Sydney Hunt


Cornwall, NY,

Academic Interests

Electrical/Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Fun Fact

I am certified in Mental Health First Aid !

As a Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholar , I am an advocate for women’s empowerment, mental health awareness, and random acts of kindness. I am interested in pursuing a technology-based career that supports humanitarian efforts, equal access to education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields.

During summer 2020 I remotely participated in Data+ , a ten-week research experience through the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke University. I was part of Project 11: Predicting Blindness in Duke’s Glaucoma Patient Population. I also tutored students through Dutchess-Orange Tutoring for K-12 in Response to COVID-19, won the Capital One Financial Literacy Design Challenge at the Ron Brown Leaders Summit , and ran a marathon for the virtual race my sister and I founded to benefit No Kid Hungry.

Some of my favorite activities on campus include being the S.P.I.R.E. Fellow Vice President of Durham and Regional Affairs, a S.P.I.R.E. Fellow Living Learning Community Co-Founder, and the Co-Host and Social Media Manager for This Engineering Life Podcast Series . I am also the Head Campus Tour Guide, a Duke eNable Project Lead (3D printing prosthetics), and a member of Club Outing and the intramural soccer team.

I also enjoy being a member of the Bass Connections Research Team: Improving Girls’ Math Identity through Problem-Solving and Mentorship. Outside of school I love running, yoga, dancing, playing the piano, trying new foods, and being a Camp Kesem Counselor, Project B.U.I.L.D. Crew Leader, and a mentor for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Youth Leadership Institute .

I became interested in STEM at an early age; in fourth grade, I would ask my teacher to race me to see who can solve ten math problems the fastest. In high school, I continued this love for numbers by joining the Math Team, becoming its Vice President, and independently beginning the process of establishing a Math National Honor Society chapter.

My interest in engineering was later sparked through a high school Environmental Art class, where I discovered that I also loved creativity. I further pursued this passion for STEM through Microsoft DigiGirlz and the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program . During this seven-week internship at Microsoft, I learned Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Scratch, Swift, and web/app/game development, proposed app ideas to the NewsCorp CEO, and spoke about the professional STEM challenges women face with KKR’s female CFO, and so much more.

Understanding the importance of spreading the sisterhood and empowerment I experienced at Girls Who Code, I embraced the opportunity to pass down new technological knowledge to a younger generation of students. At the Google NYC Headquarters, I taught children HTML/CSS website building and virtual reality, in addition to motivating friends to apply for Girls Who Code. In college, I continue to help bridge the disparity in STEM through my non-profit organization, CS Sidekicks .

I later participated in Cornell University’s CATALYST Engineering Diversity Summer Program. I was exposed to various engineering disciplines daily and explored the creation and implementation of digital machine intelligence through computer engineering projects. Working with Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Dr. Zhang and Cornell graduate students, I used machine intelligence systems to program a robot to self-navigate through a maze.

I consider myself a hard-working, versatile, and pun-loving scholar with an inquisitive, driven, and compassionate mind. You can definitely catch me at a Wilson fitness class, eating Marketplace chocolate cake, or studying on the Plaza. I am thrilled to be part of the Duke community and grateful to have a wealth of life-changing opportunities coming my way.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I love the community! There is so much support for the fellows provided by like-minded and welcoming role models who are passionate about seeing students reach their full potential. As someone who enjoys the little things in life, it always makes my day when I see other SPIRE Fellows in the LLC and chat outside Hollows with Dean Crowley and Dean Kaivan every Friday during SPIRE Grab & Go’s.

Hunt headshot.
Sydney Hunt