Our Team


Mayerling Colin photoMayerling Colin ‘24 (she/ella). ¡Hola Amigxs! My name is Mayerling Colin (she/ella) and I am a senior in Timothy Dwight majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health on the pre-med track and Co-Head Peer Liaison.

Why are you involved in the FGLI community? ”When I am not at Yale, I call San Diego home. My family comes from a small town on the outskirts of Mexico City called Atlacomulco, where I lived for the first four years of my life. On campus, I spend my time volunteering with HAVEN Free Clinic as a Spanish-English medical interpreter, engaging in social activism and social justice movements through MEChA, and guiding first-generation, low-income high school seniors through the college application process as an Advising Fellow for Matriculate. I also form a part of the Science, Technology, and Research Scholars (STARS) community tailored for underrepresented groups in STEM. In my free time, I love to dance cumbia with friends and family, stroll through museums, bake tres leches cakes, and sip on coconut lattes. I am so excited to meet you all! Please feel free to reach out if you want to chat about anything and everything!“ 

Email: mayerling.colin@yale.edu

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Samad Hakani photoSamad Hakani ‘26 (he/him) Samad Hakani is a sophomore in Davenport College studying Political Science and Statistics & Data Science. He is originally from the Atlanta metro area and firmly believes Georgia weather is a lot better than Connecticut’s! He is aiming to attend graduate school for political science and eventually become a professor. In his free time, he loves solo hikes, listening to R&B, and learning about public transit.  

Why are you an FGLI Ambassador?:  “Coming both from a first-generation and low income household, I definitely had my fair share of struggles freshman year! Even with siblings who went to college, coming to Yale and being among so many people of privilege was a hard adjustment. Even now I still face barriers in different academic and social spaces. I’m so glad I am an FGLI ambassador this year so I can help students like me feel welcome at Yale and realize that being FGLI is something to be proud of!”

Email: samad.hakani@yale.edu

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Linh Pham ‘24 (she/her/hers) is a junior in Jonathan Edwards college, majoring in Statistics & Data Science.  On campus, she volunteers for Code Haven, and she does pottery in her free time. Born and raised in Nashville, TN to Vietnamese refugees, Linh is passionate about helping other students adjust to Yale.

Why are you involved in the FGLI community? ”I am involved because many FGLI students come into Yale thinking they are alone, but I want to make sure that they know we are here for them! As they say, it takes a village.

Email: linh.pham@yale.edu

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Melangelo Pride photoMelangelo Pride ‘26 (she/her) Melangelo is a sophomore in Saybrook College from Cookeville, Tennessee. She is a QuestBridge scholar majoring in Neuroscience and Political Science on the pre-law track. Melangelo’s activities include being a member of Yale’s premier step team, Yale Steppin’ Out!, playing on the club softball team, and being an advocacy member of Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Assistance (YULAA) and the Yale Policy Institute (YPI). 

Why are you an FGLI Ambassador/involved with the FGLI Community? “One of the reasons why I applied to Yale was because of the resources Yale offers for first generation & low income students to thrive. It is a community that I am proud to be a part of and identify with, and I am so happy that I am in the position to make it even better and to serve other students here at Yale.”

Email: melangelo.pride@yale.edu

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Drake Prince ‘24 (he/him/his) is a junior in Davenport college majoring in Psychology. As a student-athlete on campus he competes for the Track and Cross Country teams. San Diego born and raised, Drake is excited to help FGLI students make the transition to Yale. 

Why are you involved in the FGLI community? ”I am involved because I have found a home in the FGLI community at Yale. I am constantly inspired by the resilience and grit of FGLI students and I want to be a support system to help these students reach their goals while finding a sense of community. ”

Email: drake.prince@yale.edu

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Huda Siddiqui ‘25 (she/her/hers) is a junior in Ezra Stiles College from Addison, Illinois. She is pursuing a History of Science and Medicine Degree on the pre-medicine track. She is passionate about serving underresourced communities by creating mental health resources for the Institute of Muslim Mental Health, providing educational mentorship for FGLI students through Matriculate, tutoring and supporting immigrant and refugee women and children through IRIS, and providing medical debt and insurance counseling through the Haven Free Clinic. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, she loves to spend time with family, read, go on walks, enjoy Mediterranean food, and exercise with friends! 

