Peer Liaisons (PLs) are upperlevel students who help connect First Year students to the wealth of support and programming initiatives based in the Office of LGBTQ Resources, the University Chaplain’s Office, the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Afro-American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, the La Casa: Latino Cultural Center, and the Native American Cultural Center. Peer Liaisons serve as a resource for first year students and guide them to the beneficial services.
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• Applications for the 2018-2019 Peer Liaison (PL) program have closed. The next application cycle will begin January 2019.
Afro-American Cultural Center Peer Liaisons 2017-2018
Dante de Blasio
Political Science, 2019
Dante is a junior in Hopper College. He hails from New York and studies political science and philosophy at Yale. During his time at Yale, he has been a member of the Yale Political Union, the executive board of the Black Student Alliance, and the Yale Black Men’s Union while also working as a peer liaison. Dante will be serving as one of this year’s Co-Head PL’s
What Dante loves about the House: “I love the House because it’s a place where black people from every different kind of background come to form community. It’s been a home for me during my time at Yale and I feel lucky that I’ve been able to meet so many different kinds of people through my work at the House and membership in its member groups.”
African American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration , 2018
Hometown: Hackensack, NJ
Ivetty Estepan is a rising senior in Pierson College. She is an Afro-Latina with roots in the Dominican Republic. Ivetty is pursuing a double major in Ethnicity, Race, & Migration and African American Studies with a concentration on the Global Black Identity. Her work focuses on the intersectionalities amongst Black and Latinx cultures and how they are further complicated through transnational migration. Last year at Yale, she served as a Peer Liaison for the House and she will now be serving as Co-Head PL this year.
What Ivetty loves about the House: “I love the house because it is a home away from home that has given me my family at school.”
Political Science, 2019
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Ashtan is a Political Science major planning to either pursue law school or graduate school focusing on public policy. Last year, she was the musical director of Shades of Yale, and this year she will continue singing in the group. She works with the Yale Admissions Office as a Recruitment Coordinator, specifically working with recruiting students of color. She is Black, with both sides of her family originating from slave plantations in the South, and she is a Christian.
What Ashtan loves about the House: “I love the House because it helps to remove the onus that Black students can feel at times in a predominantly white space such as Yale. I also love it because when I go in each room of the House my mind takes me to different memories that I have of hanging with friends, sharing laughs, celebrating our blackness in both small and big ways.”
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Robel is interested in academia as well as working with the government at some capacity. At Yale, he is on the board of the Black Men’s Union and is an Urban Fellow through Dwight Hall. Robel’s mother was a refugee from Ethiopia, he is a Questbridge Scholar, and is the first in his family to go to college.
What Robel loves about the House: “I love the House because there’s always someone to talk to. It’s a place where anyone can come and feel at home. On weekday evenings, activities in the House range from study sessions in the library upstairs to drum circles in the E-room. The house provides a space where you can always meet new people, but somehow still feel familiar to them.”
Political Science & African-American Studies, 2018
Hometown: John’s Creek, GA
Julianna Simms (she/her/hers) is a rising senior in Ezra Stiles College double-majoring in Political Science and African-American Studies. In her extracurricular time, she is involved with the ISPS-Center for the Study of Inequality and Heritage Theater Ensemble. She also works as a Yale Tour Guide. Her passion for Black art, culture and politics is encompassed in her aspiration to work within the Department of Justice to inform legislature that is more humane and mindful of the unique struggles of marginalized peoples.
What Julianna loves about the House: “I love the House because it is a space by us and for us. It is a space as beautiful, resilient and multifaceted as the Black community it aims to serve. As a staff member and senior I am so excited to share such a unique and powerful space with Black Yalies and look forward to passing on the remarkable inheritance that is this home.”
English and Art, 2020
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Amani is a sophomore with a passion for the art of storytelling and hopes to go into filmmaking after graduating in order to tell black stories. On campus, she is a PL, board member for the Black Solidarity Conference, Pierson aide, and a student filmmaker. She identifies as a black woman and uses the pronouns she/her/hers.
What Amani loves about the House: “The House is a source of community, support, and great food. There’s always someone there to answer any questions or just chill and study with.”
History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health, 2020
Jocelyn is a sophomore majoring History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. She is very interested in public health and education and is hopes to learn more about policy and find ways to improve how political, economic, and social systems impact minorities.
What Jocelyn loves about the House: “I love the house because I can be comfortable and find an instant connection with everyone I meet there.”
