2020 Summer Fellows Announced!

The Dwight Hall at Yale Summer Fellowship Program supports students who desire to form lasting relationships with the community.  Since its founding in 1968,  the program has offered unique opportunities for students to dedicate themselves to creating social change, signficantly expanded the number of fellowships, and grown its partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

The 2020 Summer Fellowship Program is moving forward amidst COVID-19.  The global pandemic interrupted students’ academic year and vastly disrupted summer plans.  To help accommodate students, the application deadline was moved to May so students and community organizations could recalibrate projects.  As a result, Dwight Hall had nearly 50 applications with only a 23% acceptance rate. Rising juniors comprised the most applications (30%), though graduating seniors, who typically have less access to Yale funding, was a close second (28%).  Join us in welcoming these 11 Dwight Hall Summer Fellows. 

2020 Summer Fellows
name organization Role Funding Source
Valeria Bula Junta for Progressive Action Intern  Yale Club of New Haven
Leila Iskandarani Havenly Treats Intern
Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
Grace Jin GetUsPPE Blog Team Lead  YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
Aastha Kc Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services Health Intern Yale Club of New Haven
Ananya Kumar-Banerjee Yale Prison Education Initiative Writing Workshop Lead Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
Henry Large Mid Shore Pro Bono Intern/Interpreter Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
 Mariko Rooks Psychology Applied Research Center at Loyila Marymount University Summer Intern YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
Sidney Saint-Hilaire Calvin Hill Daycare Summer Teaching Fellow Early Childhood Education Fellows
Rosa Shapiro-Thompson Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) Research Intern: Social Learning and Peer Support in Borderline Personality Disorder Peter Muehrer ‘82 Fund
Julia Tofan Great Plains Institute Intern - EV-Ready Certification Program Dwight Hall Summer Fellows
Minh Vu Yale Prison Education Initiative Summer Fellow YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows

“The best part of my job is saying ‘Yes’ to these amazing students. This year was really inspiring - the number of applications skyrocketed from previous years, and in a time of immediate and personal uncertainty, so many students are turning to the social sector,” says Mark Fopeano, Program Manager for Dwight Hall at Yale. “Because we had so many applications, that made decisions really challenging for us, too. We wish we could fund all of our applicants, but I’m really confident that this cohort will accomplish a lot this summer.”

Applicants on Financial AidBecause of the overwhelming amount of applications, the process for accepting and selecting fellows focused on equity, fairness, and bias reduction. All applicants were screened for basic criteria, then accepted applications were reviewed by more than one reviewing committee member using the rubric laid out in the Guidance for Summer Applicants. The highest scoring applications were discussed by the reviewing team. “We found ourselves engaged in a really healthy process, continually questioning the fairness of our process and how we were making decisions.  For example, were we giving preference for students that were responding immediately to COVID-19, or were we doing the opposite and being harsher on those applicants?  Ultimately, our original rubric proved to be the most valuable tool for us, with the addition of being sure that students can work remotely,” says Mark.

Prior DSA UseYANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows have additional eligibility criteria, including qualifying for financial aid and being ineligible for the Domestic Service Award (DSA), a Yale College grant that supports summer internships with nonprofits. Sixteen students qualified for YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows. “We met amazing students, and I am so impressed with the dedication and quality of work being done on and off campus in the New Haven community and beyond,” says Rachel Littman ‘91, Executive Director for the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance. “Dwight Hall has been a really great partner throughout the entire process and we are honored to support Grace, Mariko, and Minh this summer.”

All Summer Fellow applicants were asked to complete an optional Diversity and Inclusion survey, a tool built to understand Dwight Hall’s demographic range and to ensure we are supporting all students at the University. Mark says, “In almost every discernible category, we had a wide spread of applications for Summer Fellows this year. We had a lot of New Haven applications, but also really strong applications from students supporting their home communities.  We saw a lot of students on Financial Aid, as well as a really surprising amount of students that have already used the DSA. I’m really excited for this cohort, and am really hoping we can say yes to more students in the future.”

Welcome to the 2020 cohort!

For more stories, check out the Voices and Stories Archive page.