Weinberg senior receives award for campus volunteer service


Sophia Ruark. The Weinberg senior will be honored during commencement.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Weinberg student Sophia Ruark received the 2020 Senior Woman’s Service Award, which recognized her wide-ranging involvement in campus leadership.

The award, established in 2002 by The Alumnae of Northwestern University, honors female-identifying seniors who have contributed to the campus community through volunteering and service.

In her time at Northwestern, Ruark served as an administrative assistant for the Northwestern Prison Education Program, which enabled her to tutor and interact with incarcerated individuals.

This led Ruark to found and direct the Undergraduate Prison Education Partnership, a collaborative initiative between undergraduates and Stateville Correctional Center that allows students to partake in tutoring, classes, workshops, fundraising and more.

“Students at Stateville Correctional Center have said that our programs and emphasis on education have given them new life and perspective,” Ruark said in a University release. “Education, especially in a place as limiting and austere as a prison, leaves no one unaffected. It has made me and so many others fall in love with education all over again.”

Ruark also served as president of the Arch Society and the student director of the Northwestern Alumni Association Board of Directors, being an ambassador of the alumni community and facilitating interactions and expansion of networks.

On top of these accomplishments, Ruark served as the lead research assistant and trainer for the Affective Cognition and Neuroscience Laboratory and devoted 35 hours per week in work-study during her time at Northwestern, in addition to being an Air Force ROTC student.

After graduating this spring with a major in psychology and minor in legal studies, Ruark will head to New Mexico.

“Sophia is a model for volunteer service on the Northwestern campus. What an amazing woman,” said Julie McDowell, chair of The Alumnae’s Senior Woman’s Service Award committee.

Ruark also received the Purple Pride Award at the 2019 Wildcat Excellence Awards. She will be recognized at Honors Day and the commencement ceremony.

This story has been updated.

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