Meet the 2024 Dwight Hall Summer Fellows!

Thirty-one Yale undergraduates and recent graduates are advancing public service and social justice this summer through the transformative support of the Dwight Hall Summer Fellows program. Fourteen students are receiving full funding to advance social impact work in cities like New Haven and Chicago, while 17 students are supported with supplemental funding from the Hall. 

Dwight Hall Summer Fellows traces its roots to 1968, when it was founded by Dr. David L. Warren ’70 M.Div, ’70 M.U.S. with a singular mission: establish an environment for students to create social change through full-time, paid engagement in coordination with New Haven community partners and organizations. 

Today, in its 57th year, Summer Fellows continues to support students as they utilize the program’s resources and infrastructure to form lasting relationships with communities in New Haven and nationwide. With the support and mentorship of community partners and funding from Dwight Hall, students spend eight to twelve weeks working on a research proposal, project, or internship focused on social change. This summer alone, Fellows will tackle issue areas such as climate change, mental health, criminal justice reform, education, and migrant and refugee rights, serving communities in localities as widespread as New Haven, Connecticut; Chicago, Illinois; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Victorville, California. 

An Expanded Application Cycle Engages More Students

The 2024 Summer Fellows applicant pool was very competitive, owing in part to Dwight Hall’s launch of a dual application and funding structure in an innovative collaboration with Yale’s Office of Fellowships and Funding. Students chose between a February 29th deadline for applying for full funding of their project or a May 15th deadline for up to $1,500 in supplemental support. 

The addition of the supplemental funding structure aims to increase accessibility, particularly for students who had been awarded funding through other sources but still did not have their entire summer budget covered. Students living and working in areas where the cost of living is particularly high, for example, may find the supplemental funding to be especially helpful this summer.

In total, the 2024 Summer Fellows program received 133 applications, a 125% increase from 2023. Seventy-one percent of submissions were applications for supplemental funding, underscoring students’ high level of interest.

Of the 31 students who were awarded summer fellowships, 81% are on financial aid, compared to the total percentage of Yale undergraduates receiving financial aid from the University, which is 54% (Yale Office of Institutional Research). Fifty-five percent of the 2024 Fellows have already used the Summer Experience Award offered through Yale’s Office of Career Strategy, meaning they had fewer funding options before applying to the Dwight Hall summer fellowship. All graduation years from 2024 to 2027 are represented amongst the current Fellows.  

Summer Projects Promote Social Change in New Haven and across the U.S.

Of the 31 Fellows, 16 are serving New Haven community partners this summer, building on Dwight Hall’s longstanding tradition of supporting students who are engaging with the New Haven community. This year’s New Haven host organizations include Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, New Haven Public Schools, New Haven Board of Alders, City of New Haven Fair Rent Commission, Connecticut Mental Health Center, Neighborhood Housing Services, New Haven Peoples Center, Dixwell Community House, Yale Prison Education Initiative at Dwight Hall, and many more. 

The Summer Fellows program helps bolster the relationships many students have already cultivated with community partners during their time at Yale. “I am always impressed by students who have established community relationships that lead to really impactful projects,” noted Mark Fopeano, Dwight Hall’s Director of Programming and Evaluation. “It is exciting when a student has naturally found something and is continuing to do that work in a full-time capacity over the summer. It is even more impressive when that student begins to recognize that work as a future career path they want to follow.”

Ivana Nique ’26, for instance, is utilizing full funding from Dwight Hall to advance her relationship with Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) in New Haven. “I was drawn to spend my summer with ULA since I first became involved with ULA during my first year at Yale,” Ivana, a rising junior, explained. “I am now able to fully dedicate myself to joining in their exceptional efforts throughout the state of Connecticut and am learning to advocate for the rights of immigrants in the U.S. through the means of empowering immigrant voices and community organizing.” 

Similarly, Paloma Lenz ’26 is undertaking a project with Neighborhood Housing Services to build a geodesic dome out of repurposed plastic in Newhallville, encouraging residents and local high schoolers to participate in its construction and related educational programming. Paloma has spent the last two years working with the New Haven organization, leading projects like organizing a bilingual scavenger hunt in Cherry Ann Street Park. 

Many students who participate in Dwight Hall fellowships during the academic year are furthering their relationships with local organizations or branching out to other community partners this summer. August Rios ’26 and Eliana Cortez ’25, both Dwight Hall Urban Fellows during the academic year, are advancing their relationships with the City of New Haven’s Fair Rent Commission and Dixwell Community House, respectively, while Aden Gonzales ’26, a Dwight Hall Public School Intern during the academic year, is utilizing supplemental funding to develop curriculum on imagining alternatives to the prison industrial complex for a social studies class at Metropolitan Business Academy. 

Beyond New Haven, Summer Fellows are working in localities as widespread as Honolulu, Hawaii and Silver Spring, Maryland. Several are returning to their home communities to support local activism. Taylor Carroll ’24, for instance, is working as a community organizer in her hometown of Chicago, where she is concentrating on education access and youth outreach in partnership with New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church and Breakthrough Charities.  

