In sixth grade, when middle school bullies and crushes seem to be the only thing on everyone’s minds, Sydney was finding a way to solve one of the National Academy of Engineering’s fourteen Grand Challenges of the 21st century; Reverse Engineering the Brain.
Her journey to this unusual point was even more peculiar, as it did not begin with engineering, math and science, but with Sydney’s love of music. Her passion fueled her research in labs across the country, and led her to become plugged into the scientific community at large. It was then that she realized her unique position. A young, black, Christian, music-loving girl in attendance at national STEM conferences was definitely not the norm. Rather than letting this deter her, Sydney made it her mission to show the world that the best teams for solving national challenges, would be teams filled with diverse minds from diverse backgrounds.
She firmly believes that true innovation occurs at the crossroads of STEM and the essence of the human experience. At 18, she is currently in her freshman year at NC State University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. Sydney’s story has been featured in magazines, in the news and in a Super Bowl commercial. She continues to inspire young people to seek the intersections between seemingly unrelated subjects, and to combine their passions to create beautiful new ideas.