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Yale Students Serve Community as Dwight Hall Summer Fellows


New Haven, Conn. — This summer, eight Yale College students are dedicating their summer vacation to community service in New Haven as Dwight Hall Summer Interns, working on projects ranging from home hospice care to helping fifth and sixth graders improve their reading skills.

The 39-year-old Dwight Hall Summer Internship Program gives Yale students the opportunity to pursue full-time projects they have designed themselves in response to community needs. The interns work with a community group, student group or not-for-profit organization to implement their project. They also meet for weekly dinner seminars with New Haven community leaders to learn more about issues that the city faces.

The program was first established by David L. Warren in 1968, when he posed the question, “What would you most want to do this summer, if someone footed your bill and turned you free in the inner-city?” Warren, who was the founding coordinator of the Dwight Hall Summer Fellowship Program, is now president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. This year’s Dwight Hall Fellowship’s student coordinator is a recent graduate of Yale College, Karen Bemis who served for two years as the Yale Public School Intern at Celentano Academy. She has interned for non-profit organizations in the United States and India.

The 2007 fellows and their projects follow.

Sylvia Bingham is working at CitySeed, whose founder, Jennifer McTiernan, was a fellow in 1997. Sylvia’s work focuses on publicizing WIC and food stamp farmer’s market vouchers. A French and sociology major, she volunteers at the Yale Sustainable Food Project. In 2006, Sylvia interned at an urban garden in Bordeaux, France, providing job training for the unemployed.

Yian Chen has developed a hospice homecare program through CT Hospice. He will spend the summer piloting the program, which sends Yale volunteers to visit the terminally ill in their homes. Yian is a leader of Undergraduates at CT Hospice, an organization that received the 2007 Connecticut Department of Higher Education Community Service Award.

Vanessa Mendoza grew up in New Haven and is deepening her commitment to her home city this summer as an intern with the Yale Urban Design Workshopp. In collaboration with the Dwight Management Team, Vanessa is soliciting community input for the next phase of revitalization in the Dwight neighborhood. An architecture and urban studies major, she is active with Five Magazine—a non-profit publication that unites Yale’s social justice, human rights and service groups—the Yale Gospel Choir and Amnesty International.

Hans Schoenburg is working this summer with the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, where he is creating a historical archive. He will also be conducting a thorough survey of job training resources in New Haven. At Yale, Hans is a member of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee and a FOOT (Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trips) leader. Previously, he interned for Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) and taught English in China.

Christine Slaughter, who graduated from Yale this spring with a B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics, is working for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. One of her projects is drafting a sexual health workshop curriculum. At Yale, she served as the student liaison and outreach coordinator for the Women Faculty Forum and was the political action coordinator for the Yale Women’s Center.

Michele Trickey is directing Summer Buds, which was started by a 2006 fellow. This program brings Yale undergraduates together with 5th and 6th graders to practice reading and boost the younger students’ confidence and academic performance. Summer Buds is in partnership with Joseph K. Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale and the New Haven Reads Community Book Bank. Michele is a physics major involved with AIESEC—the world’s largest student service organization—and Model United Nations.

Kristine Vanijcharoenkarn is working on educational projects and serving as a translator at Fair Haven Community Health Center and Haven Free Clinic. She is fluent in Spanish and has volunteered as a medical translator for a team of craniofacial surgeons in El Salvador. She also volunteered at Love Link Infant Malnutrition Center in El Salvador. Kristine participates in the service group A Musical Cure, and is majoring in biology.

Tamiko Younge, a sociology major and pre-medical student, is working with All Our Kin. One of her projects is a health resources calendar for childcare sites that will serve as a quick reference guide to local specialized health services. Previously, she has done lab work on issues of maternal and child health. Tami plays ultimate Frisbee and has held leadership positions with DreamPioneers—an organization that seeks to promote racial and economic integration, Realizing Race and RALY (Reproductive Rights Action League of Yale College).

The work of the 2007 Dwight Hall Summer Fellows has been funded through the generosity of the Yale Club of New Haven, Yale College Class of 1949, Yale Class of 1957, NewAlliance Bank and an anonymous private donor.


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