Biology major earns fellowship

Bianca Ruffolo


They say it only takes one spark to ignite change.  If this is true, then Bianca Ruffolo is the force behind the flame. Ruffolo, a molecular biology and bioinformatics major, recently won a prestigious award that has brought UW-Parkside to the national stage.

Newman Civic Fellowship

The Newman Civic Fellowship is an immense honor that is only given to a handful of college students across the country. It recognizes community leaders who are committed to evoking change for future generations. Ruffolo has received this award due to her extensive academic accomplishments and community service efforts.

As a part of receiving the award, recipients are invited to attend a national conference in Boston and visit the Edward M. Kennedy institute for the U.S. Senate.  Ruffolo, who is notorious for her intellect, exceptional work ethic and selfless charity work was one of those lucky recipients.

Ruffolo describes the fellowship as an “incredible honor” and is humbled by the fact that she was considered to be one of the future leaders of America. “It feels good to know that people believe I can bring about true change,” she says.

A woman on a mission

The fact that Ruffolo has received this fellowship is no surprise. Her whole life has been dedicated to helping others.

She is currently the president of two UW-Parkside student organizations: Circle K and the Molecular Biology club. She is also in the pre-health club, the college of natural and health sciences advisory council, the Civic Action Team and Phi Eta Sigma.

Additionally, she tutors nine chemistry and biology subjects in the PARC and is assisting Dr. Richards in his lab work. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the Ascension Hospital in Racine.

“Once I started doing community service work, it became infectious,” she says. “It’s rewarding to see the impact you can make by volunteering.”

Looking towards the future

However, her groundbreaking work does not stop there. She plans to one day become a physician-scientist, hoping to specialize in medicine to help cure infectious diseases.

Ruffolo says she realized that she wanted to become a physician when she started volunteering at the hospital mentioned above.  Working with patients inspired her and meeting successful medical professionals motivated her to reach for the sky.

“I’m hoping that I can make real progress in the study of diseases like cancer,” she says, “my goal is to utilize my research to help cure patients.” She specifically wishes to focus on assisting undeserved populations such as those living in rural areas.

An inspiration

When all is said and done, it is easy to see that people like Ruffolo exemplify life’s true meaning. It is simply about giving all that we can, to help as many people as we can along the way.

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