Growing up in a small community in Dayton, Ohio, Carly Sobol was fortunate to receive a great education, be surrounded by inspiring individuals, and have a strong family unit. “My family was one of a few Jewish families in the neighborhood. I learned at a young age the value of tradition and the challenges that come with being unique. I loved explaining my heritage to friends and learning more about theirs.”
Her family also played a role in what she is studying at The Ohio State University. A recipient of the university’s Morrill Scholarship – given to students who show commitment to both academics and diversity by excelling in the classroom and making a positive impact in their communities – Carly is majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Jewish Studies.
Currently a junior, Carly’s plan is to graduate in the spring of 2018 with the post-graduation goal of attending medical school. Her choice of neuroscience stems from an interest Carly developed during a high school biology class and also from dealing with a family member battling significant health challenges. “My experiences in high school with my family member solidified my goal of becoming a doctor. I decided to go with Neuroscience when my AP biology class did a unit on the brain. I would stay after class every day asking deeper and deeper questions, wanting to understand more. Being able to connect my passion for changing the conversation surrounding mental health also fits in directly with the science of behavior.” As for her choice of minor, during her first semester at Ohio State, Carly realized she wanted to know more about Judaism from a scholarly perspective. “My minor has allowed me cross paths with many individuals I never would have as well as given me the tools to understand Judaism from a unique angle.”
Advice from a mentor taught Carly early on that when she sees something she isn’t happy with, she needs to take an active role to make it better. To give back and improve her community – and to utilize her interests in neuroscience and her Jewish heritage, Carly is involved in many activities and groups both inside and outside of Ohio State. A member of the Jewish National Fund, a philanthropic organization created to help fund community building projects in Israel, this past October, Carly chaired the organization’s National Conference College Summit. During the summit, Carly interviewed Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer and prominent scholar on U.S. and criminal law as well as a well-known defender of civil liberties.
Carly also serves as a mentor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Post-Baccalaureate Preparation Program (TRI-P) mentoring program, which assists in preparing students for an appropriate post-baccalaureate option: graduate school, professional school or direct entry into the workforce. She is involved with the Ohio Union Activities Board for the third year. For Carly’s first two years on the board, she was a member of the Dates and Data Committee and now serves on the Lectures Committee.
To further her knowledge and involvement in neuroscience, Carly works as a Research Assistant in a Neuroimmunology Lab in the Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State, a position that allows her to advance knowledge of the brain and stress-induced anxiety. “I love that I am able to be a part of contributing knowledge to the translational scientific world.” She also serves as the treasurer of the Ohio State branch the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Throughout her time at Ohio State, Carly has developed networks within her fellow MSP Scholars, neuroscience majors, and Jewish Studies minors, networks that continually support – and surprise – her: “How is it possible to be on a campus with over 50,000 students, a place with its own zip code, yet I always end up running into a friend?”
Carly knows the value of all of those networks, of the people who are rooting her on during her academic journey and hopes that other students will see that value as well. “Take advantage of the space you are in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and use the “cheerleaders” you have in your life to propel you forward. If you have a goal, there should be nothing big enough to stop you from reaching it.”