#ProfilesOfTenacity: Sydney Dangremond

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity is holding on when it would be easier to let go. Holding onto loved ones, holding onto the truth, holding onto our humanity, holding onto hope. I think the past year has served as a case study in tenacity for all of us. For a year now, without reprieve, the hits have kept on coming and weighing on our collective conscience. The ability to move through hardship, listen and learn from experts, have empathy and not become numb to the world is an incredible expression of tenacity. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Finding out I had earned a staff position at The Red & Black was probably my proudest moment this year. I was still relatively new to the paper, but had already fallen head-over-heels for the work, the people and the culture. Finding out that the feeling was mutual was really wonderful. Since then, I’ve had the honor of covering some of the biggest news stories, from the Senate runoff to the insurrection to the Wall Street squeeze. I’ve loved every minute.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’ve been a member of the Save the Manatee Club for 15 years. I did a report on them in second grade and immediately fell in love. Spring semester freshman year I had the incredible opportunity to swim with the manatees in Florida on a trip with the UGA Outdoor Recreation Center. Seeing them in the wild was definitely a high point of my college career. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Studying abroad at Oxford University completely changed my life. Not only did I get to study at one of the best universities in the world, but I also made the most incredible friends who I know I’ll stay close to for the rest of my life. 

What are you passionate about?

I love to learn, and I love to tell stories. These passions have taken many forms from curating a TEDxUGA talk to writing for The Red & Black, but both have allowed me to expand my knowledge and perspective and tell important stories to a broader audience. 

Who is your professional hero?  

I don’t know if I have any heroes, but I have a great professional respect for people who have a gift for storytelling. From Aaron Sorkin and Jon Meacham who inspire to Tina Fey and David Sedaris who elevate humor with their intelligence, and Jonathan Goldstein who is sentimental but never cloying, to Roman Mars who can make the most mundane seem fascinating, there are a number of great storytellers I admire.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Growing up, my mom told me that no matter how you squeeze an orange, the only thing that’s going to come out of it is orange juice. It’s made me consider my reactions and view them as a display of who I am rather than a result of anyone else’s actions. This advice has saved me from many a misguided text or tweet. 

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

By far the most bizarre part of starting a new job during the pandemic has been the formation of relationships entirely over the internet. I’ve made friends and communicated regularly for months with people I’ve never seen in person. Slack, you are both my enemy and my lifeline.

What is your favorite app or social media channel? 

Lately, my favorite social media has been Twitter. Obviously, I enjoy the jokes and memes, but I also think it’s a great place to join conversations about the news. Yes, misinformation is a major issue on social platforms, but sometimes I think seeing people’s reactions to the news can be just as informative as the news itself. At their best, Twitter and other platforms have opened the door to broader conversations and unique perspectives on the issues facing the world. 

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I’ve always been a sucker for the lawns on north campus, but even more so since COVID-19 struck. Over the summer, lying out on north campus, enjoying the weather and doing classwork was my favorite way to feel connected to my community in a time of significant isolation. The lawns have also provided a safe way to spend socially distant time with friends and for that, I am so grateful. 

Cat Hendrick chosen for 2019 TEDxUGA: Amplify

Tickets to TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify, can be purchased at the Classic Center Box Office between now and showtime on March 22. Tickets are $20.

For junior journalism major, Cat Hendrick, choosing a condition called “imposter syndrome” as a topic for the TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify event made sense.

This subject is not random for Hendrick. Two years ago, she suffered from imposter syndrome after receiving an opportunity to report at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

As part of the New Media Institute’s TEDx class, students are required to nominate peers for TEDxUGA. Upon nomination, Hendrick deliberated talking about her many passions in life, such as sports and mental health, before settling on imposter syndrome.

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the idea that scared me the most that was what I needed to do,” Hendrick said.

Cat Hendrick says she prepares for TEDxUGA by practicing in the mirror until she has a speech memorized. (Photo: New Media Institute)

As a 19-year-old freshman whose only experience was journalism homework, Hendrick received an email congratulating her for being a semifinalist. This exciting news eventually led to feelings of uncertainty as Hendrick discovered the other candidates were mostly juniors and seniors with experience such as writing for the Red & Black. After months of interviews, she was selected for the job.

“It suddenly occurred to me that after I got the job, I would have to do the job,” Hendrick said. “I was sure they had made a mistake in choosing me.”

Over the following months, gratitude for the opportunity shifted to feelings of crippling concern for not being qualified for the job. Hendrick stopped leaving her house, sleeping and would completely avoid talking about the Olympics.

“I convinced myself I would be a disappointment to everyone,” Hendrick said.

After missing a deadline for a short article that felt impossible to write (she describes it as the SpongeBob episode where he spends all night writing one letter), Hendrick sought out help from therapists. She was told she could be suffering from anxiety or depression, but something about her paranoia felt different.

Finally, Vicki Michaelis, director of Grady Sports, responded to one of Hendrick’s journal entries within the capstone class. Michaelis recommended researching imposter syndrome as a possibility for what Hendrick was feeling.

Hendrick hopes using her experience combating imposter syndrome for a TEDxUGA presentation will impact her audience and spread awareness of the phenomenon.

TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify will give her more time on the subject than the Student Showcase where she first presented, and she says she will work on delivery and relatable content for a broader audience.

“I [think back] to the moment of relief I had when I realized what it was and how grateful I was for the person who introduced me to imposter syndrome,” Hendrick said. “I figured if I could be that for somebody else, it will be worth the fear of being that vulnerable in front of the whole world.”


TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify will be March 22 at the Classic Center. Tickets are available at tedxuga.com.