Through athletics, art and academics, Cal U sophomore Sydney Urbine makes her mark.
Canceled pool seasons gave lifeguard Sydney Urbine some free time this summer.
The Cal U sophomore has made the most of it, reigniting her lifelong passion for art, discovering an additional career skill and helping others along the way.
“My plan was to become an elementary school teacher, but because of all the positive feedback I have received on my artwork, I am now considering getting an art degree as well,” said Urbine, who is majoring in childhood education.
For the past several summers, she worked as a lifeguard at Pine Cove in Charleroi, Pa., and at Hamer Hall during camp seasons. With those opportunities canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Urbine turned to art.
“Art, sports, and teaching are a neat and valuable trio of skills; they coincide in an interesting way,” said Urbine, who also is a member of the Vulcans women’s cross country team.
“I hope to take those skills into my teaching career and express the importance of creativity as well as being active in daily life.”
As a member of the youth group at St. Peters Church in Brownsville, Pa., Urbine also volunteers as a kindergarten and first-grade religious education teacher.
Recently, one of Urbine’s former students, 10-year-old Olivia Sealy, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Her mother, Shannon Sealy, is the church’s business manager, and her father, Ron Sealy, is the facilities manager at Cal U’s Roadman Park and athletic fields.
Through her Urbine Connections site, she conducted a fundraiser for the family. Winner Brooque Williams, a former women’s basketball standout and Cal U graduate, will receive an 8x10 custom painting of a garden tiger moth.
“I have always had a drive to help others with every opportunity I can get, whether it's at church or assisting a classmate or teammate,” Urbine said.
“I feel connected with the Sealy family in many ways, and I wanted to use my platform to help raise funds to assist the family with their extraordinary expenses.”
Last fall, Urbine helped the women’s cross country team earn U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team honors for the 11th-consecutive season.
She was one of four Vulcans who received individual All-Academic laurels from the organization.
Urbine’s first year was memorable, and she praised head coach Daniel Caulfield and his coaching staff for her development, as well as her teammates for their support.
“My teammates are some of my best friends on and off the track,” she said. “As a commuter, I was worried I would be missing out on much of the collegiate life, but it has been the complete opposite. We have team gatherings, lots of team discussions and team dinners.
“We are a very close-knit group of friends who always have each other's back when needed.”
Cal U Connections
A graduate of nearby Bethlehem-Center High School, Urbine attended pre-K classes in Cal U’s Morgan Hall. Her mother, alumna Susan, is a longtime assistant professor in what is now the Department of Computer Science, Information Systems and Engineering Technology.
Her father, Shawn, is a retired associate dean in the Office of Student Affairs.
Her older siblings Shane and Shelby both have bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal U, where they were both involved with the marching band.
“I love Cal U, have been around the campus my whole life, and my family has helped me understand the importance of education, which inspires me to become an educator someday,” Urbine said.
As she keeps in shape and enters the fall semester, Urbine continues to run her art business. Her next project is a painting of Pittsburgh stadiums.
Whether she’s running, painting, studying, volunteering or helping someone in need, Caulfield knows the student-athlete will continue to excel and make an impact.
“Syd is a fantastic representative of Cal U in many ways, and the fundraiser clearly highlights one of her many attributes,” he said. “Not only is she a great student, athlete and artist, she is also driven to better herself and those around her.
“Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing her progression in the coming years.”