D.C. summer program to offer networking activities

While there might not be any master’s teas or residential college parties in the real world, Yalies who are in Washington, D.C. this summer will still be able to draw on Yale’s resources to rub shoulders with famous people and mingle with fellow Elis working in the nation’s capital.

Through the Yale-in-Washington program — which debuts this summer — Yale students who are living in and around Washington, D.C. will have the opportunity to meet with distinguished speakers, take private tours, attend career panels and partake in Yale-only social functions. Initiated by Yale College Council Representative R. David Edelman ’07, the program already includes tours of the White House and the State Department and talks by New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks. The program is co-sponsored by the office of the dean and the president, University Career Services, and the Yale College Council.

“We took advantage of the deep connections Yale has in Washington, the enthusiasm of our alumni, and the fact that there are all these Yalies there each summer,” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said. “From what I understand, people are signing up in large numbers. This is the experimental year, but if it works, I think we’ll try it every year.”

Edelman said he was prompted to start the program after his time in Washington last summer where he observed that many other top universities, such as Stanford and Princeton, offer programs and activities for students interning in the capital over the summer.

“It’s something I thought we really needed to create, because we were the only school that didn’t have it,” Edelman said.

One of the larger purposes of this project is to create networking opportunities for Yale students that extend beyond the summer, Undergraduate Career Services Director Philip Jones said. This fall, the University created the Yale Career Network, a database students can use to search for Yale graduates interested in advising and mentoring fellow alumni and students on career options.

“I think the most important thing is networking,” Jones said. “This is going to give students the opportunity to meet … with both governmental and non-governmental representatives, to get to know them, and to help them better understand how to prepare and present themselves for future careers.”

Dennis Hong ’05, who will be in Washington for part of this summer, said he is excited about the networking potential of the program.

“It’s a great thing,” Hong said. “As the world gets more and more connected, and especially as Yalies get more and more dispersed throughout the world, these kinds of networks are very important to keep the Yale connection alive.”

Cari Vazquez ’05 said that she is especially looking forward to hearing the speakers program coordinators have scheduled, because she will miss the distinguished speakers that frequent the Yale campus after she graduates.

“The fact that they’re arranging for speakers is really nice,” Vazquez said. “It really allows you to stay a part of that element of Yale culture which I think you don’t really appreciate until you realize you can’t be a part of it anymore.”

Other students said they are particularly looking forward to the social opportunities the program offers, such as Yale-only happy hours and trips to museums and theaters.

“I’m most excited about the social opportunities,” Jonny Dach ’08 said. “It’s nice that there’s going to be a big network of Yale people.”

Students who will be in Washington this summer can sign up to receive information about the program by submitting their e-mail addresses at http://yaleinwashington.com. About 350 Yale students spend their summers in Washington each year, Edelman said.

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