The Charger Blog

Students Reflect on Summer of Service with Area Nonprofit Organizations

As part of the President's Public Service Fellowship program, seven students worked with local nonprofit organizations over the summer, contributing their energy and talents while gaining valuable work experience and an awareness of the importance of being engaged in the community.

September 25, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Presidents Public Service Fellows
Left to right: Dominique Pendleton '20, Jennifer Edwards '20, Darwin Delgado '20, Daniella Nutile '20, Ashley DiScanio '18, '19 M.S. (Fellowship Coordinator), Hannah Glynn '20, Adjhani Benbow '20, and Nicholas Hill '20.

For Dominique Pendleton '20, summer reading meant spending her summer sharing her love of books with children in New Haven. A member of the President's Public Service Fellowship program, she volunteered with New Haven Reads, a nonprofit organization focusing on educating children and distributing books throughout the community.

"Seeing the kids excel and improve their reading abilities was amazing," said Pendleton, a psychology major. "The best part was the one-on-one tutoring, since I saw the kids progress each week."

Pendleton and her fellow President's Public Service Fellows recently shared their experiences with the campus community. She said she is interested in working with kids in the future.

"The best part of this experience was the chance to step out of our comfort zones, and to find our calling."Darwin Delgado '20

Supported by the generosity of Henry '91 Hon. and Nancy Bartels '11 Hon., two of the University's most generous benefactors, the program has impacted more than 200 students in its 20-year history. Their son, Phil '11 Hon., a member of the University's Board of Governors and a former chair, and his wife, Susan, listened as the students discussed their experiences and what they learned.

Adjhani Benbow '20 explained that she was grateful for the opportunity to work this summer with the kids at the Connecticut Children's Museum's Creating Kids Childcare Center.

"These kids impressed me," said Benbow, a criminal justice major. "They were advanced well beyond their years. We read to them every day, and I enjoyed being around them."

Image of Bartels and Student Fellows
Phil '11 Hon. and Susan Bartels (center) with the President's Public Service Fellows.

The Fellowship places students in a nonprofit or public service environment for 11 weeks over the summer. Students worked with organizations such as Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), Artspace, the West Haven Community House, and City Seed, learning about the role of nonprofit organizations in the community and the importance of service, while gaining important leadership experience.

The program, which also fosters positive relationships between the University and the greater West Haven and New Haven communities, enables students to develop skills in the University's six Competency Learning Experience areas of leadership, communication, resilience, teamwork, global and cultural awareness, and critical thinking.

"The best part of this experience was the chance to step out of our comfort zones, and to find our calling," said Darwin Delgado '20, a criminal justice major who worked with Christian Community Action. "That's what helps us envision what we plan for the future."