Carroll High School Blog
On May 9, Marina Sorrell ‘17 received her diploma from the School of Education and Health Sciences at the University of Dayton, where she majored in Intervention Specialty, or the education of neurodiverse students. Leading up to this significant moment, she has had many opportunities to both reflect upon her time as a student at Carroll and to plan on how she will utilize the tools her teachers gave her to now teach in her own classroom as a licensed Pre-K through 12th grade Intervention Specialist.
Marina graduated Cum Laude, and The UD Department of Education and the Dean’s office selected her as the recipient of the Raymond and Beulah Horn Award of Excellence out of all the Intervention Specialists in her cohort for excellence in her subject area. In addition to this highly prestigious award, she also received other awards in excellence in Intervention Specialty from the university.
Marina has had many influential experiences leading up to her choice to become an Intervention Specialist; however, growing up as a sibling of a neurodiverse learner could be considered one of the most significant experiences that has prepared Marina for her future career. Her younger brother, Woody, was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old. Marina, who was seven at the time, had not heard of the term, let alone had any idea what that meant for Woody and his future learning experiences. However, she remembers when his diagnosis finally made sense to her. In a conversation with her parents, a very young Marina compared Woody’s brain to a popped bicycle tire. “It’s not like the bike doesn’t work,” Marina said, “but it’s harder to pedal, so we have to help him inflate his tire. That’s the analogy I always think of (now) when I’m teaching.”
Marina grew up watching Woody’s team of family, therapists, adults, and educators work together to fill his tires, and she was by his side to celebrate the tiny yet monumental breakthroughs he achieved on his journey to success. Watching her brother's progress and development made a significant impact on Marina, and it inspired her desire to help children on similar learning paths.
From early on in her life, Sorrell knew that she wanted to go into the education field in some way as well. Even her 4th and 5th grade teachers at Mother Brunner School would discuss it with Marina’s parents and encourage that path for their daughter. “Every grade level I got to, I thought, ‘I could teach this grade! This would be fun!’” recalled Sorrell. It would take many years later, upon a hike with her mother, where she would realize that Intervention Specialty could be a good fit for her. An Intervention Specialist’s license would allow her to work with students pedaling their bicycles in ways similar to Woody. An additional endorsement would also allow Marina the freedom and flexibility to work with a diverse group of students in all grade levels and various subjects.
“Carroll is more than just this school on Linden Avenue. The Carroll support got me through college and got me there.”
-Marina Sorrell '17
Marina credits Carroll as being the place where she solidified her desire to become a teacher during the most formative years of her life. “I owe a lot to Carroll. I liked the subjects I was in, and I liked how my teachers went about teaching,” said Marina, “They were really great models for what it’s really like to enjoy your teaching job.” She remembers her English teachers in particular having so much fun, and those memories inspired her to make learning fun for her future students.
Carroll Social Studies Mr. Chris Sorrell ‘83, Marina’s father, mentioned to her that when she took Mrs. Jill Kilby’s AP Psychology class, it was the first time that he saw his daughter becoming a student- one who wanted to dive deeper into the material, even beyond what was being covered in class. Marina credits Mrs. Kilby, as well as her teachers at Carroll, for igniting that desire to be a lifelong learner and to become a teacher herself. “All of the teachers at Carroll are great examples of great teachers.” Marina learned from teachers, like Mrs. Marcy (Hemmert) Hughes ‘83 and Mrs. Mary Ollier, who showed Marina what it means to teach the whole student rather than just presenting the classroom content.
When it came time to apply for college, the application process for Marina looked like it does for most high school seniors, daunting. Thankfully, Marina felt comfortable being vulnerable and reaching out to her beloved teachers for help when the time came to apply. They came to her aid, reading over application essays and helping her prepare materials for submission. During the application process, her teachers at Carroll linked Sorrell to professors at the University of Dayton who are connected to the Carroll family in various ways that could help her discern both her major and her overall decision to attend the University of Dayton. “(Carroll is) more than just this school on Linden Avenue. The Carroll support got me through college and got me there,” Marina recalled.
Upon entering UD her freshman year, Marina felt more than prepared for the rigorous coursework that comes at the university level. Having taken scholarship courses during her time at Carroll, including College Credit Plus coursework as an upperclassman, Sorrell not only had experience in college-level demands, but she also had acquired college credits prior to her arrival on UD’s campus. One of the more challenging courses for freshman education majors, Physics, ended up being less of an obstacle than expected, as she had taken two years worth of physics at Carroll. Marina even ended up being the go-to classmate on her residence hall floor to proofread papers for the UD course, as Marina knew the formatting so well from her Carroll days. After taking the course at UD, Marina returned to Carroll, sought out Physics teacher, Mrs. Laurie Fuhr, and told her that she would not have passed without her.
