Q&A with Baylor University Fulbright Recipient Syd Linnell

August 12, 2015
Syd Lewis

Syd Lewis courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275
WACO, Texas (Aug. 12, 2015) – Baylor University alumna Syd Linnell is one of four Baylor students and recent graduates who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. Linnell is a University Scholar with a concentration in neuroscience. At Baylor, she was a supplemental instructor for neuroscience, worked in a neuromorphic lab and was a member of Baylor’s Student Foundation. She received the Fulbright award in neuroscience and will spend the 2015-2016 academic year at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, where she will earn her master’s degree in neuropsychology.
Baylor Media Communications conducted a Q&A with each of Baylor’s most recent Fulbright recipients, including Lewis:
How did you find out that you had received a Fulbright and what was your reaction?
Syd Linnell:I was having lunch with my fiancé and my best friend. I got an email while I was checking my phone. I was so surprised and thrilled, but then I decided not to tell my fiancé, so I had to abruptly leave the table because I could not act normal. My fiancé and I had studied abroad together in Maastricht, the place we will be living next year. We were both in love with the town, and it was our dream to go back. I told him later that night by bringing over stroopwafles, our favorite Dutch treat. (Linnell and her fiancé were married this summer).
Why did you decide to apply for the Fulbright and why did you choose Netherlands?
Syd Linnell:I decided to apply for the Fulbright after talking to Dean Vardaman about the amazing opportunities it provides. I chose the Netherlands because I studied abroad at the University of Maastricht and fell in love with everything about the Netherlands, Dutch culture and the university at Maastricht. Maastricht University also has one of the top international neuroscience programs.
What will you do in the Netherlands?
Syd Linnell:I am getting my master’s degree in neuropsychology from the University of Maastricht.
Why did you decide to come to Baylor for your undergraduate degree?
Syd Linnell:I came for the people. I have formed priceless relationships with faculty and friends while at Baylor; no other place could have offered the same quality and richness of a community. Also, Baylor combines academic excellence with a devotion to the Christian faith.
What are your plans after Baylor and the Fulbright?
Syd Linnell: I plan to continue on to obtain a Ph.D. in neuropsychology or attend law school.
Who are some of the Baylor faculty members who helped you in your major?
Syd Linnell:My major had the most fantastic set of faculty. They really made my experience at Baylor, and I will always feel an immense sense of gratitude toward them. Dr. Bradley Keele, Dr. Charles Weaver, Dr. Hugh Riley and Dr. Michael-John DePalma all went above and beyond, and I could never thank them enough.
Bradley Keele, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and biomedical studies: Syd is one of the finest students with whom I’ve worked. One important reason I enjoy doing science at Baylor is because of the opportunities to interact with students like her. Oftentimes, I think, students believe their role is apprentice to a faculty member. What Syd may not know is the magnitude of her positive impact on me. She is a difference-maker, transforming lives around her. Syd is endowed with a perfect trifecta of qualities: an unambiguously strong intellect, an unquenchable desire to pursue knowledge, and humility and compassion for others that is seldom surpassed. It’s very satisfying to me that a highly esteemed institution such as the Fulbright Program recognizes and honors Syd’s outstanding potential.
Charles Weaver, Ph.D., department chair and professor of psychology and neuroscience:Syd Linnell is a remarkably bright, accomplished and gifted student. Although she was a University Scholar, we adopted her in neuroscience. She completed her thesis with Dr. Brad Keele and even served as our supplemental instructor for our introduction to neuroscience class. In addition to their academic goals, Fulbright Scholars also have significant public expectations: they are expected to serve as ambassadors for their institution, discipline and even their country. The selection committee could not have selected a better representative; Syd genuinely represents the finest Baylor can offer in every respect. We are incredibly happy for her and equally proud to call her one of our own.
Hugh Riley, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the department of psychology and neuroscience:Sydney Linnell is a true standout and inspiration, not only as a student, but also as a person. She was a student in several of my undergraduate courses, and she easily and consistently established herself as the superior student in these classrooms. Later, I also served as a member of her honors reading committee, and later still, as her honors thesis advisor. Through these interactions, I know that she is a very sincere student with a true passion for learning. Not only was she a Baylor University Scholar and a National Merit Scholar, she was also a multi-semester/year recipient of Dean’s List Honors and scholarships. Moreover, she also served as a research assistant for our clinical psychology graduate program, as a research lab assistant for two of my colleagues, as our teaching assistant for our introduction to neuroscience course and as a summer research assistant for the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health. Simply but truthfully stated, Syd is remarkable and her achievements will continue to impress.
Michael-John DePalma, Ph.D., assistant professor of English: I can say without hesitation that Sydney is one of the most remarkable students that I have ever taught. She has an outstanding work ethic and a first-rate mind, and she is a friendly, engaging and passionate person. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to work with Sydney during her undergraduate years at Baylor. I am looking forward to seeing the great things that she will accomplish in the years ahead. She will no doubt be a highly influential professional who will impact many lives in transformative ways.
by Spencer Cutright, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.