Political Science, 2019
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Airenakhue Omoragbon is a junior in Benjamin Franklin College, majoring in Political Science. Aside from her interest in studying torture and political conflict in Africa and Latin America, she is most passionate about examining educational disparity in American cities. This passion is especially evident in her role as the Recruitment Director for the Urban Improvement Corps. Airenakhue hails from Brooklyn, New York, is a Christian, and a member of the Prep for Prep program. She is extremely proud to be of Grenadian and Nigerian descent.
What Airenakhue loves about the House: “When I think of the House, I can’t help but associate it with feelings of familiarity. As a first generation college student, born of immigrant parents, who hails from a city with great economic disparity, I have been able to find bits and pieces of myself sprinkled about the House. Through the Urban Improvement Corps, I am able to pass on my passion for education to the New Haven students that I mentor. Whenever I need to connect to my musical roots or restore the peace in my life, I head to the Pan-Jam-and-Lime practice room, located in the basement of the House, to beat out a melody on the steel pan. Upon entry, I can always find at least one person who could relate to the struggles I face as a Black woman at a predominantly white institution. All in all, in my role as a Peer Liaison for 2017-2018, I hope to help my mentees also carve out their space in the House.”
Austin A. Strayhorn
Ethics, Politics, and Economics, 2019
Hometown: Suitland, MD
Austin Strayhorn is a Junior at Yale University (GH ’19) from Suitland, MD, a town of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. He studies Ethics, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in environmental science, and dreams of promoting sustainable practices in businesses. When not working as a Peer Liaison, Austin enjoys volunteering. He serves as Co-President of A Leg Even at Yale, an organization that equips high-achieving, low-income first-years at Yale with the tools they need to support their academic and pre-professional aspirations, and funds summer opportunities through its stipend program. Austin also volunteers as a community tutor for the Urban Improvement Corps, a group that provides community tutoring and mentoring services to New Haven schoolchildren. Austin also works as an aide in his residential college. As an African-American male from a low-income background, Austin feels compelled to be a Peer Liaison, and believes his experiences and advice could benefit students facing similar challenges.”
What Austin loves about the House: “I found the support and community I needed as a bright-eyed yet slightly overwhelmed first-year at the House. The House have been a home base for me, giving me the strength to grow and rooting me of a network of people who really care about mine and every student’s well being. The strongest bonds of friendship and memories of laughter that I will carry with me long after the fleeting stress of a midterm exam have their roots in the House.”
Psychology and Neuroscience, 2020
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Chibuzor Biosah—Uzo for short—is a sophomore in Trumbull College. As a first-generation Nigerian American, Nigerian culture has shaped and influenced her since childhood. Although her major is undeclared she is deeply interested in cognitive science and psychology and has wanted to be a surgeon since kindergarten, though she could also see herself going into law or business. She was previously a Freshman Liaison and Archivist on the Black Student Alliance at Yale board, and is currently the Membership Coordinator. Uzo is very excited to be a Peer Liaison at the House this year.
What Uzo loves about the House: “I love the House because Blackness is celebrated there. Genuine friendships are fostered, and a strong sense of solidarity is cultivated by those inside. It has served as a space for the Black community to organize and resist collectively. To lean on one another. To enjoy each other’s company. To be ourselves. In many ways, the House has become a home away from home for me. As a Peer Liaison, I cannot wait to help new Black students find a home at the House too.”
Political Science, 2018
Hometown: Wilmington, NC by way of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Patrick is a Political Science major interested in diplomacy, and justice closer to home. Patrick recently finished working for the Mayor of NYC’s legal team. He plans on going to law school. Patrick is half black American and half Argentine.
What Patrick loves about the House: “Unapologetic Self Love”
African American Studies & Political Science, 2019
Hometown: Washington, DC
Naiya is double major in African American Studies and Political Science with a focus on Urban Studies. She is the President of Yale Black Women’s Coalition and Outreach Coordinator for the Black Solidarity Conference. Dance is her passion; on campus she is a member of Yaledancers and Rhythmic Blue. She is proud to serve, lead, and empower as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Naiya loves helping students realize their academic potential through her work as a Yale Tour Guide and Student Ambassador. Professionally, she plans to mobilize her talents to uplift marginalized communities through law and socially just public policy. She is elated to continue serving as a Peer Liaison this year.
What Naiya loves about the House: “I always say that The House really is a home, and I hope to help foster that strength of community for our first-year fam too. The House was a crucial entry to Yale in my first-year and it remains one of my favorite spots on campus to commune, study, or just relax in a space that is uniquely for us, by us. I love The House because, in it, I know I always have a place to go home to.”