Woodbridge Fellowship

Established in 2005 by President Richard C. Levin, the Woodbridge Fellowship introduces recent Yale College graduates to the work and administration of Yale. The fellowship provides valuable professional experience for potential careers in higher education and non-profit organizations, particularly for recent graduates belonging to minority communities currently underrepresented in university administration. 

Fellowships are full-time paid positions in the offices of university leaders, who take active interest in fellows’ professional development. Fellows directly report to senior members of their offices and work with a variety of university staff, at all levels. Fellows most often combine day-to-day duties with responsibilities for specific projects that utilize their research abilities and other higher-level skills. Organizational and writing skills are particularly valuable, as is the ability to work well with multiple constituencies: staff of all kinds (clerical, technical, service, maintenance, managerial, and professional), faculty, alumni, and students.   

Fellows meet regularly together, including for lunchtime conversation with the president, provost,  secretary, and other university leaders. These conversations about roles and responsibilities, and the career paths that led people into academic administration, give fellows a broad understanding of many facets of working in higher education.

Profiles on current and past Woodbridge Fellows can be found below.

For prospective fellows

Applications for 2022-23 fellowship positions are now closed.

  

Current Woodbridge Fellows

Nadira Abdilahi
Office of International Affairs

Nadira Abdilahi is from Hargeisa, Somaliland, and studied Economics at Yale College with a focus on developmental economics in East Africa. She currently serves as the Woodbridge Fellow for the Office of International Affairs to support Yale’s African Initiative to develop strategic partnerships between Yale and African centers of academic excellence.  As a Yale College student, she was heavily involved in the Yale African Student Association and the Office of International Student and Scholars at Yale. She was part of Yale’s only African dance group (Dzana), worked as a research assistant at the economics department, and was an outreach coordinator for the college’s fellowship office. After her fellowship, she plans to go to graduate school and focus on public policy. She intends to join organizations that address global health and wealth inequality.  She hopes to address and find solutions to the economic problems faced by many countries in East Africa such as extremely high unemployment rates, especially for women.

Allison Bensinger
Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Allie Bensinger graduated from Yale College in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. She is currently serving as the Woodbridge Fellow in the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC), aiding the editorial, social media, and media relations teams in the office. Before her current role, she worked in public affairs at Kivvit, a firm specializing in public relations and strategic communications. This year, Allie is excited to hold a role that allows her to combine her professional communications experience with her love of Yale. As an undergraduate, Allie spent most of her time performing in various extracurricular groups across campus. Allie was a member of Yaledancers (Yale’s oldest dance group) and Rhythmic Blue (Yale’s hip hop group), and sang with the all-female a cappella group, Something Extra. During her free time, Allie enjoys exploring New Haven coffee shops, taking dance classes, and baking. 

Alec Bernal
Schwarzman Center

Alec Bernal is the Schwarzman Center’s second Woodbridge Fellow. Passionate about food, media, and the arts, he is committed to the Center’s mission to affect positive social change at Yale and beyond. As an undergrad, Alec devoted his time to Sube, the Yale Latinx Business Association, and YULAA, the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association. Most of all, he loved being a part of Branford College, where he worked as a College Aide, served on the Branford College Council, and mentored students as a First-Year Counselor. Professionally, Alec has interned in the legal field, in management consulting, and in tech sales/marketing. Alec is proudly from Brentwood, California, a small town in the East Bay Area. A 2021 Yale graduate, he holds a BA in American Studies with a concentration in American Politics and Communities. His senior thesis was titled “Power in Unity: the Chicano Movement and the Black Panther Party, 1965-1973”.

