Mertz Science Building NYA

Alumni Profile – Sydney Garcia ’14

Alumni Profile

Sydney Garcia ’14
Scarborough, ME
Technical Manufacturing Chemist, Abbott Labs

When Sydney Garcia ‘14 arrived at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the fall of 2014she was surprised to discover that many of her engineering classmates had never played high school sports, learned how to write clearly or effectively communicate their viewpoints

“Because of my well-rounded education at NYA, I felt academically prepared for college,” said Sydney. “Compared to classmates, I could easily write an essay or handle complicated lab work with smoothness and coordination, as a result of my academic and athletic experiencesDuring my freshman year of college, I was leaps and bounds ahead of others.” 

After a family move from California to Brunswick, Maine, Sydney enrolled at NYA as a sixth-grade student. She and her brother Zachery ’07 transferred from a local Maine private school where they didn’t experience the same welcoming, inclusive community as they did at NYA. 

“When I toured NYA’s campus, I immediately liked the sense of community, the small classesand really appreciated the friendly teachers,” recalls Sydney. 

She made the most of her NYA experiencesparticipating in volleyball, tennis, softball, basketball, winter drama cluband serving on the judiciary council. Academically, she enjoyed the sciences, in particular biology. 

A pivotal moment in Mr. Smith’s eighth grade biology class led Sydney to major in biochemical engineering at WPI. “We watched a video on open-heart surgery, which I found fascinating. After the video, Mr. Smith challenged us to apply our skills and knowledge to help improve medical procedures or work on medical breakthroughs. I thought, ‘I can do that,’ and was then set on my college and professional path,” remembers Sydney. 

Unlike many classmates, she could easily write an essay or handle complicated lab work as a result of her academic and athletic experiences at NYA. As a college freshman, she was leaps and bounds ahead of her classmates.

Today, Sydney is a Technical Manufacturing Chemist at Abbott, a global healthcare leader with more than 100,000 employees in 160 countries, creating business and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals, and branded generic medicines.

“COVID-19 presented an opportunity for me to return to Maine and work in Abbott’s Scarborough lab,” said Sydney. “Early in the pandemic, Abbott developed a COVID-19 test for their ID NOW platform, a small device that can read samples and produce results within minutes. The chemical used to help read the test swabs is manufactured by my team and me at Abbott. It’s pretty amazing technology, and I’m proud my work is making such an impact.”

Since graduating from NYA, Sydney has not lost touch with her classmates and teachers. She catches up with friends around the holidays when they’re all back in Maine and stays up to date on NYA news through her mother, Diana Garcia, a member of NYA’s Board of Trustees.

She has also visited NYA classes. In 2016, when Sydney visited Mrs. Adams’ Profiles of Engineering class to share her internship work developing culturing methods to grow brain cells in three dimensional shapes rather than on a flat culture dishes for research purposes, one of the students later reached out to let her know he chose to attend WPI and pursue a career in the sciences because of her presentation. “That was a pretty cool full-circle moment,” remarked Sydney.

Alumni are invited and encouraged to share their stories and updates with the Academy by reaching out to