It unfolded like it was meant to be. In a course with Hamilton Professor of Economics Erol Balkan, Hersheena Rajaram ’19 discovered an affinity for economic development. And Balkan helped her land a spot on a summer research team working with refugees in the nearby city of Utica.
The team was a Hamilton Levitt Research Group that worked with Professor of Economics Paul Hagstrom to develop a survey for refugee youth. The project examines why refugees decide to stay in or leave Utica, says Rajaram, whos intends to major in economics.
“I was very lucky and grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in research that ties in perfectly with my interest in the current refugee crisis and the refugee community in Utica, especially as a first-year student,” Rajaram says.
She envisions graduate school and then a career in economic development because she wants to understand and try to improve the economies of developing countries. Making a difference seems to be second nature for Rajaram, who is an inveterate volunteer.
She and some friends are starting a club, On The Move, which aims to expand the relationship between College Hill and local refugees. “Hamilton students tend to go to the community a lot but refugees usually don't come on the Hill. This is why we want to promote a two-way communication and collaboration between Hamilton and the refugee community,” she says.