Students Reflect on Summer Public Service Opportunities
As part of the University’s President’s Public Service Fellowship, several students gained meaningful experience while serving the local community.
August 15, 2022
By Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24, Ian Boyce ’24, Ryan Curry ’24, Anna Marcotte ’24, Nicole Miklinski ’23, and Tariyaha Morris ’23
This summer, several students served the New Haven and West Haven communities as members of the University’s President’s Public Service Fellowship. The program places students of all majors in a nonprofit or public service work environment, enabling them to build their skills and understand the importance of public service.
Below, six students reflect on their experience this summer.
Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24
Working with New Haven Reads has been life-changing. I never had a reason to want to stay in the Greater New Haven Area past graduation, but now I can’t help but imagine a future in which I can continue working with New Haven Reads to make a difference in the lives of the kids in our community.
The best experience I’ve had so far is seeing the children’s faces light up when they see a topic they know well. I love letting them teach me and giving them the chance to be confident in themselves. I had so many teachers who believed in me, and it changed how I perceived myself. Now I get the chance to be the person who believes in them.
A great deal of the projects I have worked on over the summer have led me to consider pursuing a career in the environmental field. I would like to study environmental law and continue to make residents aware of pollution around them and influence them into thinking about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. NHS has made a huge impact on the city of New Haven, and I am thankful to have been able to assist them in their goals.
Ryan Curry ’24
Working at Christian Community Action (CCA) this summer has been a great experience for me to learn more about the city of New Haven and the issues faced by one of its most vulnerable populations: the homeless.
CCA provides shelter and a variety of other services to homeless families in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven. This includes a food pantry, diaper bank, help finding stable housing and work, utility assistance, referrals for outside services such as dentists and therapists, help enrolling in school, and more. Being a part of a team doing such amazing things makes the work enjoyable and meaningful.
Working with clients and hearing their stories has given me a deeper understanding of the issues that homeless people face and has made me realize that homelessness can spring up on anyone at any time. All it takes is one bad break, such as medical bills, a landlord selling your building, or being laid off, to cut into your savings and cause you to be homeless when that runs out.
Anna Marcotte ’24
This summer I spent my time working with the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI). Throughout my time, I was able to engage with a population that I was unfamiliar with and learn about higher education in prison. It was an experience I knew would push me outside of my comfort zone. At YPEI, I worked with a group of passionate students and faculty to provide a quality education in a unique environment. They were very knowledgeable and helped to ignite my passion for education.
Beyond my work, the fellowship enabled me to make the Greater New Haven area feel more like home. Through the activities and time spent visiting new places, I was able to see and learn things about New Haven that I would not have if I had not had this opportunity. The fellowship has introduced me to a community and an organization that I will continue to work with as I move forward in life.
Nicole Miklinski ’23
Working at the West Haven Community House has allowed me to place myself in the community while educating me on the struggles that children, youth, and adults are facing. The Community House has many different and unique departments, so after working the summer in administration, children & youth services, and the facility for adults with disabilities, I have been able to meet people from all walks of life.
This opportunity really opened my eyes in understanding the needs of the community and what programs are available to those in need or what programs still need to be created. Working in human resources has shown me how the facility runs while I learned from and interacted with the amazing people who work for the organization.
Being placed within the children and youth services department was more challenging at first since I had no prior experience working with kids, but the directors and head teachers were amazing. They educated me on the importance of developing a safe and welcoming environment for children who may have special needs either in school or within their living situation.
Additionally, working in the facility for adults with disabilities, which is a sister site to the Community House called Community Connections, has enlightened me on how important it is to develop programs for adults who need extra assistance instead of turning our backs on them.
Working in these different departments has allowed me to further develop my leadership and resiliency skills while gaining a better understanding of the needs of those who have different backgrounds than I do. Overall, working at the West Haven Community House has been an unforgettable experience that has allowed me to grow as a person both emotionally and intellectually.
Tariyaha Morris ’23
My summer at CitySeed gave me a new outlook, not only on the New Haven community but also on food insecurity. They have taught me about the opportunities that putting farmer’s markets in certain communities has provided.
Throughout this summer, I have witnessed CitySeed do things such as helping to make organic produce accessible for all communities, start food businesses with people who have no knowledge of the industry, and give refugee women a safe space and income by hiring them to make their own traditional dishes.
CitySeed has also helped me improve my leadership skills by allowing me to oversee multiple tasks throughout the summer. Some of these tasks include helping design t-shirts for their friend of the market loyalty program; contacting community calendars so that they could list their markets; spreading awareness of their farmer’s markets by going to different businesses and sharing their flyers; and letting me help organize and set up the farmer’s markets.
Throughout the summer, CitySeed has allowed me to grow and develop while also teaching me so much about myself and the community. It has also allowed me to build relationships with people from all different walks of life and enabled me to learn about businesses from different perspectives.