Graduates Spotlight

About 700 Bowie State graduates will receive their degrees in spring 2024 and be honored during the university’s commencement celebration. A few outstanding graduates share their next BOLD move.

 Lloyd Bolodeoku ‘24  

Hometown: Owings Mills, MD 

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

Next Steps: Booz Allen Hamilton 

With his industrious nature, Lloyd Bolodeoku graduates from Bowie State with a Security+ certification and six job offers, underscoring his readiness and marketability in the cybersecurity field. He developed an interest in cybersecurity in high school and has since nurtured that interest into the start of a promising career.  

Bolodeoku secured his next step after graduation in a role with Booz Allen Hamilton working in the government sector on highly classified assignments. “I had a couple offers for software engineering, and I’ve kind of felt like they were pushing me away from cybersecurity,” he said.  

With the government contractor position, Bolodeoku says he can stay close to cybersecurity. “I can utilize my clearance first and understand the ropes.” 

Impact of the BSU Experience 

The Department of Computer Science helped Bolodeoku deepen his interest in cybersecurity and develop his employment skills through countless resources for real-world learning. Through Bowie State University’s partnerships with notable companies like Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and countless other government contract agencies, he made connections that led to lucrative career opportunities including a co-op role that transitioned into a Cyber Engineering offer at Adobe, which he would decline in favor of a better-fitted opportunity at Booz Allen Hamilton.  

"Other universities might have a bigger name, and they might stick out on paper, but if you want experience, if you want to get that head start, Bowie State's computer science department is the way to go,” says Bolodeoku. “Especially if you want to get into government work. The close vicinity to NSA, US Cyber Command and various smaller contract agencies allows you to easily transition into internships,” which provide real-world learning opportunities that make you a highly competitive applicant in the job market. 


  Aaron Johnson ‘24 

Hometown: Accokeek, MD 

Degree: Bachelor of Science, VCDMA – Advertising Design 

Next Step: Creative marketing design with Disney +    

When Aaron Johnson was applying for college, he looked at a range of art schools but found huge financial barriers. As he prepares to graduate from Bowie State University with a degree in visual communications and digital media arts, he’s on the pathway to a career in creative marketing design with Disney +.  

“It was no way I was going to afford going to those art schools,” said Johnson. “I was like ‘I have to find somewhere to go.’  I found Bowie State had an animation program.  And sure enough, I got in.” 

What started as a detour became the road Johnson needed to travel to discover his potential. 

Impact of the BSU experience 

While he originally focused on animation, Johnson soon realized that he needed to make another pivot as he worked out his career path. Johnson’s course work in the VCDMA program presented him with another option: advertising design. 

“I got into this online program called Breaking Media, and I learned about marketing,” said Johnson. “I was enjoying learning about it and realized marketing is pretty cool. That led me to graphics and advertising design. Once I tried it out, I never went back.” 

After Johnson plotted his new career path, he capitalized on a partnership between Bowie State and HBCU LA, a recruiting initiative that places underrepresented students in internships with major studios, networks, talent agencies, and other global creative industry organizations. Johnson started working at NBCUniversal as an entertainment print design intern in the summer of 2023 and continued throughout the academic year. He leveraged that opportunity to land a marketing and graphic design internship with the Disney + Creative team once he crosses the commencement stage. 

“I’m really excited for that,” said Johnson. “After that, I have two options. Come back to Maryland and work, or potentially get a full-time offer and work at Disney. We’ll see what happens.” 


  Chris Provido ‘24   

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD  

Degree: Bachelor of Science, Biology  

Next Step: Graduate School – Stanford University, Doctorate, Immunology 

When Chris Provido began attending Bowie State in the fall of 2020, he started without first celebrating a high school graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Bowie State commencement on May 24 is all the more special to him.  

Living through the uncertainties of the pandemic led Provido to a career path where he hopes to be on the forefront of finding answers to fight future infectious diseases. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, he has received a full scholarship to the Stanford University School of Medicine. 

“I’m going to enter Stanford’s doctoral program in immunology where I want to appreciate biological mechanisms through computational analysis,” said Provido. “I want to try integrating data science into bioscience and learn how our immune system responds to infectious diseases.” 

Impact of the BSU Experience 

Before enrolling at Bowie State, Provido was unsure about what he wanted to do with all of the uncertainty surrounding the deadly pandemic. 

“I didn’t know where the world was going because of COVID and all I could do was plan for the next day, not next week or next year, just the next day,” said Provido. “It was important for me to stay close to home and near to my family, so I decided to attend Bowie State.” 

The university welcomed Provido into the honors program where he majored in biology,  continuing an interest cultivated by a high school internship with the National Institutes of Health to explore biomedical careers.  

Working with Bowie State faculty, Provido expanded his research experience and knowledge of bioinformatics which helped him get a summer internship with Harvard Medical School in 2023 to conduct immunology and genomics research on proteins involved in the body’s immune response. 

“Ever since my freshman year, my research, entrepreneurship and scientific leadership has been supported by Dr. Ann Wiley, Dr. Supriyo Ray, Dr. Tyesha Burks and Dr. Alan Anderson,” said Provido. “My department and my network at BSU is a hub full of unique mentors who each prepared me for challenging yet foreseeable dreams.” 

