Six W&J students awarded Rule, Hughes, Murphy prize

Created: February 25, 2019  |  Last Updated: February 25, 2019  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 25, 2019)—Six Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students were awarded the 2018-19 Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize, an annual honor given to sophomores at the College who exemplify academic prowess and leadership abilities.

This year’s honorees are Erik Blasic of Windber, Pa., Cathryn “Halie” Hess of Columbus, Ohio, Haley Nelson of Warren, Pa., Adriana Rodriguez-Ruiz of Round Lake Park, Ill., Jerrik Rydbom of Blairsville, Pa., and Nathaniel Wang of Venetia, Pa.

The Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize is known at W&J for distinguishing future leaders. In the last five years alone, recipients have been employed at CBS News, the Portland Trailblazers, Hillman Cancer Center, and KPMG. Others have continued their education in graduate and doctoral programs at Columbia University, New York University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of Michigan, and Duquesne Law School, among others.

Erik, a history and business administration double major with an American studies concentration, is involved in a variety of activities on campus. He is an Alpha Scholar and is co-chairman of the Washington Fellows Honors program. He serves as treasurer of the Newman Club, is a PAL tutor, and a LINK mentor for first-year students at W&J. He is also a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, History Club, and Pre-Legal Society. He plans to attend law school after graduating from W&J.

A history major with concentrations in American studies and African American studies, Halie has held positions across campus including resident assistant, secretary of the Student Government Association, and PAL Tutor. She is a member of Colleges Against Cancer, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and the National Society for Leadership and Success. Halie plans to attend either graduate school or law school.

Haley is a Spanish and business double major. She is a member of the W&J volleyball team and Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society. She currently holds a spot on the Dean’s List. Haley plans to attend law school to pursue a career as a judge.

Public policy and French double major Adriana is a member of multiple campus organizations including Delta Gamma Sorority, Pre-Legal Society, Alpha Lambda Honorary Society, and the Sustainability Committee. She currently serves as a resident assistant for first-year students. She was also a recipient of the Magellan Geary Award as a freshman, and the Outstanding New Member award from Delta Gamma sorority. Adriana holds a spot on the Dean’s List. Adriana plans to work in urban planning or practice law.

Jerrik is majoring in neuroscience and is on the pre-health track. He is an Alpha Scholar and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society and the Washington Fellows Honors Program. Jerrik is a student ambassador for the Office of Admission, a resident assistant, and serves as a laboratory assistant. He currently holds a spot on the Dean’s List. He plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.

Nathaniel is a biochemistry and German double major. He is involved in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society, German Club, the Washington Fellows Honors Program, Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS), and Delta Phi Alpha German Honors Society. He currently serves as co-captain of the W&J Men’s Tennis team. He also engages in philanthropy as a big brother for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Nathaniel plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as an emergency medicine physician.

Established in 1987 through the bequest of an anonymous donor, the James Rule (W&J Class of 1898), Howard Hughes (Class of 1911) and Robert Murphy (Class of 1906) Memorial Fund annually provides a monetary award to each student recipient.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.