Countdown to Commencement 2023: Sydney French

February 27, 2023

Biology major Sydney French is the next member of the Class of 2023 to be featured in the “Countdown to Commencement” series. French was nominated by Dr. Robert Enck, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Physics.

As captain of the women’s volleyball team, member of the Empire 8 First Team, recipient of the Torchbearer Award for the Empire 8 tournament (athlete with the highest GPA), a student researcher, and more, French’s work and dedication toward success has not gone unnoticed on campus.

“Sydney has been instrumental in developing the sports science team,” Enck said. “This is a new program that was developed to assess athletes to help with improving performance and preventing injuries through the use of force plates, VERT sensors, direct video analysis, video software, and motion detectors. She has been a role model to other student-athletes on how to balance athletics and studies at a Division III school.”

During summer 2022, Enck and French began research on injury prevention, which has led them to exciting discoveries in the field of mental health and athletics. Enck knew the two would work perfectly together given French’s major, interests in athletics, and extensive study guides from her time in a general physics course he taught earlier that year. As a research team, Enck provides the physics perspective as the instructor and French provides the biology and student point of view as the course learning assistant.

“As we were using these force plates and working with the women’s volleyball team, other teams started seeing what we were doing and then they wanted to participate,” French explained. “Dr. Enck and I have disturbed the water. It has shifted from ripples to waves, to a tsunami really fast with our work and I’m excited to see where we head next.”

As of today, the research team is working with women’s volleyball, men’s volleyball, baseball, and men’s lacrosse, among other Fisher athletes. Even after French graduates, she hopes to see her work with Enck continue and hopes that it can benefit student-athletes and researchers just as it did for her.

“I am sure Sydney will be successful in her future endeavors. Whether she goes to graduate school or starts working in the sports science field right after graduation, her intelligence, creativity, and athleticism will allow her to have a meaningful and positive impact,” said Enck.