Dandrea Rynkewicz, Fuld Fellow (ABS Program)

About Dandrea

  • Program: ABS Nursing
  • Hometown: Nashville, TN
  • Favorite Self-Care Activity: Massages
  • Previous Education: Anthropology, Bachelor of Arts, University at Buffalo; Public Administration, Master of Arts, South University

Why nursing?

Imagine asking a child what they wanted to be when they grew up, and their answer was "a doctor or nurse, but for dead people." Let's just say that I got some very strange looks in return. I'd go on to learn that medical examiner, forensic anthropologist, or forensic nurse might have been more acceptable. My career aspirations were never about the glorified versions on E.R. or Dr. Jan Garavaglia's Medical Examiner show. My motivation was compassion, for those still living as well as those that had passed. At some point, I gave up on my childhood dreams and started a life in non-profits. In 2019, I was provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist in an autopsy at the Broward Co. Medical Examiner's office. After that, I decided to do whatever it took for me to chase after my childhood dreams.

Why UB?

I moved around as an Army brat my entire life, never living anywhere longer than two years. After four years of undergraduate studies, I considered Buffalo to be "home," although I moved to Nashville to be with family. When I decided to go back to school, I knew that UB would be my top choice. After attending the virtual ABS session, I fell in love with the design of the program and I knew it was time to come back home.

Areas of Interest

I'm interested in Forensic Nursing, Death Investigations. In addition to my childhood aspirations, I believe that a career focused on death and dying, consequently increases joy in life and living.

Activities and Accolades

In the past five years, my accomplishments revolve around obtaining things I only dreamed about. This includes employment, community activism, and continuing my academic journey. I am proud that I started working in the sexual health field. It’s provided so many additional opportunities to work with youth and community members around comprehensive sexual education and services. In Nashville, I got into community activism for racial justice, disability justice, and sexual assault survivor rights with various groups in town. As far as schooling, it was only in the last three years that I returned to school to start on this nursing journey. Due to my dedication and work ethic seen by my profession, in my second semester, I was awarded an Outstanding Student Award in Anatomy and Physiology.


Prior to moving to Buffalo, my favorite hobby was getting involved in community activism projects. Now that I’m in a new location, I’ll have to find new projects to engage in. Another favorite is reading. I am that person who mourns books after reading so I only read a few each year to avoid that mourning process. A couple of years ago, I taught myself how to knit and it’s been a wonderful pastime. I even joined a knitting club in Nashville to help me learn new skills. My newest hobby is learning how to cook. It’s been messy, but I love being able to provide delicious meals for myself and my husband.

What's Next

I plan to get certified as a Forensic Nurse through the International Association of Forensic Nurses as a Sexual AssaultNurse Examiner and a Death Investigator. My goal is to work as a Forensic Nurse in either capacity at a local hospital or county morgue.


As of March 2021, I currently have $100,872.54 in student loan debt, which does not include the ABS degree I'm currently accepted into. Although I have two other degrees, that debt was acquired as a first-time undergraduate student in 2010. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to not add to my surmounting debt, which I am grateful for!