10 Tips to Demonstrate Your Interest in Syracuse University

Many colleges and universities look at a student’s demonstrated interest, or the evidence they have taken steps to conduct research and connect with the institution, into account when reviewing applications.

Here at Syracuse University, the Admissions Committee does consider demonstrated interest during the application process, along with many other factors as part of our holistic review process! We believe that students who take the time to explore all that Syracuse has to offer better understand if the University will be a good fit for the undergraduate experience they are seeking. Read on to explore some of the ways you can demonstrate your interest in Syracuse, no matter where you live!

The Hall of Languages is home to Syracuse's College of Arts and Sciences.
The Hall of Languages is home to Syracuse’s College of Arts and Sciences.
  1. Attend a Virtual Information Session
    Register for and attend one (or more!) of our general or themed virtual information sessions to learn more about Syracuse. Not only will these sessions offer invaluable information about the University, but you’ll also be able to get any questions you have answered by an admissions counselor or current student.
  2. Take a Tour
    Schedule a visit and see Syracuse University’s campus firsthand! You’ll get to sit in on a 30-minute information session and then head out on a small-group walking tour. At the conclusion of your student-led tour, you can also meet with one of our 10 undergraduate schools and colleges.
    Can’t make it to Syracuse? We’ve made it easy for you to take a look at our buildings and grounds via our virtual tour!
  3. Register for a Virtual Interview
    Syracuse offers optional virtual interviews via Zoom for high school seniors and transfer students. An interview is a great way to personalize your application and ask questions of our admissions staff.
  4. Connect with your Admissions Counselor
    Our admissions counselors travel far and wide to spread the word about Syracuse University, so be sure to check to see if a virtual or in-person visit will be scheduled with your high school this year. We also welcome you to contact your admissions representative via email with any questions you might have!
  5. Ask Questions
    Asking questions is one of the best ways to figure out if Syracuse is a good fit for you. Chat in your questions during our virtual sessions or contact the Admissions Office to let us know how we can help!

    Students collaborate outside of the Schine Student Center.
    Students collaborate outside of the Schine Student Center.
  6. Research
    Engage with our website to learn more about our 10 undergraduate schools and colleges, 200+ majors, 100 minors, and 300+ student organizations!
  7. Engage with Programs of Interest
    Is there a school or college at Syracuse that interests you, or perhaps a particular dual program, major or minor? Connect with representatives from our schools and colleges through a virtual session, email, or a phone call! They are eager to learn more about you and discuss which programs might best suit your interests.
  8. Take Time with Your Application
    Spending adequate time preparing your application is a great way to convey your interest in Syracuse. Be sure you’ve researched our undergraduate programs and are making an informed decision when listing your first and second choice academic programs on the Common Application. You’ll also have a chance to tell us why you’re interested in Syracuse University through our short answer question and we’re eager to read what you have to say!
  9. Discuss Your Interest in Syracuse with your Teachers and Counselor
    Your teachers and counselor will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf, so it is always a good idea to let them know why you’re interested in Syracuse. Help them understand why you feel Syracuse is a good fit for you so they can advocate on your behalf!
  10. Apply On Time
    Whether you apply Early Decision or Regular Decision, ensuring that you submit your Common Application and supporting documents on time is a great way to convey your serious interest in Syracuse. After you submit your application, be sure to check your MySlice account to monitor for missing documents and read your emails from Syracuse to stay up to date!

A Day in the Life of Seth Reed ‘21

Seth Reed ’21 knew he’d found his major of choice when he started to research Chemical Engineering. His love of AP Chemistry and Project Lead the Way classes in high school and a strong interest in sustainability and the environment made the program a natural fit for his interests and goals.

As a senior in Syracuse’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), Seth has also found ways to incorporate his interest in sports and music into his busy academic schedule. Learn how Seth manages to balance his many interests and discover what it’s like to be an ECS senior as Seth takes us through a typical weekday on campus!

Seth '21 has served as an Orientation Leader for new Syracuse students for the past three years. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.
Seth ’21 has served as an Orientation Leader for new Syracuse students for the past three years. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.

Meet Seth Reed ‘21
Schenectady, NY
Chemical Engineering

7:30 a.m.
I’m a fairly early riser, so I tend to wake up between 7 and 7:30. I like to catch up on homework or work out before starting my day. I live off campus with friends in the University neighborhood, so it’s easy to get a run in and grab breakfast before heading to class!

9:30 a.m.
My first class of the day is Chemical Reactor Design with Dr. Jesse Bond. In this class we utilize principles of fluid dynamics to study and create reactors.

I’ve designed my schedule so that I have a 9:30 a.m. class every morning. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I am in class most of the day, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are much lighter. This semester, in addition to Chemical Reactor Design, I’m also taking Heat and Mass Operations, Thermodynamics II, Chemical Engineering Lab II, Writing 307: Professional Writing and Beer and Wine Appreciation!

11:00 a.m.
When I’m not in class, I can often be found in the research lab in the basement of Link Hall (home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science).

