Healing minds, moving bodies: care through dance therapy

Healing minds, moving bodies: care through dance therapy

Meet psychiatric nurse practitioner and dancer Sydney Robinson Phillips ’14

Photo of Sydney Robinson Phillips ’14Share a bit about yourself! What are you up to now?

I currently live in the city of Philadelphia with my husband, Jovan, and our dog, Charlie. I work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware and teach simulation labs at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. In my free time, I love running on the Schuylkill River Trail, baking, trying new restaurants in the city, and spending time with friends and family.

What are your most cherished memories from the University of Rochester?

Late-night dance rehearsals in Spurrier, painting the tunnels, attending Boar’s Head, performing a flash mob in the old Douglass cafeteria, cozy nights studying in Rush Rhees, “bring a shovel to school day,” and exploring the city of Rochester on weekends and during the summer!

How did campus life and any co-curricular involvement (clubs, organizations, teams, etc.) impact your personal and professional growth?

Extra-curriculars were a significant part of my identity at the University of Rochester (and sometimes prioritized more than academics and doing laundry). I was heavily involved in the dance department, where most of my waking moments were spent choreographing, rehearsing, or performing. I was a member of a few performing arts groups on campus as well, including Ballet Performance Group and Rochester Raas, and have made lifelong friends from these respective groups. During my sophomore year, I helped to create a dance outreach program at a local elementary school called “Dare to Dance,” which is still going strong today.

From an academic perspective, I was granted opportunities to serve as a TA within the psychology department and work as a research assistant within the Kid Neuro Lab on campus for three years. Since graduating from the University, I have been eager to combine all of my personal and professional passions (including dance, neuroscience, psychology, and medicine) into one career. Fast forward 10 years later, I am in the process of obtaining my dance/movement therapy certification, to provide more holistic-based care for my patients and families. This has been such a full-circle moment for me, especially since the certification program is led by one of my former professors at the University!

How did your experience at the University of Rochester influence your life?

The University of Rochester has helped to instill a continued sense of curiosity, drive, and passion in everything that I set out to achieve and has provided me with the tools to be an honest leader, friend, teacher, advocate, clinician, and lifetime learner.

What sparked your initial interest in volunteering with the University? What role(s) have you held?

Since I had such a positive experience throughout my four years at the University of Rochester, I knew I wanted to give back in some capacity upon graduation. After establishing roots in Philadelphia in 2016, I started to attend various University events in the city and became an alumni interviewer, for both local and domestic/international prospective students. In 2019, I was introduced to the Young Alumni Council (YAC) and have been a member of YAC ever since! I am also excited to be a part of the 10th Reunion Planning Committee this year.

What advice do you have for fellow alumni and friends who may be interested in taking a more active role in our alumni and friends’ community?

Try it out! There is no commitment that is too small – life can be chaotic, and so any type of involvement is welcomed and appreciated. Whether it be via community engagement, mentoring students, or providing admission support, there is surely something that will spark your interest.

What’s the most rewarding part of staying connected with your alma mater?

Having the opportunity to meet and develop connections with alumni across generations with diverse backgrounds.

—Amelia Sykes, Spring 2024