Current Scholar Spotlight: Carly Sobol

carly solol with hands raised in the air on mountain topGrowing 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.”


Prior Spotlights

Komal Paradkar Spotlight

Komal Paradkar Spotlight

A third-year student, Komal Paradkar chose The Ohio State University not only because it is close to her home in Mason, Ohio but also because of the university’s many opportunities, including the number of undergraduate degrees offered. Ohio State’s 200 plus majors contributed to Komal’s decision to attend: the university is one of only a handful of colleges in the country to offer an undergraduate major in Biomedical Science. Read more about Komal Paradkar.

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

A 1976 report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, highlighted three challenges faced by underrepresented women in scientific disciplines: gender, race or ethnicity, and having a career in a STEM field. These same obstacles were familiar to Alessandra Bliss, a scholar in The Ohio State University’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. Read more on Alessandra Bliss.

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

When she was in middle school, Starling Tolliver read a book that changed her perception of what she could become. The book, We Beat the Streets, tells the story of three friends from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods who made a pact to go to college and become doctors and dentists. The book resonated with Starling because she also had two best friends who wanted to become doctors. Read more about Starling Tolliver.

Kato Mitchell Spotlight

Kato Mitchell Spotlight

Watching his parents struggle as a child, Kato Mitchell knew that there wouldn’t be much of a chance for him to attend a university. All of that changed when Kato found a way to a college degree through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Young Scholars Program (YSP) in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Read more about Kato Mitchell.

Marissa Weatherly Spotlight

Marissa Weatherly Spotlight

Growing up, Marissa Weatherly was raised by a single mother who instilled in her at a young age the importance of paying forward and having a good education. Marissa’s childhood included volunteering at soup kitchens – even though her family often ate at them – and spending her free time at the library attending programs and reading countless books. Read more about Marissa Weatherly.

Mark Reese Spotlight

Mark Reese Spotlight

As a young child, airplanes fascinated Mark Reese. Family vacations left him more excited for the plane ride than the vacation itself, and his mom bought him books on aviation that he would read from cover to cover. When Mark was eight years old, a United Airlines captain took him up in a light aircraft for a quick flight around eastern Colorado. Read more about Mark Reese.

Chris Schwarz Spotlight

Chris Schwarz Spotlight

After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with majors in Political Science and American Indian Studies and minors in Diversity and Human Rights, Chris Schwarz continued on his academic journey, and his high school friends had a lot to do with his choosing law as a profession. Read more about Chris Schwarz.

Mara Smith Spotlight

Mara Smith Spotlight

After Mara Smith graduated from Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, she knew her next step would be attending The Ohio State University to study respiratory therapy. That journey, however, took a slightly different path when two weeks after she began college, Mara found out that she was pregnant. Read more about Mara Smith.

Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight

Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight

My family emigrated from Colombia to Miami, Florida in 2011. Halfway through my senior year of high school, the process of applying to college was more stressful than I thought, and not being completely fluent in English added to my stress; I wasn’t sure whether my SAT writing and grammar scores would help me get anywhere at the time. Regardless of my doubts I had a desire to succeed and salir para adelante. Read more about Nicolas Fernandez.

Zaire Sims Spotlight

Zaire Sims Spotlight

Several times during her years in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, Zaire Sims and her family were homeless, leaving Zaire with no idea as to how she could afford college. Zaire’s dream of attending college came closer to reality when a science teacher her freshman year took notice of her good grades, effort, and willingness to learn. Read more about Zaire Sims.


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