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Swimming in Deep Experience

Demetria Ruhl '20.

Demetria Ruhl ’20   

Demetria Ruhl ’20 has been fascinated with chemistry ever since writing a high-school paper about auroras. Now, she’s a double major in chemistry and French and a varsity swimmer who’s studied abroad in Toulouse, France, and gained valuable experiences through a hospital internship and a class that included hands-on research at Dickinson's College Farm. She says that at Dickinson, she’s found room to pursue all of these interests and more.


Wilmington, Delaware.


Chemistry and French & Francophone studies.   

Clubs and organizations:

Women’s varsity swimming, Liberty Cap Society (tour guides), and Pre-Health Society.


John Dickinson Scholarship and Stafford Scholarship, Dean’s list, Alpha Lambda Delta

Favorite book:

The Martian by Andy Weir.

On choosing a major:

My interest in chemistry began when I was in high school and wrote a paper on the chemistry behind auroras. Ever since, studying chemistry has opened up a new way of thinking about and explaining the world. I also wanted to continue to study French in college, as I believe it is very important to learn a second language. I really appreciate how a double major allows me to take a wide variety of classes that Dickinson offers and to continue to study the subjects that I am passionate about.

On choosing Dickinson:

I decided to attend Dickinson because I saw it was a place where all of my interests could really come together to create a unique and fulfilling college experience. I wanted to find a college where I could study chemistry and French, swim on a varsity team and study abroad, and I felt as if all of these things would not only be possible, but also be encouraged and supported at Dickinson. I also really appreciated Dickinson’s commitment to sustainability, a global education, and the friendly atmosphere that I experienced when I visited campus.  

Favorite place on campus:

Britton Plaza.   

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Garlic zucchini.

Favorite class:

My first-year chemistry class. We had the opportunity to design and conduct a research project using produce from the College Farm and then create a poster based on our results. I will never forget how exciting it was to make my first research poster and to see my work in print.  

On studying abroad:

I studied abroad during fall 2018, in Toulouse, France. The highlight of my experience was having the chance to improve my French every day by attending a French university, exploring the city of Toulouse and living with a host family. I am very thankful for this opportunity to focus on improving my French skills as well as to gain cultural knowledge by traveling in Europe.  

Little-known hobby/talent:

I love doing anything creative, especially sewing, journaling, and photography.

About my research:

During summer 2018 I did research for the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children as a part of the Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program (NSURP). My research focused on working to understand the role of fusion genes in the development of leukemia.  

In [Assistant] Professor [of Chemistry Jason] Gavenonis’s lab on campus, I am involved with a chemistry research project that studies the selective reactions of cysteine residues on peptides.

On being a TA:

During my sophomore year I had the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant (TA) for the general chemistry class, and it was one of the best experiences that I have had at Dickinson thus far! I loved being able to share my experience and knowledge from past chemistry courses to help other students who were just starting their chemistry studies. 

Post-Dickinson plans:

After Dickinson I hope to attend graduate or medical school in order to pursue a career in health care.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published July 3, 2019