Class of 2021: Sydney Womack
Biomedical engineering major looks forward to veterinary school, Ph.D. program
By Chris Horn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-3687
Sydney Womack’s calendar has been booked nearly solid during her four years at South Carolina and little wonder — she majored in biomedical engineering, minored in mathematics, earned a performance certificate in the School of Music, conducted undergraduate research and co-authored a scholarly article and three poster presentations.
She also attended football, basketball and baseball games whenever she could, held leadership positions in two engineering student societies and regularly volunteered to pitch STEM career opportunities to high school students.
“What I love about USC is that I could do everything here — go to SEC football, basketball and baseball games, play in the Wind Ensemble, have amazing academic experiences,” says Womack, a National Merit finalist from Lexington, South Carolina. “It’s just been really incredible.”
Even though she’s graduating in May from the Honors College and the College of Engineering and Computing with a near-perfect GPA, Womack’s calendar will probably remain just as packed in the future. She’s headed to Cornell University later this summer to begin a joint veterinary medicine/Ph.D. program that will keep her on the go through 2028.
“Right now, I see myself becoming a professor because I’ve had such positive experiences with my professors at USC, and I definitely think I’d find myself fulfilled doing that, treating patients in a veterinary clinic and conducting my own research,” she says.
What I love about USC is that I could do everything here — go to SEC football, basketball and baseball games, play in the Wind Ensemble, have amazing academic experiences.
Womack credits a conversation she had with Mark Uline, the undergraduate director of the biomedical engineering program, with keeping her on track.
“I was taking an Honors College section of thermodynamics, and I remember sitting down with Dr. Uline and asking whether I should continue in the major because I was really struggling,” she says. “He had played music in college — like I did — and ultimately decided to pursue chemical engineering, and I wanted to know if he regretted that decision. Just talking with him helped me work through that, and I’m really glad that I stuck with engineering because I found my niche.”
She also points to Melissa Moss, her academic adviser and chair of the chemical engineering department, as a source of inspiration as she navigated the past four years as a first-generation college student.
Womack’s musical interests — she has played bassoon since middle school — provided opportunities to perform with small ensembles within the School of Music and in the conducting lab orchestra. A music scholarship combined with a Palmetto Fellows scholarship and an array of merit-based university scholarships helped her to graduate debt-free, and Womack’s stellar undergraduate record paved the way for similar scholarship support in graduate school, as well.
While the past four years have whisked by, Womack points to three experiences that were among the highlights of her undergraduate years. Through the College of Engineering and Computing she learned about a summer research experience at the University of Rochester that inspired her pursuit of a joint degree in graduate school. South Carolina’s Thursday After Dark program introduced her to lots of fun, free things to do around campus.
“And athletics facilities — I didn’t know anything about working out when I came here, and then I realized there’s a really nice gym and opportunities to do intramurals,” she says. “Every student who comes here should check out all of those things.”
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