Student spotlight: Dylan Sirdofsky

Goodbye. Adios. Au Revoir. Arrivederci. No matter how you say goodbye, it doesn’t make it any easier. Dylan Sirdofsky, the Sonoma State STAR’s Editor-in-Chief and beloved friend will be retiring his duties and moving on to the “real world.”

Sirdofsky joined the STAR back in 2013 as a staff writer and became Editor-in-Chief in Fall 2014. This year, the Sonoma State STAR overcame some obstacles, achieved new highs and learned to work together like a well-oiled machine.

Growing up, Sirdofsky hadn’t always been the type to take on leadership roles like he did on the STAR. He always wished he could fill the headman position, but never thought it was in the cards. 

It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that he took the leap of faith that made him realize his potential.

 “My senior year of high school was really a big deal for me because I had this basketball class four days a week. It was a lot of work and then I ended up trying out for the team,” said Sirdofsky. “I went through six weeks of conditioning, two days of tryouts, until I got cut. I learned a lot through that and I realized I had an interest in sports and basketball. It took me a while to step out of that comfort zone, and that didn’t happen until I joined the STAR, and then the following semester when I joined the editorial board.”

Most people don’t typically realize their potential until others bring it to their attention. Sirdofsky's choice to become the leader he is today was a shock for himself as well as his friends.

 “When Dylan told me he was going to be Editor-in-Chief, I was surprised,” said Brennan Chin, STAR editorial board member and Sirdofsky’s best friend. “Knowing Dylan previously, I would have not expected him to take on such a big leadership position. However, he has thrived in this position and I have seen tremendous growth in him as a person and as a leader. I am proud of his accomplishments and I feel this experience at the STAR will open up numerous opportunities for him post-graduation.”

Aside from running the University’s student-run newspaper, Sirdofsky’s accomplishments have gained acknowledgement on a larger scale. Just this year, he was awarded the 2015 Phillip N. McCombs Scholarship. 

The scholarship committee started off with 16 candidates, then narrowed it down to 10, and finally gave the scholarship to the final five students most worthy of the title.

The lucky five students are involved in either journalism, media or communications related programs who also achieved high academic status.

In addition to his outstanding academic achievements, Sirdofsky has proved that he excels in the workplace as well.

For the Spring 2015 semester, he has served as a communications intern at the Northern California Coastal Region of the American Red Cross. 

Here he served as a public relations aficionado, having mastered communicating with contacts via e-mail, making follow up calls and doing a lot of writing and editing, similar to what he did for the STAR. His biggest project has been working on the 2015 Real Heroes Breakfast.

“It’s a way to commemorate and highlight 10 different people in different categories such as military, heroic deed, rescue professional and education. I’ve helped write summaries and helped create content for our program booklet,” said Sirdofsky. “The booklet has sponsor advertisements, summaries for each of these people and all sorts of information for the event itself. So that’s been kind of my main project.”

Those working closely with Sirdofsky have seen firsthand his exceptional work ethic and passion for what he does. 

“Dylan is a very efficient worker. He takes direction very well but also takes the time to ask questions if he isn’t clear on a task,” said the American Red Cross Regional Marketing Program Manager and Internship Manager Pooja Trivedi. “He’s able to juggle several tasks at any given time while managing all of his activities outside of this internship as well. It was apparent that he would take feedback he had received from our weekly check-ins and implement them in a constructive manner.”

Hearing positive feedback from your peers and colleagues can provide the boost needed  to flourish, but hearing it from loved ones can be argued to have a greater impact. 

“Like so many things with Dylan, when he decides to do something, he really commits himself. He uses his perfectionist qualities in a positive way,” said his mother, Cindy Sirdofsky. “I have seen so many changes in Dylan, but perhaps the most extraordinary is his leadership and people skills. He really communicates with other staff members, faculty and people in general, in a clear, yet empathetic manner. I think because he had been raised to believe in the value of diversity, particularly in opinion.” 

When asked who inspires him to keep going and set an example for others, there was no hesitation as to who that person was.

“I would say my mom is the first person that comes to mind. We’ve both had to go through our hardships in life,” said Sirdofsky. “She’s been 27 years sober and knowing what she’s gone through and sacrificed to make a life for me and try to make me the happiest person I could be inspires me everyday.”

Over the past five semesters, Sirdofsky has become a key member of the STAR and has made a great impression over that time. 

“I’m going to miss all the friends I’ve made and the people that have had a great influence in my life,” said Sirdofsky. “I’ve seen so many people come and go and I’ve seen the development of the paper itself grow tremendously since Paul Gullixson has taken over as our advisor. Our level of professionalism and integrity that we put into the paper has grown and it’s amazing to see that and how it’s changed since I first started and before Paul came along. I’m really just going to miss that aspect of being a part of a team of people trying to do their best every week and improve and grow together.”