Director of Development, Adjunct Professor Loves Connecting with Students and Alumni
Meet Cherie Gayle ’13, director of development in the University’s Office of Advancement, a proud dog owner who is now excited to be teaching a Humanities and Social Justice course at her alma mater.
March 24, 2023
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about them – beyond their day-to-day work.
Next up is Cherie Gayle ’13, director of development, who loves to sing and enjoys sharing the joy of reading with local kids.
Renee Chmiel: Do you have any pets? Cherie Gayle: I currently have a dog. Her name is Paris. I adopted her in December 2021 from Adopt-A-Dog Inc. in Armonk, NY. I grew up in a Jamaican household where dogs were not allowed inside the house. So growing up, having a dog or a pet was out of the picture. After moving to Connecticut in the summer of 2021, I wanted company, and my fur animal gave me the company I needed. Now, my Jamaican family absolutely loves her, and my family takes turns as sitters.
RC: What did you enjoy the most about your time as a student at the University? CG: At the University, I truly enjoyed my time as a student. I got the great opportunity to learn from Professor McCormick, Professor Woodworth, Professor Sandman, and Professor Ferringer. I became curious about politics and international studies. In my classes, I dived deeper into the understanding of global superpowers and American political systems. I was a double major in global studies and political science with a minor in legal studies, so I felt well-rounded and prepared to take on the world.
At the University, I was a part of Elite Step Team. Stepping or step-dancing is a complex dance mixed with footsteps, spoken word, and handclapping that has evolved over the years. I tried out my first year and started as a teammate, advanced to a captain, and by my senior year, I was a coach. I refined my leadership qualities while serving as an e-board member, and I continue to keep in touch with many of my teammates. We traveled throughout the Northeast, competing against other universities. Elite became my family.
RC: What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday? CG: A typical Saturday morning looks like reading that week's NY Times love and real estate articles. I thoroughly enjoy reading the NY Times, specifically The Hunt and The Vow. The Hunt features stories about individuals searching for, renting, and buying real estate across the United States. In contrast, The Vow features stories about love, engagements, and weddings. After catching up on my reading, I like going to the gym with my boyfriend, since it's the only time we can go together. If we work out, we skip breakfast and have a pre-workout before heading to the gym. After the gym, we go grocery shopping and deep clean the house. Saturday tends to be a chilled day when I relax and do things I don't usually get to do.
RC: Are you involved in any volunteer work? CG: I currently volunteer with New Haven Reads. Last summer, I worked at their Willow Site, where I was a tutor once a week. After serving as a tutor, I transitioned into their fundraising committee to help with their 20th anniversary fundraising event.
RC: Tell us about the course you're now teaching at the University. What’s it like to now be teaching at your alma mater? CG: I am teaching a Humanities and Social Justice course at the University. I get to bring my experience as a young Black female immigrant into the classroom. I have so many intersectionalities, which allows me to connect with students. Knowing I am teaching at the University is more important because I used to be a student in those seats.
My class covers a range of topics including race, inclusivity, stereotypes, accessibility, and belonging. We explore issues that students face, and they also participate in projects. As a fundraiser, I have the great privilege of meeting alums and learning about their career trajectory after the University. As a teacher, I hear my students’ dreams, wish lists, and individual stories. It's empowering and allows me to tie in how they can use their voices to create a just world.
RC: Tell us a "fun fact" or two about yourself. What's might people be surprised to learn about you? CG: I've been singing all my life. I come from a family of singers. I don't sing as much as I used to, but I can still hold a tune. I used to be a University of New Haven Gospel Choir member my first year. Another fun fact is that I have been in more than four choirs.
At the University, I had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and I wanted to study abroad, but never had the opportunity to. After graduating, I started travelling and exploring the world. A second fact is that I have been to Paris twice and have visited more than eleven countries.
RC: What do you enjoy the most about working at the University? CG: I enjoy teaching and fundraising for the University. I get the opportunity to interact face-to-face with students, serve as a mentor with the Myatt Center and meet with alums all across the U.S. to learn more about their career trajectories and reconnect them with the University. I enjoy the support and encouragement from my colleagues, and, lastly, I love giving back to the University that has already given me so much.