Friday, February 19, 2010
Rudima Jackson decided to major in Biochemistry because she has her sights set on a career with the United Nations’ World Health Organization, which provides leadership on global health matters and provides support to countries.
“Since I’ll be administering drugs, I want to know what I’m giving them,” said Jackson, a junior, who has interned with Terumo Medical Corporation in Somerset, N.J., for the past two summers. “I like to know that I can help someone and not actually harm someone.”
In fact, a career with the World Health Organization would allow Jackson to integrate her interests in science with service to others. Just as there are many elements within a type of medical drug, Jackson has found that there are also many different traits present in a leader. Similarly, while chemistry involves a process, so, too, does becoming an effective leader.
While Jackson held leadership roles as president of the student government and captain of the cheerleading squad at nearby Ewing High School, she said it was not until she was at Rider that she developed into a leader.
Since enrolling on the Lawrenceville campus, Jackson has been a member of various student organizations, including Black Student Union (BSU), Greek Council, Delta Sigma Theta, Rider Organization of Caribbean Affiliated Students and the Student Government Association (SGA). As a freshman, Jackson, who still lives in Ewing, was elected as a commuter student representative on the Finance Board. She has also held a commuter seat for SGA. In addition, she has served as treasurer and secretary for BSU. Currently, she serves as president of the organization.
“I’m a very laid-back individual. Through these leadership experiences, I’ve learned to delegate better. I’ve learned to be an example of what I want others to be. If you want others to be dedicated, you have to be dedicated,” she said. “These are great experiences that I can take with me when I leave this University.”
As BSU president, Jackson oversees a board of 10 executive board members and 45 general board members. The organization participates in community service activities, including Midnight RUN and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, and works with the SGA Senate and Diversity Council. Each year, BSU celebrates Black History Month with a series of events at the University.
“We try to plan events that provide a social outlet for underrepresented minority students and highlight the achievements of our ancestors,” Jackson said.
One of this year’s highlights included a keynote address by State Assemblyman Bakari T. Sellers of South Carolina. The youngest African-American legislator in the United States, Sellers was just 22 when he was elected to the state’s General Assembly in 2006. Jackson said BSU decided to invite Sellers to speak after hearing his address at The Carroll F.S. Hardy National Black Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., two years ago.
“We wanted to have him speak here, so we could draw the leader out from within each student on campus. There’s a leader in every student that comes to college,” Jackson said. “His message urges you to do better and leave your mark on campus.”
This year’s events have also raised awareness of the crisis in Haiti. BSU held a dance-a-thon on Thursday, February 11, and raised $100 for earthquake recovery efforts. Students were asked to donate money at the door. More than 50 students participated in the event, which featured games and a dance competition where participants had to dance for 20 minutes straight. Two finalists went into overtime. Collection tables have also been set up at each event.
“The focus was hope, history and service to others,” Jackson said. “Part of being a leader is about working for the greater good.”