The first impulse most Yalies have upon graduating is to get out of New Haven, but a few committed students plan to stick around and stay involved in the community.
After being heavily involved in Dwight Hall throughout his undergraduate career, Johnny Scafidi ’01 got a job on Old Campus as the program director of Dwight Hall.
“After graduating I felt that I wasn’t ready to make a decision but I really wanted to work in nonprofit,” Scafidi said. “I started off thinking about this as a 10-month job before I went to law school.”
Scafidi is now going to stay on for at least another year and is uncertain of his plans after that. He may pursue an MBA for nonprofit management and he is still considering public interest law.
Living and working in New Haven is a delicate balance between being involved with the Yale community while forming new social networks at the same time.
“It’s difficult to find 20-somethings who aren’t at college here,” Scafidi said. “Still, New Haven is turning into more of a hopping place to be. The nightlife isn’t huge but new clubs are opening and the arts scene is great.”
Teresa Weathington ’01 is an administrative development and marketing assistant for Amistad America, a nonprofit organization that owns and operates the schooner Amistad and works to promote positive race relations.
“I know I wanted to go to [graduate] school but I just wanted to take a break, and spend some time with friends and family,” Weathington said.
She spent two weeks in Rome after graduating and the next six months working as a Human Resources intern for the city of Detroit, before returning to New Haven to work on Crown street.
“I’ve worked in a big corporation with a huge plant next door and 40 people on one floor, but I wanted a more personal working environment,” Weathington said. “The office I work in now is small. We can joke around and order lunch for everyone. It’s fun.”
Returning to New Haven also meant she could stay in touch with friends and her boyfriend, who is still at Yale.
Stephen Osserman ’02 is continuing work with the Student Legal Action Movement this summer and plans to stay involved when attending the Yale School of Music next year. He describes staying in New Haven as a more gradual transition from Yale.
For students in Dwight Hall, the time between graduation and further education is a great opportunity to continue their service in New Haven communities. Melanie Theodore ’02 has worked for LEAP, a summer teaching and after-school program for kids between the ages of seven and 14, since her sophomore year. She has been a senior counselor and her responsibilities included teaching and formulating a summer curriculum as well as taking the kids on trips.
This summer she will be a resource administrator for the program.
“I definitely don’t want to be anywhere near Yale,” Theodore said. “[Yale students] associate New Haven with the stress at school but I’ve seen the other side to the city and it’s great.”
A major concern for most seniors considering employment in non-profit agencies is precisely the ‘non-profit’ part of it.
“You’ll live,” said Theodore. “I don’t really care because I think you should do what you love, and I have no interest in business or law. I could never sit in an office, wear a suit and do all that.”