Students who went ‘above the call of duty’ honored with Y-Work Awards

Eddy Tzintzun-Tapia, Ryan Flynn, Anna Albright, Gabrielle Colangelo, Akweley Mazarae, and Robin Gallagher
Eddy Tzintzun-Tapia, Ryan Flynn, Anna Albright, Gabrielle Colangelo, Akweley Mazarae Lartey, and Robin Gallagher (Photo by Dan Renzetti)

Ten Yale College students who have made contributions to the community that range from scheduling employee shifts for Yale Hospitality to connecting incarcerated inmates with Yale library resources for the Yale Prison Education Initiative have been honored with Y-Work Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Employees.

The Y-Work Award is given annually to 10 students whose dedication to their term-time jobs had a positive impact on the campus community. The awards, first introduced in 2019, were created by the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun presented the awards in a ceremony in the Schwarzman Center’s newly opened bar, The Well. At the event, attended by the student honorees and their supervisors, Chun said that many undergraduate students had been nominated for the award.

The students here this afternoon clearly stood out for their dedication and professionalism in the workplace as well as their initiative and innovation to go above and beyond the call of duty,” he said. He lauded the supervisors for their mentorship of the students and for giving the undergraduate employees opportunities that allowed them “to learn beyond the classroom and make valuable and lasting contributions to Yale’s community.” He also credited the supervisors for imparting their student employees with “lifelong skills that will serve them well in the years to come.”

The students, and their award citations, follow.

Akweley Mazarae Lartey ’23, peer liaison and office staff, Office of LGBTQ Resources

Supervisor: Seth Wallace, assistant director, Office of LGBTQ Resources

Akweley has been instrumental in the stability of the LGBTQ community during the challenges of the pandemic. He is a leader in the Office of LGBTQ Resources, with a significant focus on the experiences and needs of transgender and nonbinary people of color. His supervisor notes that he ‘has become a pillar of the Yale LGBTQ community and a resource for people seeking connection and representation… and his contributions will last for years to come.’”

Eddy Tzintzun-Tapia ’22, Yale Pathways intern, Office of New Haven Affairs

Supervisor: Maria Parente, coordinator for Community Programs in Science

Pathways organizes over 150 STEM events each year to connect local K-12 public school students to Yale resources, faculty, and students. Eddy was instrumental in pivoting this work to a new virtual format during the pandemic. He stepped into the role of teaching assistant and advisor and was a consistent and committed presence in an ever-changing workplace. His supervisor highlighted Eddy’s direct impact on local youth, noting his ‘ability to engage a diverse set of students who possess a variety of experiences’ and increase student engagement across Pathways programming.”

Gabrielle Colangelo ’22, Yale Library/Yale Prison Education Initiative Project (YPEI) student coordinator, Yale Library

Supervisors: Emily Horning, director of undergraduate research education and outreach, Yale Library; and Zelda Roland, director of the Yale Prison Education Initiative at Dwight Hall

Gabby has been deeply involved in the Research Request Network, which connects incarcerated YPEI students with on-campus library resources for their research and is responsible for engaging Yale in a collaborative relationship with other similar programs around the state. They also have used their profound and contagious passion for library access to expand the program to engage other curators and collections around the university. Their supervisor notes that ‘Gabby’s impact on this program and the incarcerated students is incalculable and will be felt long after they graduate.’”

Kendra Libby ’22, research assistant, cell biology

Supervisor: Xiaolei Su, assistant professor of cell biology, Yale School of Medicine

Kendra is an essential member of the Su Lab, where she conducts research on cancer immunology and mentors junior students. Her work has opened the door for many experiments and could potentially lead to the development of a new cancer therapy for leukemia and lymphoma. In his nomination, her supervisor applauded her ‘bravery in exploring new scientific territories, assimilating new knowledge, and forming new ideas.’”

Robin Gallagher ’22, head Commencement usher, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life

Supervisor: Heather Calabrese, director of University Events, Office of the Secretary

Robin has worked with the Commencement office since her first year at Yale, and as head usher is responsible for the interviewing, hiring, training, and supervision of 50 student ushers. Robin assumes leadership where necessary, proactively problem-solves, and serves as a role model for other student employees. Her supervisor noted that graduating students, who had lost much of their Yale experience during the pandemic, ‘felt celebrated for their accomplishments in part as a result of Robin’s contributions’ to Commencement.”

Lea Cioffi ’24, Trumbull College Dining Hall student manager, Yale Hospitality

Supervisor: Kory Marie Evasick, general manager, Trumbull Dining Hall

Lea has been an integral part of Yale Hospitality’s commitment to excellence, particularly during the unprecedented time of COVID operations: she runs service shifts, trains other student managers, takes care of essential office work and more to keep the Trumbull Dining Hall running. Her supervisor notes that Lea ‘always comes in with a smile on her face and infectious positivity… this alone contributes to our culture of respect, positivity, and kindness.’”

Anna Albright ’23, communications specialist, Yale School of Public Health, Office of Public Relations

Supervisor: Kayla Steinberg, digital and social media strategist, Yale School of Public Health

Anna has helped the School of Public Health become a leader in the public health conversation on social media. During the time she worked as communications specialist, the school’s Instagram following grew five-fold and the content has made a huge impact both in engagement and education — particularly important during the pandemic and the current plague of misinformation online. Her supervisor notes that ‘Anna’s initiative and innovation has helped us accomplish school-wide goals of education and recruitment and has likely saved lives along the way as well.’”

Ryan Flynn ’22, undergraduate learning assistant (ULA), Department of Physics

Supervisor: Adriane Steinacker, senior lecturer in physics

Ryan provides key support to students as a ULA, facilitating discussions, explaining difficult concepts, and guiding students toward the correct solution path for problems. Ryan is impeccably knowledgeable but also has the rare skill of being able to break down complicated concepts to make them more accessible and put his fellow students at ease and help grow their confidence. His supervisor notes that ‘Ryan is fully functioning at the level of a graduate student, if not above, and his generosity toward his fellow students goes well beyond the call of duty.’”

Kunchok Sonam ’22, student worker, Yale College Dean’s Office (YCDO)

Supervisors: Julie Sweigard, director of administrative affairs; Therese Barbuto, senior administrative assistant, YCDO; Clare Schlegel, senior administrative assistant, YCDO; Silvia Decastro, senior administrative assistant, YCDO; Lisa Pitoniak, administrative assistant, YCDO; and Kathleen Galo, senior executive assistant, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Kunchok’s dedication to his work in the YCDO is evidenced by his record SIX separate nominations for the Y-Work award. He has become a staple of Warner House and is always proactive, reliable, cheerful, and friendly. One supervisor noted that he is “open-minded and will not hesitate to suggest ways to innovate… he is always suggesting ways to improve things and is one of the best student workers we have had in years in the YCDO.’”

Andrew Scott ’23, student technician, Student Technology Collaborative, ITS

Supervisor: Sarah Luckart, Student Technology Collaborative program manager

Andrew completed every single optional training as a student technician, and acts as the sole administrative coordinator out of over 60 student techs — a role which includes scheduling other employees’ shifts, drafting and documenting procedures and policies, and hosting trainings. His supervisor noted that he regularly takes initiative and constantly seeks ways to improve the Student Tech Program, concluding that ‘if I had a single wish, it would be for all of my employees to be more like Andrew.’”

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Bess Connolly : elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu,