Four Empire Volunteers You Should Know (if You Don’t Already)

By Camille Wyss

Empire veterans can tell you that it’s the competition volunteers that make the Empire experience possible. They buzz between rounds setting up, herding scoring judges, counting ballots, serving food and cleaning up. You can always recognize a volunteer by the trademark Empire blue polo. But just who gets to wear the blue polo? Here are four Empire volunteers you should definitely get to know during your Empire experience:

Sydney Franklin: Hailing from the great state of Texas, Sydney competed with Creekview High School at Empire New York in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Sydney works as an associate for Empire, and helps with pre-competition planning and organization. Sydney is currently a sophomore at Westminster College where she is majoring in Security Studies. Whether you’re competing at Empire in New York, Atlanta or San Francisco, be sure to find Sydney. You’ll recognize her by her loud voice, big hair and blue polo.

Stefanie Mandel: Stefanie competed with Tottenville High School at Empire New York in 2010 and 2012. Stefanie is currently a junior at Emerson College in Boston, and is spending her fall 2015 semester studying abroad in Italy. Although you won’t be able to meet her in person at competitions, keep an eye out for her articles on the Bench Press.

Jessica Torriano: A Canadian volunteer, eh? Jess hails from America’s favorite northern neighbor and competed with Mentor College at Empire New York in 2011. Jess also works as an associate with Empire and assists the staff throughout the year with competition preparation. Jess is currently a student at McMaster University in Ontario, where she is studying history and political science with the hope of attending law school. If you’re heading to Empire San Francisco, be sure to find Jess and ask her any and all of your questions about Canada.

Camille Wyss: Camille is a California native and competed at Empire New York in 2012 and 2013 with Dos Pueblos High School. Camille volunteers as a writer for the Bench Press and also assists the Empire staff as a development associate. Camille is currently a sophomore at Occidental College in Los Angeles where she has yet to declare a major. If you are one of the chosen few who will be attending Empire San Francisco, look for Camille. She will be donning a blue Empire polo and most likely handing you a program or yelling at you to get to your round on time.


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