Alumni Profiles

Sydney Adams

Campus: UNC
Hometown: Midlothian, VA
High School: Collegiate School

At the beginning of my high school career, I was anxious to find my niche. Would it be the arts, writing, a sport I’d yet to discover my talent in? I had no idea. Within the next two years, however, I was able to discover the passions and love I have for service, working with children, and global and diversity initiatives.

In July 2013, after completing my freshman year,  I became one of thirteen student ambassadors for my school at a youth leadership festival at Lebone II College in Rustenberg, South Africa. As my first international experience, the trip was transformational, not only giving me a look into another culture, but also sparking my interest in international politics. Later that same year, I attended the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) outside of Washington, D.C. as a representative of my school’s diversity club, Mosaic. SDLC consisted of three days, 1,200 private school students, and loads of information, centered around educating each of us about each of the eight social identifiers (race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, and socioeconomic status) and creating a more inclusive, aware, and socially competent community.   From this experience, I became a strong ally for the LGBTQ community, a support system for students of diverse backgrounds at my school, and a speaker against microaggressions.

My experiences in South Africa and at SDLC paved the way for the rest of my high school years, and were the templates for every other opportunity I took advantage of. Before graduating, I attended seven other diversity conferences and helped start diversity initiatives at my school, interned at the Children’s Museum of Richmond for a year, and volunteered in Ghana for weeks, spending my mornings as a preschool teacher and my afternoons painting a school in a rural village. I served as both a Junior and Senior Ambassador in my high school’s International Emerging Leaders Conference (IELC), using the experience to meet, work with, and forge relationships with 59 students from 12 different countries. I also volunteered in an after-school program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students in a local middle school, tutoring them and helping them transition from their lives in the Middle East, South America, or beyond.

There are not enough words to describe how each of those experiences have positively influenced my life, but what I learned over time is that my service to the world is only as important as the impact it has on the communities, people, or even one individual that I’ve interacted with. My passion for people shines through within all of my endeavors, whether through an English paper, history project, or speech I give at church or school. I hope that my time at UNC will allow me to continue to explore each of my passions and render me successful in all of my academic and extracurricular pursuits.

What drew you to the Robertson Program? After researching what scholarships were available to students applying to UNC, the Robertson Program caught my eye because of its mission statement and its goal to mold us into strong, active, and effective  young leaders. The incredible opportunities and experiences that are afforded to Scholars are unrivaled, and I could not imagine a more perfect fit for me.

Adams, Sydney UNC