19-year-old set to graduate from Miami University Regionals with bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
Fairfield graduate credits College Credit Plus program, faculty for helping chart her path
Making the transition to college can be difficult regardless of age. Imagine making it when you’re 17 and entering your junior year of high school.
"The College Credit Plus experience showed me that I could succeed in college. It gave me better insight into class management, networking, and building friendships," Sydney Ring said. "It can function as a great learning experience, both socially and educationally. It can help you figure out if a field is truly your passion, give you insight into the operations of the college, and allow you to build friendships."
That insight, coupled with hard work and dedication, will allow the West Chester resident to graduate in May at the age of 19 from Miami University Regionals with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
The CCP program allows Ohio high school students to simultaneously earn both college and high school credit prior to high school graduation. While a student at Fairfield Senior High School (she graduated in 2021), Ring earned 28 credit hours toward her Miami degree. She added 11 more the following summer, earning an A in every single class along the way.
"The CCP program can become very intimidating, especially with navigating the operations of Miami University Regionals and the lofty expectations that both my high school teachers and professors held for their students," Ring said. "However, some professors I encountered and established professional relationships with helped alleviate those feelings and made the experience enjoyable."
Daniel Hall, professor in the Department of Justice and Community Studies, praised Ring, calling her a mature and dedicated student.
"Sydney doesn’t miss deadlines, is an excellent writer, regularly participates in class, and is inquisitive," he said. "She has taken several classes with me, including an independent study where she assisted in the development of a literature review for a research investigation."
Two experiences helped cement Ring’s desire to attend law school after a gap year. The first, a mock court project, allowed her and a partner the opportunity to defend a mock case that was on the U.S. Supreme Court docket. Even though Ring and her partner didn’t agree with the position they were assigned to defend, they spent significant time crafting their argument and an appellate brief.
"Sadly, the mock case resulted in the same result as the U.S. Supreme Court decision, which was announced prior to us presenting," Ring said. "However, I think the experience will help me upon graduation because it taught me about resilience and the importance of having a positive attitude and putting effort toward every task in life."
The second opportunity came when Ring had the chance to dine with an exoneree as part of Miami’s Chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project. Housed at the University of Cincinnati's College of Law, the project’s goal is to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone.
"It was a privilege to hear their story, but more importantly, it gave everyone a chance to get to know them as human beings, without any labels," she said. "It underscored the importance of treating everyone with kindness because we do not know their life story. These are lessons I will carry forward after graduation in my everyday life as well."