At the University of Dayton, Marina did more than simply pass her coursework. She earned one of the top scores among her classmates on her edTPA, a performance-based Ohio licensure test. The university has also frequently asked her to speak to incoming and current undergraduate students who are entering the education field about her experiences in the School of Education.
Now, Marina is ready to help other neurodiverse students inflate their own bicycle tires and find success on their own learning journeys. She is currently applying for teaching positions in the greater Dayton and Cincinnati areas, and she is so excited to be in a classroom of her own. “I can’t wait to meet my future students, and I can’t wait to learn about them and grow with them,” she gushed, “I don’t know where I’ll be teaching, but I’m so excited to be there, wherever it is.”
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the Case Western Reserve University website. Please click here to read the entire story.
What do music theory and statistical mechanics have to do with each other? The connection may not seem obvious, but it’s exactly what Ryan Buechele is studying in his senior project. “I love seeing ways where the tools of physics can be applied to solve problems in other fields like biology, economics, and, of course, music theory,” he says. A CWRU senior pursuing both a B.S. in physics and mathematics and a B.A. in music, Buechele is working with Associate Professor Jesse Berezovsky on a project combining the tools of statistical mechanics and music theory.
Morgan King '17 has had dogs in her life since her family brought home their pup Xavier when she was 10 years old. As a senior at the University of Cincinnati, Morgan is balancing her education and training as an occupational therapist with fostering service dogs through 4 Paws for Ability's college program. We spoke with Morgan about her involvement with the program and how her love of dogs extends to other parts of her life.
What is the mission of 4 Paws for Ability?
4 Paws for Ability was founded as an organization to place service dogs with children, but it has expanded to help veterans with PTSD. The founder tried to get a service dog when she was younger, but her condition was deemed too severe by multiple organizations. Their mission is that no disability is too severe, no person is too old or too young, for us to provide a service dog.
What are your responsibilities as a foster in the program?
I participated in orientation, training, and on-site work at 4 Paws for Ability with the dogs. Then I was placed with my foster for about year. Most dogs are placed around eight weeks old and can be placed as old as two or three years.
I work with dogs on basic obedience, socializing them in public, making sure they aren’t scared of anything, and love all people. I also encourage people to ask to pet the dogs because the dogs are so young, so I want to make sure they’re friendly with all ages and types of people. Once this is over, I return the dog to 4 Paws for Ability for advanced task training.
How did you learn about the program?
I heard about it through [Andrea Poole ‘17] and some other friends from Wright State. I looked up 4 Paws for Ability and realized it’s close to my home in Xenia. I decided to be a puppy sitter at first because I wasn’t ready for my own dog yet. I did the same orientation as a foster would to learn about the expectations and work with the dogs. I joined the club at the University of Cincinnati where I would watch the full time sitters’ dogs for a few hours a day. I did that for a few months and then got my first foster, Passion.
What are the challenges of raising a foster dog as a full-time college student?
It’s not something that is for everyone. You’re given an eight-week-old puppy along with taking 18 credit hours of classes. It’s stressful, but for the people who are good at managing their time, it’s manageable. The biggest challenge was public awareness, though. Most people aren’t as educated on the topic of service dogs as I am. People in public can distract the dog from their training. Other people stare and try to figure out why I have a service dog. From the school aspect, there are times when it is overwhelming. If the dog is sick, I have to drive from Cincinnati to Xenia and back in the middle of the week to take care of the dog. Giving the dog back is another big struggle. It’s hard to give up a dog you’ve been with for a year to a random person, but the process of watching the dog be placed with a family and change a kid’s life is worth it.
What are the rewarding parts of this program?
I study occupational therapy, and I’ve always been pulled to the special needs and pediatric side of things. The club intertwined with me being in school for O.T. to see all the different types of disabilities and how the organization places service dogs, what they teach the dogs, and how it changes the kids’ lives. It was also a great starting point for me at UC as a transfer student. I made so many new friends and performed so many service hours.
The biggest reward is seeing the end goal; whether it’s seeing the dog become a service dog or one who doesn’t quite make it as a service dog become a client companion as an in-home dog for a family. From an academic and professional aspect, it’s also a great thing for my resumé, especially as I prepare for grad school. It’s a great conversation starter to introduce people to the program because we’re always in need of fosters and sitters.
How did Carroll help prepare you for this?
Leadership and responsibility are definitely two things that I took with me from Carroll. I was involved with clubs, sports, and outside events. Taking on those roles helped give me the courage to join an organization like this and start my own business. Not being afraid to get out there and do something outside my comfort zone is something I took with me.
Morgan’s family adopted her most recent foster, Adler in June. She also runs her own small business, Morgan's Creations, that makes and sells custom bandanas, collars, and accessories for dogs. Morgan plans to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in Spring 2021 and begin Occupational Therapy school.