Aspiring honors students typically can list an impressive array of accomplishments to go along with their high test scores and GPAs. These are often sufficient to merit their admission to honors programs throughout the nation.
From all the evidence we have seen in the process of reviewing 50 leading public university honors programs, the great majority of honors students do not rest on their high school laurels but continue to contribute and excel through their college careers, and beyond.
Probably the majority of honors students display their virtuosity through a mastery of the full range of subject areas–science, math, foreign languages, and writing–along with a background of community involvement and artistic accomplishment, say, in music.
Not so many come to their honors colleges and programs with a commitment that is strong enough to encompass subject mastery and community involvement and participation in varsity athletics. With full course loads and multiple majors (in many cases), the time and energy required to compete at the varsity level at a major I-A university is a challenge for even the most gifted honors student.
Meet Aubri Carman, who just graduated from the University of Arizona Honors College summa cum laude, after arriving at UA as a varsity soccer player. Following her graduation as salutatorian at Mountain Pointe High School in Tempe, Aubri won a prestigious Flinn Scholarship that gave her a “full ride” at the Arizona public university of her choice. Only 20 Flinn scholarships were awarded in 2008, out of more than 550 highly-qualified applicants.
Aubri chose the University of Arizona and competed on the varsity level in soccer. But a passion for biochemistry and biophysics took over around her second year at the university. “I came in as an NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer player, focused solely on athletics,” she says, “but then decided to go on another path and focus more on academic pursuits. I got involved, made key contacts through The Honors College and was able to pursue all the things I was passionate about.”
The following excerpt from a University of Arizona piece completes Aubri’s story–up to now–though it does not mention that she was named the outstanding senior in the UA Honors College in 2012. The piece was in recognition of her selection as one of two winners of the prestigious Merril P. Freeman award.
“Aubri Carman is a Flinn Scholar graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors with degrees in both biochemistry and molecular biophysics and molecular and cellular biology. She has minors in Spanish, political science and chemistry. She is the Outstanding Senior for the chemistry and biochemistry program and was honored with the Pillars of Excellence Award.
“She served as a student ambassador for the department of chemistry and biochemistry and as a member of the department’s peer mentoring program. She works at C.A.T.S Academics where she is a tutor for UA student-athletes and at the Honors College she plans activities for Flinn Scholars and recruits new students. She is also an active in the Mortar Board, a senior honor society.
“Carman has conducted research in three different laboratories on campus. She studies molecular and proteomic approaches to characterizing pediatric staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections. She is also a Galileo Circle Scholar and a Michael A. Wells Research Scholar and her work has been submitted for publication in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“She has taken graduate level courses at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and helped with the planning of the inaugural New Frontiers in Global Health Leadership Forum.
Thanks to support from the Flinn Foundation, Carman has traveled extensively gaining valuable experiences in the health-care field. In South Africa, she worked with Child Family Health International as a clinical volunteer. In Costa Rica, she served as a global health ambassador for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children performing routine tasks at a small primary care clinic and organized a six-week nutrition and exercise outreach initiative for women.
“An avid athlete, she organized a 3 vs. 3 soccer tournament fundraiser to benefit Grassroot Soccer, an organization that uses the power of soccer to educate youth in Sub-Saharan Africa about HIV. She also volunteers at The University of Arizona Medical Center in the pediatric ward.
She [has been awarded] a Fulbright Scholarship, where she would conduct public health research with Grassroot Soccer in Zambia. Having gained admission to several medical schools, she looks to become a doctor and gain a master’s degree in public health.”
Aubri will probably always be an athlete, but her commitment has grown and flourished as an honors student, and it is a commitment that will continue to serve humanity.