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Derrick Sylvester

BA Psychology, Class of 2014

"All the professors I’ve had have been ‘people’ people – it seems like they really enjoy working with their students."

Derrick Sylvester has major-league dreams, but he can also foresee himself holding office hours on a college campus someday.

As Sylvester prepared to graduate from SNHU in the spring of 2014, he held out hope that he might be chosen in Major League Baseball’s annual draft, opening the door to a professional career. A right-handed starting pitcher, Sylvester played four years for the Penmen after transferring to SNHU midway through his freshman year.

When asked about his most rewarding moments on the diamond, however, Sylvester chooses to discuss his involvement with a sick child. Through a program called Team Impact that matches children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, the SNHU baseball squad was paired with an 11-year-old boy named Ian whose battle with a brain tumor had robbed him of several functions, including his ability to walk.

Sylvester spearheaded the team’s interaction with Ian at the team’s practices and games while also accompanying the boy and his family to Boston’s Fenway Park for the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, which raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “I love working with kids,” he says. “To be able to work with a kid like Ian, and seeing how much fun he has when he comes to our practices and games, is super rewarding.”

A double major in psychology and sociology who was an NCAA Academic All-American in 2013, Sylvester envisions himself working with kids eventually, most likely in a school setting. And beyond that – thanks in part to his positive experiences with the SNHU faculty, he says – he’d like to earn a doctorate and become a professor.