Oftentimes, the destinations in our life are the most exciting. Achievements are easily celebrated by ourselves and others. However, in the moment, the journey or the process is often overlooked. Many of our young alumni are at this point in their lives and do not realize how exciting it is. Surprised by the request to be highlighted, Carlyn Wisherop ‘17 joined us to share her story.
Just a couple years removed from Salesian, Carlyn thought she had little to share as an alumnus, not realizing how relevant her story is to our community. Carlyn is one of many for us to cheer on as she journeys her way through life. She had high expectations from others and for herself when she left Salesian as the class valedictorian. Carlyn has seen amazing success in just these two years, but hardly pauses to celebrate because she has much more to prove. Carlyn is not only an exceptional student, but squeezes every second out of her day to continually create positive moments for herself and others.
In the Bay Area for the summer, Carlyn stopped by Salesian on her way home from her class in Berkeley. With no worries about graduating on time, she is not taking a course for credit, but she is getting ahead in another way. Carlyn is taking a study guide class for the MCAT, which she plans to take in September. Again, she just finished her sophomore year, and told us she is behind. Carlyn has been constantly anxious about being behind since the day she started at UCLA. However, her insecurity has been her greatest motivation.
Entering UCLA as a Life Sciences major, or more specifically Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Carlyn felt behind her peers. She was uncertain if her lack of lab experience or AP credit would harm her and was even worried that she would lose out on opportunities to her advanced peers. Carlyn did not look for excuses but looked to take every advantage. Carlyn found herself in groups to excel academically but also socially. Most notably, she joined the CPR & First Aid club. Entering her third year, she will be the Instructor Development Chair. She found herself in a like minded group, with positive influences and most importantly the opportunity to teach.
Teaching is one of Carlyn’s greatest passions. When she isn’t teaching low cost CPR classes, she is tutoring high school students, assisting her physics professor, or instructing spin at UCLA Recreation. Although Carlyn has been involved with athletics most of her life, she discovered a passion for fitness in college. Carlyn even admitted she hated running for volleyball training in high school. For her, fitness began as stress relief. Now, she is training for a marathon and hopes to be a spin instructor for multiple gyms, including LA Fitness and SoulCycle. Carlyn fell in love with spin immediately. Spin is a unique experience for her to synchronize with music and get lost in her own world. At her first opportunity, Carlyn signed up to teach, even before she was a certified instructor.
One of Carlyn’s best experiences so far at UCLA was joining the Li Lab. Carlyn is the only undergraduate student that works under Dr. Melody Li studying the innate immune response, focusing specifically on the synergistic activity between two antiviral proteins, ZAP and TRIM25. Yeah, woah. Carlyn spends about 20 hours a week in the lab or with the team. I still haven’t figured out how she finds time for herself.
Carlyn has seen exceptional growth in herself in her last two years and contributes much of who she is today to her experiences in Los Angeles. Just like many 18 year-olds, Carlyn was unsure of her future when she left Salesian and moved to LA. Although she entered UCLA as a Life Sciences major, Carlyn was undecided if she wanted to be a doctor. Now on her path, she continues to deliberate on the specific field she wishes to enter someday. But she does know that she wants to help people. Empathy is easily recognizable in Carlyn’s personality. Her decision to take a difficult path continues to reward each step of the way.
Possibly Carlyn’s biggest growth has been her increased introspection. Transplanting herself into a different culture, albeit not drastic, revealed particularities of herself unique to her paradigm. She has not reached a realization, but has begun her exploration. It was through her favorite course thus far at UCLA, “Ways of Reading Race,” that Carlyn began to think competently about her situation. Although it was a general education English course, Carlyn became fascinated with Sociology and Anthropology. Carlyn enjoys exploring new or non traditional views of race and culture, especially regarding her own questions and circumstances.
Incredibly, Carlyn even finds time for typical 20 year-old activities. She enjoys exploring Los Angeles and even the Bay Area when she is home, especially for a tasty bite to eat. Carlyn takes advantage of the amazing Los Angeles nightlife and is concert regular. You can find her at popular Hip-Hop/Rap artist’s shows, like J. Cole but most often she enjoys underground or up-and-coming artists. You may even catch her on a long morning run with the November Project on Wednesdays. I don’t know about you, but I only have 24 hours in my day.
If you think you have an interesting alumni story to feature in the Salesian eNewsletter, please contact Mr. Zach Boyett, firstname.lastname@example.org