Let Us Introduce You: Sidney Thompson

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Recently canonized Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said “Never be so busy as to not think of others.” For Saint Louis University senior Sidney Thompson, this isn’t just a proverb—it is a lifestyle.

This Breese, Illinois, native came to SLU two years ago to major in anthropology, while tacking on double minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Forensic Science.

Throughout her years at SLU, Sidney spent time on the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Board, the Honors Student Association and the Anthropology Club.

As a member of the Honors Program community, she lived on the third floor of Fusz, advising younger members of the Honors Program as a peer mentor. It was in this position that Sidney learned to love SLU and everything it has to offer.

At SLU, the peer mentor program consists of upperclassmen SLU students (typically former participants of the program as freshmen) who shape the first-year experience of new students through small group or one-on-one meetings and various social and academic activities.

Peer mentors are matched with first-year students of similar interests and backgrounds, and guide them through the often turbulent transition to the college lifestyle.

In her time as a peer mentor, Thompson fell in love with the community fostered by the honors program. It was on 3-Fusz that she met all of her friends, living and growing in a tight-knit group in which caring for others was a major principle.

Sidney credits this community as the most significant source of growth and support in her college years, explaining that it was on Fusz’s third floor where she “learned to be calmer, working with freshmen of all types of backgrounds. I learned to put people ahead of myself.”

However, peer mentorship comes with its challenges, and for Thompson, it hasn’t always been fun and games.

Sidney expressed that it’s not always easy to get along with everyone, and talked about the difficult task of trying to make a large group of people happy, while still managing to look out for herself and not step on anyone else’s toes.

She said, “When you come to college, it isn’t always apparent at first what people need from you. Everyone is different. Professors all want different things. Some students need more help, some need less help. It takes time to figure out what it takes to create a happy community.”

In her final year at SLU, Thompson says she has been spending most of her time working on applications to graduate school. Her end goal is to attain a Ph.D. in forensic anthropology, an ambition she has been working toward since she was 13 years old.

She hopes to be accepted into the Forensic Anthropology program at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the leading school in the field.

After grad school, Sidney plans to work in the field for an organization such as the United Nations, focusing on situations in which there are a large number of casualties, such as mass genocides. This work would consist of identifying bodies, similar to the efforts put forth following the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

Eventually, she would like to end up teaching at a university (“Hopefully SLU!” she says). She wants to establish a forensic anthropology research facility, more commonly known as a body farm, in which decomposition can be studied in a variety of settings.

As a first-generation college student, Thompson works two jobs to get through undergrad and prepare financially for graduate school, in addition to her regular course load. This, on top of the stressful and time-consuming task of applying to graduate school, has made this the busiest semester the senior has ever faced.

Still, when asked for something that no article about her would be complete without, Sidney answered, “I am very passionate about the people and things I care about. I love very hard, in a very Leslie Knope-esque way. I make sure people I care about are taken care of.”