Kristin Sobolik, dean of Wright State University’s College of Liberal Arts, has been selected for a 2016 Women of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.
Sobolik is being honored with a S.T.E.A.M. award for her leadership in promoting and advocating for the advancement and recognition of women in science, technology, engineering, arts and math careers.
Sobolik’s interdisciplinary background in the science and social science arenas has provided a successful foundation from which to mentor, lead and advocate for the development of women students and faculty.
Sobolik earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Iowa and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Texas A&M University. She is a leader in developing the fields of archaeobiology and paleonutrition, with more than 100 publications, books and presentations.
Prior to coming to Wright State in 2013, Sobolik was a professor of anthropology and climate change at the University of Maine, where she served as associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as chair of the Department of Anthropology and associate director and graduate coordinator of the university’s world-renowned Climate Change Institute.
While at Maine, Sobolik fostered the engagement of students in scholarship and research, mentoring 19 graduate theses and numerous undergraduate projects. As the first woman hired in the Climate Change Institute, Sobolik advocated for and mentored subsequent women colleagues and students.
“It was a privilege to work together with women colleagues to help create an environment conducive for the development of our students and ourselves,” she said.
At Wright State, Sobolik collaborates with faculty and staff across the diverse disciplines within the College of Liberal Arts to advance professional goals and student success.
“I value working with the college’s leadership team on issues of personal and programmatic development, as well as with faculty and staff across campus to advance common goals,” she said.
Sobolik is a strong proponent of professional development opportunities, supporting training for chairs through the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) workshops. She has also been a strong supporter of sending Wright State faculty and staff to the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Summer Institute, a preeminent leadership development program that prepares women to become advanced decision-makers in higher education. Sobolik was the first person to attend the HERS Institute from the University of Maine. She estimates there are as many as 30 women with Wright State connections who have attended the HERS Institute since it was founded in 1976.
“We have this wonderful cadre of women on campus who have been trained at HERS and understand broader issues within higher education,” said Sobolik. “It’s not just about the individual woman having that experience, it’s that the institution values the professional development of women. That’s really showcased in who we have here at Wright State.”
Sobolik serves the Dayton community as a member of the Board of Trustees of Culture Works, the Steering and Implementation committees for Culture Connects 20/20: One Region, One Vision strategic cultural plan for the Dayton region, 100+ Women Who Care and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area. She is also the chair of the Gender Issues Committee for CCAS.
Sobolik will receive the Women of Distinction Award on Sept. 29 during a ceremony at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center for the Performing Arts in Dayton. Fellow honorees include Deborah Feldman, president and CEO of Dayton Children’s Hospital; Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, president of Central State University; Rita Keller of Keller Advisors, LLC; and Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State Community College.