Since 1968, Dwight Hall Summer Fellows has supported students looking to form lasting relationships with communities in New Haven and beyond. As the longest continuously running Dwight Hall program, Summer Fellows offers unique opportunities for students to dedicate themselves to creating lasting social change. With the 2023 application season now underway, Dwight Hall is continuing to expand the number of fellowship placements and launching a pilot cohort of Fellows in Washington, DC.
Most projects or internships are located in and benefit New Haven, building on a long-standing tradition of students spending a summer living and working directly in the Elm City. At the same time, part of the program’s continual expansion has involved funding students in other communities across the country, from New York City to Austin, Texas.
“The Summer Fellows program is a great opportunity to give students pre-professional experience working in the social sector,” emphasized Mark Fopeano, Dwight Hall’s Director of Programming and Evaluation, at the Summer Public Service Fellowships Information Session Dwight Hall hosted in early February 2023. “It creates a space for students to build relationships with organizations, communities, and causes that they care about.”
In addition to benefiting students and fostering pathways to careers in public service and social justice, Summer Fellows aims to create positive outcomes for community organizations, increasing their capacity to fulfill their missions.
Applicants typically propose eight weeks of work on a research proposal, project, or internship, and submit a common application which includes a letter of support from the community partner they intend to work with.
After submission, student applications are evaluated and matched to funding sources. Funding partners include: the Yale Club of New Haven, which has supported the program for decades; Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance, which since 2017 has supported students working domestically who are eligible for financial aid but no longer eligible for Yale’s Summer Experience Award; and the Dr. Peter R. Muehrer ’82 Fund which since 2018 has funded students working within the field of community mental health. Additional funding is provided by alumni and by Dwight Hall.
Students that are awarded fellowships are paid a flat rate for every week of work over the summer. In turn, they submit weekly reflections over the course of programming.
An exciting update for 2023 is the launch of Dwight Hall in DC. As the name suggests, Dwight Hall will fund up to eight Fellows working on projects located in and benefiting communities in Washington, DC. Students in the DC cohort will benefit from group activities with each other and DC-area alums, such as dinners with guest speakers and one-on-one mentorship meetings. The goal of this pilot cohort is to test a new model of Summer Fellows and support connections between undergraduates and alumni living and/or working in the communities Fellows are serving.
The 2023 Summer Fellows application has two deadlines (March 10th and April 3rd) in acknowledgment of the extra time students or community partners may need to secure summer opportunities.
Lisa Dong ’24, Dwight Hall’s Summer Fellows Student Coordinator and former 2022 Summer Fellow, is hosting workshops and office hours to help undergraduates develop their Summer Fellows applications. Learn more about those opportunities here.