She received the Armbrister Memorial Scholarship for freshmen honors and the Outstanding Senior Award from the Sociology Department. She was on the dean’s list all eight semesters while a student at Emory & Henry, and she graduated summa cum laude with college honors. She also was inducted into several national honor societies.
Is it any wonder that Sydney England is one of only two students throughout the country selected to receive the Jessie Ball duPont Fund Fellowship, providing a two-year period of work and study in philanthropy and charitable work?
England, a 2014 graduate of Emory & Henry College, was nominated by the college, which is among many liberal arts colleges and universities eligible for support from the Jessie DuPont Fund. England was selected from a large field of applicants.
Dr. Joe Lane brought the fellowship opportunity to my attention. I don’t know if I ever fully set my sights on the fellowship because it always seemed like a long shot.Sydney EnglandClass of 2014
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund Fellowship program, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., is designed to provide practical experience for students interested in careers with nonprofit, faith-based, or philanthropic organizations. As a fellow, England is exposed to foundation governance, grant making, governmental oversight, and industry events.
“Responsibilities shift daily, but primarily it’s a lot of research and grant management. The fellows are really there to support senior staffers with some of their project management and report preparation,” explained England.
“This fellowship will afford me an acute insight into the full life-cycle of a grant, from initial proposal to grant management and re-evaluation. It’s very rare to have the opportunity to see this grant maturation within a wide array of nonprofit organizations at my age and experience level,” she said.
“I’m really just hoping to develop a strong grant writing and nonprofit management portfolio and to engage in meaningful personal research during my two years at the Fund.”
England is among the fifth class of fellows at the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Some of their predecessors work with the Peace Corps, religious organizations, and community-based nonprofits.
Her accomplishments at Emory & Henry are equally impressive.
The alumna doubled majored in sociology and history with a minor in women’s studies. “When I entered Emory & Henry, I was the conventional high-performing student who was primarily concerned with grades. If nothing else, E&H taught me that if you aren’t imagining beyond your goals, you aren’t giving yourself enough latitude to grow.”
While a student at Emory & Henry, England was a research assistant, and she also gained experience working for Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor in Virginia.
Her honors thesis was entitled “Check Here: A Critique of Normative Discursive Categorization within Survey Construction.” The premise of her research was to address some of the General Social Survey’s methodological limitations.
“I found that nominal and mutually-exclusive language, as it pertains to the General Social Survey categorization of sex, creates a false sense of normativeness within American society and harshly limits the accuracy of data when causal inferences link these two categories to various other demographic features within the data set. Ultimately, I created an alternative survey proposal that I hope will be adopted more frequently on campus.”
England said her experiences at Emory & Henry have enabled her to be a successful person, employee, and citizen.
“I feel the impact of my liberal arts education daily and in several dimensions. First, I often find myself willing to engage in critical, solutions-oriented dialogue, and I think that's a direct result of the type of Socratic courses that you regularly find at Emory.
“Second, I'm acutely aware of the impact that place has on people, and this is really imperative when you're in a workspace. I'm really aware of workplace dynamics and organizational core values. Those are really important to understand when you're trying to figure out how you, the individual, fit into the structure. At Emory, we were constantly reminded of how people and place are inextricably connected.”
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Major: Sociology and history with a minor in women’s studies
Extra-Curricular Activities: Member of the E&H Honors Program, Sigma Upsilon Nu social sorority, Sigma Alpha Kappa social fraternity (sweetheart), Greek Council, the Emory Activities Board, the Student Advancement Council, Cardinal Key Honor Society, Phi Sigma Eta Honor Society, the Hermesian Literary Society, and Student Government Association.