Ms. Latosha Ruffin – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Get Involved!

College Graduation Series

Interview by Alyzia McAlmon

Ms. Latosha Ruffin has spent the past four years at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke discovering her best self, while working to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Forensic Science. Latosha has been actively involved in her on campus community as a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the UNCP Spirit Squad and as a site leader for the Office of Community and Civic Engagement. As she works to achieve the goal of graduating from college, she hopes to one day work in a crime lab as a forensic scientist. Her goals and aspirations serve as motivation and encouragement for Student U students of all ages.

What school are you graduating from? What will you be earning a degree in?

I will be graduating from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in December 2018. I will be earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Forensic Science.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

The extra-curricular activities I have been a member of are the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), UNCP Spirit Squad and I was a Site Leader for the Office of Community and Civic Engagement.

What was the toughest obstacle you had to overcome as a college student?

The toughest obstacle I had to overcome as a college student was managing my time on my own while continuing to be a well-rounded student. In middle school and high school, I have always been involved in my community, church, school. I was in the choir, danced, cheered, played softball, volunteered and was a part of Student U and the Emily K Center’s K to College program. On top of all of that I was still a student. My mom helped me get to and from practices, games programs and meetings and even when I was so tired she made sure I was still on top of my work. When I got to college I had to learn how to do it on my own. It took a while but with all that I was involved in, I learned how to plan each day where I made a daily schedule with times for practice, games, meetings and studying in between classes.

What are your goals and aspirations after graduation? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

After graduation, I have not decided if I wanted to go grad school or if I just want to continue working towards getting a job in or close to my profession. In 5 years, I do hope to be established with a career either working in a Crime Lab as a Forensic Scientist or out in the field as a Crime Scene Investigator. I also see myself living on my own, still giving back to my Durham community or the community I choose the live in and to be physically, spiritually and financially stable.

How have you grown as a person over the last 4 years?

Over the last 4 years, I have grown so much as a leader. I went from barely speaking to anyone and being hidden in the background to speaking up, being a leader of a group of students at volunteer sites and became a captain of 25+ members of my team this season. I knew that I would eventually come out of my shell but not as much as I did. With the amount of challenges I faced over the years on and off the team and being also exposed to several leadership classes/seminars, I gained a lot of skills not only to help me become a better leader, but a better woman.

How has Student U had an impact on helping you set and achieve goals throughout your time in college?

Student U has had an impact on me in helping me set and achieve my goals through the different programs/seminars they’ve held and I attended in high school and through the College Promise program. Each time I attended these programs/seminars or met with Mr. Derrick during my breaks, I’ve always had some important information to take away and use each time I set a new goal. I’ve learned the difference between short term and long term goals and what steps I need to take to achieve them so now when I set goals, I write step by step what I need to do to reach this goal and like a to-do list I check off when I’ve completed that step.

How have you made an impact on your community? (Student U, Durham, School Campus)

I have made an impact on my community through service. I love to volunteer, it is something I have always done while growing up so now that I am in college it is something that I still continue to do. It always feels good to give back, the smallest thing can make a big impact on someone’s life and that’s what I love most about volunteering. I volunteer anytime I can at school or around my campus, and I try to volunteer when I come home for break. I want to give back to my Student U family but that is another goal I am still working on.

Which of Student U’s core values has been most meaningful in your journey to graduating?

The Student U core value that has been the most meaningful in my journey is discovering my best self. I’ve always been an active person but always soft spoken. I’ve held back because I worried about what other people thought of me and was insecure about myself. Through the past four years continuing to be involved, facing several challenges and through some influential people I’ve met along the way, I have become more passionate about the things I do. I have no problem stepping up or taking risks, and most importantly, I’ve gained more confidence within myself and no longer care about what anyone else thinks because whatever I do is to better myself and my future. I am proud of how much I have grown as a person and will continue grow through my journey.

If you could give a student in the Class of 2022 one piece of advice as they prepare to attend college in the fall, what would it be?

To the class of 2022, when you attend college in the fall, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and get involved! You may not know anyone when you first get there but attend as many events/programs and games, join a team/club or organization and volunteer on campus or around the community. Not only will you learn more about yourself but you never know who you will meet and the bonds you will make!

Want to get in touch with Ms. Latosha? Or learn more about her work? Here is how:

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