At a Glance

Year: ’24
Major: Business (marketing and entrepreneurship)
Activities: Co-op program, business sales competition
Why UML? “I heard how great UMass Lowell was, and the MassTransfer program made it really easy to transfer from Middlesex Community College.”

Business Administration BS

Gain the analytical and problem-solving skills that employers seek with UMass Lowell's business administration major.

Kristina Boni felt “lost and scared” after graduating from an agricultural and technical high school near her hometown of Reading, Massachusetts. She’d envisioned becoming a dog groomer, but now she wasn’t so sure. So she enrolled in Middlesex Community College in Lowell.

“I wasn’t prepared to go to college. I didn’t have midterms and finals at my high school, and I didn’t have those resources to learn how to study and manage my time,” Boni says. “Honestly, community college was a blessing for me.”

An entrepreneurship class with Stacie Hargis, who was also an adjunct faculty member in UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business, sparked Boni’s interest and gave her newfound motivation.

“Prof. Hargis was the first to give me confidence in myself and my abilities,” says Boni, who moved on to the Manning School through the MassTransfer program after earning an associate’s degree from Middlesex in 2021.

Being a transfer student has its challenges, but Boni has support from a fellow transfer student, mechanical engineering major Alex Gibbs. They met at Middlesex and are engaged to marry.

As a student, Boni likes to force herself to be “comfortable with the uncomfortable” – a lesson she learned from her late father Fred, who died in 2021.

“My dad always told me, ‘You’ll never go anywhere if you stay in your comfort zone,’” says Boni, who tries to create three “uncomfortable” moments for herself each year as a way to grow.

A good example was taking part in a sales competition hosted by consulting services firm ALKU, an experience that came about through a professional communications course with adjunct faculty member Jeremy Ramsey.

“I don’t look at business as a linear path,” says Boni, whose concentrations are in marketing and entrepreneurship. “Having well-rounded knowledge in accounting, finance and sales sets you apart.”

Another good example was a 10-week summer internship that Boni landed with NASA during her senior year. While Boni dreamed of working at NASA (“I’ve always been enthralled by the space program and the science behind it”), she wasn’t holding her breath when she applied to be a marketing and communication specialist with Flight Projects Directorate – “the businesspeople of NASA,” as she puts it – at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

“It was an amazing experience,” says Boni, who created a LinkedIn video series promoting opportunities at the directorate and helped develop a communication strategy and logo for its diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives.

“The great thing about the agency is that I could learn what I wanted to learn,” says Boni, who worked primarily from home but spent a week at the center. “If I wanted more experience with writing emails and communications, I could ask for that. Whenever I needed something, I could advocate for myself.”

Now that she has the NASA internship on her résumé, Boni is interested in working on the commercial side of the aerospace industry, perhaps at SpaceX or Ball Corporation.

She’s come a long way since those uncertain days out of high school.

“I’m the type of person that just lets things play out,” she says. “But if you’d told me that I’d be working at NASA while in college, I never would have believed it.”

Advice to students

Kristina Boni headshot
“Find mentors who are good, wholehearted people that really understand life. And just have faith – keep putting your best foot forward.”