Seth '21 is a member of a team on campus that is conducting research on lithium-ion batteries.
Seth ’21 is a member of a team on campus that is conducting research on lithium-ion batteries.

I’ve been lucky to have several research opportunities while at Syracuse, and right now I am working with Dr. Ian Hosein on a project that considers alternatives to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. We are interested in learning if we can create a more sustainable and affordable alternative and recently had a paper published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry!

3:00 p.m.
Depending on the day, I may stop by and log a few hours in the Shaw Center, Syracuse’s hub for community engagement. At the Shaw Center I serve as a program coordinator for Engineering Ambassadors, an organization that works with local middle school students to promote interest in STEM fields.

Seth '21 is a member of the Men's Club Volleyball team. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.
Seth ’21 is a member of the Men’s Club Volleyball team. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.

I’ve also served as an Orientation Leader for the past three years in the Office of First-Year and Transfer Programs. This year I was the Head Orientation Leader for Becoming Orange, the week of programming we put on for new students as they move in and transition to campus!

6:00 p.m.
In the afternoons and evenings after class, I’m typically either at volleyball practice with Syracuse’s Men’s Club Volleyball Team, studying in the Noble Room in Hendricks Chapel, or hanging out with friends. I also like to play piano in my spare time and I even perform off campus at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Lately I’ve also been spending much of my evenings preparing my application for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). I’m planning to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical or materials engineering after graduation!

Exploring Environment through Engineering with Cameron Edwards ‘21

Senior College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) student, Cameron Edwards ’21, didn’t always know she wanted to study Environmental Engineering, or that she’d end up with a minor in Food Studies. Read on to learn more about how Cameron was able to explore her interests and the environment as a student at Syracuse!

Senior Cameron Edwards ’21 poses with Otto in front of the Hall of Languages. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

Meet Cameron Edwards ’21
Ketchikan, Alaska
Environmental Engineering
Food Studies
Favorite Spot on Campus: 4th Floor of Link Hall

What made you choose to attend Syracuse?
I visited Syracuse during the spring break of my senior year of high school. During my visit I met with two Environmental Engineering professors and I was blown away that they took the time to really get to know me and my interests. One of those professors is my advisor and the other I’ve been doing research with since my first semester on campus!

The emphasis on collaboration in an engineering program was also really important to me as I didn’t want to feel as if I was competing with my peers. Being from Alaska, I had also really wanted a white winter which I’ve definitely gotten as well!

How did your interest in Environmental Engineering develop?
In high school I didn’t have a lot of exposure to what engineering was but knew I liked math, science, and being outdoors.

I actually applied to every other college except Syracuse as a Chemical Engineering major and planned on minoring in Environmental Engineering. Before starting my first semester on campus, I was planning to change my major to Chemical Engineering because of my interest in chemistry. I later learned there is a lot of chemistry involved in Environmental Engineering and I really liked the faculty so decided to stay put!

Cameron Edwards ’21 in the soil science laboratory on campus. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

My major is fairly small – there are about 20 students in my cohort (seniors). This has been really nice as we’re small enough to have a group chat with all of us so we can collaborate and we have small class sizes. I also have so much love for the faculty because they genuinely care about each of us, an example being when one of my professors sophomore year emailed me after the large earthquake in Alaska to ask if my family was okay.

You’re a Food Studies minor. How does that connect to your engineering interest?
I really like to cook and I started to become interested in where my food comes from, which has led to an interest in sustainable agriculture. Agriculture in its current state tends to do a lot of damage to the climate and the environment, which is something environmental engineers deal with, through things like agricultural runoff. However, agriculture is not really focused on in the environmental engineering curriculum. I chose to minor in food studies to learn a bit more about this area. I also have a personal interest in food injustice and food insecurity which the Food Studies program (housed in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics) does a real good job of exploring.

What are you involved in outside of the classroom?
I’m in the Renee Crown Honors Program at Syracuse, which has some great perks including an honors residence learning community, access to special honors-specific courses and the ability to register for classes early. I’ve also taken two honors versions of general education courses: Chemistry 109 and Writing 209. I really enjoyed these because of their smaller class sizes where I felt much more comfortable asking questions.

I also work in a soil science laboratory with Professor Chris Johnson. We examine soil chemistry and weathering in a long-term ecological research forest in New Hampshire. The summer after my freshman year I stayed in Syracuse to continue my research. Part of the summer was spent away from Syracuse soil sampling in New Hampshire which was such an amazing experience. I was able to have extended one-on-one conversations with my research advisor, his lab manager, and the graduate student that helped us sample. It was also really great to experience Syracuse during the summertime and something I’d recommend to any student.

Cameron Edwards ’21 on a helicopter ride during her internship with the US Forest Service. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

This most recent summer I interned with the United States Forest Service Chugach National Forest in Anchorage, Alaska. I had known I wanted something in the public sector, so I applied through the federal government website USAJOBS. I got a lot of help from the career services putting together my resume because it was the first job I had ever applied for! Despite COVID-19 I was able to do a lot of fieldwork for the job, which included a helicopter ride to survey one of the radio communication sites and some hikes to see the trails and recreation sites for which I’m writing proposals.

