Knox alumna Mrinalini Chakraborty '12, national field coordinator for the Women’s March, was recently intervi...
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2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Park Forest, Illinois
Major in Economics, Minor in Business & Management
What did you do as a Mellon Fellow?
I used Mellon funding to help pay for my living costs in Madison, Wisconsin. I was a finance intern at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. My role was to help the fiscal department make sure all the departments and programs in the VA were funded properly and to make adjustments as needed. That was important because the funding makes sure that the departments are able to take care of the veterans.
How did your internship influence your future plans?
My internship influenced my future plans greatly! As an economics major, my degree opens many doors and career paths I could potentially go down. Because there are so many paths I could take, I wasn't sure of the direction I wanted to go. This internship definitely helped me narrow down my options and redefined my focus. The internship experience was lovely. I worked Mondays through Fridays, and each day varied. Some days I'd be in a lot of meetings, other days I'd help my department do reconciliations, create financial reports, and perform other accounting and finance-related tasks.
What surprised you about Knox?
How truly invested the staff and faculty are in the students' success. Like a lot of students, I've heard many stories from friends and peers who don't attend Knox about how they feel as though the faculty at their school aren't as invested in their education as they would prefer. It makes me feel lucky to have a strong support system on campus, especially as a first-generation college student.
Can you share a memorable experience and what you learned from it?
In the Spring of 2017, I was part of a StartUp Term team with two other peers and co-founded a business many Knox students may know as Fusion 5. Our team was inspired by our love for food and our lack of food options available during weekend nights. This gave me first-hand experience in how to run a business in the food industry. It also taught me how to organize and optimize an organization by making sure everyone in the team is utilizing their strengths in a way that maximizes the organization's potential. I learned the importance of having a clear vision for any organization you may run and how a lack of direction can be detrimental to your business's longevity.
What activities do you participate in on campus and how have they influenced your experience?
Between my first year and now, I have been a resident assistant and have participated in the TRIO Achievement Program, Habitat for Humanity, Business Club, Economics Club, Knox Alumni Ambassador, Disaster Corps, Union Board, and the Scene Shop in the theatre department. All these organizations and activities have shaped my experience by making me realize my strengths and weaknesses and how I can continue to improve my leadership abilities.
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