Why are you an FGLI Ambassador/involved with the FGLI Community? “I am committed to the FGLI community because I have first-hand experience with the challenges students from underserved communities face in pursuing higher education. As an ambassador, I am eager to advocate for the critical academic, financial, and social support and mentorship needed by FGLI students in transitioning to college and being prepared for professional success. I hope to enhance professional development resources, increase alumni, and faculty mentorship, and alleviate financial challenges associated with college expenses.”

Email: huda.siddiqui@yale.edu

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Kennedy Smith photoKennedy Smith ‘26 (he/him) is a class of ‘26 QuestBridge scholar in Silliman College from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is majoring in Computer Science & Psychology, and is interested in pursuing research in computational cognition after graduation. He loves to lift weights, spend time with his dog Shiloh and play Mario Kart with friends. As an event aide, buttery lead, Acorn baker, merchandise coordinator and board member of the Silliman activity committee, Kennedy is very passionate about being involved within his residential college and the greater Yale community! 

Why are you an FGLI Ambassador? “Navigating the complexities of higher education as a first-generation, low-income student presents unique challenges, from deciphering financial aid packages to adapting to an unfamiliar academic culture. I wanted to bridge the gap for others like me, ensuring that no student feels isolated in their pursuit of education. As an FGLI Ambassador, I saw an opportunity to create a supportive community, share resources, and advocate for policies that acknowledge and address the distinct needs of FGLI students. I hope to empower others to not only find their place here, but to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the overall academic culture at Yale.”

Email: kennedy.smith@yale.edu

Previous Ambassadors

2022-2023: Sayda Martinez-Alvarado ’23; Chigozie Chukwunyere ’23; Natalie Sangngam ‘23

2020-2021: Nathan Somerville (BK ‘22), Sayda Martinez-Alvarado (‘23), Chigozie Chukwunyere (‘23), Natalie Sangngam (‘23), Linh Pham (‘24), Jeffrey Caliedo (‘24), Reece Maccaux (‘24), Yasmeen Adeleke (‘25)

2019-2020: Alejandro Nuno (GH ‘21), Henry Rosas (TD ‘21), Esther Reyes (YC ‘21), Nathan Somerville (BK ‘22), Sayda Martinez-Alvarado (‘23), Chigozie Chukwunyere (‘23), Natalie Sangngam (‘23)

2018-2019: Samantha Wood (SY ‘20), Akweley Lartey (TD ‘22), Linh Le (BR ‘22), Alejandro Nuno (GH ‘21), Henry Rosas (TD ‘21), Esther Reyes (YC ‘21), Nathan Somerville (BK ‘22)

2018-2019: Fatima Chughtai (DC ‘19), Diana López (ES ‘19), Markus Reneau (SM ‘19), Maddy O’Neal (ES ‘18), Jaster Francis (BC ‘20), Samantha Wood (SY ‘20), Henry Rosas (TD ‘21)

2017-2018: Fernando Rojas (ES ‘19), Jonathan Salazar (MY ‘19), Peter Huang (SM ‘18), Kristen Wright (TD ‘18), Pamela Banner (TC ‘20), Samantha Wood (SY ‘20)


Administrative Team

Burgwell (Burgie) Howard

Senior Associate Dean of Yale College, Associate Vice President of Student Life

Dean Howard’s (he/him/his) career has been about supporting students at colleges and universities, and helping them get the most out of their university experience. His motto for his work in Student Life is: “Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Each Other, Take Care of Our Community.”

