St. Olaf has a proud history of success with the scholarship. Rhodes Scholar Decker Walker, Jr. '04 advised Sinykin via e-mail about the final selection process. In 2000, Katherine R. Larson won a Rhodes Scholarship, too.
Sinykin began the application process by replying to an e-mail sent out last spring to a group of students with high grade point averages. This fall, he continued the process and made it to the state interview.
Though he did not win a Rhodes Scholarship, Sinykin still felt honored to have been considered.
"I decompressed and for the first time in the week I could really sleep," Sinykin said.
Sinykin said that the application process was a memorable learning experience.
"I spent a week meeting brilliant people at cocktail parties and being interviewed," he said.
Sinykin mentioned the friendly and noncompetitive nature of St. Olaf students, and the attention that the college gives to individuals.
"[It's] not about being the most driven academic person; it's about being a complete person," Sinykin said. "St. Olaf does a good job of creating contributing members of society."
Jeanine Grenberg, Associate Professor of Philosophy and faculty advisor for the Rhodes Scholarship, said, "Of all my teaching experiences, this one was most like being a mother in the respect that I felt a strong emotional connection to the process."
Sinykin will spend next year in the great north woods of Minnesota near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He plans to read Plato, Shakespeare, Kierkegaard and Hedger and follow "wherever [my writing] takes me."
Sinykin has been a camp counselor at the YMCA Camp DuNord in northern Minnesota for several years.
"[Dan] is not just a thinker; he's someone who can haul around a 50-pound canoe," Grenberg said. "[Throughout the process] he didn't collapse under pressure. He could just be himself."
Sinykin is triple-majoring in English, philosophy and mathematics, and is co-chief editor of on-campus publications The Reed, The Quarry and The Hill.