“When you’re trying to choose a school, look at what kind of opportunities are available to you. You don’t want to miss out on something you could have done.”
– Sydney Williams ’20
Hometown: Springville, Iowa
Minors: Anthropology and Spanish
Scholarships: Presidential, Trustee and Central Music Award
Campus Activities: Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Psychology Club, Study Abroad and Work Study in Geisler Library
Career Goal: Attain a doctorate in social psychology and teach
It takes quite a while for Sydney Williams ’20 to go through all the things she’s done and all she’s been involved with at Central College.
“Oh, and I work in the library,” she remembers after the long list that includes music ensembles, psychology club, time as a resident advisor, manager for the basketball team and two chances to study abroad.
Williams certainly has made the most of her time, managing to also major in psychology and add minors in anthropology and Spanish.
“When you’re trying to choose a school, look at what kind of opportunities are available to you,” Williams says. “You don’t want to miss out on something you could have done.”
Williams speaks from experience. She nearly missed out on the Central experience before finally deciding to take a visit during her senior year of high school.
“Central wasn’t my first choice” she admits. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I had changed my mind.”
When she arrived, she found a wealth of opportunities waiting. She’s tried to take advantage of as many as she could. In doing so, she stumbled into her chosen major.
Always interested in people and cultures, Williams took a psychology class as a liberal arts requirement. She was hooked.
“I just loved it,” she says. “I had Keith Jones; he’s an amazing professor. He’s hilarious and I learned a ton and I was like, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to be part of this department.’”
That decision has helped shape Williams and her experience over four years at Central. She spent a semester studying abroad in London, working an internship there for a nonprofit that helped people who suffered from isolation, mental health issues or homelessness. Williams also was able to study abroad in Mexico, putting her Spanish minor to use.
“I think it makes you more culturally aware, makes you smarter, makes you more able to communicate with people who are different from you,” she says. “That’s really important in the mixing pot that America is.
“There is a lot of diversity in the world, and if you can’t communicate with that, how are you going to be successful in business? How are you going to be successful in just navigating everyday life? It’s super important.”
Among the other opportunities afforded to Williams at Central was the chance to present research at the Midwestern Psychological Association’s conference in Chicago.
“It was absolutely amazing,” she says. “I learned so much and talked to professionals about their work and they came and talked to me about my work. It’s the highlight of my four years.”
Williams’ time at Central is winding down. She hopes to move on to graduate school, get a doctorate in social psychology and eventually teach.
She had little idea the path she’d go down when she arrived. With an open mind and the experiences and opportunities Central offers, she’s thrilled where it has led her.
“My advice is to just come to Central,” she says. “It’s everything I could’ve asked for.”