Tasnim Elboute

The Office of Career Strategy is expanding this semester through two new initiatives: graduate-school advising workshops and Yale-coordinated summer internship ambassadors.

OCS Senior Associate Director Meredith Mira said the new graduate advising workshops will target undergraduates interested in learning more about graduate school opportunities. Yale has offered advising programs for students interested in medical and law school in the past, but advising students on graduate school was more difficult due to the breadth of the humanities, social sciences and STEM fields, said Mira. OCS is also collaborating with the residential colleges and the Yale College Writing Center to offer a new series of workshops and writing boot camps for students interested in applying to graduate school. These workshops are hosted in the residential colleges and led by Amruta Nori-Sarma FES ’19 and Katie Oltman GRD ’19 who serve as OCS graduate student peer advisers. The peer advisor program was first introduced in the 2014-2015 academic year to provide potential graduate school applicants with advising more tailored to their specific needs through one-on-one appointments. Nori-Sarma, who focuses on STEM programs specifically, and Oltman, who works with humanities and social sciences students, also host “officeless hours” in residential college dining halls to better accommodate students’ schedules.

“I definitely think that [the workshops] are here for the long term,” Mira said. “It’s been an area where we start to hear from students more and more now that they’re seeking guidance in this area.”

In April, OCS will also host a web seminar for Yale College alumni applying to graduate school. According to Mira, many students are more likely to apply to graduate school after taking a gap year or working for a year.

Compared to the graduate school peer advisors, the internship ambassadors have a more informal role that requires less time commitment. Organized by Brian Frenette, OCS associate director of employment programs, and Julia Bourque, OCS assistant director and international internships program manager, the ambassador program involves a group of 55 undergraduates who took part in Yale-coordinated domestic and international internships this past summer. The ambassadors were selected by Frenette and Bourque after consulting with internship coordinators from the cities that host summer internships. Frenette described the responsibilities of an ambassador as fairly straightforward but still impactful.

Amey Mahajan ’17, an ambassador who worked at an investment bank in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this past summer, said the bulkof an ambassador’s role involves attending networking events like internship fairs in order to help connect prospective interns with fitting opportunities.

“The main qualification or credential to be a good ambassador is to be willing to talk to people you don’t know and sort of gush about your experience,” Mahajan said.

Ambassadors are also asked to be available outside of one-time networking events. Students interested in Yale-coordinated internships can ask ambassadors more specific questions via email and informal meetings. Bourque said the ambassadors will also attend a pre-departure workshop in the spring, which is required for students interning in summer 2016.

Ambassadors interviewed said they decided to represent their internships after positive learning experiences. Emmanuel Cantor ’18, whose internship in Tel Aviv, Israel, involved advocating for refugees and asylum seekers, said his job helped him gain insight into a career in pursuing Jewish social justice work. Yupei Guo ’17, another ambassador, described his summer working for a social enterprise in Beijing, China, as immensely rewarding. He said he wanted to make the internships more accessible to students by helping to demystify the application process.

“Becoming an ambassador is such a low time commitment on my part, yet it can mean a lot for other students lost in the job hunt who just need to talk to a former intern to understand what it really feels like to work there,” Guo said.

Frenette and Bourque anticipate that time required of ambassadors will increase after the Yale-coordinated internship applications open on Dec. 14. For now, Frenette said, OCS plans to continue advertising summer opportunities and highlighting ambassadors’ experiences through the OCS newsletter.

The internship ambassadors will be present at the upcoming summer opportunities fair on Nov. 20. OCS’s next “Thinking about Graduate School?” workshop on writing personal statements will be held at 5 p.m. today.