College of Southern Maryland alumna Kayla Ruiz, of California, was awarded the University of Maryland Transfer Academic Excellence Scholarship (TAES) which covers full tuition for four consecutive semesters. The scholarship, the most prestigious offered to transfer students, is awarded to students who earned an associate degree with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and who demonstrate civic engagement in their community. Ruiz began her studies at CSM as a dual enrollment student while at Leonardtown High School taking math, English and anatomy classes at the Leonardtown Campus. “I had a general idea that I wanted a career in kinesiology and CSM offered exercise science which would allow me to explore the field,” said Ruiz. “I was fortunate to have Professor [Turner] Coggins at CSM who pushed me to go above and beyond what I would have in high school,” said Ruiz. In addition to excelling at academics at CSM, Ruiz played soccer for the CSM Hawks for two years and was on the team that went to the National Championship in 2013.