Sydney Derfel '17

Name: Sydney Sahasrabudhe Derfel

Year: 2017

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

Majors: African and Afro-American Studies (AAAS), and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP)

Minor: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Her Campus: What attracted you to Brandeis?

Sydney Derfel: The idea that it was a small college, and that it was created on the basis of including people who were not allowed to go to college. Also, the fact that it was both a research and a liberal arts college. You got the best of both worlds.

HC: What activities are you involved in on campus?

SD: I’m in the Women of Color Alliance (WOCA), Brandeis Black Student Organization (BBSO), and I’m a UDR for African and Afro-American Studies. I’m also on the Brandeis rowing team and I participate in Brandeis Orientation.

HC: What is your proudest moment at Brandeis so far?

SD: FordHall2015. I think it was a very important in my personal and intellectual growth. It led to the formation of stronger bonds among community members, and it was one of those moments where you just had to step up and assume positions that you weren’t necessarily ready for. Well, maybe you were ready, but not necessarily prepared. It’s also so significant that we made change even if we don’t feel like it’s that big at this moment. Looking back in a few years, or even in ten or twenty years, I think we’re going to understand how we have altered the campus.

HC: What advice do you have for incoming first years?

SD: Make sure you really go out of your way to find connections and create relationships with your professors. The professors on this campus are my rocks. If I didn’t have them, I don’t think I would be here—they keep me going. They’re exactly who I go to when I’m stuck about any kind of problem, whether it’s personal or academics.

HC: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

SD: In 10 years I’d like to be happy with where I am and confident about what I’ve done so far. I will hopefully have my Master’s degree, perhaps in Public Health and Black Studies. I’ll hopefully be doing something that engages me and be with the people I love.

Quick Facts:

Favorite Movie: Billy Madison

Favorite Quote: ''It is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains" - Assata Shakur 

Favorite Spot on Campus: Mandel Reading Room

Favorite Song of the Moment: “Higher” by J. Cole

Favorite Boston Attraction: Museum of Science

Favorite Class at Brandeis: “Black Feminist Thought” with Professor Jasmine Johnson

Prized Possession: An extra-large sweatshirt with a big sunflower on it that my grandmother gave me.