Syntyche Dennis ’12 believes her calling is in the field of sociology after she graduates on Friday, May 11, and has shown her love for people through internships and being a Rider Bonner Scholar.
A native of Ghana, Dennis now resides in Irvington, N.J. She said when choosing a university, she was drawn to Rider because of the Equal Opportunity Program and small class sizes.
“When I got here, it was a really nice and warm atmosphere,” she said.
Dennis, a Sociology major with a minor in Law and Justice, said she has always wanted to go to law school and in the future hopes to attain that dream.
Instead of spending her time simply on coursework or an internship, Dennis took three classes, along with two internships, during her last semester at Rider. She also holds a job on campus, in the Athletics department, working in the equipment room for Athletics and helping make sure teams have their uniforms ready for scheduled games.
“It was a lot of time management and planning because I had to take public transportation,” she said.
Dennis interned with Habitat for Humanity and was a case manager for the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey. Although she said she worked “behind the scenes,” she knows the experience she gained will only help her.
At the Home Society, Dennis called clients who had closed cases to get their feedback on their experience with the program. For her internship Habitat for Humanity, she helped handle scheduling for donation pick-ups.
Dennis sought to become a Bonner after her first social work class sent her out into the field. She spent a few hours with children whose parents were attending classes.
“I worked with the infants that day,” she said. “It was fulfilling to hold the child while the child was crying and know I could calm them down. Just being able to spend time with them, even that one day, completely changed my view.”
Dennis worked with the YMCA afterschool program for a year before moving onto HomeFront for a semester.
“When I applied for the Bonner program, I knew I wanted to be at HomeFront, working with kids,” she said. “For the most part, I enjoyed staying with the infants. Sometimes they wouldn’t want you to put them down, so for the whole time I was there, I would have a child on my lap, playing. I just love being around children.”
During her time at Rider, Dennis also served as treasurer of the Sociology Club and mentored international students.
Dennis was the recipient of the Sociology Award for Social Commitment, in memory of John Clemons, at Rider’s annual Student Awards Banquet on April 28. Although she wasn’t able to attend, Dennis said she also was not expecting to be recognized.
“I thought it was a mistake,” she said. “My first reaction was that it was a mistake, it came as a total surprise.”