Inside USD

Fulbright Summer Institute Selects Carrillo

Monday, May 23, 2011

University of San Diego student Sophia Carrillo ‘13 has achieved more academic success than she could have ever imagined — and she’s about to expand it further with an international experience.

Carrillo, a double major in political science and sociology and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies, will go to London to participate in the Fulbright Roehampton University Summer Institute. One of 12 undergraduates selected nationwide from more than 2,000 applications submitted, Carrillo will immerse herself in the culture, government and historical sites of the United Kingdom.

A highly regarded program, the institute is part of two other special summer programs offered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission for US Citizens to visit London. Participants in the four-week academic program experience an exciting and stimulating curriculum while developing their academic abilities through improved presentation, teamwork, research and communication skills. Participants will also explore concepts such as citizenship and identity and will work on a group project to produce a short film on human rights.

Carrillo’s latest success joins her many other educational pursuits. She’s vice president of USD’s Young Democrats organization and president of both the USD Mock Trial and USD Model United Nations teams. She is also a member of the Mortar Board and Merit Scholars programs.

“I’ve had so many opportunities to indulge in different academic areas of interest I wouldn’t have known about if I would’ve gone to a different university,” said Carrillo (pictured), a first-generation college student from Brawley, Calif.

After a 30-page application, several essays, a phone interview and personality test, Carrillo said she is thankful for the opportunity to participate in London and also thanked Noelle Norton, PhD, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, Mary Mackenzie, PhD, visiting political science professor as well as her own family for their support and guidance.

“My family has always been very supportive, I love calling my Mom and telling her about my accomplishments,” she said. “I’m really appreciative of those who have helped me get this far. Professors and faculty at USD are so willing to work with you. I feel I’m getting the most I can from my Sociology, Crime and Justice, Law and Society concentration and my political science degree.”

Carrillo says one of her biggest passions is social justice and she values the opportunity to be civically engaged in the community, something she’s been promoting through her work with Young Democrats and with volunteering. Mentoring incarcerated girls at the Imperial County Juvenile Detention Center is what she describes as one of the best experiences she’s had. Carrillo said her future aspirations include wanting to be California’s Attorney General or to work for the United Nations. It’s no surprise that Carrillo, the eldest of three daughters, is a role model for her younger sisters who are now looking at USD for their undergraduate studies.

Carrillo already has a busy fall lined up upon her return from London. She will be doing an internship with USD’s Trans-Border Institute and will serve as a council member for the San Diego Regional Vision Initiative, an organization working on the construction of a 50- to 100-year strategic plan for the greater San Diego region.

— Leslie Luna ‘07

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