Student Profile: Amanda Sodl
Amanda Sodl had a list of criteria for the colleges she was considering: close to home and affordable were at the top; an Honors Program would be “nice to have.” Lehigh Carbon Community College checked every box.
Sodl was unclear of her path beyond selecting a school. “I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I figured starting at a community college was a good fit. I had the resources to explore and figure out what I wanted to do before I felt really pressured into making decisions.”
While Sodl knew she wanted to be in the Honors Program, having seen her older brother participate in the program, a meeting with her academic advisor the first semester helped Sodl chart her course for a math major. Sodl recalls, “She was trying to help me choose a direction for the Honors Program, either STEM or liberal arts. She saw my SAT scores and grades. I did really well in the math courses. She said, ‘If you like math, it would be a great path for you to go down.’”
After earning her associate degree in 2021, Sodl transferred to Muhlenberg College for many of the same reasons she’d chosen LCCC—affordability, proximity to home, familiarity with the school and a family connection. Her older brother had also chosen Muhlenberg after LCCC. “It felt right,” she admits. “I liked the campus. It’s in a really nice community and it reminded me of my high school.” The transfer process was “pretty seamless,” she said. “I had a clear idea of where I wanted to transfer to so the process was easy for me.” She would advise any student planning to transfer to “contact the schools they are interested in and ask for an evaluation of exactly how their LCCC credits will transfer; I did this for Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest College and it helped me a lot in making my decision.” LCCC prepared her for various aspects of attending a four-year school. “It helped to have the social interaction at LCCC that I did, on a smaller campus with lots of people from different backgrounds. It was a good way to integrate myself into college. Sometimes when students transfer, they are overwhelmed or overstimulated, but I feel I had a really smooth transition.”
Thanks to LCCC, Sodl felt prepared for the demanding courseload at Muhlenberg. “I think the courses I took at LCCC, specifically the path I went down, was a good base for being a math major. I had courses at LCCC that aren’t offered at Muhlenberg. The fact that I’d been exposed to different types of math gave me an advantage. I was taking courses at Muhlenberg and had seen some of the concepts, where my classmates hadn’t.”
Sodl was part of a team of presenters from Muhlenberg at this year’s Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM), the largest mathematics meeting in the world. The conference is hosted annually in early January by the American Mathematical Society, and features presentations and breakout sessions from over a dozen partners. “The topic dealt with Almost Pythagorean Triples, a number theory project. I was very interested in it, and the conference was a very cool experience. It was really interesting to meet people who all have a passion for math. It’s kind of hard—if I want to have a deep conversation about something math-related, I have to find a certain audience,” she said.
Looking ahead, Sodl plans to attend graduate school and pursue a doctorate in math. Sodl advises others, particularly women in STEM fields, to stay true to themselves, “Stick to what you want and focus on your own goals. No STEM field is easy, so it’s trying at times, especially for females. External pressures might make you feel you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. Sometimes I’m the only one who notices I’m the only female in the room. Remember, your thoughts matter. If you’re pursuing a STEM field, you’re probably prepared for it.”