Name: Laila Boujida
Graduation Date: May 7, 2022
Laila Boujida, who will receive her bachelor of science degree in biology at Penn State Brandywine’s spring commencement ceremony on May 7, reflects on her time as a student at Brandywine.
Boujida: I chose Penn State Brandywine specifically because of the homey environment. The classroom sizes are small enough that when you raise your hand, the professor knows your name, and everyone gets to know each other and gets to grow with each other. Just in the biology department, we all kind of grew together and we're graduating in a couple weeks. It's been a fun journey. The family oriented environment is what I love.
Throughout my time here at Brandywine, I was involved with the Student Government Association. I've been pretty involved in that for two years now. It's really fun and exciting. It's nice to have input on how we can make things better. I'm also involved with the Chancellor's Commission on Empowering Women, which is really cool, too. I'm also the treasurer of the Sustainability Club and the Pre-Med Club.
"I chose Penn State Brandywine specifically because of the homey environment. The classroom sizes are small enough that when you raise your hand, the professor knows your name, and everyone gets to know each other and gets to grow with each other."
—Laila Boujida , Penn State Brandywine senior
Being involved helped me to meet new people and make a lot of connections.
My top highlight or accomplishment during my time at Brandywine was receiving lots of scholarships. I had opportunities based on my academic background. I feel like another achievement would definitely be passing 400-level biology classes. That has been really hard for me, but I've been able to do it so that's definitely one of my achievements.
Something that surprised me was learning how to be more independent. It's not like, 'Hey mom or dad, how do I do this? Or how do I do that?' So, college really surprised me with that the first couple weeks, but after that I just became accustomed to everything.
When I transferred here, I definitely wanted to be a dentist. I was like, I'm going to go to dental school, I want to be an oral surgeon. I want to do 14 years of school, no matter what, but then I became very exposed to different career goals by the career counseling services. That helped me a lot, too. I talked to other peers or even just did some of my own research so I became really interested in the pharmaceutical industry, which is still the medical field. It was a big shift because I'm not going to medical school. So, that was really different changing from the dental field aspect to the research side of things.
Dr. Elizabeth Dudkin, associate professor of biology, has supported me directly and indirectly by motivating me and really pushing me to do what I want to do. She has definitely had a big impact on my time here at Brandywine.
I also benefited a lot from classes with Dr. Mark Boudreau, associate teaching professor of biology. I never thought I would get so much from courses on ecology and plants. He showed how those topics impact so many other subject areas. He also brings out the best in his students with his enthusiasm and passion for what he teaches.
My plans for after graduation are to work in the pharmaceutical industry. I actually just started a part-time position in biology research that will become full time after graduation. I will be applying my accumulated skills in the laboratory investing in biological research and development, undertaking laboratory analysis and monitoring cultures, samples and new drugs with a range of identification methods and clinical trials. In the near future I also plan to work toward a master’s degree in genetics.