Medicine and health are not topics unfamiliar to Provido. George, his older brother, graduated from Bowie State in 2022 with a degree in nursing and now works with Medstar. “Bowie State has propelled both of our careers,” said Provido. “The guidance I received from my professors throughout my time at Bowe State was exceptional.” 


 Roxan Rockefeller ‘24 

Hometown: Washington, DC 

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

Next Step: Graduate School, Bowie State University: Master of Science in Computer Science 

Roxanne Rockefeller made bold moves to excel in computer science to join a growing number of women in technology. She graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with plans to continue her education next fall in the Master of Science in Computer Science program at Bowie State. This summer she will be interning with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and gaining some cyber-related skillsets. 

After attending the Grace Hopper Conference, the largest gathering of women in technology, Rockefeller leveraged connections to land an internship with Eli Lilly, the largest pharmaceutical company in the nation. That experience sparked her interest in cybersecurity.  

“Once I was introduced to WSI [an advanced approach to building an entire computer on a single silicon wafer] and lake formation [a centralized repository that allows you to store all your data] I knew that cybersecurity was where I belonged,” said Rockefeller. “I want to work in cybersecurity to leverage my passion for data and the knowledge surrounding how to protect that data. I have a huge passion for learning more about anything data-related such as database management, data security.” She eventually wants to pursue a CompTIA Security Plus certification and work for the government.  

Impact of the BSU Experience 

Rockefeller took advantage of many industry partnerships with the Bowie State computer science department that provided internships, scholarships and countless real-world learning opportunities. She noted the strong support of the Computer Science Department Chair, Rosemary Shumba, “always trying to find programs and conferences and internships for all of the computer science students.” 

Rockefeller was guided to pursue the Scholarship for Service award, which covered tuition and provided a stipend. “The scholarship allowed me to stop working and put all of my focus into school” she said. “I’m also doing a research paper that I’m going to be publishing if not this upcoming summer, then the next.” 

After completing her master’s degree Rockefeller says “I will be working full-time for the government or any government-related agencies in cybersecurity. And I do see myself staying with the government for a long time.” 


 Kristina Johns ‘24  

Hometown: Millersville, MD 

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education 

Next Step: Second grade teacher at Van Bokkelen Elementary School  

Going back to school as a non-traditional student could seem like an imposing prospect for anyone, but Kristina Johns found a welcoming community that embraced her when she came to Bowie State University.  At 37, she says walking across the commencement stage to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education is a dream come true. Completing the dream, she will start as a second-grade teacher at Van Bokkelen Elementary School in Anne Arundel County. 

Johns wanted to become a teacher after learning how good she was at working with young people in various capacities while she worked for Anne Arundel County government. She hopes to be a beacon of light for the children that come to her classroom. 

“I wanted to be that person for students, to be their encouragement,” said Johns. “When I worked for the county, some of the students I had come with a lot of baggage. To be able to be a bit of positivity in their life really means a lot to me.”   

Impact of the BSU Experience 

Being a few years older than her classmates wasn’t a barrier for Johns, who made strong connections with both her younger peers and other students, who like her, shared the experience of going back to school while raising a family of their own. She never felt out of place on campus. 

“I was super excited,” said Johns. “It was really easy.  felt totally included with them. It was like there was no age gap at all.” 

 John’s academic journey started when she first enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College in 2002. After becoming pregnant with her first child, her focus shifted towards supporting her family. It wasn’t until 2017 that the talk about going back to school took an earnest turn. Then during 2020, Johns, with the encouragement of her husband, Stephen, decided to make the leap back to the classroom.   

“My husband was the one who was like, ‘Why don’t you go back?’, said Johns. “We had the time at that point with COVID, so that’s when I started finishing up my associate degree. I always wanted to go back and get my degree. I wanted to be able to leave my imprint on the world in some capacity.”  


 Blair Jefferson ‘24  

Hometown: Bronx, NY 

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Psychology 

Next Step: Employment with Federal Government 

An Air Force veteran, Blair Jefferson discovered her inner scholar at Bowie State University, and also awoke the sleeping entrepreneur within herself. Jefferson started BDivine Naturals, a line of hand-crafted, herbal skin and hair care products, in July 2021 and is poised to continue growing the business after graduation while also taking a position with the federal government. 

“I have really curly hair and had to learn how to take care of it,” said Jefferson. “At the time, the natural hair movement was a really big thing, so I grew an affinity for natural hair and skin care products. Anytime I would go to the store to find natural products, they were really expensive. I started thinking, why am I spending a fortune on something I can create myself.” 

Impact of the BSU Experience  

Jefferson was able to balance her classes and operating her business while working at a dental office for a couple of years. But, two years in, the budding entrepreneur made some changes in her life to focus more on her personal care line. She scaled back to working part time and connected with Bowie State’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Center, which connected her with a wealth of information and resources to grow her business. Jefferson recently placed second overall & crowd favorite in the EIC’s Bulldog Pitch Competition, which netted her $4,750.  

“The EIC helped me have more faith in what I was doing,” said Jefferson. “The EIC is this environment that helps cultivate positive energy. I’ve gained a lot of resources and connections through the EIC.” 

 For Jefferson, she’s embraced the idea that much is expected from someone who has been given a lot in life. 

“It definitely taught me how blessed I am,” said Jefferson. “It was hard. I would have moments where I was like ‘Oh my goodness.’ But then I would be reminded that I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities for a reason.”