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Sydney Sanders IS originally from Chester, SC AND In middle school SHE moved to Lake Wylie, SC where SHE graduated from Clover High School. SHE IS currently a senior at the University of South Carolina as a Civil Engineering Major. During HER time at USC, SHE HAS been apart of many student organizations including: Association of African Amercian Students, SAVVY, Multicultural Assistant Peer Program, and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). In spring 2017, SHE joined the “BADDEST in the land” through the ILLUSTRIOUS Iota Chi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

SYDNEY haS held many leadership roles such as community service chair & PR/marketing chair, and Over the past few years HAS been awarded the Jerry T. Brewer Living the Ritual Award through USC’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life AND through the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs - the Ralph E. Johnson Exemplary Leadership Award. ShE HAS also received the 2018 Black Excellence Award from the Association of African American Students and HAS been inducted into the 2019 Hall of Leaders at the University of South Carolina. 

My favorite quote describes my life in just five words….

“It’s beauty in the struggle.”   

What are you passionate about and at what point/incident in your life did you recognize this passion is the key to your true path?

"As a first year student, I took the initiative to get involved in research.  I began working in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at USC doing research on stratigraphy between upper-plane bed and sheet flow bedload transitions at high intensities.  In summer 2018, I had the opportunity to intern and do research for one of the Department of Energy’s biggest national laboratories, Savannah River National Lab (SRNL). While working there, I created the foundational pieces for a soon to be national emergency response model.  It was an honor to work amongst some of the top engineers and scientists in the country. With these experiences, I became a two time South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SC-AMP) researcher and a SRNL Scholar. I grew up knowing I wanted to be an engineer, but determining what type was the challenging part.  As I got older, I saw the horrible infrastructure our country had and knew I wanted to be apart of this change, so Civil Engineering was the right choice. Because of the major issues with our waterways, I soon found my passion for Water Resource Engineering which is a branch of Civil. I have worked on a variety of projects from how to track/reduce contaminants in our waterways to finding natural resources in large masses of sediment.

As we all know, global warming has been the hot topic of discussion for a while now.  It is important to understand these patterns for they are causing major issues to our infrastructure and the world as a whole.  Finding and developing new dam/levee systems, structures to withstand drastic climate change, and natural disaster relief is all apart of civil engineering.  My passion is to keep the ones around me safe. The career path I have chosen impacts every citizen… everyday."

How do you use your passion to illuminate change in the world?

"As a high schooler, I participated in a summer engineering camp at USC called Partners for Minorities in Engineering and Computer Science (PMECS). This camp exposed me to the life of an engineer through job shadowing and problem solving. Each year I go back to council students so they too can be exposed to this very important field of study. From this, I soon want to host my own engineering camp for minority students in the future. Many students in my classes say “I wish I would have had that opportunity,” but my goal is to make sure future students can say “I had that opportunity."

If you could leave one lasting impression on others what would it be and why?

"If I could leave one lasting impression on others, it would be to give generously. This doesn’t necessarily mean materialistic things. A simple smile, time, knowledge, and the list continues can go so far. Whenever you give from the kindness of your heart, so much positivity makes its way back to you. Personally, once I realize the power that my actions and gestures had on others, I began to see a decrease of negativity in my life."