Student Spotlight: Sydney Peoples

vsco5b1c0cf595368Name: Sydney Peoples

Year: Class of 2020

Major: Commerce (Marketing Concentration, Data Analytics Track) and French

Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey

Why you chose UVA: My dad went to UVA (College of Arts and Sciences ’89) so I practically grew up on Grounds. But, pretty much from day one, I decided that I didn’t want to go to UVA for that very reason. Eventually, though, during my junior year of high school, I started looking at colleges more seriously and realized that UVA was actually a school that I was interested in. And, the rest is history!!

Involvement at UVA: Outreach Student Advisory Committee, University Programs Council Marketing PR & Social Coordinator, Teaching Assistant for COMM 2000 (reach out to me with questions about the Commerce School!!)

What’s something you wish you had known during the college application/decision process? I was never too worried about the college application process. I’m a pretty firm believer in things working out in the end, so I try to – for the most part – just trust the process. I wanted to go to UVA and so I did my best to create a strong application, while still being myself. I never felt the need to ‘boost’ my resume by signing up for classes that I thought admissions officers would want to see. If anything, maybe I wish I knew a little bit more about the financial aid process, because that is still completely foreign to me.

Thoughts/feelings about diversity at UVA: As far as diversity at UVA, I think it’s a bit of, “you get what you sign up for.” I’ve known that UVA was a predominately white institution my whole life and, especially since it’s a public university, I knew that the demographics of students would reflect the overall population of America, which is mostly white. That is all changing though, as more and more people of color are joining the University community, and the overall population is skewing more diverse than in the past. I think that there is always more that can be done – but I also think that is due to the larger societal issues around diversity in the United States. Overall, I think diversity is a tricky area for the school because it is a public institution, but, especially after everything that has happened in the past two years, I think it is important and necessary for the school to continue to work towards a more inclusive and diverse landscape for all students.

Advice for incoming students? I would say be yourself and say “hi” to someone before they say “hi” to you. I am inherently shy by nature and talking to new people has never been something I’ve been comfortable with. I wish that I would have talked to more people and taken the initiative into my own hands, instead of waiting for other people to take that leap for me. I also think that sometimes people will recognize you, but worry that you might not remember the conversation you had with them the other day, so if you make it a point to reach out to them, instead of waiting for it to go the other way around you will be surprised at how many people take notice and reach out to you going forward.

Bodos order: Unpopular opinion, but I do NOT like Bodo’s. I’ll blame it on the New Jersey in me, but I really never understood the hype. The ‘Parisian’ sandwich at Corner Juice is amazing though! 10/10 recommend!

Sydney Peoples, McIntire School of Commerce, Class of 2020,


Welcome Prospective Hoos!!

Last month we welcomed almost 350 prospective students to Grounds for our Fall Blast and Fall Fling events! Today we’re going to fill you in on all the awesome activities throughout the days, via our office’s Instagram Story!

Families started filing in to Old Cabell Hall around 8:00 am for a nice breakfast before the day got started.

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Then, Black Voices, a gospel choral group on Grounds, kicked off the day with an opening song, followed by greetings from Dean of Admission, Greg Roberts.

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Next, our guest speakers Marcus Martin and Garvey Cummings took the stage. Marcus, the Vice President and Chief officer for Diversity and Equity talked all things inclusion at UVA while Garvey, a Holland Scholar, shed light on the first year experience.

Finally, our office’s very own Valerie Gregory laid out the events for the remainder of the day before presenting UVA’s 2017-2018 Year in Review video. Check out the full video here:

After a great Welcome Session, we sent our prospective students off to explore their areas of interest through dedicated Academic Information Sessions and Panel Discussions. Students were able to learn more about each respective school at the University, from Batten to Curry, McIntire, Architecture, Engineering, Nursing, and, of course, the College!

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These panels were followed by a student’s-only session hosted by Dean Gregory, outlining the ins and outs of the Admission Process. Here, students were able to get real insight into how create the best application they can – and that does not mean sending in 37 recommendation letters!

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At the same time, we had a panel for the parents called “Everything You Want to Know and are Afraid to Ask,” which focused on all things from housing to security, financial aid, and more. This is always a great session and it was clearly appreciated by those in attendance.

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Later we broke for lunch where prospective students got to eat and mingle with our Lunch Ambassadors from the Black Student Alliance (BSA). Here, students gave prospective families real, firsthand insight into the individual experiences of students, demonstrating again why this is always one of our favorite parts of the whole day.

To wrap up the day we hosted walking tours of Grounds to get prospective students familiar with all the great parts of UVA – from the Corner, to the Gardens, and of course the Rotunda.

Overall, Fall Blast and Fall Fling were huge successes. We are so happy that so many students were able to make it and we hope they found the day just as fun and productive as we did. Hopefully this can be a great starting point for the remainder of the college search process. We hope to see familiar faces next semester for our accepted students Spring Fling events. And, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have!

Until next time,

OSAC Blog Team!

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to Grounds, Hoos!! The Hoos Talking team is incredibly excited to be back and pick up where we left off in the Spring with some significant improvements. This semester, look out for new blog content every two weeks (!!!) including student spotlights – a great way to keep up with your fellow Hoos accomplishing big things around Grounds and in the Charlottesville community – as well as community updates and notices about fun upcoming events to get involved in. Get ready for another great semester and, as always, Go Hoos!!