Abby Lee
Office of New Haven Affairs

Abby Lee graduated from Yale University in the class of 2021 with a Bachelor’s in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. During her time at Yale, she wrote fiction and nonfiction as well as exploring gender and sexuality through the lens of reading and writing. As an undergraduate, she was involved with many campus groups such as YPop-Up, ballroom dancing, and the Yale Refugee Project. She also enjoyed her time working in the Rare Books and Manuscripts department of the Yale Center for British Art. Abby will be working in the Office of New Haven Affairs to help facilitate meaningful connections between the university and the city, building on a foundation of mutual respect. She is excited to spend another year in New Haven and loves exploring all of its parks and restaurants. After her fellowship, Abby plans to pursue a graduate degree and focus on the intersection between gender studies and literature. 

Christian Milian-Santiago
Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life

Christian is a Class of 2021 graduate from Waterbury, CT with a Bachelor’s in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and a Certificate in Education Studies. He is the current Woodbridge Fellow for the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life (OSVPUL). In the OSVPUL he works alongside university leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work, the management of YaleConnect, and crafting the vision for university-wide student life activities such as major ceremonies. During his time at Yale as a student, Christian was involved in Despierta Boricua, the Puerto Rican Student Organization at Yale, Matriculate, and AIESEC at Yale. Christian also held a variety of mentorship positions, having served as a STARS Peer Mentor, First-Year Counselor (FroCo), and FSY Residential Director. Christian hopes to help in advancing the OSVPUL’s work in DEI by supporting university activities that will help further a sense of belonging across Yale’s graduate and undergraduate student body.

Xán Miñan
Chaplain’s Office

Xán is a Class of 2020 graduate hailing from Tampa, FL. He is currently serving as Woodbridge Fellow for the Chaplain’s Office, aiding the many chaplains, spiritual leaders, and religious directors that create community at Yale. The Chaplain’s Office prides itself on being a space for personal and collective spiritual dialogue, as well as a place of radical hospitality for all, an environment Xán supports and facilitates through helping to coordinate the office’s many programs and resources. As an undergraduate, he majored in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies with a focus in Education Studies; his senior thesis sought to critically engage with “studenthood” in higher education, and how identity formation is both limited and generated by institutional constraints and discursive trends. Xán also served as Chief Aide in his native Berkeley College, and spent practically every other moment with his society, St. Anthony Hall, of which he served as president his senior year. He loves meandering conversations, particularly about passions and beliefs, and spends way too long making way too many playlists on his Spotify.

Alexa Vaghenas
Good Life Center

Alexa Vaghenas graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Psychology and as a member of the Education Studies Scholar program, an application-based cohort focused on the intersection of education practice, research, and policy. Her prior research includes why self-efficacy is such an important variable impacting student achievement, and how teachers can effectively promote self-efficacy for all students using trauma-informed and anti-racist education. During her time at Yale, she became fascinated with the field of positive psychology, the science of well-being, through working as a peer wellness liaison (Peer Wellness Champion) and Good Life Center Intern. She is delighted to begin her professional career in wellness education by serving as a Woodbridge Fellow for the Good Life Center. She is committed to educating students about the importance of self-care, as well as to helping students cultivate community, solidarity, and resilience during these uncertain times. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, journaling, and spending time with loved ones.

Past Woodbridge Fellows

Nadira Abdihali, Office of International Affairs

Jorge Anaya, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning & Yale College Dean’s Office

Ruhi Manek, Schwarzman Center

Xán Miñan, Chaplain’s Office

Olivia Roth, Office of International Affairs

Alexa Vaghenas, Good Life Center

Jorge Anaya, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning & Yale College Dean’s Office

Valentina Guerrero, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life

Kevin Kim, Chaplain’s Office

Stephanie Reynolds Ramos, Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Anita Norman, Office of Public Affairs and Communications,

Sabrina Rostkowski, Office of International Affairs

Lekha Tlhotlhalemaje, Office of International Affairs

Christian De Leon, Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Eilaf Elmileik, Office of International Affairs

Nic Harris, Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Saatchi Kalsi, Office of International Affairs

Kevin Kim, Chaplain’s Office

Madeline Lemberg, Office of General Counsel

José López, Center for Teaching and Learning & Yale College Dean’s Office

Katie McCleary, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life

Stephanie Reynolds Ramos, Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Emma Smith, Office of Sustainability

