North Carolina Newspapers

    18 The Compass Wednesday, October 26, 1994
University’s first national merit scholar
chose ECSU over Harvard, Howard U.
Fkoto by Da^ Friedman
Chakka Ruffin, the first National Merit semifinalist to ever attend ECSU, CHdnl travel to
Ftoridato participate in the finals. Instead the $40,000 scholarship went to her sister, Tir^
By Lolethia Underdue
Most high school seniors have to worry
about being accepted into the college of
their choice, but ECSU's Chakka Ruffin
had so many offers to attend college—all
on full scholarships—that the hard part
for her was deciding which offer to ac
cept.
Schools offering her full scholarships
included Harvard University and
Howard University and Elizabeth State
University.
Why did this Wilson,N.C.nativechoose
ECSU?
"It had the qualifications I was looking
for," says Ruffin. "It's an HBCU (Histori
cally Black College and University) and
it's small."
Ruffin, the first National Merit Scholcir
to ever attend ECSU, said she was also
influenced by University recruiters.
"I liked what they were telling me, iand
I decided to come."
National Merit Scholars semifinalists
are selected on the basis of the Pre-Scho-
lastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), said Ruffin.
Prospective scholars are not allowed to
tell anyone they are semi-finalists, she
added. They are also required to fill out a
questionnaire,answeringquestions about
tf^mselves, and to write an essay.
"I didn't even know I wasa semifinalist
Twan.
until my senior year," said Ruffin.
Ruffin said sfie didn't travel to Florida
to participate in the finals. The National
Merit Scholarship, worth $40,000, went
to her sister, Tinkia Twan whose I.Q.,
according to Ruffin, "is two points short
of being a genius."
Ruffin, the oldest of ten children, all
girls, said coming from a large family
didn't make her nwre competitive. She
describes her parents and all of her sisters
as being, "Very smart and talented."
Ruffin's mother currently holds a nurs
ing degree and has worked as a regis
tered nurse. Her father is a long distance
truck driver.
Ruffin and Tinkia Twan scored the
second and third highest scores in the
country on the Armed Services Voca
tional Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).The
highest scorerer on that test was also a
student at Ruffin's high school.
What was special about E. T.
Beddingfield Hi^ School?
"They worked us to death," she says.
Ruffin credits her mother writh influ
encing her the most because "she kept
supplying the money tobuy morebooks."
Ruffin had this tip for students plan
ning on taking standardized tests: "Study
hard imtil the last month before the test
and then just relax."
To relax, Ruffin writes poetry, songs,
and short stories, and she also enjoys
sewing and drav^g. She enjoys all mu
sic "except gangsta rap and deep coun
try."
Ruffin, who isdoublemajoringinchem-
istry and computer science, plans to be a
cheWcal engineer. She has already been
offered "a full scholarship to an engineer
ing school in Israel."
Her plans also include room for a fam
ily. 'T see a husbaivd in my future, and I
want to have ten kids."
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