What is your dream job?
I really enjoy the idea of working in the public sector as well as being outdoors, so I’m hoping to eventually be a forest engineer with the Forest Service. I really like helping increase the public’s experience in the outdoors through recreation because I’ve found that’s been one of the defining activities of my own life. I’d like to help as many people as I can experience what I have!

Cameron Edwards ’21 and her research team collecting data in New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

I feel very prepared for my post-graduate goals and find what I learn in class useful. During my internship this summer I did some job shadowing at a clean-up site where there had been some gasoline dumping. At the site they were doing soil and water sampling and I was able to use what I learned in my geotechnical and water resources classes to help me understand the site and the work that was being done there.

What do you do for fun?
I haven’t had a car on campus so one of my favorite ways of getting off campus is the programs that Orange After Dark and Recreation Services provides. Orange After Dark holds events for movie premieres, bowling, paint nights, and similar events for only $3 which includes transportation to and from the event as well as the event itself. Recreation Services puts on great outdoor programs like apple picking, white water rafting, and skiing also at a low rate which has been a super fun way for me and my friends to see more of Upstate New York!

Interconnected – How Matthew Gelinas ’21 Discovered His Passion for Cybersecurity

Senior Matthew Gelinas ’21 knew he wanted to major in Electrical Engineering in high school when he had the chance to tour Raytheon with a mentor and family friend. It took a bit longer, however, for Matthew to develop the secondary interests that are poised to connect him to his future career path.

Keep reading to find out how Matthew was able to explore his interests, career goals and hobbies as a student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at Syracuse!

Matthew Gelinas '21 outside of Link Hall, home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Photo courtesy of IEEE Syracuse.
Matthew Gelinas ’21 outside of Link Hall, home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Photo courtesy of IEEE Syracuse.

Meet Matthew Gelinas ‘21
Hometown: South Hadley, MA
Electrical Engineering
Minor: Computer Science

How and why did you choose to attend Syracuse University?
I considered several colleges with engineering programs, including public and private institutions. In addition to the scholarships and financial aid I received at Syracuse, I loved that it was far enough away from my hometown in Massachusetts, but not too far. I also was looking for a large university with considerable resources and ways to get involved. Plus, I love the snow!

Tell us more about your interests in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
I came in as an Electrical Engineering major and later added on a minor in Computer Science. As an engineer, I want to be able to solve problems from multiple angles, so it was great to be able to add a secondary interest on to my undergraduate experience.

My interest in computer science, and ultimately, cybersecurity, really took off after taking a class with Professor Shiu-Kai Chin. I approached him after class about research opportunities and he got me involved in a research project the summer after my sophomore year.

How have you been able to apply what you’re learning in the classroom?

Matthew found his internship at the ECS Career Fair. Syracuse offers 11 career fairs throughout the academic year

Research has been a big part of my experience at Syracuse. Professor Chin and I worked on a soft system methodology project that examined interactions between humans and machines for an Air Force lab in Rome, NY.

This past summer, I also had the opportunity to intern with Hanscom Air Force Base. I met with an Air Force representative by chance at the ECS Career Fair during my junior year, and he called me afterward to offer me the internship opportunity. Although the experience ended up being mostly virtual due to COVID-19, I got to learn about all of the engineering and professional opportunities the Air Force has to offer, including the newly created Space Force and different weather systems they operate.

What is your dream job?
I definitely have a passion for cybersecurity, but I wouldn’t say I have a dream career path in mind just yet. I plan to keep saying yes to opportunities that come my way until I figure it out!

What are you involved outside of academics at Syracuse?

Matthew with his intramural soccer team after their championship game. Photo courtesy of Matthew Gelinas.

In addition to playing intramural soccer and pickup tennis and basketball, I’m currently serving as the Treasurer for IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We put on various events for students interested in engineering and computer science, including resume review sessions and hackathons!

I also studied abroad in Strasbourg, France in the fall of my sophomore year, which I can’t recommend enough. I went there knowing zero French, but had a great experience taking classes and living with a wonderful host family. I was able to travel to Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands during my trip, as well as play on the basketball team.

I was able to keep up with all of my scheduled classes while abroad, including engineering lab, which was taught in English. An elective class I took in Strasbourg focused on human rights and was taught by a lawyer from the European Court of Human Rights, which is located right over the border in Germany. At the end of the course we had the opportunity to go and watch one of the court cases live!

What classes are you taking this semester?

  • Image Processing
  • Cybersecurity: Access, Control and Trust
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Senior Design Lab

My classes this year are a mix of in-person and online instruction. Professor Jennifer Graham’s Senior Design Lab functions almost like Shark Tank – each group, made up of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors, is challenged to come up with a new design idea, build the product, and present it to a panel at the end of the semester.

What advice do you have for future ECS students?
My best advice is to talk to your professors – they are truly your best resource. In addition to being industry experts, they will help you select your classes, find job experiences and connect you to professionals doing the work you are interested in. Everyone I’ve encountered is fantastic and willing to help – I truly wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and advice.

