Profiles: Yalies on Leave

This semester, as the pandemic has prompted changes to campus life, 23 percent of Yale College students are taking a leave of absence — far more than the 1.4 percent of students who took a leave in fall 2019. Of students on leaves this year, some are spending their semesters continents away, while others are passing their days at home. And regardless of where they’re located, these students are researching, campaigning and creating. Here are a few of their stories.

Clare Boone ’23: A biology major finding her niche in legal advocacy and racial justice

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clare Boone ’23 has cycled through five different apartments in three different states. The constant moving has yet to slow her down. For the past eight months, she has filled her time vigorously: interning virtually at a Yale School of Public Health research lab, volunteering on various political […]

Sebastian Chang ’23 explores cultural differences, new voices and his own ‘weird contradictions’ in new album

During a time of disconnect, Sebastian Chang ’23 is using his music to explore cultural differences and experiences that transcend into a sense of shared humanity. When Yale shut its campus to students in the spring, Chang began working on a musical project that would eventually become his debut album, “20,” under the artist name […]

Finding his ‘white whale’: How Tasman Rosenfeld ’23 is fighting to conserve Florida’s natural habitats

Environmental conservation is second nature to Tasman Rosenfeld ’23, who grew up surrounded by wildlife in the Everglades of Southern Florida. But this fall, he found himself in conversation with developers of opposing interests, trying to convince them of the importance of environmental consciousness at both the state and personal level. Rosenfeld is the youth […]

Lucy Harvey ’24 advocates for hometown community during gap year

When Yale announced its plan for the fall semester to be fully online, many students made the difficult decision to take a gap semester and, in some cases, an entire gap year. One such student was Lucy Harvey ’24, a sophomore in Grace Hopper College from Vancouver, Canada, who initially chose to take the fall […]

“Warm-hearted, giving and caring”: Karen Li ’23 helps Asian-American and FGLI communities during her gap year

The first thing I noticed about Karen Li ’23 was her Gloria Steinem-styled glasses and warm smile. She shared with me her coming-of-age story — Li was born in Chinatown in New York City and now lives in Brooklyn. Her favorite quarantine hobbies include watching Netflix and kickboxing workouts. But when Li is not finishing […]

Judith Chang ’24 teaches, reflects and connects in Seoul

After classes ended in May, Judith Chang ’24 joined her family in Seoul, South Korea. While she had visited South Korea in the past, this was the first time Chang was fully living in the country since she moved to the United States at age six. Chang spent her summer participating in a Yale Science, […]

Reading and choosing hopeful stories: Lindsay Pierce ’23 reflects on her gap semester

As a literary assistant at Neon Literary, a literary agency, Lindsay Pierce ’23 enjoys the imagery and vignettes of hope in the manuscripts she studies. In choosing her passion for stories over school for some time, Pierce is crafting a narrative of her own. When Pierce — a cognitive science major concentrating in the science […]

Thomas Blum ’23: From the biosafety cabinet to the Long Island Sound

“I wish I had known that an experience like this was possible going into college,” Thomas Blum ’23 said. From his apartment in Branford, Conn. Blum has been working and isolating since early summer. After reflecting on taking online courses in the spring and summer, he realized he was not as engaged with his academic […]

From venture capital to the great outdoors: Elizabeth Olshanetsky ’24 invests in personal growth

Elizabeth Olshanetsky ’24 is no stranger to profiles — but she’s usually the one writing them. This June, Olshanetsky launched her personal blog, Techs and the City, where she has since profiled 15 New York City startups in industries including food, fashion, finance and education. The blog arose out of Olshanetsky’s passions for entrepreneurship and […]

Michaela Markels ’24 prioritizes personal growth over productivity on leave in South Korea

With the world in the midst of a pandemic that has completely reformed the way we live, the very fabric of the Yale experience has been altered. While some students were willing to brave the storm of uncertainty and venture onto campus this year, a group of students of unprecedented size decided to wait it […]

Gabrielle Niederhoffer rediscovers dance during gap year

For Gabrielle Niederhoffer ’23, the decision to take a gap year came from her love for the dance and theater community at Yale. As a former dance studies major, Niederhoffer’s time at Yale is divided between the Dance Lab — a Yale initiative that promotes community, cross-disciplinary collaboration and activism through dance — and the […]