Sydney Pratt

Sydney PrattMajors: Physics, Mathematics

Why did you choose Central? Not only did Central show rich traditions and a sense of community when I first started visiting, but each time I visited, I could see that what I was told wasn’t just from a tour guide script. The sense of community at Central College was real and something I wanted to be a part of.

Why I love my major: I love my major because I love a good challenge, and more importantly, I love improvement. Without challenge, improvement would plateau, and majoring in physics and math never fails to present challenges in one way or another.

Career plans: I plan to go into some field of engineering after obtaining a master’s degree in my desired field.

Campus organizations or teams: I have been involved in A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers, Bridge Club, Physics and Engineering Club, Math Club and Dutch Brigade.

Internships: This last summer, I completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Illinois with the Physics Department.

Favorite class: Modern African Civilization is my favorite class I have taken at Central. I love everything that has to do with STEM, but this class gave me the opportunity to problem solve in a different way. It opened my eyes to a part of the world I never had the chance to learn about before college, and I could not be more thankful for how humbled and conscious I became after taking this course.

Favorite professor: I struggle choosing just one professor, so I’m going to try to narrow it down to two. Dr. Goodman is one of my favorites. He is always in good spirits and shows that through his jokes. Professor Babcock is also up there on the list. He is always reminding us that we learn life-long lessons in a choir. He is motivated to make beauty through music, which is contagious throughout each rehearsal, performance and tour.

How have you made connections at Central? Central has made my world bigger. In A Cappella Choir, I travel the world in different time periods through the music that we sing. We sing about joy, triumph, hardships and how to find beauty in each one. Because of my connection with the physics and math department, I was able to do research in Illinois this summer and experience what graduate school might be like. And through Central’s core courses, my mind has been able to expand beyond the language of math and science. My world got bigger, and because of my connection with Central College, I have learned to cherish community and a sense of home away from home.

How has Central provided a strong academic experience? Coming into college, I knew that I wanted to go into physics and mathematics. When I visited Central, I realized that a small school was the right choice. The one-on-one help from a professor is so invaluable when working through tough topics. Also, there is a huge benefit in finding community within the major. Working on a problem in Vermeer for 5 hours may lead to screaming matches, but struggling through problems TOGETHER is the best way to learn and see things from others’ perspective.

What made Central a good financial investment? Central was a great financial investment, not only because the great education I have received will undoubtedly prepare me for the work force, but also because I think campus is one of the best places to be. I would not trade the activities I am in or the friendships I have made for anything. You just can’t put a price tag on that.

How has Central prepared you for your next step? My academic life at Central has been great, but also my communication, critical thinking, and professional skills have grown thanks to events and people outside of the classroom. I feel like Central is an amazing launch pad to the next step, whether that is graduate school or straight into the work force, because of the resources on campus and the motivation to succeed that is contagious.