As Dean of Student Engagement, Dean Howard is charged with the enhancement of the student experience for all Yale Students - with a particular focus on Yale’s First Generation/Low Income (FGLI) students. He works in partnership with campus groups such as Yale’s cultural communities, student-atheletes, and students involved with Greek letter organizations. Dean Howard also works with some of Yale’s summer academic and cultural preparation programs including First-Year Scholars at Yale (FSY), ONEXYS, Mellon and Bouchet Scholars, and the Cultural Connections pre-orientation program.

He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University, and has been at Yale since 2015. He is a dog lover, avid sports fan, especially lacrosse (Go Bulldogs!), and enjoys meeting and helping students. He never ceases to be amazed at the creativity and capacity of Yale students. 

Why are you involved in the FGLI community? “As a low-income student going through school, I am informed and understand some of the challenges and barriers FGLI students encounter when coming to a place like Yale. However, the different backgrounds and experiences FGLI students bring with them are not deficits, but assets. My job is to connect students ot resources and opportunities, to lower barriers and allow the brilliance and curiosity of Yale students to flourish. I want all Yale students, especially FGLI students, to thrive and share their perspectives, communities, and distinctiveness to make Yale an even more special place.”

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Karin Gosselink

Director of the Academic Strategies Program and Associate Director for Writing and Tutoring, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning

Dr. Karin Gosselink (she/her/hers) creates academic programming to support undergraduate learners throughout Yale College. In 2016, she founded the Academic Strategies Program. Led by junior and senior peers (most of whom identify as FGLI), Academic Strategies workshops and peer mentoring sessions share evidence-based learning practices adjusted to the specific context of Yale’s learning culture. Centered on student voices and experiences, the workshops and mentoring sessions discuss topics such as managing time, connecting with family, and developing new study practices for college-level work. When she has time, Dr. Gosselink can also be found teaching English 114 (Globalization) and English 115 (Writing Exile). 

Why are you involved in the FGLI Community? “Students, instructors, and administrators all have a role to play in constructing our Yale community to fully support FGLI students and their learning. In making transparent Yale’s “hidden curriculum,” we help students better navigate Yale’s existing academic culture and make informed, powerful decisions as they take control of their education and their futures. This work also supports a larger transformation of the Yale community by challenging all of its members to value each other’s unique strengths and support each other with genuine ethusiasm, compassion, and respect.”

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Assistant Director, Student Engagement (YCDO) and Coordinator of The FGLI Community Initiative

The Yale College Office of Student Engagement is currenting seeking candidates to fill the role of Assistant Director and Coodinator of the FGLI Community Initiative. For a description of the job responsibities and requirements, please email us at fgli@yale.edu.

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Sílvia DeCastro

Senior Administrative Assistant, Yale College Dean’s Office

Sílvia DeCastro (she/her/hers) provides primary support to the Associate Dean for Student Engagement. Sílvia is originally from São Paulo, Brazil. Her first job after college was in the Department of Italian Language and Literature where she worked for the Chair and with the graduate student population at Yale from 1983-88.  After working as an executive assistant in several multinational corporations in Brazil, she returned to Yale in 1995 as Executive Assistant to Sterling Professor Edward Zigler in the Department of Psychology. She then joined the Yale College Dean’s Office where she has worked as Senior Administrative Assistant II in the Office of Student Affairs; and now in the Office of Student Engagement. Sílvia is a skilled polyglot; she is fluent in Portuguese (native), English, Italian and Spanish. On her free time, you will find her near the ocean whenever possible, and travelling is always on her mind. She is, of course, a huge soccer fan.


Previous Woodbridge Fellows

2020-2021: Jorge Anaya (TD ‘19)

2019-2020: Jorge Anaya (TD ‘19)

2018-2019: José Yobani López Sánchez (BF ‘18)

2017-2018: Ruben Vega Perez (DC’17, YPH ‘18)