By Benjamin Wideman
Ever since arriving at Silver Lake College, Sophia Chin has been putting her best foot forward.
“I never did any type of running at all before I got here,” she said. “The only running I did a little bit was warm-ups in gym class, but that didn’t really count. So being in cross country has been an interesting change for me.”
Sophia, who started her senior year earlier this week, has made such impressive strides in cross country that she qualified for the USCAA Cross Country National Championships last fall — and she’ll be striving for a repeat trip this season.
Not bad for someone who didn’t compete in any sports throughout high school.
“Being on the cross country team is a great way to get to know people on campus,” Sophia said. “I’ve had a lot of fun times and I’ve got a lot of fun stories from being on cross country and traveling to our events.”
The Lakers men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their seasons Saturday with a meet in Green Bay. Other 2014 fall sports include volleyball, soccer and golf.
The 2011 Manitowoc Lincoln High School graduate is equally talented in the classroom, where she’s majoring in math and minoring in computer science, in addition to going for a teacher licensure.
Sophia was named to the 2012 and 2013 USCAA Cross Country National All-Academic Teams. And at the College’s annual awards ceremony in spring 2014, she received a Service Award and was honored for her work on The Novice literary journal. In addition, she co-led a “3 Dimensional Game Simulation and Fractals” presentation at the 2014 Spring Student Symposium.
“In college, I have definitely branched out and done more activities besides just classwork,” Sophia said. “I think it’s partially because this is a smaller school, and I’ve been able to get to know more people better.
“I joined Silver Reflections (now called The Novice), because I thought it sounded fun. And since I’m a math major, I thought I should probably widen my horizons more and see what I can do with the arts. I’ve always enjoyed the arts (she played violin in middle school and high school). I’ve just had a lot of fun being involved in different things.”
Sophia said she’s happy she selected Silver Lake College.
“I visited all three (UW-Green Bay and UW-Manitowoc also) for tours to see what they offered, and I really liked it when I came here,” Sophia said. “I liked the smaller class sizes and getting to work one-on-one with my teachers. That way I’d get to know them real well. And they had math as a major here, too, so that was nice.”
Sophia said her interest in math likely stems from her parents — her father is a chemical engineer, and her mother graduated with a plastics engineering degree.
At Silver Lake College, Sophia said she has enjoyed getting to know many instructors – among them, math instructor Steve Kuehl.
“He definitely has a lot to offer,” she said. “I went to his (Faculty Colloquium) presentation about baseball. I had never seen something done like that, so it was interesting. It was fun seeing a project he did with math as the focus.”
After graduating from Silver Lake College, Sophia would like to teach, perhaps outside of Wisconsin or even in another country. She was born in Virginia and also lived in Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri before moving to Manitowoc one year before she graduated high school.
In her free time, Sophia enjoys cooking, baking, reading, shopping, sewing, biking and working in the kitchen at the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity motherhouse.
(Benjamin Wideman is the Director of Communications and Sports Information at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc)