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Students reflect on summer public service opportunities

Under the University President’s Public Service Scholarship, several students have gained valuable experience while serving the local community.

August 15, 2022

By Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24, Ian Boyce ’24, Ryan Curry ’24, Anna Marcotte ’24, Nicole Miklinski ’23 and Tariyaha Morris ’23

From left to right: Tariyaha Morris ’23, Nicole Miklinski ’23, Ian Boyce ’24.

This summer, several students served the communities of New Haven and West Haven as members of the university’s President’s Public Service Fellowship. The program places students of all majors in a nonprofit or public service work environment, allowing them to develop their skills and understand the importance of public service.

Below, six students talk about their experience this summer.

Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24
Delianne Ayala-Ramos '24 worked with children at New Haven Reads.
Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24 worked with children at New Haven Reads.

Work with New Haven bed changed life. I never had a reason to want to stay in the Greater New Haven area after graduation, but now I can’t help but imagine a future in which I can continue to work with New Haven Reads to make a difference in the lives of children in our community.

The best experience I’ve had so far is seeing children’s faces light up when they see a topic they know well. I like to let them teach me and give them the chance to have confidence in themselves. I had so many teachers who believed in me and it changed the way I saw myself. Now I’m lucky to be the person who believes in them.

Ian Boyce’24
Ian Boyce '24 worked with New Haven Neighborhood Housing Services.
Ian Boyce ’24 worked with New Haven Neighborhood Housing Services.

Throughout my work with the New Haven Neighborhood Housing Services Community Building and Organization Department, I had the opportunity to meet members of the community, interact with them and become more involved with them. As a result, I have created strong bonds with many people with whom I share similar passions.

Many of the projects I worked on over the summer led me to consider pursuing a career in the environmental field. I would like to study environmental law and continue to educate residents about the pollution around them and encourage them to think about a more environmentally friendly way of life. NHS has had a huge impact on the city of New Haven, and I am grateful that I was able to help them with their goals.

Ryan Curry ’24
Ryan Curry '24 at Christian Community Action.
Ryan Curry ’24 at Christian Community Action.

Working at Christian Community Action (ACC) this summer has been a great experience for me to learn more about the city of New Haven and the issues facing one of its most vulnerable populations: the homeless.

CCA provides shelter and a variety of other services to homeless families in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven. This includes a food pantry, diaper bank, help finding stable housing and work, help with utilities, referrals for outside services such as dentists and therapists, help registering with school, etc Being part of a team doing such amazing things makes the job fun and meaningful.

Working with clients and listening to their stories gave me a deeper understanding of the issues faced by homeless people and made me realize that homelessness can strike anyone at any time. All it takes is one bad break, like medical bills, a landlord selling your building or being laid off, to eat into your savings and make you homeless when they run out.

Anna Marcotte ’24
Anna Marcotte '24 worked with the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI).
Anna Marcotte ’24 worked with the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI).

This summer, I spent my time working with the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI). Throughout my journey, I was able to engage with a population that I did not know and learn more about higher education in prison. It was an experience that I knew would push me out of my comfort zone. At YPEI, I worked with a passionate group of students and faculty to provide quality education in a unique environment. They were very knowledgeable and helped ignite my passion for education.

Beyond my job, the scholarship has allowed me to make the Greater New Haven area feel more like home. Through the activities and time spent visiting new places, I was able to see and learn things about New Haven that I would not have had I not had this opportunity. The scholarship introduced me to a community and an organization that I will continue to work with as I move forward in life.

Nicole Miklinski ’23

Work at the West Haven Community House allowed me to situate myself in the community while educating me on the difficulties faced by children, young people and adults. The community house has many different and unique departments, so after working summers in administration, child and youth services, and the facility for adults with disabilities, I was able to meet people from all horizons.

Nicole Miklinski '23 worked at the West Haven Community House.
Nicole Miklinski ’23 worked at the West Haven Community House.

This opportunity has really opened my eyes to understand the needs of the community and what programs are available for those who need them or what programs have yet to be created. Working in Human Resources showed me how the facility works while learning and interacting with the great people who work for the organization.

Being placed in the Department of Children and Youth Services was more difficult at first as I had no previous experience working with children, but the directors and headteachers were amazing. They made me aware of the importance of developing a safe and welcoming environment for children who may have special needs at school or in their living situation.

Additionally, working at the Disabled Adult Facility, which is a sister site to the Community House called Community Connections, has enlightened me on the importance of developing programs for adults who need extra help instead to turn their backs on them.

Working in these different departments allowed me to further develop my leadership and resilience skills while gaining a better understanding of the needs of those with different backgrounds than mine. Overall, working at West Haven Community House has been an unforgettable experience that has allowed me to grow as a person both emotionally and intellectually.

Tariyaha Morris ’23

My summer at CitySeed gave me a new perspective, not only on the community of New Haven but also on food insecurity. They taught me about the opportunities of setting up farmers’ markets in certain communities.

Tariyaha Morris '23 at CitySeed.
Tariyaha Morris ’23 at CitySeed.

Throughout this summer, I’ve seen CitySeed do things like help make organic produce accessible to all communities, start food businesses with people who have no knowledge of the industry, and donate to refugee women a safe space and income by hiring them to make their own traditional dishes.

CitySeed also helped me improve my leadership skills by allowing me to oversee multiple tasks throughout the summer. Some of these tasks include helping to design t-shirts for their Market Loyalty Program friend; contact community calendars so they can list their markets; publicize their farmers’ markets by visiting different businesses and sharing their flyers; and letting me help organize and set up farmers markets.

Throughout the summer, CitySeed allowed me to grow and develop while teaching me so much about myself and the community. It also allowed me to build relationships with people from all walks of life and allowed me to learn about businesses from different perspectives.

Delianne Ayala-Ramos ’24, Anna Marcotte ’24, and Nicole Miklinski ’23 are forensic science majors at the University. Ian Boyce ’24 and Ryan Curry ’24 are criminal justice majors. Tariyaha Morris ’23 is a health science major.

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