Meet Sophie Carrell!

Sophie Carrell
Sophie Carrell




















Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) is a premier leadership community that exemplifies creative engagement, reflective practice, and multidisciplinary collaboration. The PFL leadership teams delivers evidence-based programming in mentoring, scholarship, teaching, professional development, and personal development. Since 2007, PFL team members have offered more than 500 professional development events for more than 15,000 graduate students, and PFL has become a nationally recognized model for enhancing graduate student success.

The PFL Ambassadors includes a group of ten graduate students from different disciplines who have been invited to represent PFL, connect with other graduate students, and enhance their own leadership skills. Through the Ambassadors program, they will be able to develop advanced leadership and communication skill and expand on the knowledge they have already gained by participating in PFL events and programs.

Sophie Carrell first fell in love with the Triangle area when she visited the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department during a recruiting weekend. Captivated by the new facilities on Centennial Campus and NC State’s big state school feel, she decided on NC State for her doctoral work after completing her undergrad at Michigan State University. Though over a thousand miles away from home in Edmond, Oklahoma, Sophie says NC State’s Wolfpack is a connection to her hometown, where her high school mascot was the wolf as well.

While she has always liked chemistry and math, Sophie chose her chemical engineering major after encouragement from her high school chemistry teacher. She has since realized, however, that “chemical engineering is much more than the combination of chemistry and math, but [she] love[s] the problem-solving aspects of it.” As a fourth year chemical engineering PhD student, she has most enjoyed being able to share this love with undergraduate students while working as a teaching assistant and a mentor in her research lab. She “like[s] knowing that [she has] helped people understand difficult subject material better or encouraged them to pursue graduate studies.”

Sophie first became aware of PFL through a fellow graduate student in her department who found out about her aspirations to become a professor. He pointed her toward the Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching program (CoAT), and she has been “attending and enjoying PFL events ever since.” She reports having great experiences with the variety of seminars she has attended. For Sophie, PFL has been vital to building connections outside of her department. She reports, “it’s so nice to catch up with people I’ve met through a class or PFL workshop.” “On top of that,” she says, “I think attending seminars has given me more confidence in the classroom. It’s helpful to have more skills in my toolbox to rely on when something out of the ordinary happens in the classroom.”

Now as a PFL Ambassador, Sophie hopes to give PFL a louder presence in the graduate student community and attest to the benefits of attending workshops and participating in the programs. She hopes that other graduate students will check them out.

In her limited time away from schoolwork, Sophie enjoys working out (mostly running, swimming, and yoga), cooking, and watching Michigan State football (her alma mater). Additionally, her standing Sunday morning farmers’ market dates with her close friends help her start off every week right despite a demanding school schedule.

Click here to view archived Graduate School stories.