Sydney entered the doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures in the fall of 2022 after receiving a master's degree from the REECA program. Her research interests include the politics of historical memory, film and literature of the Second World War, as well as language policy in the former Soviet Union. 

She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2017 with a degree in Russian. As a Boren Scholarship recipient, she studied at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 2017–2018.