Yale-in-Washington pilot hits NYC

This summer, a small piece of Washington, D.C. will move to New York City for working Yalies.

Undergraduate Career Services will launch a pilot program in New York City this June modeled after the popular Yale-in-Washington event series, which drew more than 300 students throughout last summer. Yalies interning in New York City for the summer can attend meals, tours and discussions in fields including medicine, finance, law and the arts, all organized by a student director.

Organizers said Yale-in-New York will offer a greater variety of activities than its D.C. counterpart, which will enter its seventh year this summer. Alison Weiner ’11, last year’s Yale-in-Washington director and a consultant to UCS as it plans the new program, said the diverse nature of the city will dictate its range.

“D.C. is kind of a one-industry town,” Weiner said, explaining that while all Yale-in-Washington events centered around public service, the pilot program in New York will span nine to 10 different industries.

Through Yale-in-Washington, Yale undergraduates working in the Capitol last summer had the opportunity to tour the Central Intelligence Agency, the Supreme Court and the White House and attend a lunch with David Leonhardt of the New York Times and a dinner with Vinca LaFleur and David Litt of West Wing Writers, a speechwriting company, among about 60 events.

Three undergraduates who participated in Yale-in-Washington last summer said they enjoyed the experience. Joshua Gordon ’11 said it was “the best-run organization I’ve ever seen Yale put up.”

Leah Libresco ’11 said knowing about the program helped her decide to work in D.C. in the first place. (Libresco is a former staff columnist for the News.)

In addition to exposing him to people, places, and organizations in D.C., Andrew Kurzrok ’11 said, Yale-in-Washington allowed him to befriend fellow Yalies he might not have met on campus because they belonged to different classes and different majors.

All three said they would participate in the New York program if they work in the city for the summer.

“In fact, knowing that there’s a program there makes me look at more internships in New York,” Libresco said.

Although Weiner and Elayne Mazzarella, deputy director of UCS and director of employment programs, said the pilot program’s specifics have yet to be settled, they are aiming to host 30 events over the course of the summer.

Mazzarella has overseen Yale-in-Washington for the past six years, taking over after the program’s pilot year in 2005. She said she has been considering expanding the program to other cities for several years, and she enlisted Weiner to help achieve this goal in New York City.

“Ali brought Yale-in-Washington to a new height,” Mazzarella said. “We brought her back on board to help us get Yale-in-New York going.”

Directing the program will be a full-time job, and UCS is currently accepting applications from students for the position, which pays a $3,000 stipend in New York and $5,000 in D.C. According to an advertisement from UCS, the director must organize, attend and host events they plan “using Yale’s sizeable network.”

Weiner said she hopes both Yale-in-Washington and Yale-in-New York will implement an alumni mentor program this year. During her term as director last summer, Weiner said she developed to the mentoring project to the “ready to launch” stage. Mazzarella said the program would pair one alumnus with one student in the same industry for career mentoring and help with networking.

“We would play a minimal role,” Weiner said. “Once the alum expresses interest, we would pair them with a student and then it will be up to them to build the relationship.”

The new mentoring program aside, Mazzarella said the D.C. program has become less reliant on alumni connections as it has grown “more secure and rooted.” Weiner said that only 55 percent of events organized last summer were made possible by alumni connections, as opposed to around 80 percent in the past.

Yale-in-New York and Yale-in-Washington will begin this upcoming June and end in August.

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