How CuseHacks Founder Caitlin Sanders ’21 Designed Her Syracuse Experience

Finding your best-fit college or university can be a daunting task. Many students who embark on their college search process have a few criteria in mind (i.e. size, location, major) but struggle to decide which campus to make their home.

Caitlin Sanders ’21 was in that very boat four years ago as a high school senior. She knew she wanted to study computer science and was looking for a university with lots of school spirit. When she visited Syracuse for the second time she realized the University was where she wanted to spend her undergraduate career.

Caitlin Sanders '21 during a site visit to Google's headquarters. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin Sanders ’21 during a site visit to Google’s headquarters. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

Meet Caitlin Sanders ‘21
Hometown: Webster, NY
Major: Computer Science

What made you want to attend Syracuse?
I grew up an hour away from Syracuse and loved going to the Dome for games as a kid. I took an official tour of campus, but it wasn’t until I got a scarf in the mail from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) that I decided to do more research and attended an event for admitted students. There, I met with representatives from ECS and realized that Syracuse was the place I wanted to be.

How did you choose your major?
During my freshman year of high school, my geometry teacher encouraged all of his students to take his Intro to Computer Principles class. I took him up on the offer and loved it! After that, I continued to take all of the computer science classes my school offered, became co-president of the Coding Club, and started attending hackathons.

As a Computer Science major at Syracuse, I get to take classes like Social Media and Data Mining, which had everything I love rolled in to one: social media, Python, problem solving, and more. Nothing felt like homework – I thoroughly enjoyed my assignments for class.

I also feel very supported as an ECS student. Dr. Oh, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department chair, helped me and a group of students bring the club we wanted on campus to life – CuseHacks – during my freshman year. I feel lucky Syracuse has these opportunities for me to pursue!

Caitlin is a founder of CuseHacks, Syracuse's first student-run hackathon. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin is a founder of CuseHacks, Syracuse’s first student-run hackathon. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

So, what is Cuse Hacks?
A hackathon is a 24-hour event in which students come together in teams to create a project that solves a problem. There is free food, free t-shirts and “swag”, really cool prizes, as well as a bunch of companies there recruiting. I participated in a few hackathons during high school and when I got to Syracuse, I was excited to get involved in more. I was devastated to find out we didn’t have one on campus!

As a freshman, I partnered with four seniors also looking to start a hackathon. We planned and held the first CuseHacks in 2018 and there has been one every spring semester since! I am super excited to see the event continue to grow past my time here.

3 Caitlin is a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an academic Greek organization focused on STEM. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin is a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an academic Greek organization focused on STEM. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

How has Syracuse helped you prepare for your future career?
My dream job since 7th grade has been to work at Google (I can’t believe anyone that watched “The Internship” when it came out felt otherwise). My dream career route, however, is staying in software engineering for a few years and trying many different things in order to have a breadth of technical knowledge and a variety of experience before pursuing a path in product management. I’ve had many opportunities to gain experience in the field throughout my time at Syracuse, including through internships at Lockheed Martin and Intuit. I’m also part of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for women passionate about STEM!

What does your senior year have in store and what advice do you have for students hoping to pursue a major in Computer Science?
I am not taking classes this fall because I had an excess of credits and want to graduate with my class in May. This semester, I will be contributing to open source and personal projects and preparing for my job search and interview process!

I recommend any students interested in computer science pursue hands-on experiences. The only way to learn and prepare for the industry is to participate in internships and projects along the way. Go to every career fair and hackathon you can, use LinkedIn and lean on your professors and mentors for help!

What do you do for fun on campus?
I love attending hackathons and going to concerts. Syracuse has a big concert each semester – Juice Jam in the fall and Mayfest in the spring! Since COVID-19 hit, I’m also enjoying spending time with my roommates, going on hikes, and of course I love social media – Twitter, Tik Tok, etc.!

My favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of Link Hall (home to ECS) and the third floor lounge of the Life Sciences Building (but the best bathroom is definitely in the bottom floor of Bowne Halll!).

Fully Involved – Q&A with Civil Engineering major Ravyn Smith ‘21

A common misconception about college STEM majors is that they are so busy with required coursework that they don’t have time to get fully involved on campus. High school students interested in STEM sometimes worry about their ability to join a club, study abroad, or pursue internship and work experiences.

Ravyn Smith ’21, a civil engineering major and architecture minor is living proof you can do all of the above! Read on to learn about how she chose Syracuse and the many extracurricular experiences that have enriched her Syracuse STEM experience.

Ravyn Smith '21 and Otto! Photo courtesy of Ravyn Smith.
Ravyn Smith ’21 and Otto! Photo courtesy of Ravyn Smith.

Meet Ravyn Smith ‘21
Chesterfield, VA
Major: Civil Engineering
Minor: Architecture

How did you choose Syracuse?
I knew I was looking for a college with engineering and the ability to minor in architecture. I also wanted to study abroad and a school with a traditional campus feel. When I toured Syracuse, I fell in love with the campus and immediately felt like part of the community. Something about walking to campus from the College Place bus stop and seeing iconic Syracuse buildings like Hendricks Chapel and Carnegie Library on the quad made me feel like this was the definition of college and I wanted to be part of it.

