Each semester, the UNF Alumni Association selects a graduating senior for outstanding service to the University and community through volunteerism. The recipient of the Senior Service Award for the Summer 2020 graduating class is Sydnie Steele. She is from the College of Arts and Sciences and has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a minor in Leadership.
While excelling in academics with a GPA of 3.96, Steele also exhibits a tremendous dedication to UNF ambassadorship. Her willingness to serve the Jacksonville community for the betterment of others, rather than for personal recognition, spotlights her volunteer spirit and desire to make a difference.
In 2017, the same year she began attending UNF, Steele had already developed a service-oriented lifestyle. She volunteered to help individuals at the Fleet Landing Retirement Community and coordinated canned food drives for the Project Life Movement. These experiences taught her how simple acts of kindness can make a difference for people of any age and socioeconomic status.
Shortly after she started at UNF, she was invited to become a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joined the ‘You Can Play’ initiative advocating for an inclusive athletic environment on behalf of individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities. In addition, Steele remained as a member of the Criminal Justice Club, and, in Fall 2019, she enrolled in UNF’s Taylor Leadership Institute. The Institute paved the way for her to join the Collegiate Achievement Mentoring Program (C.A.M.P.).
Through C.A.M.P. Osprey, Steele visited the River City Science Academy on a weekly basis to mentor ninth graders. She took time to share valuable insights on the college experience and encouraged students to realize their full potential through continued learning. After a newly formed partnership between UNF’s Taylor Leadership Institute and the Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville (RMHC), Steele became one of only six UNF students chosen to work with young children battling cancer. This experience further helped her develop an appreciative perspective on life.
Throughout Sydnie Steele’s tenure at UNF, she volunteered for a variety of impactful organizations while standing out in a competitive academic program. She will certainly continue making a difference in the lives she touches. Her passion, compassion, leadership and empathy make her an asset to UNF, the Jacksonville community and the world. UNF is proud and honored to welcome her to the Osprey alumni family.