Introducing the 2023 Summer Fellows!

Dwight Hall Summer Fellows provides opportunities for students to form lasting relationships with communities in New Haven and beyond. Since its founding in 1968, the program has enabled students to dedicate themselves to creating social change by growing partnerships with community leaders and organizations tackling challenges such as homelessness, mental health, criminal justice, and the climate crisis. 

The 2023 Summer Fellows cohort is the largest in years, and includes the pilot “Dwight Hall in DC” cohort. Six students will be spending the summer working in New Haven and supporting local organizations, four will form the cohort in DC, while the other Fellows will be spread across cities like San Francisco and New York City. For eight to twelve weeks, students will receive full-time compensation for their engagement–via an internship, project, or research–with partner agencies and organizations nationwide.  

The 2023 Summer Fellows

The 2023 Summer Fellows applicant pool was very competitive, with Dwight Hall receiving 59 applications–a 69% increase from the previous year. Twenty students were awarded fellowships. Of those students, 62% are eligible for financial aid, a number that is higher than the total percentage of Yale undergraduates who are receiving financial aid from the University. This year’s Fellows also include a robust range of class years, from rising sophomores to graduated seniors. Their projects and positions seek to address a large range of issue areas, from disability rights to legal aid for immigrants and refugees. 

Six Fellows will be living and working in New Haven, building on Dwight Hall’s longstanding tradition of supporting Fellows who are engaging with New Haven community partners. The New Haven organizations include Connecticut Mental Health Center, Students for Educational Justice, HAVEN Free Clinic, and Elm Shakespeare Company. “I was very excited to witness the New Haven projects that came through this year’s application cycle,” noted Mark Fopeano, Dwight Hall’s Director of Programming and Evaluation. “Many were born out of students’ pre-existing relationships with their partner organizations, which is exactly the type of continuity Dwight Hall likes to see.”  

Kat Moon ’24, for instance, is spending the summer serving as the Social Services Director and Co-Chair of the Community Relations and Engagement (CREC) sub-committee at HAVEN Free Clinic. Through her fellowship, Kat is building on a multi-year relationship with HAVEN Free Clinic, which started in February 2022 when she joined the Clinic as a volunteer. “Volunteering for HAVEN Free Clinic–a nonprofit, student-run free clinic for uninsured populations in Greater New Haven–has been incredibly humbling and fulfilling,” reflected Kat. “I have seen first-hand how the clinic advocates for and makes a real impact on patients’ health and well-being.”

Sophia Zhao ’23, this year’s Dr. Peter R. Muehrer ’82 Fund Fellow, is also building on an existing relationship with the Connecticut Mental Health Center that began when she was a Dwight Hall Community Mental Health Fellow. This summer, she will be the project lead with the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, carrying out interviews with ACT Team clients to understand the barriers they face in accessing primary healthcare services.

Beyond New Haven, Resty Fufunan ’24, Claire Chang ’24, Jenny Lee ’25, and Iz Klemmer ’25 will comprise the pilot cohort of “Dwight Hall in DC” Fellows. As a part of this group, they will have the unique opportunity of experiencing in-person programming such as gatherings with Dwight Hall alumni based in DC. 

Most of the remaining Fellows are concentrated in major metropolitan areas of the United States, including New York City and San Francisco. Notable community partners include the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and Disability Rights New York.

Finally, some of the Fellows will be working in comparatively smaller cities like Rio Grande City, Texas and Stamford, Connecticut. Nicole Li ’23, for instance, will be spending the summer in Collierville, Tennessee, where she is designing and executing a civic training program to cultivate racial justice organizing skills among high school students in her local community. Nicole is continuing a multi-year relationship with Collierville Community Justice, an intergenerational coalition organizing for racial and economic justice in Collierville. 

If you are an alum residing in any of the Fellows’ placements cities and are interested in supporting them this summer, please complete this survey. Possible engagement could include hosting Fellows for meals, joining Zoom meetings with Fellows, or mentoring an individual Fellow over the course of the summer.  

View a full list of the 2023 Fellows and their placements below: 

Name OrganizationRoleLocationFunding Source
Zenaida Aguirre GutierrezLa Raza Centro LegalImmigration Department InternOakland, CAYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Eliya Ahmad HerskowitzDisability Rights New YorkInternNew York, NYDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Mina CaraccioConnecticut Mental Health CenterIntern and ResearcherNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Claire ChangCapital Area Immigrant Rights CoalitionLegal Orientation Program InternWashington, DCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Michael ChenThe Legal Aid SocietyImmigration Law Unit InternNew York, NYYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Resty FufunanOCA-Asian Pacific American AdvocatesSummer Policy FellowNew Haven, CT and Washington, DCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Pia GormeKorean Community ServicesImmigrant Community Health Clinic SpecialistOrange County, CAYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Zoe GrohSaint Joseph Parenting CenterBusiness Development Intern: Child Abuse PreventionStamford, CTYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Patrick HayesTexas Rio Grande Legal AidInvestigative InternRio Grande City, TXDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Conner HuaImmigration Center for Women and ChildrenInternSan Francisco, CAYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Iz KlemmerRainbow History ProjectArchives and Oral History SupportWashington, DCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Norah LaughterStudents for Educational JusticeSummer Organizing FellowNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Jenny LeeOCA-Asian Pacific American AdvocatesSummer Research Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice AmericaWashington, DCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Nicole LiCollierville Community JusticeSelf-Directed Project: Investing in the Next Generation of Southern ChangemakersCollierville, TNDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Kat MoonHAVEN Free ClinicSocial Services Director and Co-Chair of the Community Relations and Engagement Sub-CommitteeNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Olivia O’ConnorElm Shakespeare CompanyProduction, Outreach, Marketing, and Development InternNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Jennifer RichburgYale Prison Education InitiativeSummer FellowNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Andrew WuNew York Lawyers for the Public InterestPro Bono Clearinghouse and Development InternNew York, NYDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Emily XuSeeding ChangeFellow at the Chinese Progressive Association of SFSan Francisco, CADwight Hall Summer Fellows
Sophia ZhaoConnecticut Mental Health CenterAssertive Community Treatment Team Project LeadNew Haven, CTDr. Peter R. Muehrer ’82 Fund

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