The medal is given to a senior who has demonstrated exemplary intellectual achievement, in addition to distinction in some of all of these areas: service to the community, contributions to the arts, enlargement of the College’s global perspective, athletic fitness and achievement, leadership and contributions to the community discourse.
Sydney represents all of this. She has been intensely dedicated to her studies, graduating in three years. As a research collaborator, she was nominated for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award for students who have conducted research in a STEM field.
Her service to the community includes sitting on the Book Shop, dining, and lectures and events committees; serving as an ARC tutor and a Peer Academic Mentor; and being a member of the COVID advisory task force as well as a lead COVID Captain.
Despite having never played lacrosse prior to arriving at Sweet Briar, she enthusiastically joined the team and soon became a starting goalkeeper. Sydney was recognized by the Virginia Sports Information Directors All-Academic Team and in Sweet Briar’s Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society.
As a leader, she is president of the Chung Mungs and the Inter-Club Council while also co-chairing the Student Events Committee.
Before the presentation of the medal (which is a closely guarded secret), Sydney was meeting with President Woo. “She never told me I was getting it. We walked over to the senior steps at Pannell, and I found out they were announcing the Presidential Medalist,” said Sydney. “After she announced my name and read off the list of everything that I have done at Sweet Briar, it was so surprising. It’s never really registered how much I’ve done here or been a part of. Even graduating in three years, I look back and feel like I didn’t miss anything.”
Also in attendance at the event were two people who had a big impact on her Sweet Briar experience: lacrosse coach Meredith Newman and math professor Stephen Loftus.
“Coach Newman really made a big impression on my life. I have never been an athlete, but I danced for nine years, and I ended up playing and loving lacrosse.”
“Dr. Loftus is also on that same level of impact,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without him. He is so dedicated to serving his students.”
“All of the things that I got to do, you can really only do at a school like Sweet Briar. We’re small so you get that one-on-one time with professors, coaches and your team,” she said.
After Sydney graduates in May, she will be attending UVA in the statistics graduate program.