When Ruth Jones Nichols first came to William & Mary, she wanted to be a pediatrician. During her freshman year, her science lab reinforced the fact that she didn’t like the sight of blood, so she decided to switch her major to sociology.
After graduation, Ruth jumpstarted a 25-year career in the non-profit sector and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees. In her current role as President & CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Ruth draws on her strong sociology background every single day to get to the root causes of why people stand in line at the food bank. According to Ruth, the goal of the food bank is not to simply eliminate hunger, but to address food insecurity.
Ruth uses her sociology background to guide her work as a social change advocate. “I want to be a person who brings about systemic change in society — a person who challenges the social structures and the status quo,” she says. “I want to do that in a way that levels the playing field for marginalized people who have not been represented at the table.”