Danielle Kraidin ’21 has a self-designed major in behavioral economics and hails from Millstone Township, N.J. She spent last semester studying abroad in Paris until the program concluded early due to COVID-19. At this spring’s Hoff Awards, she received the Emerging Leader Award. Last fall, she helped organize the Office of Sustainability’s pop-up thrift shop and Gateway Career Center’s Fashion Networking Panel. You can hear her sing several songs on her YouTube channel.

What did you experience during your study abroad?

I got to achieve many of my dreams from studying abroad in Paris. I knew Fashion Week would be going on, first in January for Haute Couture Spring/Summer and again in late February for Women Fall/Winter. I had always wanted to attend Fashion Week, so I reached out to every email I could find on the Fashion Week website to see if I could attend, and I got some responses. I attended two shows and was beyond excited. I even saw one of the shows I went to appear in the newspaper the next day! This was for the January shows. For the February shows, I guess I was put on an email list because I got personally invited to cocktail openings and fashion shows without emailing anyone. I got to experience these opportunities, and the highlight of it all was that I was personally mailed an invitation and got to sit in the front row at one of the shows!

In addition to the fashion shows and events, I got to explore so much of Paris and am now very familiar with most of the city, as well as the Metro. I also immensely improved my French-speaking ability, which is something I really wanted to do. I felt like I fit right into Paris and felt like a true Parisian. I also made an effort to attend Shabbat dinners and services and explore some of the Jewish quarters of the city. I met a lot of great people, and I felt that in the two months I was there I got to do and accomplish so much.

How did you feel about having it cut short?

I feel that I made the most of my time in Paris, so I was not that upset. Of course, it was a shame, but I didn’t look at the situation as “I’m leaving so much earlier than I was supposed to and I could have done so much,” but rather “There was so much that I did get to do, and I am so happy with what I have done.” Now I get to look forward to going back and doing the things I wanted to do when things go back to normal.

What was it like doing remote learning at home for the rest of the semester?

Once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad. The experience was different from my friends who were taking classes at Lafayette because I was studying abroad, so there was a six-hour difference between my professors and me since they were located in Paris, France. For this reason, I watched the recording for most of my classes since they were usually taught very early in the morning for my time zone, so I would watch them later in the day.

How did you line up your summer internship? What are you doing for it?

I am interning with Novità, an integrated marketing and communications agency that caters to the architecture and design industry in North America, Italy, and beyond. The founder of Novità is a Lafayette alum, so the opportunity was posted through the Gateway Career Center, which is how I found it. I am learning more about what a marketing agency does and how it builds and maintains strong relationships with clients. I have had various projects so far: I have spearheaded an email blast, I have been responsible for managing and driving traffic to the Pinterest account for one of our clients, and I have assisted with clip reports and other social marketing projects. I have enjoyed interning with Novità as I have gotten to learn more about the industry and have had the opportunity to use my marketing skills.

How else are you spending your time this summer?

I am part of the MADE program (Marketing and Advertising Education), and through the program, I attend weekly marketing talks which cover consumer behavior, the industry pre and post COVID-19, different areas of marketing and advertising, and the career paths of the speakers. In addition, I have signed up for a mentoring program through MADE. I have also signed up for a marketing course through the program that covers many different areas of marketing, such as consumer insights, brand building, digital marketing, and data analytics. In addition to my remote internship, I wanted to use the summer as a way to increase my knowledge of marketing.

I have also been keeping up with maintaining my abilities in speaking and understanding French and Spanish through shows, books, and friends, doing workouts through YouTube videos, singing, writing songs, and reading.

What drives your interest in networking? What makes you flourish with it?

I think one key to success is learning about the experiences of successful people and about their career paths and how they got to where they are today. I started becoming involved in the Gateway Career Center my freshman year because I thought it would be a good idea. They informed me about the importance of networking, so I decided to try it at various events. Well, the more I did it, the more I enjoyed learning about other people’s career paths and the advice they shared. I then discovered other ways to network, such as through alumni email lists, events in New York and Philadelphia, and LinkedIn.

A benefit from networking with so many people is they share advice that you may have never thought of, which can end up introducing you to new people. One person told me to try mock interviews, which I hadn’t considered until then. Through this, I networked with someone who had a high position in his field, and he introduced me to the president of a major retail group, who I ended up meeting in New York, and it was a great experience and networking opportunity.

Networking over the years has also inspired me to reach out to Jason Feifer, the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. Originally, I asked if he would have the time to speak with me so I could learn more about his career path because I admire him so much. Instead, he asked if I wanted to interview him for an episode on his podcast so many people could learn about his career path. During quarantine, I have made sure to continue networking so I can continue meeting new people and learning from them. Overall, networking has helped improve my interviewing skills as well as not being afraid to reach out to strangers.

How do you want to use what you're learning in behavioral economics in the future?

I came into Lafayette thinking I might want to major in economics, even though I did not know too much about it. After taking an introductory course, the one takeaway I had was that in economics, there is the assumption that consumers behave rationally when making purchasing decisions, which is not usually the case. Alongside taking psychology and sociology courses, I knew that there are many psychological and societal forces that come into play when making decisions. Over time, I discovered that I was really passionate about the behavioral side of economics and what influences consumers to behave the way they do and make decisions. I then sought to create my own self-designed major titled behavioral economics, which includes the psychology, sociology, and economics departments. I am also very interested in marketing, which I feel connects really well to behavioral economics. I hope to use my major and apply it to something marketing-related. I am not sure right now what in marketing I would like to do, but I am using this summer through my internship, marketing course, and networking to get a better idea. Whatever I do, I want to use my knowledge in consumer behavior.

