving therapies.
What did you enjoy about Hood College? Do you have a favorite memory?
I enjoyed Hood College’s many student resources as well as its culture of giving through community service.
April Boulton, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School, was present for all my “firsts” at Hood College including first lecture, presentation, internship, and mock interview. What was felt even more than her physical presence was her objectivity, responsiveness, empathy, and total investments in her students.
My favorite memory is working with Dr. Boulton on my first class presentation which I completely blew. She tutored me on my slides and public speaking skills, and I soon became one of the leads for group project presentations.
Anything else you would like to add?
I was thrilled when I discovered that HOOD stands for “Hope, Obligation, Opportunity, and Democracy”. I experienced every bit of this as a graduate student, and I’m very grateful for every opportunity, lesson and person I met during my time at Hood College.