Why civil engineering?
From an early age, I knew I wanted to create. I have always been fascinated with buildings and their different layouts, so when I discovered civil engineering, I knew it was the right fit for me. With more research, I realized how closely related civil engineering was to architecture and I decided I wanted to add an Architecture minor to broaden my building design knowledge.

The Civil Engineering program at Syracuse allows students to get a taste of every specialization within the field so we can learn and decide which aspects interest us the most. I knew from the beginning I wanted to focus on the structural engineering side of civil. After taking some classes in that subject, I could really tell that was the right fit for me. My dream job is to work as an architectural designer because I want to be able to bring people’s design visions to life.

What is your favorite class at Syracuse?
One of my all-time favorite classes was ECS 101 Introduction to Engineering and Computer Science – it is extremely hands-on and project based. Within the span of a semester, we got to build bridges, design a mall, and make a presentation on a chosen sector of civil engineering. My replica of the Golden Gate Bridge from freshman year is still on display in the department conference room!

Civil engineering students test the bridge they built as part of the ECS 101 end-of-semester competition.
Civil engineering students test the bridge they built as part of the ECS 101 end-of-semester competition.

Another one of my favorite classes was ITA 115 Beginning Italian 1. I took this class while studying abroad in Florence; my professor was an amazing Italian woman who shared her passion for Italian culture with us in the classroom. It made me fall in love with Italy!

This fall I am taking Transportation Engineering, Construction Engineering and Engineering Materials, a studio class for my minor – Architectural Drawing, and two fun electives, Professional Baking and Culinary Arts!

What are you involved in outside the classroom?
I’m a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Recently, I took the role of Vice President in the professional STEM sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon, and I’m also the events coordinator for the Professional Fraternity Council. During Welcome Week, I serve as an orientation leader (OL)! Our job is to make sure new students transition successfully to the University and feel at home on campus. I also work with the Shaw Center as an Engineering Ambassadors intern. We take Syracuse STEM students into Syracuse City School District classrooms and teach engineering topics via hands-on activities.

This summer I am interning at the design firm Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt in Syracuse. I applied for this position through the University’s job portal, Handshake. Additionally, for Summer 2020, I also received a Syracuse SOURCE grant to participate in research with Dr. Sinead Mac Namara for the second edition of her book Collaborations in Architecture and Engineering.

How did you balance a full engineering course load while studying abroad?
In Spring 2019 I went to Italy to study at the Syracuse Abroad Center in Florence. I was able to take all the same classes for my major that students were taking on campus and even got to take a class for my minor. Syracuse really focuses on making the abroad experience achievable for every major and that doesn’t change for engineers. The best semester for us to go is spring of our sophomore year because of the alignment of classes. If a class looks like it might not be offered, however, there are advisors within each abroad program to help you jump through those hurdles.

I had an amazing time while in Italy. I got to travel to 5 different countries, learn a new language, and eat as much great Italian food as I could. A lot of my friends also went abroad that semester, so it was even more of a blast with them there. The abroad center even has its own trips around Italy that are included with the program fee!

What advice would you give to students interested in engineering at Syracuse?

View of Hendricks Chapel and the quad.
View of Hendricks Chapel and the quad.

Look at the requirements of each engineering major to see what best aligns with your interests and goals! Also, utilize any and all open house opportunities you can – the best way to see if Syracuse is the place for you is to visit, even if it is a virtual visit.

Syracuse really provides a space for full involvement. Though it might be a big school in terms of students, it has a small school feel where you can walk through campus and recognize at least 20 people. We have 300+ student organizations, and if you don’t find something for you, you can always start your own club – one of the people in my freshman dorm started the Curling Club!

Q&A with Maris Jacobs ’19

Students at the early orientation sponsored by the University's Native Students Program.
Students at the early orientation sponsored by the University’s Native Students Program.

Did you know that Syracuse University’s picturesque campus sits on over 720 acres of ancestral Onondaga land? The Onondaga Nation are the Firekeepers of the Haudenosanuee Confederacy, which is made up of six Indigenous nations: the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.

In addition to the land acknowledgement read at the start of official University events, Syracuse also pays tribute to the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee people through the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship, Native Students Program (NSP), and Native American and Indigenous Studies minor. Learn more about these programs and more from Maris Jacobs ’19, below!

Meet Maris Jacobs ‘19
Hometown: Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory (just outside of Montreal, Quebec)
Major: Communication and Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Nutrition

Maris Jacobs '19. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs.
Maris Jacobs ’19. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs.

Why did you choose to attend Syracuse?
I knew very little about Syracuse before I was admitted! I knew of two other girls from my hometown studying at Syracuse who applied after learning about the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship. Looking back, the Native Student Program (NSP), Indigenous Living Learning Community (ILLC), and Indigenous Students at Syracuse organization (ISAS) were what made my time at Syracuse meaningful. In them I found a community of people I could depend on when I needed help and also felt like I had found a place I was meant to be!

