Biology student named recipient of CSUSB Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship Award

Biology student named recipient of CSUSB Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship Award

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Sarah Ruddle, who will graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cal State San Bernardino, has been named a recipient of the Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship.

“Sarah is very, very smart and she is very motivated, and above all, she came into this place knowing exactly what she wanted to do and she went above and beyond,” said Paul Orwin, a professor in the CSUSB Department of Biology, with whom she has worked in conducting research. “She is by far the most prepared student I’ve ever come across, and she is really an excellent, excellent student who is going to do great things.”

The announcement of Ruddle being named the Fehn scholar came at the CSUSB College of Natural Science Department of Biology’s Student Research Colloquium on March 10, prior to her research presentation on “Investigating Signal Transduction in Variovorax paradoxus EPS.”

“It’s a huge honor. I’m really excited, especially to get recognized by my own department at San Bernardino,” Ruddle said. “It feels really good.”

The Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship was created to help meet the cost of education for CSUSB biology students who have demonstrated a commitment to biological research and to pay tribute to Fehn, a CSUSB alumnus, and his work.

From left, Mike Chao, CSUSB biology professor; Sarah Ruddle, recipient of the CSUSB Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship; Kirsten Fleming, dean of the CSUSB College of Natural Sciences; and Paul Orwin, CSUSB biology professor. Photo: Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB

From left, Mike Chao, CSUSB biology professor; Sarah Ruddle, recipient of the CSUSB Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship; Kirsten Fleming, dean of the CSUSB College of Natural Sciences; and Paul Orwin, CSUSB biology professor. Photo: Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB

Fehn, who died in 2007, was known as a caring and dedicated instructor known for his passion for teaching and his commitment to student research. He mentored at least 87 undergraduate and graduate students and he continued to mentor those graduates as they pursued their research, published their work and moved into fellowship positions in their fields.

One of Fehn’s chief areas of research involved diabetes and its relation to thyroid hormones and obesity. He also served as chair of the biology department, was named CSUSB’s Outstanding Professor in 2004.

Fehn was raised in Fontana and later lived in Highland. He graduated from CSUSB with a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and a master’s degree in 1978, both in biology. He received his doctorate degree in animal physiology from the University of Arizona.

After being accepted in the doctorate programs at Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeley and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Ruddle, who lives in Riverside and has a CSUSB grade point average of 3.98 and an overall GPA of 3.73, plans to attend Stanford, where she was admitted to the microbiology and immunology department.

After that, she is considering working for a company that does research on infectious diseases, or becoming a professor at a university running a laboratory that studies some type of infectious disease.

Her interest in biology came as a student at Chaffey Community College.

“I started out at a community college not knowing what I wanted to do and ran into a biology class and got totally inspired by my biology professor there,” Ruddle said.

She also credits Orwin for his work and mentorship.

“He opened me to every opportunity I’ve ever had. I couldn’t have done it without his mentorship,” Ruddle said. “It’s been pretty crazy in a fast progression from community college to here, and now to Stanford.”

Last summer, Ruddle spent 10 weeks at Stanford University, participating in the Amgen Foundation’s prestigious Amgen Scholars Program, where she conducted hands-on, cutting edge research in the university’s department of pathology under the direction of Matthew Bogyo, a professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology, involving novel drug target identification in Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria.

Ruddle was one of nearly 360 students globally accepted to the program last year from more than 5,000 applicants. The program works with 17 leading educational and research institutions across the U.S., Europe and Japan to host scholars in research labs.

Along with her research experience, Ruddle, along with the other Stanford University Amgen Scholars, attended the U.S. summer symposium hosted by UCLA and Amgen in July. The   opportunity allowed Ruddle the opportunity to meet fellow scholars at other institutions, discuss their research projects, learn about biotechnology, and hear firsthand from leading industry and academic scientists.

Ruddle is a MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) scholar at Cal State San Bernardino. MARC is a grant-based honors program funded by the National Institutes of Health to CSUSB professor Sanders McDougall, which provides an excellent research opportunity for minority students seeking a Ph.D. in a health-related field.

For more information and an image of CSUSB student Sarah Ruddle and an image of the late Richard Fehn, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

Top photo: Sarah Ruddle, recipient of the CSUSB Professor Richard Fehn Memorial Scholarship, presents her research at the CSUSB Department of Biology’s Student Research Colloquium on March 10. Photo: Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB

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