A native of the Boston area, Carmelina Rakiec graduated in 2004 from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, then received her master’s degree in analytical chemistry from Northeastern University. She was active in the Chi Alpha ministries at both BU and Northeastern.
Currently, Carmelina works as a lab operations manager for Novartis Pharmaceuticals and lives outside of Boston with her husband Daniel, who she met at Northeastern. They have two children, Mary (5), and Nathan (3). Carmelina is also part of the worship team at her local church.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and taking family vacations to Italy. Carmelina shared how Chi Alpha showed her to see her position in the marketplace as working in the mission field.
Describe the impact Chi Alpha had on you as a student.
It grounded me in my faith and actually led me to dig deeper. It taught me so much more about how to study my Bible and about sharing my faith with people. The biggest thing with Chi Alpha is being a missionary on campus; it prepared me for the real world. How are we going to spread the gospel if we don’t have friends who aren’t Christians? Chi Alpha taught me to be a missionary in my own city and workplace. It is harder there sometimes than in other countries!
How did Chi Alpha help prepare you for church ministry?
I feel there’s a lot of discipleship and learning by example, so if you help out with ministries, there are skills you don’t even know you have. I think with being in a university that’s not Christian, you learn to be with diverse people, especially in Boston, which is incredibly diverse!
What challenges are there for you in your marketplace position?
You would think that scientists are harder, but I just think it’s a New England thing. If you approach things the way Francis Collins (head of the National Institutes of Health) did, you can see science and faith are not in disagreement. I think that people are still reaching for meaning in life no matter what. The way Chi Alpha prepared me is to be loving to them, ask questions, and get to know them. I’m also a believer that in everything you do, be an example. Show Christ’s love and do a good job; even in the little things we do every day, because people are watching. Your character is showing them something.
What advice do you have for new Alumni heading into a career field such as yours?
Keep the thirst for knowledge going and keep having conversations with people. Don’t let what you learned in Chi Alpha go to waste. Take those skills you learned and use them in the marketplace!