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Majekobaje recognized for staff excellence

Bola Majekobaje, assistant director for student diversity at WSU Vancouver, received the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence. Chancellor Mel Netzhammer announced the award on Nov. 29 at the Chancellor’s Campus Update.

“I have quickly come to understand how impressive a staff we have on this campus — at every level. Your commitment to the success of our students and to WSU Vancouver is amazing,” Netzhammer said. “So, I understand how difficult it is to select a single individual for the Staff Excellence Award, but the award is also an opportunity to recognize someone who has stood out over the last year for the work she has done and what she has accomplished.

Netzhammer called Majekobaje’s talent “magic.”

“I doubt there is anyone here who has never met Bola. That’s part of her magic. She meets almost everyone,” Netzhammer said.

Majekobaje served on the Chancellor Search Committee, Diversity Council, Scholarship Review Committee, Pride Foundation Scholarship Review Committee and ROAR New Student Orientation Planning Committee. She has also reignited the Student Affairs Social Committee to encourage fun outside of work.

“Bola helps the Student Diversity Team develop passion and professionalism. She provides the students with leadership as they coordinate events that offer educational opportunities for the broader community and help recruit diverse students to campus including MLK Day of Service, Noche de Familia, Marquee Diversity Events, the Leadership and Diversity Conference, and Connections,” Netzhammer said.

Majeboje said she was surprised, and humbled by the award.

“There are many people on our campus who work hard and have been here longer than I have, so I was surprised to be selected, but was honored as well,” Majekobaje said.  “[This award] is motivational. It’s exciting to be acknowledged for the work you do, but I think that any time you are acknowledged, it should be pressure to work harder and better.”

Majekobaje credited her co-workers for their inspiration and hard work.

“I work with amazing people. I am a collaborative person, so I don’t think I could do a good job if people around me didn’t do a good job, too,” Majekobaje said. “I work with a lot of people who are as deserving as me. I accept this award on behalf of all my colleagues.”

Majekobaje, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of Oregon, worked a few odd jobs before joining Central Washington University’s office of admissions. At CWU, Majekobaje advised several campus clubs and organizations. When her current position at WSU Vancouver became available, Majekobaje applied. She has worked as WSU Vancouver’s assistant director for student diversity for the past six and a half years.

“My favorite part of the job is working with students. I get energy from them. I work closely with five or six students each year and they never cease to impress me with their abilities,” Majekobaje said.

Majekobaje understands the impact financial hardship can have on students’ college experience.

“Helping students afford the cost of college continues to be a challenge,” Majekobaje said. ” As our campus grows more diverse, we need to figure out students needs, ask students and try to help them achieve their goals.”

Majekobaje has many fans including Michael Blankenship, a WSU Vancouver senior with a double major in anthropology and psychology and a minor in sociology. Blankenship has known Majekobaje since 2010 when he began working for her as the student diversity intern.

“[Bola] offered me an experience that changed my life,” Blankenship said. “Truly, she laid the ground work for my introduction into student affairs, which is now my projected course for graduate school.”

Blankenship, Majekobaje and a committee of other WSU Vancouver students are working to promote higher education for local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender high school students.

“Over the course of one year as her intern, I [became] educated on issues of diversity at WSU Vancouver, higher education in general and larger society. Working with Bola, I deepened my understanding of service,” Blankenship said. “Bola recognizes student needs, whether it is guidance on a project or a listening ear. She knows if there is something troubling you. She is there, ready to listen. She has an infectious laugh and smile and can brighten a room with her presence. WSU Vancouver is truly lucky to have her as the assistant director for Student Diversity. I am lucky to have worked with her over the last three years.”

Photo by Laura Evancich, WSU Vancouver Marketing and Communications.

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