Writing Her Own Future

When she was a child, Paloma Ruiz ’22 would often spend long summer days immersed in a book. She treated a pamphlet of reading recommendations from the library like a checklist to be completed, and she was determined to finish every title listed. These lengthy reading sessions sparked an interest in writing and literature.

“My dad is a scientist and I think my parents hoped I would study science, so maybe all the writing and books was my way of rebelling,” Ruiz said with a laugh. “But staying in touch with my artistic and literary side has always been very important to me.”

As she grew older, though, Ruiz realized she had both a knack and a love for science and math. Working with her father in high school gave her hands-on experience in a lab, which she found exciting. A summer session at the Governor’s School of North Carolina exposed her to theoretical math and nudged Ruiz toward studying quantitative biology, which is now her major at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Ruiz came to Carolina with a scholarship from the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, which offers merit-based financial support, opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research, professional development, leadership training, mentorship and other programming designed to pave the way for academic success and future achievement.

“CSS has been an amazing support system,” Ruiz said. “My class has been through a lot at UNC with COVID and everything, and it means a lot for me to be able to rely on the people in the CSS program.”

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