Mallory Isburg, Chaplain’s Office

Jacqueline Ly, Office of International Affairs

Ewurama Okai, Office of International Affairs

Steven Roets, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life

Keni Sabath, Office of General Counsel

Leah Salovey, Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Karin Shedd, Office of Public Affairs & Communications

Kendall Teare, Office of Public Affairs & Communications

Renee Bollier, Office of International Affairs
Amanda Stephanie F. Farrell, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life
Beata Fiszer, Office of Sustainability
Dianne Lake, Office of International Affairs
Mustafa Malik, Chaplain’s Office
Esther Portyansky, Office of the General Counsel
Keni Sabath, Center for Teaching and Learning
Kyle Sevel, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life
Karin Shedd, Office of Public Affairs and Communications 
Christian Soler, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office

Román Castellanos-Monfil, Office of Public Affairs and Communications
Elena Gonzalez, Office of Development
Tiffany Ho, Office of International Affairs
Maxwell Knapp, Office of Sustainability
Christian Maxwell, Chaplain’s Office
Matthew Ribeiro, Office of the Deputy Vice President for Human Resources and Administration
Sara Samuel, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life

Ifeanyi Awachie, Office of International Affairs
Armando Ghinaglia, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life
Isadora Italia, Office of International Affairs
Ryan Laemel, Office of Sustainability
Christian Maxwell, Chaplain’s Office
Aubrey Renault, Office of International Students and Scholars
Wazhma Sadat, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
Jack Zhao, Office of the Deputy Vice President for Human Resources and Administration

Marj Berman, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life
Abigail Braden, Chaplain’s Office
Leslie Bull, Office of International Affairs
Omar Dairanieh, Office of Public Affairs & Communications
Lily Lewis-McNeil, Office of Development
Ryan Mendias, Office of Digital Dissemination and Online Education
So Yoon Sim, Office of International Affairs
Christian Vazquez, Office of the Deputy Vice President for Human Resources and Administration

Aala Abdelgadir, Office of International Affairs
Katie Carmody, Association of Yale Alumni
David Demres, Yale-NUS College
Bezawit Getachew, Office of Administration
Brandon Levin, Office of the Vice President
Jennifer Mosby, West Campus Administration
Julia Myers, Office of Public Affairs & Communications
Umar Qadri, Office of the Chaplaincy
Emmanuel Quartey, Office of Public Affairs & Communications
Erin Schutte, Office of International Affairs
Chandrika Srivastava, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life

Sarika Arya, Office of International Affairs
David Demres, Yale-NUS College
Grace Fisher, Office of the Secretary
George Harris, Office of International Affairs
Faye Maison, Association of Yale Alumni
Ivy Onyeador, Office of the Chaplaincy

Adam Haliburton, Office of Federal Relations
Khadija Khan, Office of Administration
Neli Lazarova, Office of International Affairs

Erin Johnson, Office of the Secretary
Amy Jones, Office of the General Counsel
Neli Lazarova, Office of International Affairs

Fiza Ahmed, Office of International Affairs
Jamal Fulton, Office of Administration
Deeona Gaskin, Office of the General Counsel
Erin Johnson, Office of Public Affairs
Yuan Ren, Office of International Affairs
Clairelise Rodriguez, Office of Federal Relations
Altaf Saadi, Office of the Chaplaincy
Adam Scharfman, Office of International Affairs
Thuy Tran, Office of Development

Yusuf Samara, Office of International Students & Scholars and Office of International Affairs
Ricardo Sandoval, Office of New Haven and State Affairs
Iris Shih, Office of the University Printer
Erin Thomas, Office of the President and Office of the Secretary
Lauren Thompson, Office of the General Counsel
Luis Vasquez, Office of Public Affairs

Yusuf Samara, Office of International Students & Scholars and Office of International Affairs
Ricardo Sandoval, Office of New Haven and State Affairs
Lauren Thompson, Office of the Secretary

Lauren Thompson, Office of the Secretary