Persistence pays off for valedictorian Tennen

May 28, 2004 11:05 a.m.

Senior Ruth Tennen was ecstatic to hand in her thesis. As she walked out of the molecular biology laboratory where she had spent so many nights and weekends, she thought, "This is great. No more lab for four months." But two days later, Tennen was back, sneaking in so that no one would notice her.

"I didn't want people to see me in there because I thought they'd think that it was kind of bizarre," explained Tennen, who has been running experiments related to her thesis.

Tennen, who will deliver an address at the June 1 Commencement as valedictorian of the senior class, is the kind of student who pursues answers long after the grades are turned in.

"Beyond academic achievements, Ruth is truly and sincerely dedicated to scientific research," said professor Mark Rose, director of undergraduate studies for the molecular biology department. "She is a true lab rat, always here, always enthusiastic. She is a promising researcher who will undoubtedly be making important contributions in the future."

Aside from her academic record -- 21 A+'s in 11 departments and programs, no grade below an A -- Tennen stands out for her intellectual curiosity, her scrupulous preparation and her tenacity, say her professors. She also is the kind of person who refers to lab work as "fun," an important trait for someone heading to Stanford University's Ph.D. program in cancer biology this fall.

Read the full story in the Weekly Bulletin.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601