Collin Scholl, East Union High School’s Class of 2013 salutatorian, is headed to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo – also known as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – this fall.
That’s where he plans to obtain a degree in biological sciences and later pursue a career in biology as a researcher.
Given that the Lancer academic stand-out’s father, Manteca Unified School District president Don Scholl, is an alumnus of this public university – he received a degree in ornamental horticulture – one could hazard a guess and say the younger Scholl is simply following a family tradition. But although he has applied as well to two University of California campuses – San Diego and Davis – and was equally inclined to attend both campuses to pursue the same course of study, he eventually chose Cal Poly “mainly because I fell in love with the people there, and their motto is to learn by doing,” Collin said.
“It definitely has a college-town atmosphere, and that’s what I love about it. It’s the most amazing environment,” he added.
It was the senior’s biology teacher at East Union, Eduardo Herrera, who influenced his decision to follow that academic route. Herrera happens to be the father of Scholl’s best friend in high school, Nick.
“He was a great teacher, and I learned a lot from him. And what I learned opened my mind to biology. It just made me go, that’s what I want to do. That’s something I could enjoy doing,” Collin said recalling the genesis of his interest in biology in high school.
It was during his freshman year that he started thinking about pursuing biology as a lifelong career. “I can study this and do all kinds of research,” he thought.
“I was raised to be an outdoorsy person and I always loved the outdoors. I really learned to love nature,” and that further strengthened his resolve that his future is in biology, he said.
After finishing his bachelor’s degree in college, Collin plans to get his master’s degree and eventually his Ph.D.
Collin is graduating with a 4.35 GPA. He is the recipient of several scholarship awards. They include $5,000 from the California Teachers Association, and a number of $1,000 awards – two of them from the Manteca Educators Association and the Northern California Sports Turf Managers Association.
During his four years at East Union, Collin was active in a number of sports. He was in soccer during his junior year, in track from freshman to junior year – he could have continued on to his senior year if not for a torn hamstring – and did swimming during his senior year. “It was something I could do,” he explained.
He also worked as a referee for the Manteca Area Soccer League on the weekends. Although this was a paid stint, he did it “mainly because it was fun,” Collin said of his part-time job for nearly four years.
Collin, whose mother is George McParland School’s fourth-grade teacher Becky Scholl, is the younger of two siblings. Older sister Megan received her bachelor’s degree in genetics from UC Davis.
Graduation is just a few days away, but when Collin was interviewed for this story, he was busy reviewing for his six Advanced Placement courses – Psychology, Calculus, English literature, Economics, Government, and Biology.
And college life couldn’t be here soon enough as far he is concerned.
“I’m looking forward to it so much,” Collin said about starting his college freshman year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “Not so much for that part (studying) but for all the new experiences, new people, and a completely new lifestyle.”