Sophia Ruark

Senior Woman's Award for Volunteer Service, 2020

Evanston, Ill. --- Sophia Ruark is the recipient of the 2020 Senior Woman’s Service Award given by The Alumnae of Northwestern University. The award, established by The Alumnae in 2002, honors a senior woman for volunteer service during her undergraduate years at Northwestern University. Sophia, from Grand Ledge, Michigan, a senior in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) and at the Illinois Institute of Technology, is graduating this spring with a major in psychology and a legal studies minor.

Throughout her time at Northwestern, Sophia has participated in Air Force ROTC, which has the core value of “Service Before Self.” This involvement has provided her with leadership skills, purpose, and the opportunity to earn a commission as an Air Force officer. She will be headed to Cannon Air Force in New Mexico to be a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Officer, becoming the first woman in her detachment in at least five years to do so.

Sophia became involved with a new Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP) in October 2018, beginning as an administrative assistant. The program has a special place in her heart since her father was incarcerated at different times in her life. Her tutoring at Statesville (Illinois) Correctional Center allowed her to speak directly with prisoners about their needs. She expanded her tutoring program by founding the Undergraduate Prison Education Partnership (UPEP) in 2018 and serves as its Presid. entGroups of students work to provide prisoners with reentry programming, academic support and enrichment, awareness initiatives, and more. They recently secured a $1 million sponsorship from the Mellon Foundation to expand and continue their programs.

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