What was your transition to life at Syracuse like?
I was anticipating a slow start to making connections and friends, but the ILLC and NSP made it much easier on myself and my family. It’s very easy to feel alone in a place you don’t know surrounded by thousands of strangers. I’m thankful that SU had programs that helped me find a living situation that I was comfortable with.

I also attended NSP’s early orientation program along with all the other freshmen who were staying on the ILLC floor in Haven Hall. I got to know everyone I’d be living with as well as some of the staff. By the end of orientation, I felt like we had been friends our whole lives. It was exactly what I needed.

What were you involved with on campus?
Throughout my time at Syracuse I was actively involved in NSP and ISAS! I also studied abroad in Florence, Italy during a six-week summer program.

ISAS is a way for students to become more involved on campus through a community that recognizes the importance of maintaining an Indigenous presence at Syracuse. We plan and organize events for Indigenous Peoples Day, Native Heritage Month, and host speakers and special guests that the entire University community can enjoy, as well.

Students tabling on the quad in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Students tabling on the quad in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The longer I participated in ISAS, the more I felt I could contribute, and I eventually held the role of president. Some of my responsibilities were to organize meetings, execute ideas and ensure that we got as many people involved in our programs and events as possible. I started to take on more responsibility in my junior year because I loved being a part of planning and brainstorming activities. I just wanted to see things keep improving and my role as president was all about how I could turn the input of others into something we could all share together.

What was a typical day like for you on campus?
In between classes, you could almost always find me at 113 Euclid Avenue, home of the NSP. The shared office and lounge space for the NSP is where lots of students would stop to take a breather during the day. It became my home base for most of my time spent at Syracuse. If I wasn’t taking a nap or catching up on homework, I was eating PB&J sandwiches and telling stories with friends!

So much of our ISAS’ programming is run out of 113 Euclid and it is important that it’s a place we can use to feel ourselves. NSP and ISAS’ Fall Connections, Identity Series, beading club, planning committees, guest speakers, and meeting are all held here, and it is also where the office of Regina Jones, advisor/director of NSP is located. Regina, along with Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy, our Native liaison in the Office of Admissions, are two great members of the Indigenous faculty and staff on campus who are continuously enhancing our programs! They have been amazing resources and really helped me be successful at Syracuse.

What advice would you give to prospective Indigenous students regarding attending Syracuse?

Students celebrating at the Native Students' Program/Haudenosaunee Promise graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs '19.
Students celebrating at the Native Students’ Program/Haudenosaunee Promise graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs ’19.

I would encourage all students to stop by 113 Euclid for a visit with Regina and a chance to meet other Indigenous students. When I started my journey at SU, I had no intention of becoming president of anything. My involvement in ISAS was something that grew out of friendship and a desire to feel like part of a community. You won’t regret the bonds you will make with other students like you. By the end of your time at Syracuse, you will have a whole network of people behind you whether they are students, faculty, or staff.

A Day in the Life of a Falk College Senior

T’airrah Contee ’20, a graduate of David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, shares a typical day in her life as a Syracuse University senior! Read on to get a sense of her schedule and how she balances school, work, and fun.

Meet T’airrah Contee ‘20
Washington, D.C.
Human Development and Family Science

South Campus Apartments Interiors Winding Ridge Interior and Exterior 2018

8:00 a.m.
Time to wake up, start my day, and grab the shuttle to main campus. As a freshman I lived in Ernie Davis Hall, but since sophomore year, I’ve lived apartment-style on South Campus. “South” is only a five minute drive from main campus, and free shuttles run back and forth all day long! I share my apartment with one other friend and it’s nice to have our own space and kitchen to cook. I also keep a small meal plan so that I’m able to grab food on campus during busy days, as well!

9:00 a.m.
I grab a bagel or smoothie, and then head to class or my work-study job, depending on the day of the week. As a Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) major I typically have 2-3 classes per day ranging from 50-90 minutes each. One of my favorite classes was Mindfulness in Children and Youth with Dr. Rachel Razza. Since I know I want to work with youth in the future, it was really useful in terms of not only learning the research behind mindfulness but how to employ mindfulness techniques with kids. Another class I enjoyed was Lust, Love, and Relationships with Dr. Joseph Fanelli – it’s always full, even with non-HDFS majors!

The Barnes Center at the Arch is an integrated health, wellness, and recreation services center.
The Barnes Center at the Arch is an integrated health, wellness, and recreation services center.

If I don’t have a morning class, I work a shift at the brand-new Barnes Center at the Arch for 2-4 hours. The Barnes Center is home to our health center, counseling services, gyms, workout classes, an e-sports room, and more. At the Barnes Center, I’m responsible for checking people in to the fitness center, issuing equipment, and giving tours!

11:00 a.m.
I tend to stay on campus all day until I get my work done, so after class or work I head to Bird Library or the Schine Student Center (it’s currently undergoing a full renovation!) to get some homework and studying in. Sometimes I stop to say hello to staff and students in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), where I am part of the Dimensions mentoring program or pop in to a campus event like the 11+ career fairs held throughout the year!

