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Name: AJ B.

Hometown: Chesapeake, VA

Major(s): Materials Science and Engineering (Biomaterials emphasis)

Minor(s): Entrepreneurship and Management

Current job: Operations Leadership Program, Pall Corporation

Tell us a little about the path from graduation to your current job/career: I started applying for jobs before classes even started my senior year, and first heard of Pall Corporation at the STEM career fair in late September of 2017. I applied for the program and did a phone interview, then went to Pall’s corporate headquarters in Port Washington, NY for my final interview with the senior vice president of global operations in late December (in between taking finals!). I heard back two days after my interview that I got the job. I started my job with a week of orientation for all of the cohorts in the program in Cortland, NY. I then moved to Long Island after that and started my current position.

Any internships/pre-professional experiences at JHU? I did the Phonathon, which helped a lot since I was there all four years of my Hopkins experience and built great communication skills. Since I was a supervisor my second two years, I also had the chance to enhance my management and communication skills even further, which has helped me a great deal in my career and personal life.

What extracurriculars were you involved with at JHU? Alpha Phi Omega (the co-ed community service fraternity, of which I was treasurer my last semester at Hopkins), Society for Biomaterials (treasurer my junior year and president my senior year), Materials Research Society (Treasurer my junior year and Vice President my senior year), United Innoworks Academy my sophomore and junior years.

In what ways did your Hopkins education prepare you for your career? It taught me how to work hard and work with others to solve complex problems. I had a great balance of classes that were technically challenging, as well as others that had more of a business and management side to them. The diverse content has helped me to excel as a person that can explain complicated concepts from my work (which I’m able to understand due to the technically challenging classes) to people that may not be as technically apt. I also had to use different tools and software and such in order to complete projects and reports at Hopkins, so I’m less intimidated at work when I need to familiarize myself with tools I haven’t used in the past. All of the writing for my classes enhanced my written communication skills, which comes in handy when crafting emails and writing reports, especially when they have to do with analyzing data and communicating to others what it means. I also learned good data visualization techniques at Hopkins that I employ in my job almost daily.

Any classes, faculty members, or involvements at JHU that helped to shape your career interest? My Leadership and Management class with Professor Illysa Izenberg that I took my fall junior year semester. This was the first class of that kind that I had taken at Hopkins, and it opened my eyes as to how business problems were solved in the real world, and how complicated they were. Through the cases we did in that class, and the clash of ideas we had in our discussions, I sharpened my communication and collaboration skills. It sparked my enthusiasm in the field, which was the reason I took a similar class the next semester with professor Izenberg. She was also one of the best professors I encountered at Hopkins, with a unique teaching style and experience in industry to back up her knowledge on the topics about which she spoke and taught.

Favorite Hopkins memory: Getting a call after finishing my last exam of my senior fall that I had gotten into the Operations Leadership Program at Pall.

What about being a Hopkins student do you miss the most? The extracurricular activities.

Knowing what you know now, what would you want to tell your pre-college self? Get involved in extracurriculars and find something about which you are passionate outside of academics and stick to it. Taking a break every now and then is okay, and probably much better in the long run, but never lose that work ethic.