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Sara Sorrell is absolutely fearless in considering new ideas. That’s how Joanne Edmonds, associate dean of Honors College, thinks of the velocity of Sorrell’s intellect and her appetite for information and opportunity.

A 2006 summa cum laude graduate who completed her degree in three years, Sorrell views her undergraduate biochemistry education at Ball State as the power behind her motivation to win a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship that will provide up to $300,000 for medical school and a doctoral degree.

“Ball State was the only university I wanted to attend, and I loved it,” says Sorrell. “My course work taught me the facts, but the professors taught me to dream. Whenever I had an idea or dream, I was never told no; it was, ‘Let’s see how we can make this work.’ My possibilities were endless.”

With numerous academic honors behind her, including the Cooper Award in chemistry and a research internship at Cambridge University, Sorrell is studying at the Indiana University School of Medicine. This summer, she will move to Cambridge, England, to get her doctorate in medical genetics. Then, she will return to Indiana to finish her medical degree. She wants to “empower the underprivileged to help themselves” and to research how developed nations can help poorer countries improve health care.

Sorrell believes in the power of persistence. Her advice is, “Work your hardest to make your dreams a reality, because then your imagination becomes your life.”