I also love to grab lunch with friends on Marshall Street before heading to my afternoon classes – I love the pizza at Varsity, plus Chipotle and Starbucks are favorite stand-bys.

3:00 p.m.
After my classes are done for the day, I head to my internship at the downtown Syracuse YWCA. I started working at the YWCA as part of my required 90-hour HDFS internship course, but I stayed on after I completed my hours because I enjoyed the experience so much. At the YWCA, I assist with after-school programs for girls ages 5-18. I help students with their homework, create and deliver lessons on anti-bullying and self-esteem, and organize fun activities like movie nights.

Not only is my internship fun, but it helped me gain experience in my field, and ultimately, helped me land my first full-time job as a kindergarten teacher and Capital Teaching Resident at KIPP DC! As a former KIPP student myself, it is exciting to be returning to my hometown to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today!

The Dome is home to Syracuse’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as men’s football and lacrosse games.

6:00 p.m.
In the evenings you can find me studying in the library, making dinner at home with my roommate, meeting up with my Dimensions mentee, or having fun at a Syracuse basketball game or Orange After Dark activity. Even if you aren’t a huge sports fan, I recommend going to games– the school spirit at Syracuse is amazing and it’s a great way to have fun with your friends or meet new people. There are also so many free or low-cost events going on all the time, it’s not hard to find something to do!

Biotechnology and the Power of Choosing to be “Decisively Indecisive”

The Life Sciences Complex is home to the Biotechnology department at Syracuse University.
The Life Sciences Complex is home to the Biotechnology department at Syracuse University.

Syracuse University’s Biotechnology major, housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, boasts an interdisciplinary curriculum and connects students to a vast array of up-and-coming career paths. With core courses similar to a traditional Biology major, the B.S. in Biotechnology or the 5-year B.S./M.S. offer students the chance to choose from diverse electives, including specialized courses that focus on topics ranging from pharmaceuticals and the microbiome, to the creation of a business plan that pitches a new biotech product.

With an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, students pursue careers in medicine, research, business, and science public policy. Others still go on to pursue Syracuse’s M.S. in Biotechnology or other advanced study.

Learn more about the Biotechnology major from senior Dana Immerso ’20, below!

Dana Immerso '20
Dana Immerso ’20

Meet Dana Immerso ‘20
Public Health, Psychology

How did you choose Biotechnology?
Growing up I was always interested in a variety of different fields. I never wanted to just stick to biology or chemistry, or business, I wanted to be able to understand all of them. I applied directly to the Biotechnology program at Syracuse. It was actually what initially helped me discover the University. I loved that Syracuse had a great combination of a well-established undergraduate Biotech program and a really promising Master’s program.

Studying Biotechnology allows me to be what I call “decisively indecisive.” I can take courses that range from traditional life sciences courses in biology and chemistry, as well as business, entrepreneurship, engineering, law, public policy, and cutting-edge electives. Biotechnology allows me to explore the paths that interest me most. Personally, I’ve loved being able to adapt my passion for life sciences and business with my deep interest in public policy through the addition of my minors in Public Health and Psychology.

What are your favorite Biotechnology classes?

Students collaborate in Dr. Ranesh Raina's classroom.
Students collaborate in Dr. Ranesh Raina’s classroom.

My favorite classes have been the ones that are directly related to the field of Biotechnology. Applied and Molecular Biotechnology with Dr. Raina was a great way to be introduced to the vast world of biotechnology and I was really able to diversify my knowledge and utilize my other studies in classes such as Professor Phillips’ Advances in Biotechnology course and our capstone program with Professor Coleman.

I think the main strength of our program is the diversity of it. As a biotech student you’re exposed to so many amazing and crucial fields, however, you have the ability to focus and hone in on what you’re most interested and passionate about. I feel very well prepared for my post-grad goals because I’ve learned to adapt to an ever changing field of study. As the world changes and requires different levels of learning and technology I feel confident that I’ll be able to move along with it.

How does The Biotechnology Society at Syracuse assist students interested in biotechnology?
The Biotechnology Society at Syracuse was founded by a really passionate group of students who wanted a space to find and interact with not just students who are declared biotechnology majors, but even those who simply have a passion or desire to learn more about the topic.

Because of the diversity of the courses we take, biotechnology does not necessarily fit in with any one particular field or other established organizations on campus such as pre-medical, or pre-health organizations. We wanted a group to call our own to spread the word about the amazing field that is biotechnology. Not only have we created a great learning and growth space on campus but we’ve also been lucky enough to have immersion trips off campus such as at the NEXT Conference of Innovation held at the On-Center in downtown Syracuse and a trip to Bristol Myers Squibb sponsored by the Career Center.

What else are you involved in at Syracuse?
I have a research position in the Developmental Biopsychology lab under Professor Catherine Cornwell of the Psychology department. I’ve held several internships, including as an administrative intern at Stamford Health Medical Group in my home state of Connecticut, and as a lobbying analyst for Hill Partners LLC during my time in Syracuse. I’m also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a sorority on campus.

