Sydney brings a bit of the Hubbard School to Team USA.
Junior Sydney Mullaney made the national curling team in the spring of her senior year of high school, which is why she decided to come to the University of Minnesota. With the national training center located in Chaska, Minn., and the workout facility and trainer located in Eagan, Minn., going to college in the Twin Cities made good sense.
Why did you decide to pursue strategic communication? What interests you about the major? When I was younger, I told my parents I wanted to be in advertising. Over time, advertising became marketing, and as I was applying to colleges, I recognized that I was much more interested in brand imagery, and specifically digital elements, like social media presence, in corporate communications. Thus, the strategic communication major in the Hubbard School fulfills my exact interests with its broad coverage and modern approach to advertising and public relations.
Why did you decide to double major? How will they complement each other? I have always been very interested in and passionate about politics and history, so coming out of high school, a political science major was the obvious choice. As I began to think about what I wanted as a career after college, that’s when strategic communications jumped out at me. Both majors focus heavily on the media's influence. Many of the courses I’ve taken so far in both majors play off each other. A strategic communication background prepares you for success in politics just as a political background supplies you with necessary context for advertising and public relations.
What minors, internships, or activities are you pursuing outside of your majors? Outside of my major, I am a member of the CLA Student Board. As an event officer, I was able to get experience organizing virtual events during the pandemic, and as a member of the external relations committee, I have gained experience in social media strategy and content creation. Serving on the board and experiencing its processes is giving me a glimpse into the workings of the political world. I have also had the opportunity to participate in Honors Nexus experiences that force me to step out of my comfort zone and build relationships to create my network. This summer I am getting political experience working as a business liaison intern for a Minneapolis City Council candidate, and I am also holding the position of marketing intern for USA Curling to get more experience in the strategic communication field.
What is your dream job? In all honesty, I have many versions of a dream job: lawyer and politician are among them, but for right now, I’d say it is to be the President of Corporate Communications for the Boston Red Sox. I grew up an avid Red Sox fan. My dad and I went to many games every season and tying my love for sports into a career path I find inspiring would certainly be a dream.
You curl for Team USA. What do you love about the sport? My favorite thing about curling is the community. Moving away from home and traveling all the time for competitions makes it hard to rely on family, but curling has given me a new one and the bonds we share are special because the situation we are in as full-time students and full-time athletes is incredibly unique.
My time at the U has truly taught me that I am capable of much more than I realize. My first semester at the U, I competed every weekend except two and missed two weeks of classes, twice—once when competing in Scotland and again when I went to China. In addition, I took incredibly interesting classes, did very well in them, and made lasting connections with professors. Even though the school itself doesn’t recognize my athletic pursuits, there are amazing staff and professors who believe in my Olympic dream and are willing to help me get there. At the U, your experience truly is what you make of it and if you can find the right people and capitalize on the opportunities that excite you, the options are limitless.