Scholar Spotlight | Combining my passion for policy & business

Senior Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Sydney Tomlinson told us about her cohort’s trip to Washington, D.C. and her passion for Middle Eastern policy.

What was your biggest take away from the D.C. trip?

My biggest takeaway from the D.C. trip was the importance of networking. Though the whole trip also got me excited about science and technology policy (so much so that I will be entering the tech field full-time next year as a Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte), I was really impressed by the leg work policy makers do to have their voices heard. Also, spending time getting to know my cohort made the trip really amazing.

Tell us about your meetings in D.C.

We met with all walks of Washington life on our D.C. trip, from journalists to Congressmen. CSIS was my favorite conversation, however, because William Carter was so knowledgeable about data/ tech security in relation to U.S. leadership and was able to really tie his work in Washington to what we were learning in class.

What area of policy interests you most?

Middle Eastern policy has always been a realm of interest for me due to my heritage, but my time with the Tower Scholars Program has allowed me to expand both my interest and knowledge in ways I never expected. During my time at SMU, I was able to listen to historians explain the effect of World War I on Middle Eastern conflict leading up to the Arab Spring, take a class with the former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and be placed through the TSP at Refugee Services of Texas to work with women from Afghanistan to empower them to provide for their families and build communities in their new home.

How has the TSP, and more broadly, the Tower Center, impacted your time here at SMU?

Being a part of Tower Scholars Program at SMU has been an integral part of my college experience. I came to SMU as a political science major, and after switching to business my freshman year, I found the perfect program to combine my passion for policy and business. I have had opportunities to meet and converse with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush and many other world leaders. The minor gave me an outlet to work through policy problems with my cohort and develop my policy analysis skills to apply to my business classes as well.

What advice do you have for our incoming cohort of Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars?

My biggest piece of advice for incoming scholars would be to get involved. Attend Tower Center events that interest you and take advantage of the amazing opportunity you have to work with your brilliant cohort.