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Rani Doyon '08 Working as Finance Intern with SYDA Foundation

By Lisbeth Redfield
Posted August 6, 2007
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Working in a field where she can use her major is a summer job dream-come-true for Rani Doyon '08 of South Falls, N.Y. This summer, Doyon is an intern in the finance department of the SYDA Foundation -- an experience she said was vastly superior to her work last year in a Utica insurance agency.

Doyon was one of more than 20 Hamiltonians who received college funding to participate in a summer internship. Work experience is becoming more and more necessary for college students but many opportunities are unpaid and require students to fund their own housing and living expenses as well as working for free.

Thanks to alumni and parent donations, Hamilton students can apply for funding to support them while they work in a field of interest with an organization that cannot pay them. Though Doyon works in an unpaid internship, she received a stipend from the Monica Odening Student Internship and Research Fund in Mathematics, a competitive grant which is awarded to one or two students every year by the Hamilton math department in order to pursue an off-campus study opportunity (or, this year, internship) in mathematics.

The SYDA Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1974 with a goal to protect, preserve, and disseminate Siddha Yoga philosophy and culture. The Foundation works within the framework of a long-range vision to maintain all aspects of the Siddha Yoga path and preserve it as a dynamic spiritual path, now and for generations to come.

Doyon, the only intern, works mainly on a project which aims to analyze the financial efficiency, in terms of price, attendance, and revenue, of various teaching projects the Foundation has offered over the last 25 years. She is currently compiling all her data on Excel but the hard part, Doyon explained, is not collating the data but gathering them in the first place. The data have been collected in different ways over a long period of time by a changing volunteer workforce; "for the first two weeks, I spent my time tracking down all the data and finding people who knew where it was," Doyon wrote in a progress report to the Career Center.

It was hearing about Hamilton's funding opportunities for unpaid internships that attracted Doyon to her job. Her parents are involved with the work of the Foundation and Doyon explained that "I've grown up as a part of this organization." Aware that she could apply for funding, Doyon approached the Foundation's director of finance about a position. "It does do a lot of good," Doyon said of the Foundation and praised its ability to "uplift people's lives."

Doyon is enjoying her work this year because it allows her to work in a field related to her mathematics major. She is also pleased that her project is so heavily statistics-based, as she will be taking a senior seminar in statistics fall semester. She explained that the work was significantly increasing her knowledge as well as honing skills she had already learned, such as how to spot and deal with faulty data.

After admitting that she "stumbled upon the opportunity" to get internship funding, Doyon encouraged other students to take advantage of the chance to pursue internships. "Just go for it," she advised. "It's a great opportunity."

-- by Lisbeth Redfield

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