We work hard to ensure that Active Minds at Carolina is as effective and impactful as possible. Learn more about the leadership team behind our organization!


Polly Sjoberg, Co-Leader
Year: Senior
Major: Business Administration with a Multinational Finance Concentration
Hometown: Lakeville, Minnesota
Clubs/Organizations: Greek Life
Hobbies: Playing and watching sports (I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings Fan!), going to concerts, and spending time with my friends and family
I joined Active Minds because my freshman year I was beginning to notice first-hand in my own life and the lives of my friends the importance of mental health. It seemed as though it was easy for people to discuss physical health, but mental health was this mysterious idea that people didn’t want to talk about. I think it is so important to emphasize the importance of mental health and de-stigmatize mental illnesses. My passion surrounding mental health brought me to Active Minds!

Nithi Shureth, Co-Leader
Year: Senior
Major: Health Policy and Management with a minor in Chemistry
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona
Clubs/Organizations: UNC Samaa, AMWHO
Hobbies: Singing, Netflix
I joined Active Minds because During my Freshman year, my friend’s best friend and past president of Active Minds, Priya Balagopal, died by suicide. Her impact on the Carolina community inspired me to learn about mental health issues and also help our campus to the best of my abilities. I have loved being a part of this amazing organization ever since!


Jennifer Lao, Secretary
Year: Sophomore
Major: Biology and History
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Clubs/Organizations: History Quiz Bowl and UNC JOURney
Hobbies: Reading, traveling, listening to music, soccer and ultimate frisbee
I joined Active Minds because I wanted to learn about and understand mental health more fully so that I can help combat the stigma that currently surrounds it.


Ed Schlesinger, Treasurer
Year: Sophomore
Major: Economics, with minors in History and Entrepreneurship
Hometown: San Fransisco, CA
Clubs/Organizations: Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club and Carolina Fishing Club
Hobbies: Non-fiction literature, spending time in the outdoors, Tar Heel Basketball and San Francisco sports teams
I joined Active Minds because I want to help end the stigma around mental health!


Avery Reel, Co-Head of Programming
Year: Sophomore
Major: Nursing, with minors in Spanish and Biology
Hometown: Lincolnton, NC
Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, running, kayaking and fishing. I spend the majority of my free time outdoors.
I joined Active Minds because I want to aid in eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health issues on campus. I believe it is crucial for mental health advocates to be present in the community, especially on college campuses, to ensure that students are aware of resources that are dedicated to serving them. Mental illness is prevalent in my family and I came into college knowing that I wanted to help advocate for mental illness awareness and shed light on the importance of mental health in each and every one of our lives.

Mandy Fitts, Co-Head of Programming
Year: Sophomore
Major: Psychology and Exercise and Sports Science
Hometown: Elon, NC
Hobbies: I enjoy sports, painting, reading, and hiking
I joined Active Minds because my psychology teacher in high school taught me the important of not only informing oneself about mental health, but also working to reduce stigma.


Blythe Turner, Co-Head of Outreach
Year: Senior
I joined Active Minds because  I am a mental health advocate and friend who has battled many personal experiences including deaths of close friends to mental illness. I enjoy talking about mental health or just listening!


Lauren Hobgood, Co-Head of Outreach
Year: Sophomore
Major: Pre-Nursing (but also in love with Psychology)
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Clubs/Organizations: ArtHeels, HYPE and UNC Hospitals volunteering
Hobbies: Painting and running
I joined Active Minds because I really wanted to get involved in a mental health club/organization coming into college, and Active Minds was exactly what I was searching for! Active Minds brings together a great community of diverse people with similar goals, providing you opportunities to speak out about mental health, raise awareness and fight the stigma.
Interesting Fact: I’m mental health first aid certified!


Emily Payne, Co-Head of Publicity
Year: Sophomore
Major: Political Science and Philosophy
Hometown: Monroe, NC
Clubs/Organizations: CFTK Entertainment Committee, HYPE, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and Buckley Public Service Scholars
Hobbies: Netflix, reading, writing, traveling, hiking and sleeping
I joined Active Minds because I came into freshman year really overwhelmed and was diagnosed with anxiety. Because I was ashamed of having something some would call a mental illness I wanted to find a group of people who understood what I was going through. Active Minds was that group.


Robbie Luna, Co-Head of Publicity
Year: Sophomore
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Clubs/Organizations: UNC Mental Health Ambassadors, Carolina WISE, Cru and HGAPS
Hobbies: Reading Wikipedia, practicing the piano and reading
I joined Active Minds because my older brother has bipolar I disorder and many members of my family have anxiety or OCD. I wanted to be a part of something at UNC that helped show students that it’s okay to talk about your mental health and it’s nothing to be ashamed of!