Mitzvah Hero: Penn Valley native David Carel takes his passion for social justice across the ocean as he enters Oxford University in England, one of 32 students in the country to be selected as national Rhodes Scholars this year.
What It’s All About: Carel's volunteerism began when he spent a summer between academics at Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy in his parents' homeland of Johannesburg, South Africa. There, he took in the impoverished environment with a pledge to try and make things better.
When Carel entered Yale University — and made subsequent trips to South Africa — he devoted himself to battling AIDS. The fluent Zulu/Hebrew-speaking humanitarian was chosen as a Yale Global Health Initiative Fellow and for a national board seat on the Student Global AIDS Campaign. In South Africa, people called him “Sbusiso," which means “blessing” in Zulu.
His service projects in Africa, including volunteering in a hospital, "fueled my passion to study global health and my need for political advocacy” in that corner of the world. In this Western corner of the world, Carel's coming off of his senior year at Yale. He graduated in the spring with dual degrees in African studies and economics, then spent the summer working at Panorama, a data analytics company that conducts surveys for school districts, charter networks and state governments. He co-founded the company, which is based at Yale.
Good for Him: Carel credits his parents, Warren and Cecily, for exposing him to Jewish values that help his efforts to repair the world. Eloquent and evolving, the 21-year-old says he plans to focus on social policy during his upcoming graduate studies at Oxford. Whatever career path he winds up taking, he says, his experience at Panorama this summer has reaffirmed that "you can have a lot of impact if you can surround yourself with brilliant, passionate, driven people who are committed to making a difference in a focused way."