Felton woman makes the grades with 4.0 at Delaware State

Kristen Rios, 29, of Felton, was one of three Delaware State University fall graduates to achieve a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Kristen Rios achieved what few students can only dream of throughout her college career — perfection.

The 29-year-old Felton resident was one of just three Delaware State University fall graduates among nearly 200 to earn a 4.0 grade-point average while chasing after a Bachelor’s in Public Health degree.

Nothing about her time at Polytech High in Woodside portended such an excellent collegiate performance. As and Bs were the norm and the basketball-playing 2007 graduate described herself as “a good student,” but paled in comparison to such academic mastery years later.

“Why I changed to a 4.0, I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe I matured, maybe it’s because I’m now paying for the classes and want to make them all worth the cost of doing it.”

Oh, and she worked full-time at Delmarva Animal Emergency Center in Dover, sometimes completing overnight shifts and heading right to morning classes or often working on weekends.

Six months ago, the straight-A student experienced the joy of having her first daughter, who thankfully came during summer break and allowed for precious time together that can’t ever be recaptured, only remembered fondly.

Then it was back to the strenuous reality of one final semester and all the personal juggling that came with it.

“The most challenging thing was making sure that I stayed on task,” she said. “Time management was huge and there are many times I would have rather been doing something, anything other than schoolwork.”

Now there’s finally some rest and relax, with husband and baby in tow.

“I love to travel. I love going to new places. I love to eat and I love eating at new places,” Mrs. Rios said.

“Every chance we get, we try to do new things and go to new places and now our daughter will be right there with us.”

In January, a job search begins, although a couple of leads have already surfaced for the one with a sterling scholastic record. Her interests in identifying, treating, locating and perhaps eliminating or at least limiting infectious diseases leads her to “things that are very scary to everyone else but interesting to me.”

And why choose addressing infectious diseases as a line of work?

Ms. Rios juggled school with a full-time job at Delmarva Animal Emergency Center in Dover and giving birth to a baby over the summer. (Submitted photo)

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” she said.

Enrolling at DSU in January 2016 and accompanied by about 30 transferable credits earned at Delaware Technical Community College, Ms. Rios began a relentless pursuit of academic excellence. She entered on a mission to achieve perfect grades, and that’s just what resulted throughout the journey.

“It really shows how much effort and dedication was needed to achieve my goals and how much I really wanted to succeed in achieving those goals to get where I wanted to be,” Mrs. Rios said.

An online Anatomy and Physiology course “basically wrecked one summer” and almost snapped her string of perfect grades. Making videos for the class was “awkward” and didn’t come easy and “with all the nice weather I wanted to go to the beach or something.”

“Time management was huge and there are many times I would have rather been doing something, anything other than schoolwork,” Kristen Rios said of her goal to achieve a 4.0 grade-point average at Delaware State University. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Being nearly a decade older than most classmates wasn’t a social barrier but a positive experience due to her steadying presence.

“I feel my personality is still quite young,” she said. “I can see different levels of effort being put in and reach out to anyone who might be struggling through it. I was there for other students if they had questions or needed something and I think they appreciated me for that, which allowed me to fit in pretty well.”

The other 4.0 students were Danielle Sherise Epting, a psychology major from Wilmington, and Elvira Galieva, an accounting and economics double major from Russia.


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