July 29, 2013
Dana Tricarico '14 is used to excitement in the water. She was part of the group that broke Siena's 400-free pool record in her first career meet and captained the Saints' swimming and diving team this past season.
Then it was time for a new challenge.
Tricarico has spent her summer vacation working with sharks. The rising senior's interest in environmental studies and marine biology, coupled with success in and out of the water at Siena, helped her land a research assistant position off the coast of South Africa.
Tricarico is one of a growing number of Siena student athletes getting a jump start on their careers with prestigious internships and leadership opportunities helped along by the athletic department's newly expanded student services department.
"Siena's active Strategic Plan: Living Our Tradition envisions athletic success will build upon the achievements of academic programs to promote student engagement," Lori Jancik, the first director of student athlete engagement at Siena, said. "We want our student athletes to leverage the success and skills they acquire as athletes with the academic tools afforded them to promote themselves. There's been a 67% (35 compared to 21) increase in the number of student athletes who've landed these summer positions in the last year."
Women's basketball star Tehresa Coles `15 is getting a head start in the professional game this summer with a prestigious financial counseling internship at The Ayco Company, L.P. in Albany.
"On a typical work day, I create spreadsheets for my supervisor to organize information for the counselors working in my department." Coles said. "The counselors take calls and make appointments to speak with employees from various companies about their finances. They assist the clients with financial planning, and then I help organize what calls need to be made."
Coles is part of a new trend that has underclassmen breaking into the internship game early to strengthen their resumes. She's also one of a handful of Siena student athletes that has a legitimate chance to play her sport professionally after graduation, but she wants to open as many doors as possible.
"I could see myself working here at Ayco," she said. "I'm fascinated by the topics the financial counselors cover. If I don't attempt to play overseas out of college, I definitely want to find a job in the business field. This internship has helped prepare me for life after basketball."
Falko Friedrichs, a red-shirt junior on Siena's men's soccer team, is also building his résumé this summer with an internship for the international technology company Global Foundries.
"I applied online and got invited to interview based on my Siena résumé and my previous work experience," Friedrichs said. "I went through four interviews in the spring and impressed them. A week later I got offered the internship position."
Originally from Germany, Friedrichs is living on campus this summer and commuting to Malta's "Tech Valley" for the chance to gain experience with a rising company that carries a global footprint.
"I work from 8-to-5 every day," Friedrichs said. "In the morning, I usually meet with my supervisors to go over the day. I work on my own projects, help the team with their daily activities, shadow my colleagues and attend meetings. Every day is different which keeps it very interesting."
Friedrichs and Coles credit their backgrounds in Siena's athletic programs for helping them attain these positions.
"My business background at Siena helped me understand what to expect," Friedrichs said, "As a member of the soccer team, and active participant in the Siena community, I am able to interact and contribute in a team atmosphere and in group projects."
Coles' internship likely wouldn't have happened without her Siena connections.
"I first learned about Ayco through the Siena Business Network," Coles said. "My second contact was (Siena's strength and conditioning coach) Dan Taylor, who is friends with the CEO. He spoke to (the CEO) about my work ethic and desire, and then I called to set up an interview."
Tricarico's experience exploring and researching marine life native to Africa's Mosselbaai Region is a dream come true.
"I have never been afraid of sharks like most people," she said. "I'm fascinated by them. I love everything about the ocean, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my passion to good use."
Tricarico's tasks include tagging great white sharks and various species of whales, as well as building a strong professional network with some of the top scientists in the field of marine biology. As far as on-location, hands-on experience, Tricarico's internship is in the world's hub of shark activity. National Geographic recently filmed a documentary called "Sharkville" in the Mosselbaai Region.
Her experience went so well that she extended her stay.
"I'm learning so much about field work with marine sciences, and I was finally getting the hang of all the jobs," she said. "I decided that instead of leaving when I finally learned everything, I should stay and get better. My parents were really supportive of me staying another month, and I couldn't be happier with the decision."
The resources created through Living Our Tradition coupled with Siena's academic enrichment programs help expand the life-changing experiences enjoyed by Tricarico, Coles and Friedrichs. As a result, more student athletes are in position to excel in their professional careers once their Siena careers end.
"Siena student athletes want to make a difference," Jancik said. "We're here to help make sure that happens, and I think we're starting to make some real progress."
~ by Jacque Medina '15 (Editor's Note: Jacque is a rising junior on the swimming and diving team and an English major at Siena. She interned for Lang Media in the spring writing several articles for the website Albany2Cents.com. This is the second article she has had published at SienaSaints.com this summer.)