To cater to two previously neglected niches, Undergraduate Career Services has hired two specialists to provide career support and mentorship to students interested in careers in global health and the performing arts.
Over the summer, the University hired Meredith Mira and Kathleen Volz — who specialize in global health and the performing arts respectively — to help students navigate these complex industries, UCS Director Jeanine Dames said. Since Mira and Volz began working at the University, both specialists’ appointment calendars have been booked solid with students, Dames said. All seven students interviewed by the News who are interested in careers in these two fields said they were pleased to have access to tailored advice to prepare them for life after Yale.
Volz, the UCS performing arts specialist, said her job was created to keep in step with Yale’s recent efforts to strengthen its performing arts programs. Since Yale’s dance curriculum was established in 2006, for example, Yale has been attracting better dancers who are capable of competing for professional jobs upon graduation, she said.
Volz added that Yale’s performing arts faculty have also lobbied UCS strongly to hire an advisor who specializes in the field.
“The [performing arts] faculty are so happy to have a resource at UCS so they can, with no sense of guilt, refer students to UCS,” Volz said.
Gabriel Reynoso-Palley ’16 said there is a misconception at Yale that the performing arts are hobbies and not possible future careers. Volz’s appointment signifies the University’s recognition that careers in the performing arts are equally legitimate for Yale students as more “conventional” careers such as medicine, he said.
Mira, the UCS global health advisor, said she hopes not only to advise students on career opportunities after Yale but also to connect them with faculty, resources and opportunities within the University.
Global health is a complicated discipline to study at Yale, in part because of the large number of different groups and initiatives at the University related to the field, Mira said, citing the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute and the Yale Global Health Initiative as two examples.
Still, Mira added that there are many global health opportunities at Yale that students may not know about.
Unlike law or medicine, global health is a field with no one set track students must follow, Mira said. Students may be bewildered or surprised by the flexibility of the global health industry, and it is important for them to have access to an advisor who specializes in global health, she added.
Adam Beckman ’16 said that because global health is not a major at Yale, some students who are not a part of the Yale Global Health Fellows — a selective fellowship students must apply for during their sophomore fall — may have lacked infrastructural support and guidance before Mira’s appointment this year. As a freshman, Beckman said that it took him many months to understand the resources available at the University and meet some of the faculty relevant to his specific interests, a process he said future students may be able to expedite with Mira’s support.
Beckman said he has met with Mira multiple times this year to discuss Student Partnerships for Global Health, a student-run initiative that sends teams of students to global health projects in developing nations over the summer. Beckman, who is co-director of the group, said Mira’s background has given her a unique perspective on this kind of student-led global health initiative.
Before coming to Yale, Mira earned a doctorate in education from Harvard, where her research focused on how high school students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds can address income inequality.
“She always asks us to consider the moral and ethical implications of students practicing medicine in developing countries,” Beckman said.
Isabel Beshar ’14 said Mira has also organized more UCS events and panels geared exclusively towards global health, adding that these opportunities have enabled students to interact with outside experts.
In March, a team of graduate and undergraduate students wrote a report suggesting ways in which the University could bolster its global health programs. Katherine McDaniel ’14, one of the report’s authors, said that one key recommendation of the report was for Yale to hire a UCS specialist so that students could be given greater support in finding career opportunities.
UCS now has eight advisors, each of whom specializes in at least one industry traditionally popular among Yale graduates.