Students presenting their research at a poster session for Syracuse's Biomaterials Institute.
Students presenting their research at a poster session for Syracuse’s Biomaterials Institute.

What is your dream job?
I really feel like the opportunities available to me are endless. While some may think that biotech students are expected to dive straight into research or graduate school, I feel more passionate about the business side of science. I am looking primarily at start-up companies focused on pharmaceuticals and life science consulting positions and even some training programs that will set me up for potential future degrees.

What advice would you give to students interested in Biotechnology or who are considering Syracuse?
My best advice is to learn more about biotechnology and how it can be adapted to your goals, interests, and passions. It can be daunting at first because of how vast the field is, however, studying biotechnology allows you to become a well-rounded individual that has knowledge and expertise in a variety of subjects. As cheesy as it may sound, Syracuse’s program allowed me to follow my heart and manipulate my curriculum to suit me best. The professors are all incredibly passionate and if you have a goal they will help you in whatever way they can!

The Top 10 Reasons I Chose Syracuse

Students at Syracuse Welcome, the University's new student orientation program.
Students at Syracuse Welcome, the University’s new student orientation program.

By Seth Martin, Jr. ‘22
Hometown: Cambria Heights, NY
Major: Biology

Seth '22 with Slow Food, a Syracuse student organization that connects students on and off-campus with sustainable food enterprises. Photo courtesy of Seth Martin, Jr.
Seth ’22 with Slow Food, a Syracuse student organization that connects students on and off-campus with sustainable food enterprises. Photo courtesy of Seth Martin, Jr.
  1. Campus Atmosphere
    Syracuse has a very picturesque campus. The historic buildings and beautiful quad make you feel like you’ve stepped on to a movie set while at the same time you have modern facilities, like the Life Sciences Complex, that provide state-of-the-art resources. Located in upstate New York, Syracuse experiences all four seasons and there’s no better time to be on campus than during peak fall foliage!
  2. Sense of Community
    You can feel a sense of community at Syracuse as soon as you step on to campus or meet with other faculty, staff, and students. Programs like Syracuse’s Living Learning Communities and Hendricks Chapel make it easy to find your niche. People here are warm and inviting and it is easy to make friends and build relationships with your professors. Everyone is proud to be Orange!
  3. Majors and Classes
    As a Biology major interested in pursuing a career in medicine, I was looking for strong programs in the natural sciences when I explored colleges, and I found just that at Syracuse. While the curriculum is challenging, taking classes like organic chemistry and genetics have solidified my desire to be a doctor. And, if I change my mind, I have another 200 majors and 100 minors to choose from!
  4. Pre-Health Programs and Advising
    The vast array of resources within Syracuse’s Pre-Health Advising Office and the University’s location just steps away from 3 major hospitals made choosing SU a no brainer for me. Clinical and volunteer opportunities, as well as lectures and special medicine-related events abound and I know I’ll be well-prepared for my medical school applications because of these resources!

    Syracuse University is located within walking distance to Upstate University Hospital, Crouse Hospital, and the VA Medical Center.
    Syracuse University is located within walking distance to Upstate University Hospital, Crouse Hospital, and the VA Medical Center.
  5. Location
    The University’s location in the city of Syracuse means students get the best of both worlds. We have a beautiful, walkable quad-style campus but are also very close to the restaurants, shops, and theaters of downtown Syracuse and just 10 minutes from the airport. Free shuttles run from campus to various points of interests throughout the city, including Destiny USA, the U.S.’ sixth largest mall, and there are also great parks, trails, and lakes nearby.
  6. School Spirit
    If you’re looking for a school with a ton of school spirit, look no further. Here, everyone has Orange in their veins, including me. From going to football, basketball, and lacrosse games in the Dome to attending campus-wide events like Juice Jam and Mayfest, there are so many activities to enjoy with your Orange family!
  7. Extracurricular Involvement
    There are plenty of clubs and organizations (300+!) to join and get involved in at Syracuse, no matter your interests. I am involved in U100, our tour guide organization, as well as Slow Food, which is a worldwide organization that promotes sustainability. These clubs help me pursue interests outside of academics and meet people with similar interests.

    The Syracuse University Marching Band performs at Orange Central, SU's annual Homecoming celebration.
    The Syracuse University Marching Band performs at Orange Central, SU’s annual Homecoming celebration.
  8. Career Preparation
    Each of Syracuse’s 10 undergraduate schools and colleges has its own career center, meaning you’ll get expert advice in your field as you explore your options and apply for internships and jobs. Career advisors can help you network, revise resumes and cover letters, prep for an interview, and much, much more.
  9. Research Opportunities
    Syracuse is a Research 1 university, meaning there is considerable resources and funding behind both faculty and student research. No matter your academic interest, there are opportunities for undergraduate students to pursue research and hands-on experience in their field. You can even apply for research funding via the SOURCE, our hub for student research on campus.
  10. Alumni Connections
    With over 260,000 alumni worldwide, I knew that attending Syracuse would mean I had the power of a proud Orange network at my fingertips, both as a student and after I graduate. With resources like the networking site Handshake, students from all majors can connect with alumni in their field right away.