Boosted by Immersion

PROVO, Utah – Dec 18, 2018 – To say that BYU Marriott alumni Sydni Dunn was involved during her time at BYU would be an understatement. The entrepreneurship graduate, who completed her degree in 2016, immersed herself in countless activities, projects, clubs, positions, and academic pursuits in order to get the most out of her education and to prepare for future opportunities.

“I tried to do as much as I possibly could,” Dunn says. “It was incredibly enriching, and I loved it. The values that I learned and the background that BYU gave me have been fundamental in my spiritual life as well as my professional life. I wouldn’t trade my time at BYU for any other experience.”

Dunn’s dedication to her collegiate endeavors ensured that she left school with far more than an undergraduate degree. She also received a minor in music, earned Spanish language and global management certificates, and was named a Ballard Scholar for Social Innovation, a recognition given by the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance to those who complete relevant coursework in social innovation.

But those remarkable honors only scrape the surface of her accomplishments.

In addition to academic achievements, Dunn gained experience through extracurricular opportunities at BYU. She served as co-president of the Social Innovation Leadership Council, vice president of events for the BYU Entrepreneurship Club (eClub), a program director for Y-Serve’s Project Youth, and a program coordinator for the Ballard Center’s Y-Prize Solar Challenge. Furthermore, she worked as a fundraiser for LDS Philanthropies and as a business coach for teams in the Social Venture Academy.

Dunn even took a break from her studies to serve an eighteen-month mission in Argentina for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her experience serving and working with the people of Argentina had a profound impact on her, helping to shift her perspective and long-term goals.

“I did a lot of soul-searching after my mission,” Dunn recalls. “I was figuring out what I actually wanted to do because I realized that corporate America was not for me, but I still loved business.”

In response to this dilemma, Dunn’s academic advisor recommended that she look into Teach for America, an organization that places recent college graduates in urban districts to teach for schools in low-income areas. The vision of Teach for America is to provide all children with an excellent education so that they can one day become self-reliant.

Dunn followed through with this recommendation and made a plan to boost her qualifications by gaining leadership experience and immersing herself in relevant endeavors at BYU. These efforts ultimately proved to be worthwhile when she received and accepted a job offer for a highly competitive position with Teach for America.

After graduation, Dunn completed eight weeks of training and was placed in Texas, where she now teaches for the Fort Worth Independent School District. The opportunity to teach has been extremely rewarding for Dunn, who has been able to incorporate much of what she learned at BYU, especially her training in self-reliance.

“Working in the Ballard Center helped me a lot,” Dunn says. “I learned principles of self-reliance, and I realized that if people are to be self-reliant, they need to be educated. I love using what I know about business and education to help people be more successful.”

This background has allowed Dunn to be influential in her current position by inspiring her students to become leaders, assisting with a community sock drive, and initiating a recycling program in her classroom. A large part of these efforts stem from Dunn’s innate motives and desires but can also be attributed to the foundation, values, and education she gained at BYU.

“There is a lot of need in the world, and BYU students can have an amazing impact,” Dunn says. “These undergraduate experiences at BYU truly prepare us for these opportunities, especially because the university is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those values have been interwoven into my life, and I have noticed how important they are in my job.”

Sydni Dunn
BYU Marriott alumni Sydni Dunn, who is working as an elementary school teacher in Texas, credits her experience at BYU for getting her to where she is today. She is particularly grateful for what she learned from the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brendan Gwynn