January 22, 2019

Taking a Stand

Sydney is gaining invaluable real-world experience at UWS with an internship at the District Attorney’s Office, a Newman Civic Fellowship, and volunteering with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA).

Sydney is gaining invaluable real-world experience at UWS with an internship at the District Attorney’s Office, a Newman Civic Fellowship, and volunteering with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA).

Sydney Mastey’s heart for advocacy and community service made her a perfect fit for the Newman Civic Fellowship.

Sydney Mastey (’19 Legal Studies) knew she wanted to be a lawyer when she was just 11 years old.

“I’ve always been a passionate person and I want to be able to stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves,” she said.

Her articulate and determined nature began at a young age, but it wasn’t until she arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Superior that she found her calling. After completing an Academic Service-Learning project her freshman year with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA), Sydney became a volunteer with the organization, helping coordinate events and programs to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence and engage the community.

“It just struck a chord with me,” she said. “Women spend their entire lives having to withstand injustices and inequality, and then some are further disrespected through abusive relationships or assault. I think it’s important that people stand up for them, and I want to be one of those advocates.”

Newman Civic Fellow

Sydney’s volunteer and advocacy efforts combined with her outstanding academic achievement caught the attention of one of her legal studies professors, Leslie Dollen, who recommended to Chancellor Renée Wachter that she be nominated for Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellowship. Sydney was chosen from an elite pool of students to be part of the national network of engaged student leaders.

Sydney at Newman Civic Fellows national convening

“Sydney Mastey has a strong heart for advocacy and community service,” said Maria Cuzzo, legal studies and criminal justice program coordinator. “From her earliest days at UW-Superior, she wanted to meaningfully engage with the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community. She was committed to providing her talents, skills and service in ways that would help people going through the hardest struggles of their lives. That heart of service combined with her phenomenal intellectual and emotional intelligence and natural flair for leadership, made her the perfect nominee for the Newman Civic Fellowship.”

The Fellowship recognizes and supports students who are committed to developing strategies for social change and solving societal problems. Each fellow chooses an issue of inequality or injustice to address and work toward positive change.

In November, Sydney travelled to Boston to participate in the Newman Civic Fellowship National convening. Nearly 200 fellows from across the nation were there to learn about civic leadership and advocacy, discuss topics of concern, and brainstorm ways to make a positive difference.

“It was very energizing to be around so many other students who are striving for social change,” she said. “It was a welcoming and trusting environment. Many issues were represented, such as hunger, homelessness, gender issues, environmental concerns, and so much more.”

Sydney’s trip to Boston wasn’t all pleasure, however. While there, she took the LSAT, the entrance exam required for law school.

A course for justice

“I plan to go to law school when I graduate next fall, and the conference overlapped with the testing dates, so I decided to take it while I was there,” she explained.

Sydney, who grew up and attended high school in Becker, Minn., said she chose UWS after speaking with Cuzzo and learning about the unique and hands-on aspects of the legal studies program.

“I’ve absolutely loved my college experience at UWS,” said Sydney. “I’ve had some of the most phenomenal female mentors such as professors Maria Cuzzo, Leslie Dollen and Allison Willingham. I’ve also had many opportunities for in-depth research and self-discovery, such as this fellowship and my summer internship with the District Attorney’s Office. It’s truly been amazing.”

Sydney has no intent of ending her quest for justice for victims of domestic and sexual assault when she graduates. She hopes to become a prosecutor and begin her career in family law at a women’s shelter or similar nonprofit organization.

“It was my privilege to nominate Sydney for the Newman Civic Fellowship,” said Wachter. “She is a shining example of the many outstanding students here at UW-Superior who are committed to applying their education, skills, and talents to make a positive impact on the world.”

Opportunities for hands-on learning inside and outside of the classroom are hallmarks of a UW-Superior education. Within coursework, students are given ample opportunities for community-based learning through Academic Service-Learning, internships, and undergraduate research experiences. Outside of the classroom, volunteering opportunities are offered through the Athletics Department, the Office of Student Involvement, and many student clubs and organizations.



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