An Eye for Mystery: Forensic Chemistry and History Major Hopes to Uncover Answers
Sydney Slack ’24 was drawn to forensic science after watching real-crime drama on TV. Now, she hopes to someday work in a museum to help uncover historic mysteries.
Sydney Slack ’24 remembers turning on the television with her mom and getting drawn into the true-crime drama that was playing out on the screen. When she realized the people working in a lab—often trying to uncover the whodunit mystery—were representing real-life careers, it opened the door to Slack pursuing STEM fields.
“I realized that what can be uncovered in the lab can help tell so many stories,” she says. “It can help solve crimes, it can determine why or how someone died, it can prevent future accidents, and it can even help us learn more about our past.”
Finding her dual major
Slack chose to attend York College of Pennsylvania after visiting eight other schools. She was impressed by the extensive chemistry labs and all the instruments that would be available to her, even as a first-year student.
She transferred numerous AP credits, almost fulfilling all of her general education requirements, leaving her schedule feeling a little sparse, she says. After her first semester, she decided to add another major: History.
Slack saw a way she could combine her love for mystery with answering real questions about what happened in the past. Many museums could benefit from someone with those dual majors, she adds, and she’s found a lot of support from faculty who have helped her find the best courses that support her future career goals.
The dual major also allowed her to change her focus from solving mysteries to helping incorporate science education outside of the traditional classroom setting. Now, she says, she has a range of career options.
“I have the opportunity to interact with a lot of interdisciplinary students,” she says. “I find that really fascinating. It always keeps it interesting for me.”
Adding to her experience
Slack has found a lot of advantages in interacting with fellow classmates at York College, many with similar goals or ambitions. It pushed Slack to help revamp The Chemistry Society, which floundered under the strain of the pandemic.
Thanks to her efforts, Slack will be president of the society this year, allowing her an opportunity to connect with other Chemistry students. Combined with being a STEM Scholar, Slack has the opportunity to connect with students across a range of programs, learning how they can all work together for a common good.
“It’s been great to make valuable connections with so many at this point in my education,” Slack says. “It’s helped make York College feel like home.”