As the daughter of an elected official, Sydney Lee is no stranger to the political realm. In fact, when she was applying to be an IGNITE Fellow, she was also running for student body president at the same time. Sydney ended up winning the student body president position by the highest margin her university had ever seen, becoming the second black person to hold that position.
Sydney has been the Wisconsin Fellow for over a year, and she believes that IGNITE came into her life at the right moment. She was losing hope in the political process after being removed from the student body president position due to factors outside of her control. Meeting the other Fellows, a group of diverse women across America who are just as passionate about politics as she is, reignited the spark within her.
During her Fellowship, Sydney hosted a Women in Power luncheon that gave young women the chance to connect with local elected officials. “One of the women who came actually ended up running for office,” shares Sydney. Providing young women with the opportunity to make connections with political leaders and other young women is something that continues to motivate Sydney to be a leader in her community.
For Sydney, one of the best aspects of the Fellowship was the sisterhood that she didn’t expect to find, but is now a part of her. “That’s going to be what I miss the most. It’s such a beautiful experience to be part of a support system of women who uplift other women,” shares Sydney.
Now that her Fellowship is coming to a close, Sydney can see how much she has grown over the past year, both as a leader and as a person. “The Fellowship really makes you reflect on who you are as a person. I’ve grown so much throughout this experience and am so much more self-aware of how present I am in any space.”
Being an IGNITE Fellow has helped shape Sydney’s career path, and she says the experience gave her clarity about her future. “I want to go to graduate school to become a counsellor. But I also want to be the bridge for young women in my community and give them the resources they need to be civically engaged.”
If you’re thinking of becoming an IGNITE Fellow, Sydney suggests to just go for it. “Take the leap. You may feel like you’re not ready for this position, but you have to trust yourself and understand that you’ll get to where you need to be.”
Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Apply today!