Outside of their daily work with community partners, Summer Fellows will have other opportunities for enrichment, including participating in a four-part virtual workshop series Dwight Hall is hosting in partnership with Yale’s Office of Fellowships and Funding on the topic of professional development in the social sector. Fellows working in New Haven and surrounding areas will also have the opportunity to engage in group volunteer activities. The most recent service activity, organized by Dwight Hall Programming Fellow Sevi Burget-Foster ’23, convened students and community members to sort clothes for donation at the Hall and eat homemade ice cream. 

When reflecting on what he hopes Fellows will gain from their summer experiences, Mark emphasized, “I hope that students develop practical skills that serve them in the long term, that they feel like they are contributing directly to causes they care about, and that the fellowship sets them down a career path they are excited about.”

Summer fellowship offerings are made possible through the generous support of Dwight Hall’s funding partners, including the Yale Club of New Haven, which has supported the program for decades; Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance, which since 2017 has supported YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows 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 general operating funds.

View a full list of the 2024 Fellows and their placements below: 

Dwight Hall Summer Fellows with Full Funding

Name OrganizationRole or ProjectLocationFunding Source
Nicole Campbell ’25Connecticut Mental Health CenterClinical Researcher, Social Interaction after Trauma and Patient EducationNew Haven, CTDr. Peter R. Muehrer ’82 Fund
Taylor Carroll ’24New Covenant Missionary Baptist ChurchOrganizer; College, Career, and Civic Education Program for Low-Income Youth in ChicagoChicago, ILYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Renee Deminne ’24New Haven Peoples CenterInternNew Haven, CTYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Nina Friedman ’25Integrated Refugee & Immigrant ServicesLegal InternNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Nasra Hassan ’25Blanchard House InstituteConnected Communities InternSan Diego, CAYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Emily Hettinger ’26Yale Prison Education InitiativeStudent Engagement Summer FellowNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows 
Jenny Huang ’25Arizona Courts ProjectJudicial ResearcherRemoteYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Eliza Josephson ’26Office of the Federal Defender for the District of ConnecticutInternNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Paloma Lenz ’26Neighborhood Housing ServicesFostering Community by Redefining Waste: The Newhallville Geodesic Dome ProjectNew Haven, CTYale Club of New Haven
Rena Liu ’26Legal Aid of East TennesseeInternKnoxville, TNDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Edward Nguyen ’25Integrated Refugee & Immigrant ServicesEmployment Services InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Ivana Nique ’26Unidad Latina en AcciónSummer Organizing FellowNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Merit Onyekwere ’26SalivaDirect Initiative, Yale School of Public HealthSalivary Diagnostics and Non-Pneumococcal Streptococci Species Lab ResearchNew Haven, CTYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Emma Polinsky ’25National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationClimate Communications InternSilver Spring, MDYale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance

Dwight Hall Summer Fellows with Supplemental Funding

Name OrganizationRole or ProjectLocationFunding Source
Lumisa Bista ’25 Integrated Refugee & Immigrant ServicesAdvocacy InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Gia Cook ’26Hunger Free America“Food as Fun” Nutrition Curriculum Project InternRemoteDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Eliana Cortez ’25Dixwell Community HouseFellowNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Aden Gonzales ’26Metropolitan Business Academy“Imagining Alternatives” Curriculum DevelopmentNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Nara Kim ’25National Low Income Housing CoalitionPolicy InternWashington, DCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Mia Levy ’25New Haven Public SchoolsHuman Resources InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Lara Mohamed ’271stGenYaleBoard InternRemoteDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Stephanie Montealegre ’26Symba CenterPublic Health InternVictorville, CADwight Hall Summer Fellows
Emily Nguyen ’27New Haven Board of AldersLegislative InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Misan Oseragbaje ’25Anne Frank Center at the University of South CarolinaResearch and Education AssociateColumbia, SCDwight Hall Summer Fellows
August Rios ’26City of New Haven Fair Rent CommissionData and Legislative Affairs InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Hailey Seo ’26Frontier GroupPublic Policy Analysis InternBoston, MADwight Hall Summer Fellows
Jake Siesel ’27Native Hawaiian Legal CorporationLegal InternHonolulu, HIDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Andrey Sokolov ’27Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA)YANAconsults: Pro Bono Alumni Consulting Project InternRemoteDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Hameeda Uloomi ’26Elena’s LightLegal Advocacy and Programming InternNew Haven, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Michael Willen ’26Center for Urban Science and Progress, NYU Tandon School of EngineeringDigitizing Transit Accessibility BarriersNew York, NYDwight Hall Summer Fellows
Wendy Zhang ’25Seymour Ambulance AssociationEMT Intern and VolunteerSeymour, CTDwight Hall Summer Fellows

The Summer Fellows program advances the Grow pillar of Dwight Hall’s Engage, Grow, and Advance program delivery model by developing students’ intellectual, moral, civic, and creative capacities to the fullest with experiential learning and fellowships.

Follow @dwighthallatyale on Instagram to see spotlights on the 2024 Summer Fellows all summer long!

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