Upcoming events:

Fall Blast and Fall Fling!! (see flyers below)

  • Join us in welcoming prospective African American and Hispanic/Latinx students and families to Grounds on September 28th and 29th. Please contact Timothy Kimble ( if you are interested in volunteering.

Spoken Word Poet: Carlos Gómez

  • September 26th at 7pm: Nau Hall 101


Please contact Jordan Kijewski ( to have your group’s events featured on the Hoos Talking Blog!

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Spring Blast

Along with Spring Fling, the Office of Undergraduate Admission / Outreach Office also hosted Spring Blast — our DOTL event for newly accepted Latinx students. During this year’s Spring Blast, current students along with the Outreach Office hosted an event called Primera Vista at UVA’s 1515 Building on the Corner. There was great food, performances by the University Salsa Club, information sessions regarding resources offered to Latinx students on Grounds, and so much more.

We’d also like to give a shoutout to Diana Villanueva, a fellow intern in our office, who handled the events pertaining to Spring Blast, this year. Diana is only a first year at UVA, but is certainly no stranger to the University. Diana is proud to say that she has “found her home at UVA,” and hopes that the Latinx students who attended Spring Blast will consider choosing UVA to be their home as well. “Spring Blast is only a taste of what UVA has to offer for the Latinx Community,” and we hope to see more of you guys on Grounds next Fall to make this University an even better place!

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Thanks again to everyone who helped and attended Spring Blast. Until next year!

Spring Fling

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This past week the Office of Undergraduate Admission / Outreach Office at UVA hosted Spring Fling, our annual event for newly admitted minority students. It was a great weekend, with nice weather and good laughs throughout. On Thursday, we welcomed the prospective students and their families to our Cookout and it was a blast! The food was amazing and we even had a DJ — our very own Lindsey Shavers ‘20.Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.34.36 PM

Overall it was a great event. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and we hope all of our prospective students had a great time. We hope to see you all next year!

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– The Outreach Team

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Exciting News from the Commerce School

rousshall450_180.pngThis month, the McIntire School of Commerce released their admission letters for the class of 2020. We reached out to three newly admitted minority students to hear about their experiences throughout the process. Check out what they had to say below:

First we talked to Thierno Diallo. Thierno came to UVa with the intention of applying to the Comm School and is planning to concentrate in IT and Finance during his time there. When he looked back over his past two years in the College of Arts and Sciences, Thierno shared that the hardest part, about the pre-comm track was maintaining a “golden” and “competitive” GPA. His advice to any students interested in applying to McIntire is to “understand that GPA is a big factor, but it isn’t everything – get involved and do the things you like!”

We also interviewed Sydney Peoples, a fellow intern in our office and a legacy student at UVA. Like Thierno, she knew from day one that she wanted to apply to McIntire. She also advises any students on the pre-comm track “to remember that grades aren’t everything. I got a C in calculus and still got into the Comm School. Join organizations and get leadership positions within them – that often speaks louder than just a letter grade.” When the application letters were released, Sydney said she was “obviously a little nervous, but I was really confident in my application and I’m really thankful that it all worked out how I’d hoped.”

Lastly, we reached out to Jannette Nguyen, a future Comm student from Houston, Texas. Jannette also knew that she “wanted to pursue the Comm school from day one,” and, though she found financial and managerial accounting to be difficult, she still wants to pursue the finance track in McIntire. She also suggested that students “be open to taking a diverse set of classes,” even if they don’t align with Comm School prerequisites. Her favorite class thus far actually isn’t commerce-related at all – it is her forum class called “Visions of the Good” which focuses on how prestigious colleges can better support students from disadvantaged communities.

In addition to the outstanding achievement of these students, and the rest of the incoming MSC class of 2020, we wanted to recognize the work of Christian West, who actively worked to increase diversity at the Comm School this year. Christian graduated from UVA undergrad, and then began working in our office of Outreach, before making the switch to McIntire this year. Christian decided to focus his mission within the Comm School because he saw “an opportunity to recruit and welcome underrepresented students” in that specific community. His favorite part about his new position is getting to work with the students and create a broader network within the McIntire community. Next year, McIntire will be onboarding an exciting, new program called the “McIntire Commerce Cohort” which will further foster community among a diverse set of pre-commerce first-year students. His advice to any prospective McIntire applicants is to engage with McIntire whenever you can to make connections and ease the transition.

Again, congratulations to the incoming McIntire School of Commerce class of 2020. We know you’ll do great things!

Michelle Alexander

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Last week, UVA students had the privilege of hearing Michelle Alexander speak about our current political climate and how to inspire change within polarized communities. The popular author, who wrote the highly acclaimed The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, addressed issues specific to the Charlottesville community, especially in response to the events of August 11th and 12th. Additionally, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax offered insight into the political actions currently in place to combat injustice and inequality both in the Charlottesville community and, more broadly, throughout the state.

Alexander’s words inspired her audience to work tirelessly to enact real, lasting change when faced with injustice. Additionally, she spoke on the root causes of social inequality and essentiality of activism, asserting that a society’s “failure to acknowledge one human rights violation in its infancy gives rise to others.”

Michelle Alexander’s insight into current issues plaguing our nation and specific intricacies of issues facing the Charlottesville community provided her audience with a united sense of hope for the future, inciting attitudes of activism that will, hopefully, lead to lasting change in the future.

Want to watch Alexander’s whole conversation? Here’s the link: