Joan Sobo

Making an Impact

Class: Junior
Major: Biology
Activities: National Council of Negro Women, Keeping Bowie Clean

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From studying the nutritional content of super foods to giving back to the community, Joan Sobo wants to build a career where she can make an impact. The honors student is passionate about helping others, and is developing her skills today so that in the future she can make a difference in the medical field and in her community.

“My plan is to get a degree in biology and then complete an MD-PhD program. Eventually I want to practice oncology and conduct biomedical research,” Joan said. She moved one step closer to her goal after gaining real-world, hands-on experience during two summer internships.

At the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), she compared the chemical content of beans from different geographic locations to learn which had the highest nutritional value. Similarly, in BSU’s greenhouse, she managed a semester-long study to create a superfood by increasing beta-carotene in carrots. Both positions have helped her sharpen her lab skills while building a strong foundation for future biomedical research.

Outside of the lab, volunteer work is a priority for Joan. “Community service is very important to me…we have to be able to help other people. Not everyone is as privileged as we are.”

Through the National Council of Negro Women and service organization Keeping Bowie Clean, she gives back to the greater community and stays active on campus. Eventually, she wants to go beyond Prince George’s County and start medical service projects in Nigeria where she was born. “Things like malaria –which isn’t a problem here–is still a big problem there. I want to be able to help in any way I can.”

She knows her goals are lofty, yet attainable. “For now, I’m still learning.”

Joan is focused on finishing her degree and going to medical school. Biology professors Drs. George Ude and Anne Osano have helped her identify opportunities like the McNair Scholars Program to enhance her studies. Designed to help minority students prepare for doctoral studies, the McNair program supports Joan in conducting research and studying for graduate school entrance exams. 

Strong support from friends –especially those in the Honors Living-Learning Community– has been a major part of Joan’s success so far. “It’s great because, coming into freshman year I didn’t know what to expect. The Honors Program is a family. If you need assistance, guidance, emotional support... anything you need, you can rely on them,” she said.