Nati Tesfaye, Contributing Photographer

Assistant Dean of Yale College Timeica E. Bethel-Macaire ’11 shared stories from her life and introduced the future initiatives of the Afro-American Cultural Center at a Trumbull College Tea on Nov. 1. 

Bethel-Macaire, who was appointed director of the Afro-American Cultural Center earlier this year, sat with Trumbull Head of College Margaret Clark to discuss her journey to Yale. Bethel-Macaire said the Afro-American Cultural Center played a crucial role in shaping her Yale experience. 

“I spent all my time at the Af-Am House,” she said at the tea. “If the building had showers and beds, I would’ve honestly lived there.” 

Bethel-Macaire began her Yale journey nearly 16 years ago. 

After attending the Francis W. Parker School, she came to Yale in the fall of 2007. She would go on to major in sociology and focus extensively on the United States education system. Bethel-Macaire cited her background and childhood in Chicago as inspiration for her work in education. 

While at Yale, Bethel-Macaire led campus organizations like the Black Church at Yale, the Yale Black Women’s Coalition and the Urban Improvement Corps through the House. 

Attendee Elisabeth Ross 24 said she found the event and Bethel-Macaire’s time at Yale fascinating. 

“The most insightful part of the tea was when Timeica was talking about her experience as an undergrad and how she spent all her time at the Af-Am House,” she said. “Everyone is an individual that has an interesting story and a set of unique experiences.” 

After graduating in 2011, she returned to Chicago to teach elementary and middle school students under Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that seeks to recruit educators to work in underserved schools. 

Bethel-Macaire continued working in education until she returned to Yale in the summer of 2022. Most recently, she served as Program Director at LINK Unlimited Scholars, a nonprofit that supports Black middle and high school students in the Chicago area.

In an interview with the News after the tea, Bethel-Macaire described her first three months as director of the House and her goals for the coming academic year. She said the start of the year was “extremely busy” but “exciting” at the same time. 

With more than 40 organizations affiliated with the House, Bethel-Macaire has to manage the allocation of resources and space while also planning events and panels.

Connecting students with alums is one of her top priorities, Bethel-Macaire said. She hopes to host career panels monthly and give graduates more experiences to speak with current students. 

“I want current students to have access to all that knowledge, experience and wisdom from the alumni,” she said. “After the 50th anniversary this past spring, it was very clear to me as a co-chair that there was a lot of energy in that moment and a lot of desire to give back to current students in the alumni circles.” 

While connecting with alumni is important, Bethel-Macaire still wants to place emphasis on current students and the events they have planned for the year.

The success of this coming academic year will solely depend on understanding the needs of the students, according to Bethel-Macaire. 

“I know I was successful if the students were satisfied with the level of the programming and the events the House offered by the end of the year,” she said. 

The future of the House looks bright, according to Keith Calloway 23, who cited Bethel-Macaire’s experience and “institutional memory.” 

As a graduating senior, the programs and events this academic year offer Calloway an opportunity to leave a mark and engage with underclassmen.

“I’m really excited for these opportunities to be available to us,” he said. 

To gauge student involvement and satisfaction, next summer, Bethel-Macaire plans on surveying leaders of multiple Black organizations on campus to improve her management and leadership of the House. 

The House is located at 211 Park Street.

Nati Tesfaye is a sophomore in Branford College from East Haven, Connecticut. He covers business, workers and unions in the city of New Haven. Last year, he covered housing and homelessness for the News.