What's it like singing the National Anthem at Family Weekend?

It was such an amazing feeling and experience. The days leading up to the event were nerve-racking, but on the day of the performance, as the hours were getting closer, I was really looking forward to it because I knew I was prepared and singing is something I love to do. Singing the National Anthem at the Family Weekend football game was the biggest crowd I have performed in front of as there were hundreds of people in the stands. I had so much fun singing in front of a big crowd, and when I finished, I was overjoyed that I did it, and knowing that my family and friends were there watching and supporting me made me even happier. After this performance, I was asked to sing at many of the basketball games. This was such a great experience because this eased me into performing in front of other audiences. The more I performed at the games, the easier performing and singing without being nervous got for me.

Who are one or two professors who have really made an impact on you?

Professor David Shulman of the Anthropology and Sociology Department has had a huge impact on me. I took my FYS class with him, and I think this is what pushed me to discover and pursue my major, behavioral economics. The class had to do somewhat with consumer behavior; the topics he discussed were things I had not really heard of, but I became very interested in them. I took two other classes with Professor Shulman: Introduction to Sociology, and the Sociology of Consumerism & Marketing. These two courses have given me a strong foundation for understanding what it is I am studying and am passionate about. Professor Shulman has also been one of my academic advisers and has given great advice, has served as a wonderful mentor, and I feel that he really believes in and supports me.

Professor John Shaw of the Psychology Department is another professor who has had a huge impact on me. Although I have never had a class taught by him, having him as my academic adviser has helped me in creating my self-designed major. Professor Shaw has exceeded my expectations as an adviser as he has helped steer me in the right direction regarding my major, plans after college, and studying abroad. He is always available if I have questions and talks out any concerns I may have, and makes sure that I do what is best for myself and my career path.

I am very grateful to have met and gotten to know these two professors, as I would not be where I am without them.

What was the highlight of the school year for you?

I have a few highlights. One was co-organizing and hosting the Fashion Networking Panel through Career Services in fall 2019. I have friends who would say how they did not know how to apply their major, and I noticed that whenever I mentioned careers in fashion people would assume I meant designing clothes, which is when I came up with an idea: to have a networking panel hosting professionals from a wide range of careers in the fashion industry, such as marketing, chemistry, finance, and more. After trying to co-partner with one organization unsuccessfully as I did not feel that my idea was supported, choosing the Gateway Career Center to understand and implement my idea was perfect as they have hosted many networking events in the past. Working with the Gateway Career Center gave me the opportunity to share ideas with Molly Sunderlin, my career adviser, whom I met with almost every week until the end of October to plan this event. After the event, I felt so accomplished when people came up to me and thanked me, as they said I helped them learn from and connect with people in these industries.

Another highlight which also occurred in the fall of 2019 was co-organizing and hosting the Pop-Up Sustainability Thrift Shop through the Office of Sustainability with Kendall Roberson. I wanted to use one of my passions, fashion, to help the environment, so I thought a thrift shop on campus would be a great way to do so. There are so many clothes that have the potential to be used again in a myriad of ways, but instead end up being thrown away. I wanted a way to prevent clothing from going into landfills, so I decided to host a thrift shop for a day on campus with the Office of Sustainability. With their help, we were able to collect many donations from students, professors, and people from the community, secure a room for the Thrift Shop, and spread the word about the occasion. The event was a success (we even ended up on the news as a feel-good community story) as we received many clothes that went to good use as second-hand items. It was also a good opportunity for students to inexpensively obtain “new” clothing.

Other highlights included interviewing the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, Jason Feifer, and appearing on his podcast Problem Solvers (the episode is Episode 123: Career Advice: A College Student Interviews Me!), and being a peer adviser for International Orientation. I love being a part of ISA, as I have learned so much about other cultures and have met some of my best friends through it.

Also, being recognized for all that I have done throughout my time at Lafayette so far by winning the  Aaron O. Hoff Award for Emerging Leader was another big highlight and a great end to my junior year.

What have you taken from your experiences in International Students Association?

ISA has helped shape me in so many ways. Since being a member my freshman year, I felt that I have become a more globally and culturally diverse person. I have learned more about other cultures, languages, customs, foods, and holidays. I have done so through many different leadership roles and activities. I have served on the ISA board, was a co-head of March Around the World, hosted the ISA Fashion Show during Extravaganza, I have been a peer adviser at International Orientation and will be a part of the team again this summer, and I have been an active member throughout my entire time at college. Being a part of ISA is such a good reflection of the real world as the business world is becoming more diverse and we come into contact with so many people. In order to understand this, one should have experience with either living in different countries or being around many people from different cultures.

ISA is a beautiful community in which its members accept and celebrate one another. I have always felt comfortable sharing my culture and experiences, and I have met some of my best friends through ISA. ISA will always be a part of my life after college, and I will always cherish it.

What did I miss about you?

I really love learning languages. I speak Spanish and French almost fluently, and I can read and write in Hebrew. I’ve taken Spanish since I was 13, and in French I have only had formal instruction for my last year of high school (besides being in Paris), but I have a strong interest in learning them, improving my abilities, and becoming fluent, so I make a strong effort to constantly use these languages, whether that is through watching shows and movies, reading books, connecting with friends from around the world, or just thinking in the language. I believe that by learning other languages, we are better able to connect with people of the cultures who speak it, and we become more globally and culturally aware citizens in the process as we learn more about the world and cultures around us. I know the basics of other languages, but I hope to become fluent in them.

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