Ms. Latosha Ruffin – Overcoming Challenges To Discover Her Best Self

College Graduation Series

Interview by Alyzia McAlmon

Ms. Latosha Ruffin has spent the past four years working to better herself and the community around her. In December, Latosha received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Latosha has been actively involved in her 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 graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry!

What extracurricular activities did you participate in?
I was a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the UNCP Spirit Squad and 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 was staying motivated. As a Chemistry Major, I have struggled a lot with the amount of work given and understanding the material to study for the tests and quizzes. For the higher-level classes, tutoring was not given and the professors barely offered office hours so sometimes I was on my own. There were many times where I really felt like giving up, and in the start of taking my major courses, I thought about changing my major to something much easier. But I remembered that in order to achieve your goals, you have to be challenged and trust me, Chemistry was a CONSTANT challenge. But with the change of a positive mindset and others looking up to me, I motivated and pushed myself to finish with the same major I began with.

What are your goals and aspirations after graduation? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My plan is to take a short break and during this time apply for jobs and think about where I want to go for grad school. In five years, I see myself with a stable job either working in a Crime Lab as a Forensic Scientist or out in the field as a Crime Scene Investigator. I also see myself working towards my master’s, living on my own, and continuing to give back to my community.

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. After being a leader of a group of students at volunteer sites and becoming a captain of 25+ members of my team, I sometimes just sit and think about how much I’ve grown. Who knew that someone who never talked to anyone would become a leader of several others? During the last four years I have faced several obstacles and learned so much about myself in the process. From these obstacles, I have gained many skills that have molded me into the person I am today.

How has Student U had an impact on helping you set and achieve goals throughout your time in college? How have you made an impact on your community?
Student U has had an impact on me in helping me set and achieve my goals through the different programs/seminars offered and I have attended. I always had some important information to take away and use when goal setting. I’ve learned that writing your goals down gives me more motivation to accomplish them, so I write down my goals and the step by step process to reach them and like a to-do list I check off when I’ve completed that step, showing that I’m even closer to accomplishing that goal.

I have made an impact on my community through community service. I love giving back, there were people that helped me get where I am so the least I can do is give back to them or others.  The smallest act of kindness can make a big impact on someone’s life and that’s what I love most about volunteering. I have always volunteered while growing up and during my time in college. Even after graduating, giving back to others is something that I still want to continue doing.

Which of Student U’s core values has been most meaningful in your journey to graduating?
During this last semester, the two Student U core values that were the most meaningful during this journey were discovering my best self and achieving greatness. During this last semester I felt like everything was against me. When I tried to do anything, something would go wrong every time and it got very frustrating. I really learned a lot about myself this semester and how to not the little things get to me and to understand that they were things just trying the slow me down but I was able to achieve greatness by continuing to persevere in spite of those small blocks and I passed every class I was stressed about and graduated!

If you could give a student in the Class of 2019 one piece of advice as they prepare to attend college in the fall, what would it be?
To the class of 2019, I wish you guys the best as you begin your new journey through college! When you attend college in the fall, don’t be afraid to ask for help and use your resources! Don’t give up on things that are difficult, and you don’t get. Get help! You can ask your professor to explain during lecture, or go to their office hours, you can attend tutoring sessions or go to the writing center and you can even form a study group with other classmates! There’s no limit on how many times you can go ask for help so don’t be afraid to use your resources. Asking for help sometimes shows professors that you are putting in effort to understand and do well on the assignments and tests and they sometimes look out at the end of the semester when boosting or curving grades. A lot of students don’t utilize these sources given, don’t be one of them!

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


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