“The biggest mistake I could have made is not putting myself out there and trying.”

Sophie Clarke, a CFES alumna from Willsboro Central School, considers the exchange program between students from Willsboro, New York and New York City one of her most memorable moments as a CFES Scholar. She describes it as “combining two different worlds.” Through CFES, Clarke was introduced to different experiences such as visiting colleges outside her hometown. Although most students from Clarke’s high school went to local colleges, Clarke attended Middlebury College in Vermont after being inspired by a CFES college trip.

Once in college, Clarke felt she had a harder transition than many of her peers at Middlebury. She remembers not being comfortable in her seminar style courses and her Calculus class. What seemed to be a refresher or the norm for her classmates was completely new for Clarke. The Essential Skill of Agility helped Clarke succeed at Middlebury. “I was just as smart as everybody else,” says Clarke. “I just didn’t have the same experience. I needed the self-confidence to get up to speed. I learned I could succeed in new environments.”

Being agile has continued to help Clarke throughout her career. After four years of medical school at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City, Clarke realized she was no longer interested in becoming a practicing doctor. Instead, she decided to pursue healthcare consulting. Having the courage to follow her heart and explore a different career field is one of Clarke’s greatest accomplishments. Her other great accomplishment is winning the 23rd season of the reality television show Survivor: South Pacific as a 22 year old medical student. Clarke’s win was featured in the sports publication Fansided where she is described as a “strategic force throughout the game.”

In order to accomplish many of her goals – such as attending medical school and going on the show Survivor – Clarke says she had to “put my name in a hat and cross my fingers.” She encourages other young people to set goals that might seem scary. Clarke’s advice to her high school self: “continue to put yourself out there. You can do anything if you try.”