Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rush '15.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rush '15.

Jennifer Rush ’15

Illinois resident and John Dickinson scholar Jennifer Rush ’15 didn’t choose to apply to Dickinson because she shares a name with one of the college’s founders—it was just a fun coincidence. Recently, however, she learned that she was the first known descendant of Benjamin Rush to attend Dickinson. Here, Jennifer reveals how she moved from aspiring artist to student-scientist, her little-known talent for sharp-shooting, her ideal dinner partner and how she gives back through a prison-inmate tutoring program.


Biochemistry & molecular biology.

Clubs and organizations:

Resident advisor, quidditch team and prison-inmate tutoring program.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… an artist. At one point I also wanted to be a veterinarian like my sister.

On choosing a major:

I took a molecular-biology class in high school, and I was hooked!

On choosing Dickinson:

During the summer of my junior year in high school, I began a research project on the metastasis of breast cancer. I began looking at schools with a strong biological-science department and with faculty members who were interested in similar research. Dickinson soon rose to the top of my list, and after I visited, I knew it was the right place for me.

Favorite book:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Favorite movie:


Favorite class:

My first year, I took Principles of Human Evolution with [Associate] Professor [of Anthropology Karen] Weinstein. That class sparked my growing interest in biological anthropology.

Favorite professors:

[Associate] professors [of biology Mike] Roberts and [David] Kushner are two of my favorites. They are so excited about the classes they teach, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

On volunteering:

Inmate tutoring is one of the community-service programs coordinated through CommServ, and I signed up to volunteer at my first Activities Night at Dickinson. I have successfully tutored five female inmates as they prepared to take their GEDs. It’s rewarding, knowing that I have actually helped change someone's life—that feeling fuels my commitment to come back each week.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

The quiche in the KOVE is the best!

Little-known talent:

My dad taught me target shooting when I was in sixth grade. I still enjoy doing that with him when I am home. I think my dad would hate to admit I am a much better shot than he is!

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Randy Pausch. His perspective on life was inspiring, and his book, The Last Lecture, is remarkable. I would love to talk with him about the last few months of his life and learn whether he would do anything differently if he could.

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Published August 26, 2014