As vice president of the Syracuse University Student Association (SA), Darnelle Stinfort ’22 regularly navigates a variety of constituents—including students, administrators, faculty and community leaders—to facilitate SA goals.
Those include a successful initiative to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms across campus, helping progress the University’s sustainability goals and working toward instituting a campus-wide volunteer requirement, an effort that’s been waylaid due to the pandemic.
“Working in this role has allowed me so many opportunities, including serving on the University Senate Committee for Budget and Fiscal Affairs,” she says. “It’s very cool to understand an aspect of the University that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see or be part of,” she says.
Although she never served on SA prior to her leadership role, Stinfort says she’s benefitted greatly from the mentorship of Don C. Sawyer III ’08, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Quinnipiac University.
“He’s been particularly helpful in terms of working with administration,” she says. “He’s provided a different perspective and advice on how to compromise to get things accomplished.”
Alumni mentorship is just one benefit Stinfort says she’s experienced as part of the Our Time Has Come Scholarship program. An OTHC scholar since her sophomore year, Stinfort is honored to be a recipient of a David Bing ’66 Scholarship. She says OTHC has provided a tremendous support system, both financially and personally. “It helps to have students who are going through the same struggles that you can talk it out with in a communal setting,” she says. “Also, having Maria and Angela there to support us has really enhanced my experience.”
Stinfort, from Quincy, Massachusetts, was attracted to Syracuse University by its interdisciplinary biotechnology program, which incorporates coursework in the sciences with engineering and law. “Syracuse was the only school I applied to that had a biotechnology major,” she says. “It appealed to me because it exposes me to a variety of topics and fields while showing how they are interconnected.”
It’s a fitting major. Stinfort wants to be a physician, but she’s also interested in health policy. “In order to advance medicine, we need to reform health policies as well,” she says. She’s currently applying to one-year pre-med grad programs to bolster her medical school applications and help prepare for the MCAT.
Outside of the classroom, Stinfort has had hands-on experience conducting undergraduate research at the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, working under the direction of doctoral students in the lab of Mary Beth Monroe, assistant professor of biomedical and chemical engineering. Stinfort’s projects included testing anti-microbial hydrogels to treat Crohn’s disease fistulas and studying shape memory polymers used for hemorrhage control to characterize their process of degradation.
In addition to research, Stinfort participated in the WellsLink Leadership Program and has been active in the Biotech Society and the Haitian American Student Association, serving as historian, event manager and co-social media chair. It was while serving as a campaign manager for a friend running for SA vice president in spring 2020 that she met David Bruen ’23, who was then board of elections chair. “The following January, he told me he was running for president and asked me to be his running mate,” she says. They ran unopposed and will serve through the 2021-22 academic year.
“The pandemic continues to pose challenges for students and has curtailed some of our goals, but this continues to be a great experience,” Stinfort says.
To support students like Stinfort, please give to the Our Time Has Come Scholarship Program.