As a sixth grader, Cyndi Smyser was first introduced to Uni by her middle school teachers who recognized her discontent with attending a public middle school. That year, she applied for Uni and was accepted. Smyser recalls that her first year at Uni was terrifying. But as time went on, she realized that she had no reason to fear Uni.
Smyser believes that it was Uni’s culture that allowed her to blossom. Uni’s no-cut athletics policy prompted her to join the basketball and track teams, something she would never have done had she attended any other high school. On the track team, Smyser discovered her aptitude for running and ran at the state track meet all four years of high school.
In school, Smyser’s most memorable class was Mr. Dave Stone’s Biology class, and she feels honored to teach Biology at Uni after his retirement. She also has fond memories of the Senior Debates that occurred the second semester of her senior year English class. These debates taught her important research and writing skills.
After graduating Uni in 1992, Smyser attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Illinois State University for her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. After working as a mental health therapist, she returned to university for a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a focus on science education. Since then, Smyser has taught at several high schools and currently teaches Introductory Biology, Pre-Medical Professions, Organismal Biology and Environmental Sciences at Uni.
Interview with Ms. Cyndi Smyser