Saddle River Day Spotlight on Success: Ruthie Sitver ’15 Continues her Academic Journey in Sydney, Australia

Gretchen Lee

Ruthie Sitver spent the first eighteen years of her life in New York. She was a highly motivated student who danced, practiced yoga and instructed aerial yoga and aerial dance classes. After graduating from Saddle River Day with honors in 2015, she began her journey in higher education at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She completed her degrees in Biology and Psychology at St. Andrews in 2019.

The University of St. Andrews is a highly competitive international university in Scotland marked by tradition, the most famous being the wearing of the red robes for undergraduate students. Students wear their robes differently as they move forward through their years at the university. While there, Ruthie served as an "academic mother to fifteen freshies" (a.k.a. freshmen). The academic family tradition creates a close-knit network of support for new students. She has also had the opportunity to travel to many countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, England and Ireland, enabling her to truly experience other cultures first-hand and gain a more global understanding of the world she lives in. A strong world language student at SRDS, she continued with her studies in Spanish and is nearly fluent. Ruthie was also the first Biology major to represent St. Andrews in a 6-month clinical program with the Neurology Department at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

She says:
"Attending St. Andrews provided me with a strong foundation in Biology and Health Sciences. My enthusiasm and interest led me to do a lot of exploratory reading and research in the field as well. This in turn benefited me greatly during my emergency room internship in the United States. There were several moments when I was able to "connect the dots" when an emergency room patient explained his/her ailment and I was able to utilize my knowledge to figure out a diagnosis along with the P.A. I was shadowing. Additionally, being fluent in Spanish definitely aided in my ability to better understand patients' problems if English was not their first language. When I graduate from St. Andrews, I plan on continuing my education to become a Physician Assistant.”

Ruthie graduated from St. Andrews this past Spring as one of only three students with an Honours Dual Degree in Biology and Psychology. She spent the last year conducting research with Dr. Margarita Svetlova, a Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, and Dr. Malinda Carpenter from the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at St. Andrews. Ruthie completed her dissertation titled “Does Prompting Children to Think About Others’ Feelings Increase Prosocial Behavior of Considerateness?” which is currently off for publishing. She will head to Australia again to continue her postgraduate studies, working on a doctorate degree in Dietetics and Nutrition.