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Student Profile: Sydney Ashton

Life as an Honors MCS Student

By: Sofia Brouse

Photo Credit: Sydney Ashton

Recently I had the honor of asking current UMBC student and MCS major Sydney Ashton some questions about her experiences in college so far, specifically as an Honors College student here at UMBC.

What is your name, your major, and when do you expect to graduate?

“My name is Sydney, I’m a MCS Major and a Sociology Minor from New York City. I’m in my senior year here at UMBC and will be graduating this Spring.”

After switching your major twice, why did you choose MCS as your major? Did anything stand out about MCS specifically?

“I chose MCS as a major because I found the curriculum really engaging and relevant considering we are living in the digital age. I also was really interested in media literacy, crisis communications, and public relations, so MCS seemed like the perfect major for me.”

How has your experience been in the Honors College as an MCS major? 

“My experience in the Honors College has been great! It’s nice being a part of a smaller community within a larger one especially since I came from a really small high school. One thing I love most about the honors college and taking honors classes is that I’m surrounded by people with different ideas and different majors. A lot of the topics we discuss in honors seminars intersect social sciences with STEM.”

Do you have any advice for future MCS majors looking to be a part of the Honors program?

“Being in the honors college has allowed me to take interesting electives that I normally wouldn’t have taken, and I’ve enjoyed all of them! I encourage people entering the honors college to take classes outside of their comfort zone/ classes that cover topics that you have no prior knowledge in, you never know what you’ll gain from it. I got my Capstone topic idea from a conversation I had in my understanding HIV/AIDS honors seminar!”

How would you describe your experience at UMBC as both a transfer student and an out-of-state student?

“It was definitely difficult to adjust to moving to a new state, especially since I had moved from New York to Virginia and then to Maryland within one year. It took a while, but I found my group of people on campus and I love living in Maryland! Joining club volleyball and being in the honors college definitely helped make the transition smoother.”

Tell me a bit about what you do outside of coursework. How do you balance your hobbies as an Honors college student?

“I love to cook and bake during my free time. Volleyball is also another one of my hobbies and I’m in the club volleyball team here at UMBC. Some weekends I take the train back to New York to spend time with my family. Oh! I also work at my boyfriend’s family’s seasonal farmers market on weekends. It’s called Jenny’s Market and it’s in west Friendship Md.

I’m a firm believer in having a good (school) work-life balance, being in the honors college means you take additional courses outside of your major and many of those classes are writing, reading, and research intensive. I recommend taking classes that sound interesting to you or taking something you genuinely want to learn more about so the extra reading and writing doesn’t feel too overwhelming.”

What would you like to do after graduation with your MCS degree?


“Post-graduation I’d like to pursue a career in Public Relations.”

Posted: November 30, 2023, 3:11 PM