Yeshiva University has had its share of pizza-driven stampedes, from Semikha celebrations to standing-room-only lectures, yet perhaps no event in recent history has drawn as diverse a crowd as did “Design Your Future: Choosing Your Career Path.” On Friday, December 16, twenty trained staff from the undergraduate community at Yeshiva University and over forty local high school students converged in our own Furst Hall to share in a presentation about careers and job prospects, complete with noted lecturers and, of course, pizza.
The student-run organization College EDge organized this event (with the help of SCWSC, YCSA and YSU) and functions regularly as the representative body of Yeshiva University to the local community. College EDge offers mentoring and tutoring in our neighborhood and across New York City to those who are not privy to help that many of us took for granted in high school.
“Our now-signature pizza lunches,” quipped founder and President Jonah Rubin (YC ’12), “accomplish one of the many indirect but important goals of College EDge: the integration of Yeshiva University with its community, bridging the gap, breaking the barrier.” Lunch followed presentations by Ms. Laurie Davis, Director of Counseling & Programming at YU’s Career Development Center, and Ms. Lolita Wood-Hill, Director of Yeshiva College Pre-Health Advisement.
Undergraduate mentors then broke into discussion groups with the high school students to discuss strategies that could be used in applying these presentations to real-life scenarios. Chaim Szachtel (YC ’13), Event Coordinator for College EDge, described these group discussions as, “a time for introspection, allowing students, some for the first time, to truly evaluate their interests and their skills, and learn about different possible jobs correlating well with their abilities.”
The day’s events centered around inspiring local high school students and offering them strategies for pursuing their goals. Wood-Hill said of the presentations, “Laurie Davis provided the students with the tools they need to think about their career options. I tried to help them understand the reality of moving forward with any goal.” Friday’s program followed last semester’s College EDge First Annual Seminar and Fair Day, which connected 77 public high school students from three boroughs with over 25 colleges and trade schools. That day’s events also included workshops on SAT preparation, financial aid, writing personal statements, tours of Yeshiva University, and a panel discussion featuring representatives from CUNY, SUNY, private, and Ivy League colleges.
When not busy with major seminars and fairs, College EDge regularly offers services to public high school students, ranging from mentorship programs to help with college essays. Lauren Sherman (SCW ’12), Vice President of College EDge, explained that, “The mentorship program maintains student-College EDge relationships throughout the year…and at the suggestion of faculty at Washington Irving High, will be expanded to other schools in the near future.”
In Issue 76.5 of The Commentator, College EDge came under fire for what some perceived as its insensitive ad campaign. Some students went as far as to call College EDge condescending and imposing. Rubin responded to these allegations with a tongue-in-cheek editorial titled, “Underrepresented Inner-City Teens Should Not Have Opportunities,” originally published online and re-printed in this issue. Rubin wrote of the students whom College EDge impacts, “They want to succeed academically, and they want the opportunity for a bright future. Yet they struggle with limitations many of us cannot fathom, limitations they could not prevent, limitations they do not deserve.”
College EDge attempts to bring the ample resources of Yeshiva University to those who cannot access such gifts on their own. The students that College EDge works with today may be the college graduates and leaders of tomorrow. Yeshiva University students, staff and faculty can look to College EDge with pride, as an example of how a small group of undergraduate students can apply their ample resources to effecting important change in their community.
College EDge strives to offer as many opportunities for YU student involvement as possible. More information can be found at collegeedge.us.