Executive Board

Welcome from the BESSA executive board members for 2014-2015!

President: Elizabeth McCarthy, Rajan Hoyle 

Vice President: Mobolaji A. Ojuri (Bolaji)

Secretary: Radhiya Bryant

Treasurer: Elizabeth McCarthy

Pre-Collegiate Initiative Chair: Dominique Fernandez

Communications Chair: Yadel Abraham

 

Meet the board:

Vice President: Mobolaji Ojuri

Major: Civil Engineering

Class: Senior

Hello, my name is Mobolaji A. Ojuri, just call me Bolaji (Balla-Gee). I am a Civil Engineer major in my Senior year.

I became a part of BESSA because it is the only space on campus that unifies African-American students who are in the STEM fields. Initially, as a freshman, it was difficult to find a space and find other students who are taking the same classes as me because not many Blacks are enrolled in Engineering, or other related STEM fields. However, I found BESSA and it was welcoming and warming to know that there is a space and organization on campus solely for the uplifting and resourcing towards us Black students that are taking these STEM classes.

Besides my academic rigor as an Engineer, I am a very social person and love being around people and being active in my community! I am a part of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, Nigerian Student Association, I help out the Black Student Union, Black Recruitment and Retention Center, as well as being on the Dance Junta dance team. What I love about college is the ability to be able to excel in all fields socially, academically, and professionally, and take these developing skills into the real world after graduating.

 

Co-President: Elizabeth McCarthy

Major: Chemical Biology

Class: Senior

Hey, I am Elizabeth McCarthy. I am a Chemical Biology major with a Math minor in my Senior year at Cal. (Go BEARS!)

I became a part of BESSA because my sister was treasurer and told me how great it was to be part of an organization whose goal was to build success among minority students in and outside of Berkeley. Once she graduated I took over as treasurer and now I am in my third year as BESSA’s treasurer. I am also serving as co-President of BESSA with Rajan Hoyle. In addition to serving on the BESSA board, I am also involved in research on kinase inhibitors to target cancer at UCSF. If you have any questions about getting involved in research on or off campus, let me know!

I love helping to organize and fund the biweekly BESSA general meetings and our off-campus events. Whether we are putting together an All About STEM day for high school students to learn about how to succeed in the STEM fields or taking a group of BESSA to the national NSBE conference, I always am having a lot of fun participating in events to build diversity in the sciences.

I am from Alameda, CA a fun little island city about 25 min. from Berkeley. After Berkeley, I want to go to medical school to pursue an MD/PhD degree. In addition to the sciences, I also love the outdoors (especially Yosemite!) and photography.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next BESSA meeting!

 

Co-President: Rajan Hoyle

Major: Urban Studies

Class: Senior

Hello all,

My name is Rajan Hoyle and I am from Long Beach, California. I joined BESSA my freshman year while seeking support in my math and science classes. Though I have since changed my major from Chemical Engineering to Urban Studies, BESSA and her members have continued to provide a space for me to thrive both socially and professionally. I have attended NSBE’s national convention for the past two years and have learned so much from NSBE Professionals and collegiate members alike. I also love inspiring our Black bay area you that our high school and middle school outreach events. This semester I am participating in a domestic exchange program at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduation I plan to relocate to Honduras for a year in order to complete a community mapping project in coastal Garifuna communities. I am looking into various graduate programs at the moment and I am eager to work around issues of community organizing around water purification and urban and rural planning in the for-benefit, private, and governmental sectors domestically and abroad.

 

Communications Chair: Yadel Abraham

Major: Intended Computer Science

Class: Sophomore

Hi my Name is Yadel. I am a bay area native, from Richmond, CA. My Intended major is Computer Science in my Second Year.

I joined BESSA as a Freshman last year. While taking my first few technical courses at UC Berkeley, it immediately became apparent to me that Blacks students enrolled in those classes were very rare. For that reason, I decided to join BESSA because I wanted to be part of a student organization on that brought together other black Engineering and Science students. In addition to the friendly environment within the club, I found that BESSA offered great resources to help students advance careers in STEM fields.I am very excited to be on the BESSA board this year. I am also looking forward to taking part in our outreach programs and attending our Conferences. In addition to my difficult course load this semester and my work study job, I plan on being more involved in the Computer Science community at Cal. I am also a very social person, I enjoy talking to people, listening to music and playing/ watching soccer.

Pre-Collegiate Initiative Chair: Dominique Fernandez

Major: Electrical Engineering Computer Science

Class: Sophomore

Hi Everyone,

My name is Dominique Fernandez and I am a sophomore studying Electrical Engineering Computer Science. I am from Inglewood, California. I am a very outgoing person who enjoys helping people, singing, and creating projects that are essentially do-it-yourself projects or DIY’s.

I joined BESSA my freshman year and loved it since my first meeting. I wasn’t planning on attending the first meeting, however, my mom forced me to go even though she was six hours away. Having been on campus for three weeks, it was pretty obvious that were not very many students that looked like me studying either engineering or science. So to see students that looked like me and shared similar interest, not only encouraged me to keep going but encouraged me to help others to keep going. My first year at Cal was very challenging and once it was over, I had never been happier. This summer I took the time to reflect on my freshman year and I realized that my experience should be a message to other students. As the PCI Chair, I plan some of our biggest outreach events, A Stand for Education and All About Stem. I am really excited about these events because this is BESSA’s opportunity to share their personal experiences, expose underrepresented students to higher education, and encourage students to continue their STEM journey!

Overall, WELCOME to the BESSA Family! I am looking forward to the fun and excitement of this 2014-2015 BESSA cohort.

 

Secretary: Radhiya Bryant

Major: Computer Science

Class: Sophomore

Hello! My name is Radhiya Bryant and I’m from San Diego. I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Computer Science.

I joined BESSA last year as a freshman and because I had a wonderful experience I decided to  be apart of the board this year. The reason why I joined BESSA was because I wanted to be a part of space where I could connect with Black students interested in the STEM field. What I loved about BESSA was that it not only provided professional resources but it also provided a social space as well. For example, there were meetings where recruiters from major companies spoke but there were also study jams and off-campus socials like movie nights, bowling, etc. Another aspect that I loved about BESSA was its relationship with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Through, NSBE I was able to attend small and large conferences that were held in different locations all over the United States. Last March I attended NSBE’s National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference hosted around 10,000 Black engineers and gave students the opportunity to participate in a job fair, attend a variety of professional development workshops, and network with professionals/students. Everytime I go to a conference I always leave feeling more inspired and motivated to excel in and outside of school.

This year I look forward to attending more conferences. However, I’m also looking forward to planning several of our staple outreach events and getting to know this years new/returning members!

 

Besides BESSA, I am also a Resident Assistant in Unit 2 Wada. In my free time I enjoy participating in Zumba Fitness, playing trivia games, and exploring the Bay.